Skills General Foreman/woman - Residential Construction near Vancouver (BC)

Find out what skills you typically need to work as a general foreman/woman - residential construction in Canada. These skills are applicable to all Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades (NOC 7204).

Skills and knowledge

The following skills and knowledge are usually required in this occupation.

Essential skills

See how the 9 essential skills apply to this occupation. This section will be updated soon.

  • Read instructions and safety warnings on signs and labels. For example, they read application instructions on glue and paint container labels and operating procedures on tools and equipment (1)
  • Read e-mail and notes from employees, suppliers, colleagues and clients. For example, they read instructions on work orders and job files. They read e-mail from building managers and clients requesting progress reports and from suppliers to learn about products. They scan e-mail from architects to understand revisions to designs. (2)
  • Read technical reports and requests for quotes. They review quote requests to determine the scope of jobs and their timelines and budgets. They read engineers', architects' and environmental consultants' reports to understand special procedures, materials and features that might affect timelines and costs. (3)
  • Read product reviews and manufacturers' brochures for products such as structural sheathing. They read about the advantages and disadvantages of products to choose products that fit their clients' needs. (3)
  • Read assembly and operating manuals. They read assembly manuals to learn how to install items such as cabinet hardware, fireplace surrounds and garbage compacters. They read operating manuals to follow set-up and operation procedures of construction equipment and tools. (3)
  • Read about new design trends, technological developments and construction procedures in trade magazines. For example, they read about the latest home design trends in Fine Home Builders magazine and energy efficient construction in Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation's Research Highlights. (3)
  • Read and interpret a variety of construction, safety and environmental codes, regulations and addenda. For example, they read building codes to understand construction methods and material requirements. They read occupational health and safety acts to learn about and follow worksite safety and labour practices. If they fail to correctly interpret codes and regulations, they may lose time and money and increase the risk of accidents and faulty construction. (4)
Supervisors, carpentry trades
  • May read progress reports for construction projects. They scan the reports to review and track activities and difficulties such as delayed work schedules and faulty construction. (2)
Document use
  • Scan signs and labels. For example, they observe warning signs for high voltages and overhead electrical lines. When working with hazardous materials, they scan Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System labels for hazard icons and risk phrases. They obtain specific information such as material and product codes from labels and tags. (1)
  • Locate data in lists and tables. For example, they locate sizes and quantities for wood in material cutting lists. They locate measurements, clearances, maximum loads and product applications in construction specifications and building code tables. They locate prices on costing and rate tables. They scan bill of material lists to verify quantities. (2)
  • Locate data on tracking and quality control forms. For example, they locate product codes, material quantities and completion dates on work orders. They scan inspection and hazard reports to gather details about infractions and deficiencies. Contractors review employees' timesheets to monitor hours worked. (2)
  • Review assembly drawings to locate assembly sequences and procedures for installation of hardware such as garbage disposal units, garage door openers, gas fireplaces, and cabinets. (2)
  • Complete tracking and quality control forms by entering scheduling, budgeting and operational data from forms such as financial and work progress reports. For example, they complete work summaries to track work completed, dates, times, locations, materials used and costs. (3)
  • Review construction drawings to understand the overall design of structures and to locate features such as access points to determine where to place materials and equipment. (3)
  • May take data from a variety of graphs. For example, they may examine line graphs of hours worked and costs incurred. They interpret the graphs to identify patterns such as increased labour costs. (3)
  • Locate dimensions, elevations and other data on a variety of construction drawings. For example, they identify the characteristics of structures such as walls, foundations and floors and locations of fixtures, supports and openings. (3)
  • Interpret sets of drawings in conjunction with specifications to understand construction sequences. They review drawings to evaluate for errors, omissions and congruence between dimensions, elevations and other features. (4)
  • Write brief notes on workplace forms. For example, they write instructions for unusual installations and construction modifications on work orders. They indicate errors, omissions and modifications needed on drawings. (1)
  • Write comments in personal logs and daybooks. For example, they may record key points of discussions with employees, suppliers, subcontractors and clients. (1)
  • Write notes and e-mail to engineers, architects, clients, subcontractors and site managers. For example, they write comments to express their concerns about construction methods and materials. They suggest alternatives for materials and supplies which are unavailable. Supervisors, carpentry trades, write notes for their managers describing safety breaches, delays and maintenance requirements. (2)
  • Write descriptions and explanations on forms. For example, they describe incidents and accidents on health and safety forms. They write notes on maintenance and inspection forms to record concerns and to describe structural, installation and hardware faults. (2)
Supervisors, carpentry trades
