Image credits: Bridgit and Freepik
Construction superintendents have various onsite responsibilities in terms of project supervision and scheduling. They typically work with other construction experts like project managers, contractors, subcontractors, and different stakeholders. This keeps them at the nucleus of any construction project, and all professionals are required to report to a superintendent and follow the guidelines accordingly. If you are a new construction superintendent, you can expect to walk through all the phases and trades connected to your specific project. This includes setting deadlines, allocating resources, managing progress, ensuring safety, and collaborating regularly. SMART goals for construction superintendents allow new professionals in the field to set achievable targets and advance in their careers smoothly. They also help experienced superintendents try out something new and expand their skillset. So, in this article, we have shared some main goals you can set and add to along your journey.
Smart Goals for Construction Superintendents
Goal-setting is a productive habit that allows you to self-evaluate yourself and work towards possible improvements. This is important for career growth, especially as a new superintendent. If you feel that you lack in one or more areas below, try and set yourself a personal goal to achieve so that you can have a more progressive career – as opposed to a repetitive and stagnant one. Just as reference when we refere to “SMART” Goals in career development we are talking about goals that are “Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely“. If your goals don’t meet the “SMART” criteria then there is potential that you won’t be able to determine if you were truly successful in meeting your goals or not.
Here are some examples of SMART goals for construction superintendents.
Build Strong Communication Skills
Construction superintendents need to be good communicators because of the collaborative nature of their job. This includes spoken and written communication with all kinds of interpersonal awareness. Superintendents who know how to interact with stakeholders and instruct their teams effectively will set the best project dynamics. It also helps to know more than one language in order to bridge language gaps within the team. You need to be open to discussions and accept feedback for improvement, so it is crucial to connect well with everyone and have the daily milestones on track. Another important aspect is to be aware of the technical terms used by construction experts, as this helps everyone stay on the same page and understand roles more easily. For these reasons, building proper communication skills should be one of the main goals for a construction superintendent.
Develop a Problem-Solving Attitude
Good communication also creates a problem-solving instinct that allows a superintendent to remain focused and calm during conflicts. A lot of mistakes can happen within construction projects, and you need to be able to solve problems rather than crumble under pressure. When you set problem-solving as a goal that you want to achieve, you try to look for solutions instead of wasting valuable project time. You might choose to re-prioritize milestones and adjust everything around any delays. You can also delegate tasks to subordinates based on their potential – which is why it is important to have strong interpersonal skills to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each team member. This will help you allocate tasks during emergencies or project bottlenecks so that everything becomes streamlined.
Even though you have a lot on your plate as a superintendent, you do not need to be everywhere at once, and delegating key roles will greatly simplify your work by increasing productivity. Not only does this realign the project back to its schedule, but it also encourages team members to play to their strengths. Communication and problem solving both establish a high standard of professionalism because you focus on respecting other people as well as the project at hand. This makes you a good listener and speaker, a great problem solver, and an overall excellent leader.
Walk the Extra Mile
No two projects are the same, and you will always encounter something unexpected in every project you supervise. The construction industry has faced lots of highs and lows in the past 2 years due to the pandemic, rising inflation, and import/export bans. Your goal as a skilled construction superintendent should be to adapt your knowledge and current experience around emerging onsite requirements. Your teams will be looking at you for directions, so make sure you do some prior research about the project and soak up as much knowledge, possibilities, and constraints as you can. This will help you answer questions or doubts faced by your stakeholders and teams.
You can visit the jobsite beforehand, make a list of the good and the bad, evaluate site safety aspects, and determine whether your team will be ready for the job. If not, you might want to plan and organize some training programs to address gaps before the project can begin. Doing some prep work in this way prevents construction bottlenecks down the road when teams realize they do not have the right skills for a particular task. Instead of blaming others, you can set an example by looking out for your teams and helping them improve through training programs – which always opens new doors to opportunities like LEED certifications. So, set a goal to walk the extra mile in terms of responsibility – both for yourself and for your teams. Being a step ahead of everyone else always goes the extra mile!
