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Industrial Construction Crew Supervisor


The industrial construction crew supervisor is the immediate supervisor of a crew of skilled construction workers employed at heavy industrial sites.  Commonly used titles for this occupation include foreman, forewoman, foreperson, first line supervisor, front line supervisor, crew leader etc.  Heavy industrial construction projects are large construction projects for industrial plants, including the fabrication and assembly of components or modules, plant maintenance and upgrading existing facilities.  In Alberta, industrial construction sites include petrochemical processing plants, pulp and paper plants, power generating plants, pipelines, refineries, oil sands plants, and performing “shut downs” or on-going contracted maintenance or upgrading to any existing plants.  The scope of industrial construction extends to include fabrication of components for industrial sites, fabrication shops, modular fabrication shops (mod yards) or sites.

The crew supervisor is chosen by the employer to lead small crews of workers who perform a specialized task on a construction site.  The crew supervisor is generally picked from the ranks of the skilled workers they will supervise.  The industrial construction crew supervisor may be certified in a designated trade, a designated occupation, or be a practitioner of a skilled industrial construction occupation that is not designated under the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Act.

The construction crew supervisor leads, schedules, coordinates, supervises safety and productivity of crews at the workplace who install/assemble and maintain components of industrial products and structures.  As a key participant in the relationship with the contractor, work crew, other contractors, and clients, the crew supervisor is the first level or front line manager of the work crew.

The crew supervisor is responsible for:

  • safety leadership, responsible and accountable for a safe workplace,
  • acting as the employer’s representative on the job, and the leader of the crew they have been assigned,
  • following project plans and schedules and supervising the crew’s daily and weekly activities,
  • ensuring the work done meets industry standards for quality and crew productivity, and
  • preparation of reports and documentation required by the employer.

For more information regarding tasks and activities, please review the Occupation Regulation.


Working Conditions

The industrial construction supervisor is the leader of a crew of skilled workers.  A crew leader must be able provide the first level of leadership and administration for their crews, and participate in planning and coordination with other the other crews on the job site. 

Industrial construction sites may be noisy, and dusty, the work environment could be outdoors in various weather conditions.  Travel and/or living in temporary accommodations may be required.  Long hours and shift work may be required.  An industrial construction crew supervisor may be required to be a “working foreman”.  Leaders of smaller crews may still perform tasks of the trade, occupation or craft they are leading.  Industrial construction trades occupations and crafts may require lifting objects in excess of 25 kilograms.  A “general foreman” is not required to perform the tasks of the trade occupation or craft they lead, but may still be required to be present where and when the work is taking place.  A trade certificate is required for workers including “working foremen” in some industrial construction trades in Alberta.

For information regarding the trades and occupations involved in heavy industrial construction, consult the trades and occupations portion of this website, or the occupational profiles on the ALIS website. Some examples of designated trades on industrial construction sites include but are not limited to, electricians, welders, steamfitter-pipefitters, carpenters, insulators, sheet metal workers heavy equipment technicians, ironworkers, boilermakers, crane and hoisting equipment operators, painter-decorators, millwrights and instrument technicians. Designated occupations in the heavy industrial construction sector may include, construction craft labourer, field heat treatment technicians and parts technicians.  Non-designated construction occupations include scaffolders, plasterers, fireproofers, and equipment operators.


Skills and Abilities

The industrial construction crew supervisor is often the first career step taken by skilled worker who wish to move into construction management.

  • Crew leaders need excellent verbal and written communication skills, the ability to read technical documents, drawings and specifications, and business communications.  They must be able to document crew activities and job progress. they are required to use company specific procedures to request materials, personnel or other resources necessary to complete assigned tasks. 
  • Crew leaders must possess the organizational skills to plan the activities of others, and to manage and participate in meetings with their workers and other on-site personnel.
  • A crew leader requires a good working knowledge of the employer’s responsibilities and roles for safety, employment practices and emergency procedures. 
  • Cew leaders need the ability to use computers for entering and retrieving project or crew information is a trend that is becoming increasingly more important. 
  • It is beneficial if the crew leader is able to operate portable computers, use standard buisness software or customized programs related to the management of construction projects or personnel administration. (This is an optional competency and is not a requirement of the assessment for certification).


