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Construction Vice President Career Guide

What is a construction vice president?

A construction vice president is a key leader in a construction company. They manage big building projects from start to finish, making sure everything runs smoothly and on time. Think of them as the big boss of building stuff. They connect different teams—like those planning the project and those actually building—and make sure everyone is working together.

Duties and responsibilities

A construction VP has lots of responsibilities. They’re involved in everything from the early planning stages to the final touches of a construction project. They make important decisions, work with all sorts of departments, and even decide on new projects the company should take on. Their job is to make sure everything complies with safety and building laws too.

They also handle relationships with clients, other building companies, and even government bodies. They’re the face of the company when it comes to customer service and also play a big part in hiring new talent and making the workplace awesome for everyone.

Work environment

The work setting for a construction VP changes a lot. They split their time between an office and construction sites. It’s a job that can be pretty stressful because they have to solve problems fast and handle big challenges.

They also do a lot of networking, like meeting new clients or speaking at events. No matter where they are, they need to be professional and lead by example.

Typical work hours

The hours for a construction VP are not your typical 9-to-5. They need to be ready anytime, especially when big projects are happening. They might start early, finish late, and sometimes work at odd hours if there’s an urgent issue. It’s all about getting the job done and making sure projects succeed.

How to become a construction vice president

Becoming a construction vice president is a big deal and it takes a lot of learning and experience. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get there:

Step 1: Learn all about construction

First, get to know the construction world inside out. This means understanding everything from how projects are managed to safety rules. You can learn by studying on your own, going to workshops, and getting your hands dirty with different construction jobs.

Step 2: Get a bachelor’s degree

Most construction VPs start with a college degree in construction management or civil engineering. These programs teach you the basics of building and managing construction projects and are usually recognized by big educational groups like the American Council for Construction Education.

Step 3: Work in the industry

You’ve got to work your way up in the construction world. Start in basic jobs and aim for higher positions as you get more experience. The goal is to learn as much as you can about leading teams and handling big projects.

Step 4: Consider a master’s degree

While it’s not necessary, a master’s degree in construction management or business could give you an edge. It’s especially helpful if you have lots of experience to back it up.

Step 5: Earn certifications

Certifications can really help boost your reputation. For example, becoming a Certified Construction Manager shows you know your stuff and you’re serious about your career.

Step 6: Network

Meeting people in the industry can open doors. The more people you know, the more likely you are to find out about new opportunities and get tips and support as you grow your career.

Step 7: Apply for the job

Once you’ve got the right education, experience, and connections, you’re ready to go for the top job. Make sure your resume shines and share your vision for the company when you interview. Sometimes it takes a while to land such a high-level position, so keep at it!

How much do construction vice presidents make?

A construction VP’s compensation largely depends on several primary factors. A key determinant is the size of the construction company and the volume of work it undertakes. Larger companies with higher revenues tend to offer higher salaries. Experience in the construction industry and previous management experience significantly influence their compensation, as greater experience typically results in higher pay.

Education also has an impact, with advanced degrees generally leading to higher salaries. Certain industries where construction is in high demand, such as manufacturing and infrastructure, may offer higher salaries. Lastly, their location can significantly influence pay, as areas with high construction activity generally offer higher salaries.

Highest paying industries

  • Energy Construction: $150,000
  • Manufacturing Plant Construction: $145,000
  • Infrastructure Construction: $140,000
  • Commercial Real Estate Construction: $135,500
  • Residential Real Estate Construction: $130,000

Highest paying states

  • California: $170,000
  • New York: $160,000
  • New Jersey: $155,000
  • Washington: $153,000
  • Texas: $150,000

Browse construction VP salary data by market

Types of construction vice presidents

In the world of construction, being a vice president can mean overseeing different aspects of projects. Here’s a breakdown of the various types of VPs you might find in a construction company:

VP of construction operations

This type of VP takes care of the daily workings of construction projects. They focus on making sure projects finish on time, stay within budget, and make everyone involved happy.

VP of construction management

This VP runs the construction department. They make sure all projects fit with what the company wants and are well-planned and well-run. This includes hiring and managing a team of construction managers who help keep everything on track.

VP of construction strategy

These VPs look at the bigger business picture. They plan out project strategies, keep an eye on market trends, set goals, and make sure the company keeps up with industry standards, all while trying to make as much profit as possible.

