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5 Core Skills of a Modern Builder

19 May 2022

In the construction sector, as in many others, there is such a concept as an "engineering technician" — a specialist engaged in the organization of work and direct supervision in situ. It assumes a certain qualification and includes an extensive list of positions: foreman, master builder, taskmaster, etc.

Igor Kurapov, HR Director of Pridex, the largest Russian fit-out contractor, talks about competencies an engineering technician should have in the current realities in order to remain in demand in their profession.

Динамика стоимости строительных материалов в 2022

Of course, for successful work in any industry, there is a basic set of skills that remains relatively unchanged — for example, a qualified builder must know structural performance of materials, mechanics, descriptive geometry and technical drawing, understand the construction technology, methods of calculating building structures, etc. At the same time, the tendency towards project complicating, which is especially clearly observed in the field of fit-out, forces engineering technicians to acquire new knowledge and skills in order to stay abreast of all relevant solutions concerning their activities. Multi-orientation is becoming an important quality of a modern builder, and now we will analyze in more detail the core skills that this term implies:

1. Use of digital technologies

The trend of digitalization in recent years has not passed by the construction industry, and a modern-day specialist should be familiar with technologies that can help them do their job more efficiently. These are computer-aided design systems, various tools for making estimates and maintaining documentation, and task managers who help to link personal tasks with production ones and be in a single workspace with colleagues.

To be more specific, I would single out the following minimum set of solutions that you need to know at least at a basic level: AutoCAD, MS Project, MS Office (primarily Excel — for making estimates, calculations, etc.), 1C. The experience of working with Power BI will also be very valuable — it is a somewhat more advanced analytics system that allows you to combine data from various databases, starting with the very Excel, and create understandable dashboards to track the indicators you are interested in. For designers, you can also add Revit or a similar computer-aided design system that works on the principle of building information modeling (BIM). At the moment, BIM is one of the key areas of development for the construction business.

In general, digitizing data is practically a must-have along with the classic skills of a builder.

2. Project management

An engineering technician in the field of fit-out is as much a manager as a builder, and the value of this skill is growing every year along with the complexity of construction projects and the development of management as a science. Meanwhile, it cannot be said that this competence is vividly represented in the university program, so it is extremely important to start getting real experience as early as possible. This implies a practical understanding of the construction life cycle, as well as the development of project management techniques such as PMBOK, Lean, etc. The ability to competently coordinate key processes — the supply of materials, the sequence of work, the schedule for the use of labor — is an important quality of a professional builder, without which a high-quality and timely project implementation is impossible.

3. Leadership skills

You can perfectly understand how to build processes to achieve the desired result, but if you are not able to correctly convey this information to your colleagues and subordinates, convince them of the correctness of the solutions you propose, then the matter will not progress beyond the planning stage. Leadership is a skill that requires constant development and in a modern builder it should not be limited solely to personal experience and empathy. You need to be able to use real HR and even psychology tools, the effectiveness of which has been confirmed in practice and which will help you choose a team competently, resolve a conflict situation in the team, establish management processes, etc.

4. Entrepreneurial and customer-oriented approach

Construction in the 21st century is, of course, a comprehensive service with a friendly "interface" for building communication between the customer and the contractor. Companies that pay due attention to this become not just contractors, but partners to which customers return with pleasure. What does it take? The ability to listen to the customer, analyze and systematize information, offer non-standard solutions that the customer might not even have heard of. Creative approach and initiative are qualities absolutely necessary for a modern builder to successfully develop in their field. And that brings us to the last point:

5. Continuous training

The construction market is extremely diverse — it presents a huge amount of materials, equipment and technologies, and new ones appear on an all too regular basis. Add to this the fact that each project in the field of fit-out is individual and requires detailed study in accordance with the requirements of the customer, and we get a simple conclusion — a specialist who constantly works "according to old drawings" and does not test new solutions will quickly cease to be in demand. There is no certain period, during which you will be able to acquire the necessary competencies and stop there: if we take even the most experienced professional, "remove" them from the market for a year or two, and then return them back — they simply will not be able to continue working as before.

The good news is that in 3—5 years in the field of fit-out, you are enriched with experience working with so many different solutions that you become a valuable specialist for literally any player in the construction market.

Source: hh.ru

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