Are you planning to build a new home or renovate your current one? If so, you’ll need to work with an experienced team of construction professionals to ensure the smooth and successful completion of the project.
We’ve been around enough renovation and remodeling jobs to know that the foreman or project manager is one of the central gears of any construction site. For contractors, having a good foreman is almost as important as having contractor insurance. They help ensure that the project moves according to pace and that tasks are completed safely and up to code.
As for the homeowner, knowing that you have a capable foreman overseeing the construction of your home provides a great sense of comfort and peace of mind.
What Does A Foreman Do?
Foremen or site managers hold the top supervisory position in the construction site. They are primarily responsible for ensuring the workers perform their duties safely and efficiently, and that the given work is completed on budget and according to schedule.
A construction foreman usually undergoes formal training and has sufficient hands-on industry experience, which enables them to take on many roles and handle common issues in the workplace.
So, what does a foreperson do?
The duties of a foreman/site manager include(1):
● Ensuring workplace safety at all times
● Overseeing the work of the construction crew
● Developing the schedule
● Monitoring the construction budget/spending
● Controlling the operation of construction machinery and equipment
● Training new personnel
Often caught in between the workers and the big bosses, being a foreman can feel like the proverbial yo-yo. With so many responsibilities on their shoulders (and such a tricky position, to boot), it’s important for a construction foreman to be able to rise up to the challenges of the job.
10 Signs of a Reliable Foreman
The foreman has arguably the most stressful and demanding job in the construction site. They have to be a leader, a doer, a supervisor, a teacher, and a babysitter – all the while trying to meet the expectations of their superiors and subordinates.
Not anybody can be a foreman, so you’ve got to make sure you have the right person for the job. So, how do you know if you’ve got a reliable foreman working for you?
A good foreman possesses most, if not all, the qualities listed below:
1. Plans Ahead and Organizes Things in Detail
Construction projects necessitate meticulous planning, precision, and attention to detail. A site manager’s job is to keep as many obstacles as possible out of your crew’s way so that they can carry out quality work at maximum speed.
A good foreman sees the bigger picture. He/she can look three, four, or five weeks out, but at the same time zero in on the job at hand to ensure that even the smallest details are taken care of.
A good foreman plans the days ahead and even scopes out the work to be performed in the next few weeks so that the team can perform at its best and most efficiently, and in the safest conditions possible.
2. Has a Strong Rapport with the Crew
The ability of a supervisor to build rapport with his or her crew is critical to the success of the project. Good foremen go out of their way to get to know the crew and work alongside them to keep their motivation strong and their enthusiasm high.
Foremen who build stronger relationships with their employees and learn about their personalities will be able to alter their management techniques to get the most out of the group.
Most experienced foremen kick off the day with a huddle where they discuss everything from safety reminders to issues at the workplace. Creating a venue where everybody can share their thoughts and ideas and opinions can help build camaraderie and reinforce the concept of being a “team.”
3. Knows How to Effectively Communicate with Others
A project's success hinges on effective communication (2). Workers become more attached and devoted to the project's success if they comprehend the big picture and how all of their efforts contribute to the overall success.
Aside from conducting daily huddles, an effective foreman reinforces the team concept by allowing individuals to communicate grievances, challenges, and triumphs. It’s also important to hold individual meetings, where the employee's performance is assessed on a more personal level.
Moreover, a foreman needs to understand personality (3) and temperament as a manager. Knowing how to encourage an employee to perform at a high level is particularly important in a workplace where millennials and older generations work together.
4. Puts People in Roles Where They Can Thrive
Everybody has strengths and weaknesses. Some are natural leaders, some prefer to work independently, while others are more comfortable working in a group.
A good foreman can recognize each team member's talents and shortcomings, and assign them to positions where their skills and attributes are most useful and productive. He/she knows how to strike a nice balance between what works best for the individual, the team, and the project as a whole.
5. Maximizes the Use of Construction Tools and Equipment
To ensure a smooth operation, all equipment and tools must be in good working order.
That being said, every construction site needs a manager who is quick to support the upkeep of equipment and tools.
While senior management is responsible for purchasing the best equipment and tools available, foremen are responsible for ensuring that such vital items are properly maintained, inspected, and handled. Foremen who are meticulous in their handling and storage of equipment and tools will instill in their crews a respect for the "tools of their trade."
6. Skilled in Construction Mathematics
It’s essential for a construction foreman to be able to accurately calculate units of production and gauge their crew’s productivity rate to avoid running the risk of being short-handed.
Experienced foremen are skilled in construction math (4). They use real numbers with higher accuracy and are highly capable of creating efficient work schedules and strategic crew placements, resulting in improved productivity over time.
7. Proactive in Decision Making
Things can go wrong in the construction site for various reasons, but a good foreman knows how to communicate the problem and faces these challenges head-on.
Proactive managers use logic and apply philosophical problem-solving. Thus, they are more likely to find effective solutions and succeed where others fail. They recognize the importance of assessing the problem from all sides first – the benefits, the risks, the costs – before making a decision to ensure customer satisfaction.
8. Takes 100% Accountability
The only way to succeed in a project is to take full responsibility for the outcome. That being said, it’s important for a site manager to understand that the success of the project is entirely in their hands. Effective construction foremen take accountability for their crew's readiness and performance.
They don’t assign blame, make excuses, or make a fuss when something goes wrong. Instead, they go through lengths to ensure that everybody has what they need, is informed about impending tasks, and has a clear understanding of performance goals and objectives. In other words, they know what they're supposed to do, how to do it, and why it matters.
9. Has Passion for the Job
The best foremen are often those who are driven and passionate about their job. This passion is what pushes them to dedicate themselves to bettering their craft and holding themselves (and the crew) to a standard of quality and excellence.
When you have a good foreman working for you, you will sense that they truly enjoy what they do. They put their best foot forward because they take pride in having their name associated with the project.
10. Gets the Job Done
The most telling sign of a good foreman? They get the job done.
Foremen with little to no experience frequently find themselves slowed down and easily distracted by unforeseen difficulties.
Experienced foremen, on the other hand, are the exact opposite. They focus on finding solutions and have their eyes set on the end goal. They persevere in the face of adversity to complete the project. No excuses, no blaming, and no complaining.
On Hiring a Good Foreman
The right foreman will make your dream project come to life with their professionalism. Of course, with the help of the entire construction team.
Whether you’re a contractor looking to hire a foreman or a homeowner meeting your home construction/ renovation manager for the first time, you’ll know you’re talking to a dependable foreman almost right off the bat.
When hiring a foreman or construction manager, go for someone who not only has building expertise and relevant experience but with strong interpersonal skills as well. Be wary of candidates with poor communication skills and or little experience in the construction industry / your particular industry.
Finding a good foreman can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. The market is still filled with skilled construction foremen who value excellence in performing their jobs and delivering the best result – you just have to know where and how to look.