  • Prepare short reports for their managers. They write daily and weekly summaries outlining projects' progress and describing events, difficulties and delays. (3)
NumeracyMoney Math
  • Calculate and verify invoice amounts. They calculate billing amounts using hourly rates for labour and equipment, apply discounts and mark-ups and add taxes. (3)
Contractors, carpentry trades
    Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • Prepare payrolls. They calculate gross pay using hourly rates. They deduct amounts for taxes and benefits received. They calculate tax, employment insurance and pension plan submissions. (3)
  • Establish and monitor schedules for large construction projects. They establish schedules and determine activities and timelines for crews, consultants and subcontractors. They adjust schedules to maintain project timelines when subcontractors, materials and equipment are not available and unforeseen conditions and situations cause delays. (4)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • Calculate costs for job quotes. They calculate labour costs using hourly rates. They calculate costs for materials by area, volume and weight. (2)
  • May complete cost analyses for construction equipment, tools and materials. They determine best value by comparing options such as renting, leasing and purchasing. (3)
  • Schedule sequences of activities for construction and maintenance projects which can range from several days to weeks. They establish timelines and set sequences of activities for small work crews. (3)
  • Create and monitor budgets and prepare financial summaries for construction projects. They incorporate costs for human resources, overhead, materials, equipment and subcontractors. They include additional costs for difficult construction features. They monitor expenses and adjust budget amounts to accommodate unexpected delays and costs. (4)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Take measurements using rulers and tapes. For example, they confirm the placement of structural components and installations by measuring depths, heights and widths. (1)
  • Prepare solutions and mixtures. For example, they set up proportional calculations to determine quantities for paint and glaze mixtures. (2)
  • Calculate and verify the dimensions and placement of structures and installations using measurements from scale drawings. For example, they calculate distances between floor joists and location of cabinets when additional dimensions are required to complete construction. They calculate depths, heights and widths. (2)
  • Calculate areas of floors and walls, volumes of rooms and angles and dimensions for construction features such as stairs, ramps and vaulted ceilings. For example, they calculate the slope angle of rafters. They calculate the length of ramps using specified slopes and heights as factors. (3)
  • Calculate material quantities using geometric construction methods. For example, they calculate the areas of irregularly shaped floors and flooring designs and curved walls to determine the construction and finishing materials needed. (4)
  • Calculate sizes, distances and angles for complex structures. For example, they may calculate the dimensions and cutting angles for rafters, ramps, stairs, bay windows and vaulted ceilings. They may calculate the dimensions of structural design features such as offsets, spirals and ovals. (5)
Data Analysis Math
  • Compare measurements to specifications to ensure that structures such as walls, foundations, joists, beams and cabinets have been constructed properly. (1)
  • Review productivity and safety data from timesheets, payroll records, supplier invoices and other documents in order to identify problems and trends. For example, they compare safety incidents over time in order to identify priorities for safety training. (3)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate times required for carpentry jobs. They consider factors such as the complexity and size of projects, expected weather during construction and specific design features. They also consider special equipment, tools, materials and trade experts required to complete the projects. (2)
Oral communication
  • Discuss construction details with technical experts such as architects, engineers and specialty subcontractors to learn about specific building methods and sequences, materials and building requirements. (2)
  • Lead worksite and safety meetings. They lead discussions on topics such as task assignments, project timelines and health and safety. (2)
  • Discuss ongoing work with the carpenters and labourers they employ and supervise. For example, they discuss regulations, building codes, work assignments and completion dates. They provide instructions for completing tasks such as laying patterned carpets and constructing crown moulding. They give reasons for choosing particular materials and methods. They provide ongoing directions for the sequencing of tasks, the operation of equipment and tools and other details needed to complete construction activities. (3)
  • Speak to building and labour board inspectors. They discuss code violations, review failed inspections and negotiate completion dates and processes for eliminating defects and code infractions. They may also discuss reasons for choosing particular methods and outline why they think these methods comply with codes and regulations. (3)
  • Discuss carpentry projects with clients. They provide project updates, discuss changes to design features and materials and seek approvals for modifications of designs. (3)
  • Negotiate working conditions, costs, quality standards and schedules with suppliers and subcontractors. For example, they discuss work schedules, task integration and shared resources with subcontractors. They may also negotiate prices and delivery times and outline quality expectations for supplies, materials and services. (3)
Supervisors, carpentry trades
  • Speak with their managers to provide project updates and seek advice for handling situations such as unavailable and faulty materials and products, labour problems and project delays. They also discuss task assignments and receive instructions for construction methods and equipment maintenance. (3)

