Mechanical Construction Field Manager

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Related roles: Construction Manager, Project Engineer, Site Supervisor, Quality Control Inspector, Safety Coordinator, Estimator, Building Inspector


Similar Titles

Construction Manager, Project Engineer, Site Supervisor, Quality Control Inspector, Safety Coordinator, Estimator, Building Inspector

Job Description

When we hear the word “construction,” we usually think of buildings, roads, bridges, or even dams. Mechanical construction doesn’t spring to mind, but it’s an important part of the industry, too!

Mechanical construction involves the design, installation, and maintenance of mechanical systems such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, plumbing, piping, and fire protection systems.

It’s a vast undertaking to properly and safely integrate these systems into buildings and other structures. Mechanical Construction Field Managers are the experts who oversee such complex projects, collaborating with clients, architects, engineers, and construction teams as needed to make sure everything is done right.

Rewarding Aspects of Career
  • Playing a crucial role in integrating mechanical systems into construction projects
  • Opportunity to work on diverse projects like residential and commercial buildings
  • Significant impact on the efficiency and functionality of buildings
2022 Employment
2032 Projected Employment
The Inside Scoop
Job Responsibilities

Working Schedule

Mechanical Construction Field Managers typically work full-time, and must frequently travel to job sites. Some projects require working overtime or outside the local area.

Typical Duties

  • Manage mechanical construction project planning, scheduling, and budgeting
  • Assess project specifications and the scope of work carefully
  • Review costs for labor and materials using cost-tracking systems
  • Prepare bid documents with work breakdowns
  • Prepare contracts, subcontracts, and purchase orders. Negotiate changes or adjustments with clients, suppliers, etc.
  • Direct the activities of construction teams and subcontractors
  • Ensure mechanical systems are installed correctly and safely, in compliance with specifications as well as building codes and applicable regulations
  • Maintain a high degree of quality assurance
  • Collaborate and coordinate with clients, architects, engineers, and other stakeholders during project work
  • Find and solve programs that come up, such as design conflicts, material shortages, delays, or emergencies (such as workplace accidents)
  • Conduct site inspections to monitor timely progress, verify quality, and address deficiencies
  • Maintain diligent project documentation (i.e., reports, change orders, and project records)
  • Promote safe work environments. Enforce safety protocols as needed, such as proper wear of personal protective equipment. Write up workers who fail to comply with standards
  • Prepare and submit billings. Track financials to ensure work stays within established budgets
  • Manage final job details to professionally close out the project

Additional Responsibilities

  • Review weather forecasts and plan accordingly
  • Study industry best practices and new methods or technologies
  • Cooperate with external agencies such as OSHA
  • Maintain positive relationships with clients
  • Respond to concerns and queries. Provide honest updates
  • Ensure compliance with applicable industry standards 
Skills Needed on the Job

Soft Skills

  • Accuracy
  • Analytical
  • Attention to detail
  • Business acumen
  • Communication skills
  • Compliance-oriented
  • Critical thinking
  • Dependability
  • Integrity
  • Leadership
  • Monitoring
  • Negotiating
  • Planning and organization
  • Precision
  • Problem-solving
  • Quality assurance
  • Safety-minded
  • Sound judgment
  • Teamwork
  • Time management

Technical Skills

  • Budgeting and cost control
  • Building Information Modeling (BIM)
  • Computer-aided design (AutoCAD, Revit, etc.)
  • Construction codes and regulations knowledge
  • Contract negotiation
  • Cost estimation tools
  • General mathematical skills
  • HVAC, plumbing, and fire protection systems
  • Mechanical systems knowledge
  • Project management principles and tools like Microsoft Project or Primavera P6
  • Quality control
  • Safety management, safety standards, and regulations
  • Technical expertise
Different Types of Organizations
  • Self-employed workers; specialty trade contractors
  • Residential, commercial, heavy, and civil engineering construction companies
Expectations and Sacrifices

Mechanical Construction Field Managers are critical in the construction business, tasked with interpreting project scopes, providing estimates, and ensuring work is done on time and within budget. As field managers, they’re out at job sites most days, juggling myriad duties often from a mobile trailer or other temporary structure.

This job requires a comprehensive understanding of mechanical construction materials and principles to ensure projects are completed correctly and safely. The work demands tireless diligence, precision, and constant awareness of what workers are doing. There’s a long list of challenges to face, ranging from long hours and tight deadlines to bad weather, supply problems, or even workplace mishaps. Field managers may also have to work away from home for long periods, which can be tough on families. 