VP of pre-construction services

This VP gets everything ready before a project starts. They estimate how much projects will cost, set budgets, pick subcontractors, and handle all the paperwork and permits needed to get going. They’re also involved in drafting contracts and negotiating terms.

VP of green building construction

This role is all about eco-friendly building. These VPs make sure construction practices are sustainable and meet standards like LEED. Their job covers choosing sustainable materials, planning resource use efficiently, and generally promoting green building methods.

Top skills for construction vice presidents

To be a successful construction vice president, you need a mix of specific skills. Here’s a list of the most important ones:

Communication skills

It’s crucial for a construction VP to share information clearly and effectively. They need to explain complex building methods, give updates on projects, and negotiate deals so everyone understands. Good communication helps avoid confusion and keeps the business running smoothly.

Strategic thinking

A construction VP needs to see the big picture. They need to understand where the market is going, know the competition, and follow rules and regulations. Strategic thinking helps them make plans that keep the company growing and adapting in a changing world.

Financial management

Handling money wisely is a big part of the job. VPs need to understand financial reports, plan budgets, and analyze costs and benefits. They make sure money is used in the best way to keep projects affordable and profitable.

People leadership

Leading a team effectively means knowing when to hire more staff, giving tasks to the right people, mentoring team members, and creating a welcoming workplace. Good leadership leads to better team performance, higher morale, and successful projects.

Knowledge of construction industry

Deep knowledge of the construction industry is non-negotiable. A VP must be up to date on building codes, industry standards, and new technologies. This knowledge helps them follow rules, anticipate problems, and find opportunities to make the company better.

Ability to handle pressure

The construction industry is fast-paced and stressful. Construction VPs need to stay calm under pressure, make quick decisions, keep their teams motivated, and ensure projects stay on track to avoid extra costs.

Negotiation skills

Being a good negotiator is key. Construction VPs often deal with contracts, project timelines, and workplace conflicts. Their ability to negotiate can affect how well projects meet deadlines, stay within budget, and succeed overall.

Construction vice president career path

Climbing the ladder from a construction vice president to higher leadership roles offers several exciting opportunities. Here’s a look at the typical paths a VP might take:

Company president or chief operating officer (COO)

Moving up to become a president or COO is a common next step. In these roles, you’d manage the day-to-day operations of the whole company, which might include several projects or departments. You’d use your deep knowledge to shape company strategy, manage risks, and make sure projects finish on time and within budget.

Chief executive officer (CEO)

Becoming a CEO is a major step up. CEOs are the top executives, setting long-term goals, making big company decisions, and building key relationships with business partners and industry figures. Since VPs already have strong leadership and management skills, they’re well-prepared for the wide-ranging duties of a CEO.

Director of construction

For those who prefer sticking closely to project management, becoming a director of construction might be the right path. This role focuses on managing construction projects from start to finish. It requires top-notch project management skills, a thorough understanding of construction methods, and the ability to manage budgets and schedules effectively.

Entrepreneurial route

Some construction VPs might decide to start their own construction management company. This path offers a lot of independence and a chance to make a significant impact in the industry. It’s a great way to use your experience and contacts to build something new and potentially shape the future of construction.

  • Technology integration: In today’s construction world, technology is not just an add-on but a necessity. As a construction vice president, embracing and integrating new technologies is critical.
  • Sustainability focus: Sustainability is another significant trend shaping the construction industry. With growing environmental awareness, construction leaders are now expected to prioritize sustainable practices.
  • Adapting to workforce changes: The rise of a younger workforce is pushing construction leaders to reevaluate their management styles. VPs must focus on inclusivity in their hiring and retention strategies, ensuring that the workplace is welcoming to all.

Employment projections

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction management field is expected to grow by 8% through 2031, which is faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is driven by the increasing complexity of construction projects and a boost in new construction activities. These VPs, with their extensive experience and strategic capabilities, will find ample opportunities for career advancement and leadership roles.

Construction vice president career tips

Understand the industry landscape

It’s vital to have a deep understanding of both the big picture and the finer details of the industry. Keep up with the latest in construction technology, government regulations, sustainability initiatives, and economic trends that affect construction. Knowing what your competitors are doing can also provide a strategic advantage.