Keep up with Safety Guidelines
Safety is the most important consideration for all construction projects, and as a superintendent, it is your primary job to reinforce the right protocols. This includes people and site safety rules. Your main goal here will be to first learn the rules and educate yourself on the diversities and challenges of the current project you are working on. It will allow you to cover the smallest details in terms of safety and ensure a more productive, secure, and efficient jobsite environment. This should focus on everything from COVID compliance and personal safety to equipment guidelines and emergency protocols.
Speaking of smart goals for construction superintendents, let us also look at how the popular S.M.A.R.T management goals apply to the field of construction.
S.M.A.R.T stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. These SMART characteristic goals refer to breaking down a project into a set of achievable targets to help you finish your work more effectively – and they generally apply to all kinds of management categories. As a construction superintendent, you can use this strategy to optimize your current performance and get the best out of the tasks at hand, particularly the ones that you find challenging. In simple words, SMART goals are designed to increase the efficiency of your project and reach the deadline successfully – and this is how it is done:
Your goal needs to be specific and address a specific problem in order to be solved on time. Instead of generalizing your goal, try and narrow it down to one specific issue and take one thing at a time. The more complex your goals are, the more confusing it will be to handle them. As a construction superintendent, it will be easier to approach “Training 50 contractors on the new software in 1 month” compared to “Addressing gaps”.
Setting measurable goals is equally important, as it gives you the metrics to monitor progress and find out if things are actually moving forward. In the case of construction projects, this means analyzing a stage in terms of its lifespan and comparing it to others to mark progress (or a lack of). For example, you will be able to measure and track a demolition milestone on a monthly, weekly, or hourly basis using any software tool. This will show you how the milestone progressed over time and can be represented graphically to measure progress and make comparisons.
Construction project goals need to be realistic and attainable. You cannot just set and forget a goal as a superintendent; you do want to achieve it and keep the project going. Setting attainable goals means first assessing whether or not a certain task can be done. You can then prioritize subsequent tasks based on how well you can achieve this goal. By considering project limitations such as logistical delays, you can decide whether building the landscape can actually be accomplished. If it falls out of budget and timeline, it does not make sense to include it as something you will work hard to achieve.
Quite often, it is better to review and reconsider your options instead of wasting time on something impossible to attain – like completing a major remodel in 2 weeks when you know that there aren’t enough team members to finish the job on time.
A relevant goal is directly linked to the construction project and can make or break the final outcome. Pursuing or ignoring such a goal can affect the overall timeline. You have to decide where certain tasks rank on your priority list and how relevant, interlinked, and crucial they are to accomplish. This will help you take care of the important stages first before moving to other activities. Instead of juggling multiple goals at the same time, consider revising your priorities so that your project does not reach a burnout phase with excessive efforts going into tasks that could have been handled much more easily later on. Setting relevant goals keeps teams focused and driven rather than overworked to the point of exhaustion. It also lets you plan resource allocation more efficiently. For example, in a kitchen renovation project, “Installing floor tiles before the cabinets and countertops” is a relevant goal. “Installing touchless fixtures” that the clients may or may not like can wait for later.
Lastly, the goals that you set as a construction superintendent need to be time-bound or executed in a timely manner. This coincides a little with the “Measurable” metric for smart goals. Both help you establish feasible goals that can be measured by time and indicate how long you will be spending on each. Based on your resource and labor availability, you can decide if building a backyard swimming pool can be completed within a certain duration – just in time for the next stage to begin. If you discover conflicting timeframes, you might want to review schedules and Gantt charts with your teams again and redirect valuable time and effort to the more important milestones. Getting all of this covered in advance will allow for some buffer to accommodate delays and still keep the project on schedule.
To sum up the SMART goals, here is a simple scenario:
- Specific – use a construction management software
- Measurable – compile the last 10 daily reports
- Attainable – gather highlighted report issues within 2 days
- Relevant – assign roles and resources to address those issues
- Time-bound – allocate a week to the teams with daily follow-up
Smart, as in Computer Smart
We saved technological goals for the end to give them the spotlight they deserve. Good technological goals boost productivity and keep things organized. Construction superintendents can use various construction management software apps to monitor different areas of the project. These tools are designed to centralize the multifaceted responsibilities of a construction expert. Using software apps can greatly simplify your jobsite and office duties because of the automation benefits they bring. For example, you can easily navigate between employee, material, and equipment statuses without having to physically visit those departments. In the world of COVID and online transitions, this became a massive shift in dynamics for construction experts who have been able to continue their work as seamlessly as possible.
