Construction contractors are highly trained and experienced individuals who plan and oversee the construction of various building projects. Construction contractors coordinate every aspect of residential, industrial, public, private, and industrial construction projects. Construction contractors are responsible for the planning and directing of building projects while managing the scheduling, implementation, and selection of specialty contractors (like carpenters, plumbers, and electricians). Construction contractors also must manage the business aspects of each project from budgeting and estimates to payment of contractors.
Construction managers supervise entire projects from the concept and planning stage to the final completion of a project. Construction managers work closely with owners, architects, engineers, contractors, carpenters and other professionals to divide the responsibilities of preparing a site, excavating land, installing sewage, erecting foundations and structures, ensuring the installation of proper safety and protection devices, complete landscaping, and also build roads. Construction contractors work with small or large scale projects from private projects to industrial building complexes ensuring means of maximizing cost and energy efficiencies while meeting budget restraints and project deadlines. Construction contractors often work independently within self owned and operated businesses or under contract of construction management or contracting firms, developers, or property owners. Due to the many responsibilities and diverse knowledge required to establish careers as construction contractors, individuals must complete a combination of formal training, gain work experience, and complete state licensing requirements. Employment as a construction contractor also requires 24 hour availablity, a driver’s license, and the ability to pass a drug screening test.
Qualification to work as a construction contractor requires individuals to complete formal training offered through apprenticeship, vocational schools, or degree programs combined with five to seven years of work experience.
High school students interested in becoming construction contractors may prepare before they complete their diploma. Students may enroll in courses like: English, algebra, accounting, shop, psychology, physics, business, and physical education to expand knowledge and skills necessary to advance to formal training programs. Many students may gain employment working closely with more experienced contractors, road crews, carpenters, and other various construction organizations to acquire hands on training and increase their chances of acceptance within future training programs.
Some individuals train within apprenticeship programs to gain work experience and advance to formal training programs or employment. Working closely under the supervision of general contractors or construction contractors, individuals gradually increase skills and technical abilities by beginning with simple projects and advancing to more complex projects. Apprenticeship programs are generally offered by large construction firms, trade associations, and trade unions and generally last three to five years. Individuals who participate in apprenticeships learn how to properly use equipment, prepare work sites, and gain classroom instruction in specialized courses like: mathematics, woodworking, and mechanical drawing. Individuals who complete apprenticeship programs may enter employment or advance to higher degree programs.
Students who choose to expand knowledge and advance the potential for a career as a construction contractor may complete studies within associate degree programs in construction management. Courses include: fundamentals of construction management, project controls, cost estimating and analysis, labor and employment laws, surveying, construction drawing, psychology, physics, estimating management, and managing employee relations. Many graduates with an associate degree qualify for employment as general contractors or continue studies within bachelor degree programs.
Bachelor degree programs offer students the ability to specialize and expand training necessary to advance as construction contractors. Courses include: introduction to construction, construction plan reading, construction documents and contracts, risk management, bonds, and insurance, legal and ethical issues in construction, construction planning and scheduling, construction estimating, construction safety and loss control, specifications and technical writing for construction professionals, construction materials for managers, construction productivity and management, construction management internships, construction accounting, building energy systems, project scheduling, construction law, blueprint reading, hazard management, construction accounting, and structural frames and building design/construction.
Master degree programs offer students the ability to qualify as supervisors in the field of construction contracting. Courses include: construction procurement, temporary structures, heavy construction estimating, construction operations and productivity, utility system construction, marine construction, construction materials, pavement construction, research methods in construction, design and construction law, cost analysis and management, environmental regulations, statistical fundamentals for construction and materials applications, computer-aided design and construction, cost estimation, project control, architectural science, and inspection procedures.
Most construction contractors are required to complete and maintain licensure or certification as determined by State regulations. Some individuals may also voluntarily participate in licensing exams. Certification and licensure are offered through the Construction Management Association of America and the America Institute of Construction.