Become a Construction Supervisor - Back To Basics
Become a Construction Supervisor

Become a Construction Supervisor

Your guide on how to become a Construction Supervisor

Being a Construction Supervisor can provide an incredibly challenging yet equally rewarding career. Read on to find out how!

Who are you, and what will you do?

The main role of a supervisor is to ensure that a project is built to standards and specifications, but this is not the only focus. By choosing a career as a Construction Supervisor, you will develop a sound knowledge of safety practices, interpersonal and negotiation skills, as well an understanding of quality control processes.

Completing a project isn’t as straightforward as pouring some concrete or building a frame. As a supervisor, you need to ensure that all components of a building are delivered to site and are constructed as per documentation. This not only includes the materials used in the project, but the methods of construction to be applied as well. Ensuring the right materials and methods are used ensures the project sticks to its timeline.

Having an eye for detail will help make sure the project is completed to a high-end finish. This generally means that brickwork, plaster and framing are all to Australian Standards. An eye for detail also needs to be applied to materials delivered to site. Not only does a supervisor need to ensure that the materials are delivered without any defects or damage, but that materials delivered match the purchase order.

While building to maintain the timeline is a key part of being a Construction Supervisor, maintaining the appearance of the site and the project is also important. Every building site will have the name of the builder posted out the front, and so the project becomes a part of how the public sees the company. For example, a messy site with loud, rude tradespeople can reflect negatively on the company’s image and it is up to the Construction Supervisor to ensure that this doesn’t happen.

In order to keep the site, and the company’s image, in a positive light, a Construction Supervisor will need to develop their planning and interpersonal skills. Effective planning skills will ensure that materials will have a storage place on site to minimise clutter. It will also ensure that tradespeople can work without any delays, preventing disagreements on site.

Planning is supported by effective communication. As a supervisor, you will need to communicate your expectations with tradespeople, suppliers and other members of the construction team. This can include making sure all documents are readily available, and that all orders are called up in time for the relevant trades.

With quality standards and the company’s image to uphold, there is also the aspect of safety that a supervisor needs to maintain. As a Construction Supervisor there is a responsibility to ensure all practices are being completed in line with OSH guidelines, and that all visitors to the site are aware of any site-specific risks.

Your Career Path

A career as a Construction Supervisor opens the door to many other roles within the industry. Progress can be made within the construction department of a building company, leading to added responsibility from management positions. The knowledge and experience gained as a supervisor can also give you a leg up if you’d like to move into other departments.

The direct path of development for a Construction Supervisor leads to working as a Construction Manager for a building company. Building on the skills learned as a supervisor, your role will grow to involve managing a team to ensure that jobs are completed on time, on budget and to an exceptional standard. This can involve training other supervisors, providing corrective feedback and assisting with any conflicts that may arise on site.

One of the key learnings from time spent supervising is how buildings are assembled. These learnings can lead to progression within the scheduling and estimating departments. Whether building rates for pricing, or generating a bill of quantities, a sound construction knowledge is always required. When generating bills of quantities, the experience gained from reading and understanding construction details can translate into accurate orders. Should you wish to be involved with estimating, complex projects can be visualised from basic sketches to ensure all elements are accounted for.

Sometimes working for a builder is not your end goal. Sometimes, you want to be the builder. Being a Construction Supervisor will provide the experience vital to becoming a successful builder. Experience, coupled with completing a Diploma of Building and Construction, will form the cornerstones of getting a building license. Combined with an understanding of construction principles, completion of the Diploma will provide knowledge of Acts and Regulations within the industry, as well as preparation of Construction Contracts.

Regardless of which path you wish your career to take, the skills and knowledge gained as a Construction Supervisor will lead to a variety of career options.

The Education Required

Working through the CPC50210 Diploma of Building and Construction (Building), you’ll learn and be able to apply the following elements:

  • Principles and practices involved with providing a safe working environment
  • Structural principles involved with constructing small and medium rise projects
  • Ensuring budgets are adhered to, and the effects to a project if they are not
  • Selecting high quality building materials and tradespeople
  • Managing project risk and quality standards
  • Applying the relevant standards and building codes to projects
  • Managing the successful completion of a construction project

On top of a sound understanding of construction practices, completing the course provides information on a building company. Information learned includes:

  • Understanding tender documentation – Reading and understanding tender documentation is crucial to successfully completing a project. Knowing how to translate the scope of works and details from documentation will ensure the project is built as it should be.
  • Selecting and preparing a construction contract – Similar to understanding tender documents, knowledge gained from understanding construction contracts will help identify any potential risks within its terms
  • The legal obligations of a building contractor – Protecting yourself and any tradespeople from harm is a priority but knowing the legal repercussions can help ensure the practices are upheld.

In Conclusion

Completion of the Diploma in Building and Construction can lead to a first-year exemption from the Bachelors Degree in Construction Management, a University degree that can further develop your understanding of the Construction industry. Completion of this Diploma can also lead to attaining a Builder’s Licence, (when coupled with the relevant experience and approval from the building commission), to let you be your own boss!

If there is any further information we can provide about this career path, or about the education requirements around getting a builders licence in Australia, please send us a message, email us on or call us on 1300 855 713.