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A field superintendent is a professional who works in a supervisory position within the construction industry. He works on-site as the project in built, often working out of a trailer to manage a project's day-to-day progress.
The field superintendent manages and directs subcontractors and employees to complete a project in accordance with the plans or blueprints. She performs much of the project layout to ensure walls and other objects are correctly located, and also coordinates material deliveries and budgets. The field superintendent often holds the primary responsibility for maintaining the safety of the site and resolving disputes between subcontractors. She works closely with the project manager and design professionals, advising them of progress or problems.
People interested in a career as a field superintendent should be prepared to work outside in a wide variety of weather conditions. He will be exposed to dirt, loud noise and risk from equipment or falling objects. Field superintendents often work under very tight deadlines and must be flexible enough to handle the many surprises that crop up on a construction site. He must be prepared to work with a wide range of people, from laborers to professionals and building owners. It is often beneficial for field superintendents to possess strong language skills to communicate with a diverse staff.
Training and Education
Depending on the company, a field superintendent may have an advanced degree or no formal education at all. Traditionally, she worked her way up through various construction trades to achieve this type of supervisory role. Today, many companies require superintendents to have degrees in engineering, construction management, architecture or a related field. Even those without a degree can benefit from classes in math, science, engineering and drafting.
The title of “field superintendent” is used for general contracting and subcontracting staff. The field superintendent for the general contractor manages the entire project. He coordinates various subcontracting crews in the best interest of the project schedule and budget.
A field superintendent who works for a subcontracting company acts as a supervisor for that specific trade. For example, a field superintendent for a concrete company manages his own staff, materials and equipment, but is ultimately under the supervision of the general contractor.
A field superintendent in the United States can expect an average annual salary of $77,546, as of November 2009, according to Salary.com. This salary amount can vary widely depending on the region, company and type of project. According to Payscale.com, field superintendents with one to four years of experience earn between $44,467 and $62,685 annually, as of April 2010. Ten years of experience can command annual salaries between $58,218 and $83,426.
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Emily Beach works in the commercial construction industry in Maryland. She received her LEED accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2008 and is in the process of working towards an Architectural Hardware Consultant certification from the Door and Hardware Institute. She received a bachelor's degree in economics and management from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.