College - Author 1

College of Architecture and Environmental Design

Department - Author 1

Construction Management Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Construction Management



Primary Advisor/Subject Matter Expert (SME)

Phil Barlow, College of Architecture and Environmental Design, Construction Management Department


This paper investigates the distinct skill sets required for superintendents in both heavy civil and commercial construction industries through qualitative research, focusing on interviews with industry professionals. It identifies key differences in the roles, such as the emphasis on field experience for heavy civil superintendents, who often advance through the trades, versus the necessity for broader technical skills and higher education for commercial superintendents. This paper gathers insights from interviews with superintendents, conducted through personal and professional connections, focusing on their experiences and key industry differences. Despite these distinctions, the research reveals commonalities across both sectors, including the importance of understanding the construction process, maintaining safety standards, effective scheduling, and coordinating with subcontractors. The study also highlights the increasing integration of technology, such as digital plans and project management software, which is becoming essential for modern superintendents. These findings provide insights into the evolving nature of the superintendent role and offer guidance for individuals considering a career in construction. By delineating the specific demands and skill sets of superintendents in both heavy civil and commercial construction, this paper aims to support more informed career decisions and better preparation for the challenges of these critical positions.

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