Current Trends

Mechanical construction is an ever-evolving sector, with many trends reshaping it in recent years. The integration of Building Information Modeling has allowed for more collaborative, integrated, and efficient project management. It also enables better visualization of projects and improves coordination among key players, making things easier and more cost-effective.

Another trend is the emphasis on sustainability and energy efficiency. The industry is seeing a surge in the demand for green building practices and the integration of renewable energy sources in mechanical systems, like solar-powered HVAC systems. There’s more focus on using sustainable materials and energy-efficient designs, too. As a result, Mechanical Construction Field Managers must keep up with changes in regulations, technologies, and processes. 

What kinds of things did people in this career enjoy doing when they were younger…

Mechanical Construction Field Managers usually have a strong background in construction, and they probably liked working with their hands or with machinery very early on. They often have strong organizational and leadership skills, which could come from involvement with extracurricular activities in school. 

Education and Training Needed
  • Mechanical Construction Field Managers usually need a few years of related field experience, along with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or construction management
  • Some self-employed managers may not have a bachelor’s. However, they still need experience in the field (such as installing HVAC, plumbing, or sprinklers)
  • Others combine an associate degree or vocational school training with sufficient work experience to qualify for a position
  • Note, that many workers in this field get their start via trade apprenticeships
  • Common college classes vary depending on one’s major but may include:
  1. Construction Management major:

                    - Building Codes and Standards

                    - Construction Materials and Methods

                    - Construction Safety Management

                    - Construction Site Operations and Management

                    - Contract Administration and Construction Law

                    - Cost Estimation and Budgeting

                    - Quality Management in Construction

  1. Mechanical Engineering major:

                    - Dynamics and Control Systems

                    - Engineering Mechanics

                   - Fluid Mechanics

                   - Heat Transfer

                   - Machine Design

                   - Manufacturing Processes

                   - Materials Science

                   - Mechanical Vibrations

                   - Thermodynamics

  • Field managers need proficiency in reading blueprints and architectural drawings, and in using computer-aided design software (like AutoCAD), project management programs, and Building Information Modeling software
  • Field managers also need to know about business and legal topics such as contract negotiation, cost estimation, and accounting
  • Workers can pursue optional certifications such as the Construction Management Association of America’s Certified Construction Manager certification or The American Institute of Constructors’ Certified Associate Constructor certification
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires Section 608 certification for workers handling hazardous refrigerants (such as CFCs or HCFCs)
  • Optional and advanced certifications include:
  1. ESCO Group’s Heat Pump Installer Certification or Master Specialist Hands-On Residential Air Conditioning    
  2. National Registry of Environmental Professionals’ Certified Refrigeration Compliance Manager
  3. North American Technician Excellence, Inc.’s Light Commercial Refrigeration Service 
Things to look for in an University
  • If you go for a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, make sure it is accredited by ABET. If you opt for a construction degree, try to find a program accredited by the American Council for Construction Education
  • Not all Mechanical Construction Field Managers earn a bachelor’s, but if you take college classes, consider the cost of tuition, discounts, and local scholarship opportunities (in addition to federal aid)
  • Look for courses that can help you develop practical skills or programs that feature internships or cooperative educational opportunities
  • Think about your schedule and flexibility when deciding whether to enroll in an on-campus, online, or hybrid program. Ideally, you’ll want as much hands-on practice as you can get for many of these courses
  • Read reviews from previous students and check out job placement stats and details about the program’s alumni network 
Things to do in High School and College
  • Try to decide the educational route you want to take—apprenticeship, vocational school certificate, community college associate degree, or bachelor’s in mechanical engineering or construction management
  • In high school, future Mechanical Construction Field Managers should take blueprint reading, math, geometry, algebra, drafting, computer-aided design, and shop courses
  1. Note, high school students can often take community college or vocational training classes simultaneously. Your school counselor should be able to offer details!
  • Courses applicable to this career field include HVAC system design and installation, residential and commercial systems, refrigeration and electrical systems, math, physics courses, and even plumbing
  • Get practical work experience through part-time construction or HVAC jobs (or via apprenticeships or entry-level laborer positions)
  1. An apprentice will work under the supervision of a professional technician, gaining confidence with tool usage while assisting with basic labor tasks such as cutting pipes, insulating refrigerant lines, or cleaning dirty furnaces
  • Take ad hoc classes online like Coursera’s Construction Cost Estimating and Cost Control
  • Educate yourself through videos, books, magazines, blogs, and discussion forums
  • Ask a working Mechanical Construction Field Manager if they have time to do an informational interview with you
  • Engage with professional organizations to learn, share, make friends, and grow your network (see our list of Resources > Websites)
  • Start crafting a resume early. Keep adding to it as you go, so you don’t lose track of anything
Typical Roadmap
Mechanical Construction Field Manager Roadmap
How to Land your 1st job
  • You won’t start out as a field manager. That’s a position you must work your way up to!
  • Rack up as much relevant, practical experience as you can in school or through volunteer work, part-time jobs, or an apprenticeship
  1. The best way to get any job is to be either qualified or trainable. If you don’t have the necessary academic credentials or work experience, demonstrate on an apprenticeship application that you’re worth investing in!
  • Check out job portals like Glassdoor, Indeed, USAJOBS, or SimplyHired. Don’t forget about Craigslist; many smaller companies use it to advertise jobs
  • Read job postings to see what skills and experiences are needed, then finish as many of those as you can before applying
  • Be honest about your background, use correct industry terminology, and list any completed extracurricular activities that demonstrate potential
  • Focus your resume on relevant work and academic experiences
  • Review Mechanical Construction Field Manager resume templates to get ideas for formatting and phrasing
  • Include keywords in your resume/application, such as:
  1. Blueprint Reading
  2. Budget Management
  3. Construction Planning
  4. HVAC Systems
  5. Mechanical Systems Installation
  6. OSHA Compliance
  7. Project Management
  8. Quality Control
  9. Risk Management
  10. Safety Standards Compliance
  11. Scheduling & Coordination
  12. Team Leadership
  • Look for apprenticeship opportunities at to get your foot in the door
  • Ask your school’s career services staff for help with resumes, mock interviews, and job searches
  1. Also, ask for help connecting with recruiters and job fairs. They may even have connections to local unions that offer apprenticeships!
  2. If applying for a union apprenticeship, read the application instructions carefully before filling anything out. Note, “most unions don’t expect you to be an expert in your industry,” when you apply for an apprenticeship,” notes Indeed
  • Reach out to your network to let them know you are looking for opportunities
  • You’ll need references who can recommend you and speak about your work ethic. Decide who you want as your references then ask them in advance if you can share their contact information with potential employers
  • Engage in online forums and ask career advice questions
  • Look up common interview questions to prepare for those crucial interviews
  • Always dress appropriately for job interview success! 
How to Climb the Ladder

