Improving frontline supervision in industrial construction
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Frontline supervisors (Foremen and General Foremen) are the first line of supervision and are an important link between the management and their construction crew (Uwakweh 2005). They play a significant role in maintaining production on industrial capital projects where along with directly motivating and supervising their crew, and are responsible for a myriad of imperative yet time-consuming tasks during a typical work day. While many studies acknowledge the role of frontline supervisors especially foremen in supervising their crew, construction foremen are known as the marginal men in the industry and are comparatively understudied. Considering their role in maintaining production on industrial construction projects, the Construction Industry Institute (CII) sponsored the research titled “RT330- Improving Frontline Supervision in Industrial Construction”. This research aimed to understand the role of frontline supervisors in Industrial construction. The efforts included identifying core competencies in productive frontline supervisors, defining an ideal productive day, identifying the effect of developmental training, analyzing the impediments to construction productivity as described by frontline supervisors, and recommending specific action items to the industry members including owners and contractors. The research team identifies this effort as monumental, considering the number of frontline supervisors in industrial projects and the significant difference that is achievable if the performance of each supervisor in these fast track and complex industrial construction projects is improved even minutely. It is important to note that the scope of this thesis and the research study is limited to only heavy and light industrial projects. However, the recommendations and call to action might be equally applicable to other construction including commercial and heavy civil/infrastructure construction projects. This thesis contains the results of the efforts of the CII sponsored Research Team RT330.