Problem Solving

Contractors and Supervisors, Carpentry Trades
  • Receive products that are defective or improperly sized. They cut products to size and send others back to suppliers for replacement. They may require clients' approval for these modifications and returns. (1)
  • Encounter clients who have unrealistic expectations and who lack knowledge of construction costs, products and designs. For example, contractors may find clients envision buildings that costs far more than the proposed budget. Contractors may prepare design reports to increase clients' understanding and persuade them to modify designs or put additional resources towards the projects. (3)
  • Find that projects are falling behind schedules. For example, they find that carpenters have failed to meet productivity targets and material and subcontractors are late or not available. They may find alternative suppliers, subcontractors and materials. They may also modify carpenters' duties, increase monitoring of their activities and provide additional training. They may impose penalties upon subcontractors if this is structured into their contracts. (3)
Contractors , carpentry trades
  • Encounter physical obstructions which delay construction projects. For example, they are unable to use planned equipment such as cranes due to traffic congestion and narrow access roads. They use smaller, less efficient cranes and lifts as alternatives. They speak with clients to explain unforeseen situations and may negotiate revised costs and completion times. (2)

Decision Making

Contractors and Supervisors, Carpentry Trades
  • Select construction designs and materials which fit clients' expectations and requirements for cost, aesthetics and functionality. For example, on a residential construction job, a contractor may choose to install more expensive handrails only on main floor staircases to save money. (2)
  • Choose work assignments for carpenters and labourers. They consider the complexities of jobs and match jobs' requirements to employees' skills, attitudes and job experiences. When choosing work for apprentices, they consider their individual training plans, tasks they have previously completed, their skills and the availability of suitable supervision. (2)
  • Choose construction methods. For example, they add strapping to existing frames when renovating older homes to minimize screws from popping out of drywall. (2)
  • May select equipment, tools, building materials, suppliers and contractors. They consider price, quality, ease of use, capabilities and personal tastes when purchasing tools and equipment. When choosing suppliers and materials such as framing products and paints, they consider the products' intended applications, brand names, quality, costs and past experiences. (3)
Contractors, carpentry trades
  • Decide to bid on or accept construction contracts. They consider the types and sizes of jobs, projects' timelines, labour and equipment availabilities and clients' expectations and attitudes. For example, they may refuse jobs when project timelines and budget expectations are unrealistic. (3)
Critical Thinking
  • Judge the safety of worksites. They verify worksites meet safety criteria such as freedom from mechanical, electrical and chemical hazards, cleanliness, adequate safety barriers and warning signage, controlled traffic flows and proper equipment placements. (2)
  • Judge the suitability of carpenters and labourers when hiring and assigning tasks. They review the resumes and training plans of job applicants. They consider their personal observations and experiences with the workers they employ and supervise. (2)
  • May assess the suitability of construction materials and products. They consult with engineers and scan codebooks to establish criteria with which to assess limitations, capacities and properties. They review technical papers, read product reviews and speak with suppliers to learn about different products. (3)
  • Evaluate the quality and acceptability of construction designs and completed structures. They identify relevant criteria such as building code requirements, their organizations' standards and clients' specifications. They check to see that designs meet criteria for aesthetics, functionality, stability and safety. They take measurements and complete visual inspections to assess the neatness and finish of completed structures. (4)
Job Task Planning and Organizing Own Job Planning and Organizing

Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades, have similar job task planning and organizing requirements. However, supervisors receive their job assignments from their managers and contractors select and organize their own jobs. They often amend their schedules to accommodate the changing needs of clients and to deal with situations as they arise such as unavailability of supplies, employees and subcontractors. When ordering job tasks they consider safety, job urgency and project deadlines.

Planning and Organizing for Others

Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades, are responsible for defining the jobs, duties and work schedules of carpenters, apprentices, labourers, subcontractors and equipment operators. When working with apprentices, they assign particular tasks to provide a variety of work experiences to meet training plan requirements. Supervisors' seniorities determine their levels of responsibilities for planning and organizing crews and subcontractors.

Significant Use of Memory
  • Recall safety procedures and practices for a variety of worksite environments.
  • Remember the contents of conversations with clients, supervisors and staff until they can write down key points.
Finding Information
  • Find information about products and construction procedures. For example, they may speak with engineers, trade specialists and supply and manufacturing representatives about new caulking compounds and vapour barriers and their applications. They read articles in trade publications for details of new construction methods. (2)
Digital technologyContractors and Supervisors, Carpentry Trades
  • May use other computer and software applications. For example they use project planning software such as Project to create critical path diagrams and schedules. (2)
  • Use word processing. For example, they use programs such as Word to write, edit and format letters, reports and administrative forms. They lay out pages and insert tables, pictures, graphs and drawings as required. (3)
  • May use spreadsheets. For example, they use spreadsheet programs such as Excel to create and modify budgets and construction schedules. They insert formulae and generate tables and graphs to display cash flows and materials costs. They use formatting features to embed formulae to link columns, rows, cells and pages. (3)
  • May use bookkeeping, billing and accounting software. For example, they use financial software such as Simply Accounting and Quicken to create, monitor and update financial reports and budgets. They create tables and embed calculation formulae to update financial data. (3)
  • May use computer-assisted design, manufacturing and machining. For example, they may use a variety of drawing programs such as AutoCAD to create designs and detailed drawings for constructing structures, installations, fixtures and furniture. They model three dimensional views using perspective, lighting and textures. (3)
  • Use communication software. For example, they use e-mail to send and receive messages and attachments. They may also maintain distribution lists and use features such as calendars, spell checks, alarms and 'out of office' e-mail messages. (3)
  • Use the Internet. For example, they carry out searches for construction information and data such as building codes, construction procedures and methods. They access, upload and download drawings and specifications using file transfer protocol. (3)
Supervisors, carpentry trades
  • May use databases. For example, they may enter and retrieve information about current projects from their companies' databases. (2)
Additional informationOther Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades, lead crews of carpenters, apprentices and labourers. They take the lead in coordinating schedules and activities with building managers, officials, subcontractors, suppliers and clients. They integrate their work with small crews to complete construction tasks such as raising wall structures and installing cabinets. In larger organizations, supervisors and carpentry trades may coordinate the use of resources with co-workers from other departments. (3)

Continuous Learning

Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades, generally learn through their daily work experiences, discussions with engineers, architects, speciality trade subcontractors and inspectors and personal study and research. Supervisors also exchange technical knowledge with their co-workers and managers. Changing regulations, design trends and new product and construction developments mean that informal learning is critical.

Contractors and supervisors, carpentry trades, complete personal study by reading industry publications such as Canadian Homebuilders Association articles and newsletters. They may participate in training for health and safety, new equipment, customer relations and project management which are offered by unions and construction associations. Supervisors may participate in their organizations' in-house training programs on topics such as customer satisfaction and management skills. (2)

Labour Market Information Survey
Date modified: