What Does a Site Foreman Do?

Lori Kilchermann

The site foreman on a job site manages the workers and maintains the work schedule. By assigning jobs to specific individuals and groups, the site foreman makes sure the time frame of the job is adhered to, as well as the proper sequence of the different jobs. It is also the duty of the site foreman to ensure that certain jobs are completed in order to allow the next job to be completed. While most individual contractors and subcontractors are on the site to manage their respective employees, the foreman maintains communication between all of the individual foremen and is responsible for their collective work product.

A site foreman typically manages employees.
A site foreman typically manages employees.

The purpose of the foreman is to manage all of the individual work crews and to keep all of the work focused in the same general direction. Any scheduling conflicts or lapses in job completion time frames are addressed by the site foreman. The sub-contractors will report to the site foreman on a daily basis, receiving pertinent information regarding the progress, or lack thereof, along with suggestions on different ways to resolve any issues. The work crews are all subject to discipline and possible termination if they fail to maintain steady progress or if they fall seriously behind for any reason.

A site foreman may be responsible for reporting workplace injuries.
A site foreman may be responsible for reporting workplace injuries.

Much like a general manager in a factory setting, the site foreman is the collective authority of the construction site. This role serves as the final quality check for the typical construction project and any shortcomings will be placed on the foreman's shoulders. Occasionally, the site foreman will be subject to receiving a bonus for job completion ahead of schedule or for coming in under budget. Conversely, there may be a penalty or fine for failing to come in under budget, and the foreman is commonly penalized on a sliding scale for every day that a project runs past the projected completion date.

A site foreman is often a person who has excelled in private business and may have owned a construction company prior to taking an overseer position with a larger company. One problem that faces many site foremen is the need for them to be on several sites at the same time. It is rare for a top foreman to have only one job site to manage at a time. The site foreman typically is required to drive to several construction sites, board meetings and supplier meetings on a daily basis.

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