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Commercial Construction Superintendent: Job Description & Requirements

Commercial construction superintendents manage construction crews on commercial-sized projects. Most are involved in the planning stages, including contract negotiations, blueprint design, and the hiring process. Some manage every portion of the project, whereas others focus on specific stages, like demolition or framework construction. Many possess a bachelor's degree related to construction management.

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Job Description for Commercial Construction Superintendents

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) describes construction superintendents, also called construction managers, as supervising every stage of a commercial building project, from cost estimation and design through the final finishes (www.bls.gov). Construction is usually completed in stages with a superintendent in charge of each stage. Depending on budget and time constraints, multiple superintendents are sometimes used for one project.

In the initial phases of construction, most superintendents handle the hiring process of crew members as well as specialists, such as plumbers and carpenters. They create cost estimation reports and later verify that all parts of the building are completed within budget. Most write up production schedules for crews to follow. Since commercial construction involves larger crews and massive budgets, effective time and project management skills are essential for superintendents. Knowledge of building codes at the county, city, and state levels allows them to meet inspection requirements and avoid legal concerns.

Construction Superintendent Job Requirements

According to the BLS, most employers prefer to hire construction superintendents who possess at least a bachelor's degree in construction management or construction sciences. Coursework for these majors typically includes project management, scheduling, cost estimating, and building materials. Other majors associated with this profession include civil engineering and building sciences. Those with extensive construction experience who complete a certificate or associate's degree program related to construction management may also qualify for some commercial construction superintendent positions.

Some commercial construction firms, however, may require a master's in construction management. Several schools offer graduate programs that include courses such as construction law and contracts, development technology, and leadership. Graduate certificates for working professionals are another educational option for those seeking the required training for the job.

While certification is not an industry requirement, the BLS reports that more employers have begun to prefer certified managers. Trade organizations such as the American Institute of Constructors offer certification programs that test an applicant's knowledge concerning management and the industry. In addition to passing an examination, applicants must meet the education and experience requirements of the certification agency.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the employment of construction managers, including commercial construction superintendents, is expected to grow by 17% between 2010 and 2020. The median salary among these professionals was $82,790 as of 2012, reports the BLS.

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