Read 14 min

In this blog post, we’re gonna give you an overview so you know exactly what a foreman is and how to utilize their unique capabilities. One of the main things I want you to get out of this blog post is why this role is so crucial and important. By the end of this blog post, you will know the main focus of a foreman on the project site, what the most important skills are for foremen in general, and some of the things you should never do as a foreman. So I’m gonna go on a little bit of a rant here, you’re gonna love it. So let’s get this going. Let’s go through the content. 

What Is A Foreman On A Construction Site?

Known as crew leaders, foremen are, in my opinion, the most valuable role on a construction project. Superintendents plan and prepare work, project managers lead the overall project, and engineers do their thing. But the rubber meets the road with foremen because they are the sometimes most senior but the most experienced leader, worker in the group that has the leadership capabilities to plan and prepare work and make sure that the work of the crew is cohesive and going in right the first time. This role is crucial. I’ve always said that. Yes, superintendents add value. Yes, engineers enable the work. Yes, the project manager leads but that project rises or falls based on the ability of the foremen; they are our heroes. They are the people that get it done. This is where it starts and stops. They are amazing.

Think about it like this. Who else makes money on a construction project? For the superintendents out there, shout out to y’all over on the left side. Right. Okay. So all of you, would anybody pay for your schedule? Would anybody pay for your daily reports? If it wasn’t for the work? No. Okay. All right. So tell you project managers, project engineers on the right side over here. Okay. So all of you, would an owner pay for a pay application by itself or an RFI by itself or submittal by itself not going to happen, you get where I’m going, all the foremen that are everywhere on our project, supervising work, they and the workers they oversee, make the money. When they’re putting in the work, you can just hear that touching that like, you can just see dollars just falling from the sky. The rest of us are non-value-add but necessary overhead. Like that’s just it. I mean, I love you. And I’m glad you’re here with me.

How Foremen Plan & Remove Roadblocks In Construction Projects

Foremen look ahead. So a lot of the foremen in our construction industry will be like, “Oh, I come to the job site or I’ll start doing my work with the crew. Oh, I hit a roadblock. I’m out see a piece I’m out.” That’s not how we do it. Everybody, the work of the foreman and the work of the crew leaders happen weeks and months before the activity ever happens. With the pull plan, the pre-construction meeting, the Make ready look-ahead schedule, the Weekly Work Plan, and the day planning of the work itself. If a foreman came to the project site and just started then and went home and there was a roadblock, why did that roadblock happen? A foreman and the superintendent should be looking out ahead. That is their role. That is how a good foreman does work. They prepare and plan the work.

Here’s something I want to tell you average workers. And I will say the average of the bottom 25% of workers in our industry, if you take the average of their production are more productive than our bid units, and the top 25% of workers in our industry are usually at least two times as productive if not four as productive as the lower 25%. And so people are like Jason, how could that be true? Like this guy is crazy, right? There’s no way that’s true. So if that’s true Jason, why aren’t making production to my numbers? It’s because of stops and restarts, it’s because of roadblocks that weren’t seen or removed out ahead of time. And so once we get supers and foremen out from behind the eight ball where they can’t do anything, out from being a victim of circumstance and being a planter and the lowercase g, god of their world, that’s when the construction industry is really going to take off and we’re gonna have floatable work and really make production. So what we have to do is get Foremen from this reactive mode out to the proactive mode. You can tell a good foreman when it’s no longer a response to circumstance, but a creation of circumstance.

How Foremen Are Teachers In Construction Projects

Foremen are teachers. Like I hear everybody in the industry was super sad for him to be like, “We don’t have any trained workforce anymore. Like nobody knows what they’re doing well, who was supposed to train him? Do we think some magic fairy from someplace was gonna go to train him for that it would just magically pour into their brains? All of us old timers, I’m only 41. But I consider myself an old tire. But all of the old timers I go when I was younger, I figured it out. No, you didn’t. We all had people mentoring us, or at least we had somebody yelling at us. Now we just ignore people. Like we don’t even yell at him. Because we’re not allowed to. Like, we just ignore people. And I think some people were like, well forget it. I can’t even yell at him. So I might as well not say anything. Well, nobody’s getting taught. So superintendent foreman, foreman, you are the main teacher, you should have the ability, whether it’s to train your crew, or to give a presentation or to give a talk, we’re gonna teach a university class, you are a professional teacher, and you are a professional communicator, I just want to dispel something and go off on just a little bit of a rant. I heard somebody the other day, going through a training being like, well, Jason, I guess that would be important if I was a professional communicator, but I’m not a foreman. Right? And I was like, what did you do yesterday? Well, I helped the crew installed, what nail did you hammer? And what screw did you screw? And what thing did you build? Well, I didn’t build anything. I don’t pound nails anymore. I supervise the crew. Okay, well, well, then what did you do? Well, I talked to him and I gave it, did what you do what you, you cook, you communicate? What was that? You know. And so like, I make the point, you are a professional communicator, you are a professional teacher, that is your job. Not only do you plan and prepare work, but you communicate, you are a professional teacher communicator. And those are the main roles of a construction foreman or a crew leader. And that is something that if we get our minds wrapped around, everything would change around us. Because no one’s coming

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Meet Jason Schroeder, the driving force behind Elevate Construction IST. As the company’s owner and principal consultant, he’s dedicated to taking construction to new heights. With a wealth of industry experience, he’s crafted the Field Engineer Boot Camp and Superintendent Boot Camp – intensive training programs engineered to cultivate top-tier leaders capable of steering their teams towards success. Jason’s vision? To expand his training initiatives across the nation, empowering construction firms to soar to unprecedented levels of excellence.

On we go!