To become a construction buyer, you will typically need several years of experience in the construction industry as well as an in-depth understanding of the required materials for various construction projects and pertinent building codes and regulations. While formal education in the areas of engineering, construction management or business can be very helpful in your quest to become a construction buyer, classroom education generally must serve as an adjunct to real world experience in which you work with contractors and building materials. In some cases, you may wish to intern or apprentice under an experienced construction buyer in order to learn about the job and its responsibilities.
It is possible to become a construction buyer through one of several career paths. If you are currently in school, you may wish to seek out internships or part-time jobs working for a contracting company. As you work on various building projects, you will develop an idea of the types of materials needed for specific projects. In school, you should pay special attention to courses on building materials, laws and regulations, as well as business negotiation. If you develop a good relationship with the management at your employment or internship site, you may decide to communicate your desire to become a construction buyer, as this may offer you some opportunities to work with the current buyer or buyers.
If you are working in construction, and do not have a lot of formal education, you may be able to become a construction buyer by developing a great deal of expertise in construction materials while on the job. At the same time, you may wish to take some college-level or continuing education courses in construction management. Courses in business administration may also be helpful, and some large contracting firms may want you to eventually earn a bachelor's or even a master's degree before hiring you as a buyer.
Regardless of your career path, you may find that contracting firms want you to complete a formal training program before they will allow you to become a construction buyer. You may also need to take some accounting and bookkeeping courses which can help you understand the budgetary issues that play a factor in pricing the purchase of construction materials. In some areas, you may be able to take courses on building codes and regulations so that you have a better understanding of what you are legally obligated to buy for a specific type of building project.