How Do I Become a Building Foreman?

M. Kayo

To become a building foreman or construction foreman, you need to have training and experience in the field of construction as well as management skills. Even though some construction firms hire those with no education and lots of prior experience, you will likely need to have a college degree to get hired. Well-developed project management skills are also necessary for those who want to become a building foreman. Basic responsibilities for this position are supervising a workforce or crew of skilled craftsmen and laborers and working with estimates and contractors to complete the construction of a building project. The building foreman reports to a construction manager or contractor on the status of a building project.

Hands-on experience and skills are important for a building foreman.
Hands-on experience and skills are important for a building foreman.

The minimum education for someone who wants to become a building foreman is typically a bachelor's degree in project management, construction management, or other civil engineering related field. Coursework should include finance, business management, project development, site design, and planning. Some employers will hire a construction supervisor with just an associate's degree and some prior construction experience. Those construction managers who work for large construction companies may be required to hold a master's degree and work as a site foreman on multiple construction sites or move into senior management positions later on. An advanced degree typically means better opportunity for advancement within a company or organization.

Since the primary function of a building foreman is to coordinate the work crews, developing management skills is a critical skill. You need to acquire it through education, training, and experience managing people if you want to become a construction supervisor. Other skills include the ability to compile and present various types of reports to management. A working knowledge of computers and the related estimating and scheduling software will also serve you well if you want to become a building foreman. The building foreman is typically the senior worker at a site and has the most experience in construction methods, safety procedures, building codes, and regulations.

The building foreman must meet with the contractor or construction manager to determine the scope of a particular building project. He or she is also responsible for scheduling workers for various tasks, staying on budget, and ensuring the availability of building materials, tools, equipment, and machinery. Acquiring a working knowledge of cost estimation and budgeting large, complex construction projects may also be essential.

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