The challenges and triumphs for managers:

Construction supervision can be defined in a number of different ways and may describe quite a number of different functions within a company or on a project. Mainly, construction supervision entails overseeing and managing the work of electrical construction craftspeople. This may occur at the crew level, and the supervisor may be referred to as a crew leader or team leader. Other titles are foreman, superintendent or project manager.

 

No matter the title or the exact job description, the supervisor performs the same function: he or she oversees and manages the work of electrical construction craftspeople. Effective performance of this function is absolutely vital to the success of electrical construction projects, as well as to the success and profitability of electrical construction companies.

An additional important aspect of the supervisor’s function is the indispensable and critically important link he or she fulfills between the field operations, the work of the craftspeople and the office operations in an electrical construction company. In his or her function as this indispensable link, there are numerous requirements and expectations for the supervisor to meet in the electrical contracting company’s management hierarchy, from above as well as from below.

The apparent simplicity of the construction supervision definition certainly belies the complexity of its task. The supervisor has many expectations to live up to. Additionally, the supervisor has to perform many tasks and master many skills.

Compounding these complexities is the fact that many supervisors have moved into their positions without the benefit of any formal training or education in supervision. Therefore, newly appointed supervisors typically employ their innate skills and talents, and they emulate others whom they have seen performing effectively in supervisory positions.

Note to the reader: It is with excitement and with eager anticipation that we begin this new writing task in Electrical Contractor magazine. In this new column, we will discuss various aspects of electrical construction supervision. It’s an important topic certainly—but an even more important function in the management of every electrical construction project. It is our goal to share some insight and learning, in the earnest hope that perhaps we can add to the knowledge base and thereby enhance the effectiveness of electrical construction supervisors. If we can in some way ease the burden of those people who are moving into supervision for the first time, and/or if we can in some manner enhance the effectiveness of those people who have been performing electrical construction supervision for some time, then we will have fulfilled our objectives. Additionally, we also welcome your inquiries and input through the magazine and will do our best to respond. It is with those thoughts in mind that we embark upon this exciting new journey in the pages of Electrical Contractor magazine.           EC

SEGNER is a professor of construction science at Texas A&M University. Contact him at RSegner@archmail.tamu.edu. ROUNDS is the AGC endowed chair and professor of civil engineering at the University of New Mexico. E-mail him at jlrounds@unm.edu.