What Does a General Foreman Do?

A general foreman, also known as a site supervisor or construction works manager, is responsible for medium-tier organizational and operational control as well as general management of a construction site. Construction projects are where most people working in this position can be found. The position does not exist in a similar form in other industrial careers. A person in this position will need a broad understanding of various construction techniques and disciplines, as well as solid logistical and procedural skills.

In several key areas, the general foreman’s role differs from that of the construction site foreman in terms of site position. A foreman will usually work as part of a site gang or in charge of a small group, and there will be a common discipline among them or in the type of work they do. That is, a construction site foreman may be in charge of multiple disciplines, such as an excavation gang or a concrete works team; however, it is uncommon for a foreman to be in charge of multiple disciplines. As the person in charge of organizing all site teams, inspecting the work, and controlling the overall job, a general foreman is expected to have experience and understanding of all required disciplines.

To become a general foreman, an applicant must have several years of construction site experience, often as a construction site foreman overseeing various work disciplines. He or she must also be well-versed in material handling and the internal procedures of the construction company. This person is responsible for placing material orders and controlling health and safety inspections and records, as well as overall control of operational activities on a construction site. He or she is either in sole control of a construction site or will work alongside a construction site manager, also known as a site agent or project manager, depending on the size and complexity of the construction project.

When working with a site manager, the general foreman’s responsibilities may be reduced, with the site manager handling responsibilities like material ordering and health and safety inspections. There are often more working gangs and disciplines on site in these situations, necessitating an increase in the general foreman’s operational control. A general foreman must also provide safety briefings, conduct training courses, and ensure that public interaction is maintained and controlled, in addition to the responsibilities listed above.