Career Development

What Does a Field Superintendent Do?

Find out what a Field Superintendent does, how to get this job, salary information, and what it takes to succeed as a Field Superintendent.

The Field Superintendent serves as the linchpin in construction projects, seamlessly connecting onsite operations with the broader project management objectives. This role involves overseeing the daily activities at construction sites, ensuring that projects progress according to plan, within budget, and on schedule. By coordinating with various stakeholders, including contractors, workers, and project managers, the Field Superintendent ensures that all parties are aligned with the project’s goals. Their responsibilities include monitoring construction quality, enforcing safety protocols, and providing timely updates to all involved. Through their comprehensive oversight, they maintain the smooth execution of construction projects, ensuring that each phase transitions efficiently into the next, ultimately leading to the successful completion of the project.

Field Superintendent Job Duties

  • Oversee daily on-site construction activities to ensure projects are completed on schedule and within budget.
  • Coordinate and schedule the work of subcontractors, ensuring quality standards are met and work is completed according to design specifications.
  • Implement and enforce safety protocols to maintain a safe work environment for all personnel on the construction site.
  • Liaise with architects, engineers, and other construction and building specialists to resolve any potential design or construction issues.
  • Inspect completed work for quality control, ensuring all aspects of the construction meet or exceed project standards and regulations.
  • Manage the procurement of materials and equipment, ensuring timely delivery to the site to avoid any project delays.
  • Document daily construction activities, including progress reports, site conditions, and workforce information, to maintain accurate project records.
  • Facilitate communication between project stakeholders, including clients, construction teams, and project managers, to ensure all parties are informed of project progress and any changes.

Field Superintendent Salary & Outlook

Field Superintendent salaries are influenced by the project’s complexity, industry sector (e.g., construction, oil & gas), company size, years of experience, and specific skills in project management and technology use. Additionally, the ability to manage budgets, timelines, and team dynamics plays a crucial role in determining compensation.

  • Median Annual Salary: $74,025 ($35.59/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of field superintendents is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

This growth is driven by increased construction projects and infrastructure development, necessitating skilled Field Superintendents to oversee operations, ensure safety standards, and manage timelines. Their expertise in coordinating site activities and workers is crucial for meeting the rising demand for efficient, high-quality construction outcomes.

Field Superintendent Job Requirements

Education: A Field Superintendent typically requires a diverse educational background, with many holding post-secondary certificates or diplomas. High school graduates often pursue relevant classes in construction management, engineering, or architecture to enhance their qualifications. Those with associate’s or bachelor’s degrees usually major in construction science, management, or a related field. Education in project management, building codes, and safety regulations is also beneficial, providing a solid foundation for overseeing construction projects effectively.

Experience: Field Superintendents typically come with extensive experience in construction management or a related field, having honed their skills through on-the-job training and specialized training programs. Their background often includes managing construction sites, overseeing project progress, and ensuring safety protocols are followed. Successful candidates usually have a track record of leading teams, coordinating subcontractors, and delivering projects on time and within budget. Experience with project management software and tools is also highly valued, alongside strong communication and leadership abilities.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications and licenses for a Field Superintendent may vary by industry but commonly include OSHA safety certifications, Project Management Professional (PMP), and a state-specific contractor’s license. Some roles may also require a Certified Construction Manager (CCM) certification.

Field Superintendent Skills

Construction Project Management: The role of a Field Superintendent involves the seamless coordination and oversight of a project’s planning, design, and construction phases, ensuring that objectives and deadlines are met within budget constraints. Effective communication with architects, contractors, and stakeholders is paramount, alongside swift problem-solving skills to maintain project momentum without sacrificing safety or quality.

Safety Compliance: Field Superintendents are responsible for ensuring that all construction activities comply with current health and safety regulations. By implementing and monitoring safety protocols, conducting site inspections, and providing staff training, they work to prevent accidents and injuries, keeping the workplace secure and compliant with legal and industry standards.

Quality Control: Overseeing every phase of the building process, from groundwork to final inspections, is critical to ensure that construction projects meet regulatory standards and client expectations. Vigilance in this area not only protects the project’s integrity but also reinforces the company’s reputation for superior craftsmanship and adherence to compliance.

Scheduling: Coordinating project timelines, allocating workforce, and managing resources are essential tasks for a Field Superintendent to ensure smooth progression and timely completion of projects. Attention to detail and the ability to foresee and adjust for potential delays are crucial for maintaining workflow and achieving project milestones.

Cost Estimation: Predicting project expenses accurately is vital for efficient resource allocation and preventing budget overruns that can impact construction timelines. Field Superintendents use this skill to negotiate with vendors, oversee procurement, and modify project plans as necessary to remain within financial limits.

Subcontractor Coordination: Orchestrating the work of various subcontractors to ensure projects progress according to plan requires strong communication skills, conflict resolution abilities, and the facilitation of collaboration among diverse teams. By managing schedules, work quality, and contractual obligations, Field Superintendents play a key role in maintaining project standards and timelines.

Field Superintendent Work Environment

A Field Superintendent often finds themselves navigating a dynamic work environment, primarily outdoors or on construction sites, where the physical setting changes with each project. Their workspace is not confined to a traditional office; instead, it extends to various project sites, requiring adaptability to diverse settings and weather conditions. The role demands the use of specialized tools and equipment, from safety gear to construction management software, ensuring projects adhere to timelines and quality standards.

Work hours can extend beyond the typical nine-to-five, especially as project deadlines approach, highlighting the need for flexibility. The dress code is practical, focusing on safety and comfort, with protective gear being a common requirement. This position is characterized by a high level of interaction with project teams, contractors, and clients, necessitating strong communication skills and the ability to manage a variety of personalities and expectations.

The pace of work is fast, with multiple projects often running concurrently, requiring efficient time management and prioritization skills. Travel to different sites is a regular part of the job, making it ideal for those who appreciate variety in their work locations. Despite the challenges, the role offers opportunities for professional development through on-the-job experiences, training, and exposure to the latest industry technologies.

Advancement Prospects

A Field Superintendent can advance to senior supervisory roles, such as Project Manager or Construction Manager, overseeing larger projects or multiple sites. Progression often involves demonstrating exceptional leadership, budget management, and problem-solving skills on complex projects.

To achieve these advancements, gaining experience in diverse construction environments is crucial. Specializing in high-demand sectors like green building or technology-infused construction can set a candidate apart.

Mentorship under seasoned professionals provides invaluable insights into strategic project management and client relations, essential for higher-level positions. Additionally, a track record of successful project completions under budget and ahead of schedule significantly boosts advancement prospects.

Ultimately, a Field Superintendent aiming for advancement should focus on building a portfolio of varied and successful projects, coupled with strategic professional relationships and specialized knowledge in emerging construction trends.


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