What Does the Job of Foreman Actually Entail?

In a world where new homes and businesses are built from the ground up every day, the job of construction foreman is one that isn’t likely to go away anytime soon. Foremen are typically construction workers who have many years of experience and want to take the next step in their careers. If you’re considering taking on a foreman position or hiring a foreman for your company, it helps to know that the job entails.

Creating the Employee Schedule

A foreman is responsible for creating the company work schedule. This includes deciding when everyone reports to start the job, when they can take their breaks and when they can go home at the end of the day. If a job is behind schedule, it’s the foreman’s responsibility to decide how many workers stay to get it back on track. Additionally, the foreman must consider outside factors when creating a schedule, such as whether employees have requested time off to deal with something at home or to go on vacation.

Choosing Construction Materials

Many construction company owners rely on the foreman to choose the materials for each job. The responsibility is more complicated than heading to the nearest Home Depot and grabbing a few boards. The foreman must understand which materials the client wants to use for his or her project as well as what his or her budget restrictions are. In addition, the foreman must ensure the construction materials make it to the job site on time to ensure the project doesn’t run behind.

Assigning Employee Tasks

The foreman of a construction project is responsible for delegating tasks to the other workers. This means creating a balancing act between what needs to be done and which employees are available to do the work. The foreman must know the rest of the team well so that he or she can delegate tasks according to each person’s strengths and weaknesses. In addition to assigning tasks, the foreman must oversee all work throughout the day to ensure it is completed according to the blueprints and in accordance with relevant building codes.

Providing Progress Reports

One of the primary duties of the foreman is to provide progress reports at the end of each workday. Whether via email, over the phone or in person, the foreman will discuss the day’s work with the company’s owner. The report should detail which tasks workers completed in full, which are partially completed and which are behind schedule. The daily report is also a good time to bring up concerns, such as whether the job may go over budget, if there are serious delays in the completion schedule or if one of the employees isn’t performing well.

Communicating with Clients

There is some controversy among the owners of construction companies when it comes to whether a foreman should communicate with clients. Many people feel this is another primary reason for hiring a foreman. He or she can communicate with the client when the owner isn’t on the job, answering questions when possible or contacting the owner for a response when necessary.

Other people feel that allowing the foreman to talk to clients puts them in a hard spot. They worry the foreman will make a promise that can’t be kept, creating a negative experience for the client. For this reason, whether a foreman communicates with the client or not depends on the owner’s comfort level.

There’s a reason the foreman of a construction company is considered the owner’s right hand. He or she must effectively and efficiently handle almost anything the owner would do when on the job site. What about you? If you’re a foreman, what are your duties? If you employ one, what do you expect of him or her? Where do you stand on the client communication debate?