A general contractor is a construction manager who oversees the construction of buildings and other structures for a particular client. These contractors are responsible for overseeing all stages of the construction process, from the original designing to the construction of the building and the installation of appliances. Working for many construction managers are assistants who fulfill a variety of duties for the general contractor.
The general contractor assistant establishes and maintains all necessary documentation regarding customer contacts and the construction projects. Financial documentation is one of the most important functions of this assistant in order to determine budgeting, since many construction projects must operate under a budget set by the client. The assistant also sets all appointments and meetings for the general contractor after receiving instructions from the general contractor regarding her availability. Any mail and faxes received are sorted by the assistant. The assistant might also assist in ordering supplies for the general contractor, according to SASCO.
General contractor assistants spend most of their time in an office setting where they fulfill many of the clerical duties assigned to them. However, there may be some instances where they travel to the construction site on behalf of the general contractor in order to acquire information. While on the construction site, there is always a small possibility for injury, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In cases where the general contractor is building for an international client, the general contractor’s assistant might have to live overseas.
Many assistants have previous experience in construction or engineering, giving them a more thorough understanding of construction work. However, there are some general contractor assistants who have more of a background in clerical work. Assistants must be very fast, organized and have multi-tasking skills in order to complete work quickly, according to SASCO. They must be detail-oriented since they oversee and create many documentations that might contain errors that need to be corrected or reported to the general contractor. Computer skills are essential since much of the communication and record-keeping that the assistant does is carried out using computers.
Construction managers held 551,000 jobs in 2008 and many of them used one or more assistants. The need for construction managers is expected to grow by 17 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There is a great deal of demand for international construction contracts, since there are several developing countries which have now gained enough economic resources to invest in infrastructure.
According to Payscale.com, in 2010, administrative assistants earned between $9.84 and $18.66 an hour. Entry-level administrative assistants sometimes earned as much as $13.39, while those administrative assistants who have worked 20 years or more sometimes only earn $13.11.