Employment and Advancement

Industrial construction crew supervisors are part of the larger National Occupational Classification 721, "Contractors and Supervisors, Trades and Related Workers". Industrial construction crew supervisors are part of the Alberta construction workforce. It is generally accepted in the construction industry that supervisors make up roughly 10% of the total construction workforce. Construction Labour Relations of Alberta estimates the industrial construction sector has high and low estimates for 3,000 and 6,000 crew supervisors needed between 2007 and 2014. Workers presently in the industry are expected to retire in large numbers in the next few years.

A crew supervisor earns a premium of approximately of $5 to $7 an hour over the hourly rate for a fully qualified tradesperson.  ”Working foremen” get the lower rate while “general foremen” receive the higher rate.  Hourly rates for the industrial construction supervisors are range from $45 to over $60 an hour depending on the trade or occupation (2010).

Certified industrial construction crew supervisors who have the supervisory and management competencies required by industry, may apply online for an Achievement in Business Competencies Blue Seal.


Working in Alberta

A certificate is not required to work as an industrial construction crew supervisor in Alberta.  This is a designated occupation and participation is voluntary. 

Job skills and competencies, standards of performance and training programs for industrial construction crew supervisors have been defined and approved under the Apprenticeship and Industry Training Act. 

Trainees who register with Apprenticeship and Industry Training to participate in occupational training and achieve the established standards of performance are awarded an Alberta Occupational Certificate.

A person who holds a certificate or document from another jurisdiction for a line of work that is much the same as Alberta’s Industrial Construction Crew Supervisor occupation may apply for occupational certification.

An applicable trade certificate may be required for 'working foremen' in some industrial construction trades in Alberta.


Occupational Certification - Based on a Recognized Credential

To qualify for an Alberta Occupational Certificate based on a recognized credential a person must complete Steps 1-5 below. To apply for a certificate based on Work Experience, see that section by scrolling down the page.

Step #1 - required training

Applicants must complete the training identified in Section A OR Section B.

Section A Training - complete one of the following approved supervisor programs AND the approved leadership program below

  • ‘Better Supervision’ - Construction Labour Relations Association and the Building Trades of Alberta, or
  • ‘Supervisor Training Program - Christian Labour Association of Canada, or
  • ‘Supervisor Training’ - Merit Contractors Association, or
  • ‘First Level Supervisor Training’ - BuildForce Canada (formerly Construction Sector Council), or
  • 'Foreman Certification Training Program' - National Association of Union Schools and Colleges (NAUSC)
  • approved leadership training program:
    • ‘Alberta Construction Safety Association Leadership for Safety Excellence’ (LSE) training program

Section B Training - approved supervisor program

  • complete the Foreman Development Program, JACOBS

Step #2 - required work experience 

  • 1,000 hours worked as an industrial construction crew supervisor within a 24-month period. The 24-month period must be within 5 years of the date of the online application.

Step #3 - application 

Step #4 - fee

  • include the $150.00 application fee

Step #5 - exam

Occupational Certification - Based on Work Experience

To qualify for an Alberta Occupational Certificate based on work experience a applicant must:

Step #1 -Assessment of Cempetency

Step #2 - required work experience

  • 1,000 hours worked as an industrial construction crew supervisor within a 24-month period. The 24-month period must be within 5 years of the date of the online application.

Step #3 - application

Step #4 - fee

  • include the $450.00 application fee.

Step #5 - exam

Student loans, grants, scholarships and other financial assistance may be available. For more information see Financial Assistance, visit an Apprenticeship and Industry Training office or call toll-free to 1-800-248-4823.