construction foreman

What Does A Construction Foreman Do?

Table of Contents

Guess how many career paths there are within the construction industry?

The answer is…. a lot. 

In today's world, there is still the lingering perception of the construction industry as dangerous and mainly for unskilled people with no other career options.

This perception couldn’t be further from the truth.

Construction trades are fast becoming the most popular career option for young people entering the workforce.

Lucrative Construction Career Paths

Construction knowledge compounds over time and becomes more valuable as you get older.

Tradesman with decades of technical and hands-on experience can move into several areas including:

  • Consulting
  • Paid Speaking and Teaching
  • Publishing 
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Investing

One of the most practical career paths for experienced tradesman is as a Construction Foreman… but what does a Construction foreman do?

Depending on the size of a project, a construction foreman can take on many duties. 

What is a Construction Foreman?

A foreman is typically an experienced member of the crew.

This can be an official or unofficial position but is often critical to the success of a construction project.

The duties of a foreman can be as simple as overseeing laborers completing simple tasks to more complex supervisory level work.

Roles and Team Members

Two contractors on a job site looking up at a building, holding construction plans. a construction foreman is typically an experienced tradesman who oversees workers on a job site

  • In most cases, the successful execution of a construction project requires the involvement of a team. 
  • Usually, in a residential or commercial setting: there are workers, a General Contractor, and some type of project manager.

If the General Contractor is not directly overseeing the day-to-day management of the workers. 

Responsibilities on a Construction Site

two construction contractors looking at a large industrial drill

Above all, safety on a construction site is critical.

Contractors must always remain in compliance with government agencies like the EPA and OSHA

Failure to comply with job site safety laws can result in hefty fines and in some cases the halting of a construction project.

If the General Contractor is the owner of a large business and jumping between several job sites, the presence of a foreman becomes pivotal.

Day to day construction site duties

Above all else, the responsibilities of the foreman are to ensure the health and safety of the crew.

Their other duties include:

  • Keeping machinery, tools and materials organized
  • Maintaining the organization and the productivity of the workers
  • Direct supervision of the construction site
  • Direct supervision of the construction site
  • Reporting directly to the General Contractor or project manager
  • Determining the required materials and equipment
  • Quality control and ensuring the build is following plans and specs
  • Maintaining health and safety standards
  • Budgeting
  • Planning and executing a timeline
  • Training workers
  • Keeping and preparing reports and inspections

Qualifications and Education Requirements of a Construction Foreman

A construction foreman should command respect and be able to communicate effectively with professionals across the various construction trades involved in a project.

For a busy General or Engineering Contractor, having the right foreman in place is vital.

This individual is usually a skilled tradesman themselves with knowledge of several other trades.

Promotion based on merit

The specific qualifications and certifications of a construction foreman largely depend on the particular trade or company they are in.

Some firms promote longtime workers in the role of foreman.

Generally, this position is assumed organically based on experience within a company.

Core skills of a construction foreman include:

Core Skills

a construction foreman overseeing a demolition project

There is no official degree or certification to become a construction foreman.

However, due to the nature of the job, you will need to have the necessary skills required of a journeyman in a supervisory position. 

OSHA Safety Certification

Getting certified in OSHA safety compliance is always great.

Statistically, 21% of all work-related fatalities are in construction.

That equals about 1 and 5 worker deaths on average. In the construction industry, the leading cause of worker deaths is reported as:

  • Falls
  • Struck by an object
  • Electrocution
  • Caught-in/Between

Taking an OSHA Safety Certification course is a great first step in building your knowledge and skillset as a construction professional.

Tips on how to become a Construction Foreman

a pencil and wooden ruler laying on top of some construction plans. a foreman should have core skills including, blueprint reading and math

This largely depends on where you are at in your career.

For younger guys who are still starting out, your focus should be 100% on becoming a master of your trade.

Continue learning as much as you possibly can about your particular area of expertise. 

This website is 100% about education and knowledge, and with that comes confidence.

If you have zero experience, and you are reading this then look into an apprenticeship program. 

Check out the article on apprentice vs. journeyman to get a better idea of where you are at.

For the Journeyman

For someone that has been in construction for years and has maybe not been offered the position of foreman by their current employer or who is feeling stuck.

Remember that investing in yourself and your skills is the quickest way to move up.

As explained earlier, a lot of the traits that make a successful construction foreman have nothing to do with trade knowledge.

Invest in yourself

Look into taking a course to develop your communication and leadership skills.

For some, language barriers are often a reason guys can’t move up. 

Take a look at your current situation and self-diagnose why you haven’t leveled up.

If you are in an environment where the opportunity seems like it will never come, you could be in the wrong vehicle.

The title of construction foreman can come with a significant financial benefit if you are bringing skills to the table.

Contractor License

Logo of the Constractors State License Board. Image features a paint brush, hand saw and cement truck with the letters CSLB above in white

Contractors State License Board

If you have thought about going out on your own, then you should look into getting a Contractor License.

Becoming a business owner can give you the freedom to take on the projects you want to do, and the income to achieve more freedom in your life.

Getting a Contractor License is the most entrepreneurial venture available for a tradesman. 

Contractors State License Board

The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is the governing agency for construction contractors in the state of California.

The CSLB’s responsibility is to protect the interests of the consumer public by requiring that anyone charging over $500 for construction services is licensed and bonded.

All of the following entities must be licensed in California:

  • Contractor Businesses 
  • Partnerships 
  • Corporations 
  • Individuals

Career Advancement

The title of construction foreman can come with a significant financial benefit if you are bringing skills to the table.

If you think getting a General Contractor license might be the route for you, check out this article.

If you have found this article helpful, leave us a comment!