Therefore, technological savvy has got to be on your list of smart goals. This includes a willingness to step outside your comfort zone and learn new software solutions, adopt cloud-based management, and create a technology-driven workforce. Setting a goal to bridge technological gaps will be beneficial both for you and your teams because you can then train your juniors to step up their game. Most importantly, computer software and mobile apps free you from the need to manage paperwork records. Everything you need is just a click away, so this takes care of your organizational goals as a construction superintendent. Good organization makes you more efficient with all the remote access you can have to the project data. In the end, you save time and effort thanks to a better jobsite perspective shaped by a resourceful construction management app. If you are planning to set a technological goal to try a new app, here are some of the best construction management software options to help you out.
iNeoSyte is a mobile app for daily reports and makes one of the most powerful construction management tools for different experts. As a construction superintendent, you can use this app to organize field documents, digitize project records, and create inspection reports for daily follow-ups. You can log issues and key observations, add photographic evidence, share PDF reports, and even organize contractor profiles.
Such a cloud-based solution gives you instant access to reports and records from wherever you are. You can quickly take site photos and annotate them before sharing the message with your teams. This enables real-time collaboration and helps everyone stay on the same page at the same time.
Raken app is another popular construction management app for field and office responsibilities. It helps construction superintendents set and accomplish smart goals for completing their projects on time. With better jobsite analysis and official insights, you can save a lot of time down the road. The app allows you to quickly take photos and incorporate them in reports, with stored digital signatures speeding up your work. It is a truly one-stop construction management tool that combines payrolls, product tracking, equipment tracking, material inventories, budgeting, and several other features. You can build historical data and identify potential red flags instantly. The dashboard summarizes everything you need to know, so you can focus on the actual field work instead of being slowed down by
Bridgit Bench is a workforce planning software that offers simplified workforce visibility to keep you up-to-date. It takes away spreadsheet management from your list of worries, so you can instead redirect valuable time to field supervision, stakeholder meetings, and general audits. It enables integrations with Autodesk, Procore, Oracle, BambooHR, Microsoft Dynamics, and other platforms, allowing you to connect data in an easily accessible way. Smart goals for construction superintendents should include ways to manage workforce details as well as forecast analysis for each project. Bridgit Bench enables all-in-one forecasting, scenario planning, workforce utilization, reporting, and various other construction-oriented tasks. This will allow you to predict workforce needs and make the best out of resource allocation techniques, so most of your management goals will be covered here. Workforce planning also reveals issues like under and overstaffed roles, helping you re-allocate tasks, expertise, resources, and timeframes. The best part is that you can assign team members based on their availabilities and skillsets – so this form of centralized labor management is crucial for good organizational goals.
This was our take on smart goals for construction superintendents. As a construction expert, you want to set goals that actually address particular problems that you or your teams might be facing. The goal should acknowledge such a problem and help you reach a solution.
For example, if your goal is to build strong communication skills, the goal identifies your language barrier, interpersonal limitations, or fluency problems. Once you admit that there is room for improvement, you can work on possible solutions and make sure that the project does not lose its momentum. So, you might choose to delegate responsibilities or appoint an assistant for the time being. This will streamline communication and resume the work – all the while you take personal steps for improvement via feedback.
We liked the idea of S.M.A.R.T goals too, as they allow you to plan realistic and timely goals for short-term expectations, considering project timelines, limited budgets, resource scarcity, and so on. Lastly, the use of technological tools can be revolutionary for both new and experienced superintendents who are looking to achieve tech-savvy goals as professionals.
The key takeaway is that people are relying on you and waiting for your directions, so the sooner you figure out what to do, the better it will be for everybody and the project! Keeping that in mind, separate the personal development goals that you can work on at your pace. At the same time, make a list of crucial project goals that you need to address quickly, and work on them as a team – remember that you do not have to figure everything out on your own, but you do need some head start to stay a step ahead of everyone else.