Mechanical Construction Field Managers typically already have a few years of experience in the industry, but they can advance their careers through some of the following:

  • Be on time for work, always be ready, add value, and show a desire to learn and excel
  • Treat your peers and subordinates with respect, and set the example for others to follow
  • Prioritize job site safety! Enforce the proper wear of personal protective equipment and follow safe work practices
  • Master every skill and perform the highest quality of work possible
  • Take very good care of tools, equipment, and inventory
  • Enroll in advanced courses related to construction management, project estimation, or business administration
  • Obtain relevant certifications like Certified Professional Estimator, Certified Construction Manager, or Project Management Professional
  • Attend industry conferences, workshops, and seminars. Join professional organizations like the American Society of Professional Estimators and actively network with peers
  • Stay updated with the latest estimation software and technology trends. Take advantage of digital tools and resources like parametric 3D CAD models, libraries of reusable parts, metadata, and collaboration functions
  • Develop your leadership skills by managing larger projects or teams
  • Seek out an experienced mentor who can help you plan your future. Also be a helpful mentor to younger workers, showing them opportunities and insights
  • Develop an engaging portfolio showcasing all your successful projects. It should feature plenty of details and high-resolution images!
  • Enhance client relations which can lead to repeat business and referrals!
  • Develop your understanding of market trends, cost control, and efficient budgeting
  • Engage in projects that require collaboration with other departments
  • Learn all you can about sustainable and green building practices
  • Hone negotiation skills to manage contracts and procurements more effectively
Plan B

The overall job outlook for Construction Managers is projected to see a 5% increase over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the work isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Mechanical Construction Field Managers have their jobs cut out for them! Every day offers a unique challenge and potential headaches. Meanwhile, it’s becoming increasingly important to keep up with advancements in software programs and methods.

So if you want to explore other options, below are several occupations to consider!

  • Architect
  • Architectural and Engineering Manager
  • Budget Analyst
  • Civil Engineer
  • Construction Manager
  • Financial Analyst
  • Financial Manager
  • Industrial Engineer
  • Industrial Production Manager
  • Landscape Architect
  • Logistician
  • Operations Research Analyst
  • Project Management Specialist


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