Exhibit strong leadership

Leadership is more than just managing projects—it’s about leading people. You should excel in clear communication, resolving conflicts, and motivating your team to achieve top-notch results. Your leadership style will greatly influence your team’s performance and the overall success of your projects.

Build a professional network

Networking is crucial in construction leadership. A strong network can provide new opportunities, valuable insights, and support for your career growth. Engage in industry events, join professional organizations, and participate in forums both online and offline. Some key organizations include:

  • Associated General Contractors of America (AGC)
  • National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
  • American Institute of Constructors (AIC)
  • Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA)

Demonstrate business acumen

Understanding the business side of construction is essential. This includes financial management, strategic planning, and improving operational efficiency. Consider enhancing your business skills through formal education or workshops focused on finance and business management.

Engage in continuous learning

The construction industry is always evolving. Staying informed about new technologies and methods is crucial. Consider ongoing education and certification to enhance your knowledge and credibility. Relevant certifications might include:

  • Construction Manager Certification Institute (CMCI)
  • American Institute of Constructors Certification
  • LEED Professional Credentials

Promote a culture of safety

Safety is paramount on any construction site. You have the power to foster a strong safety culture. Promote safety training, invest in the best safety equipment, and enforce safety regulations diligently. A focus on safety not only reduces accidents but also boosts worker morale and positively impacts project outcomes.

Where the construction VP jobs are

Top employers

  • Turner Construction
  • Bechtel
  • Clark Construction
  • Whiting-Turner
  • Skanska USA

Top states

  • California
  • Texas
  • Florida
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania

Top job sites

  • zengig
  • Indeed
  • ConstructionJobs
  • Monster
  • LinkedIn


What key qualifications are necessary in a construction vice president?

Success in this role often requires a blend of technical knowledge and leadership skills. Understanding construction processes, regulations, and safety measures is key. This role also requires advanced project management skills, budgeting abilities, and strategic planning. In addition, they should be excellent communicators, enabling them to negotiate contracts and manage relationships with clients, contractors, and team members.

What is the role of a construction vice president in project management?

They often oversee all stages of a construction project, from initial planning to final execution. This involves coordinating with project managers, supervising work, ensuring all necessary permits and regulations are followed, and assessing project risk. As an executive, they also make crucial decisions regarding resourcing, budget allocation, and timeline adjustments.

What role does a construction vice president play in ensuring safety?

Safety is paramount in construction, and they create, implement, and maintain safety policies and procedures. This includes training employees, communicating safety expectations, and overseeing inspections. When incidents occur, they often analyze the situation and take necessary measures to prevent future occurrences.

How involved is a construction vice president in technical decisions?

Technical decision-making is an important part of their role. While project managers or other team members may handle individual tasks, they should understand the construction processes, materials, and technologies used. They can then make informed decisions about project timelines, cost estimates, and risk management and provide counsel on technical challenges.

Why is financial management important for a construction vice president?

Financial management is crucial due to the high materials, labor, and equipment costs. They must be skilled in budget planning and allocation, cost monitoring, and financial reporting. Also, they must ensure that projects are financially viable and profitable. This includes negotiating contracts, managing risks, and ensuring timely payments to contractors and suppliers.

Does a construction vice president need experience in different construction roles?

Experience in various roles within construction offers valuable insights into the industry’s intricacies. For example, understanding the roles of construction managers, site engineers, and laborers can provide practical knowledge about the challenges they face and the issues that can arise. This can ultimately aid them in making informed decisions, improving procedures, and leading the team more effectively.

What is the role of a construction vice president in managing client relationships?

Client management involves maintaining open communication channels with the clients, understanding their needs and expectations, and ensuring they are met. This can include regular updates on project progress, addressing concerns, and fostering a positive and trusting relationship. Long-term client satisfaction is essential for building a strong reputation and securing future business opportunities.

Can a construction vice president influence the company’s strategic direction?

Yes. They can impact decisions about business growth, service offerings, market expansion, and more. They may also be involved in setting the company’s values and culture, aligning the workforce with company objectives, and ensuring the company maintains a competitive position in the industry.

How does a construction vice president manage teams?

Managing teams involves staff recruitment, training, and development. They must have a competent team, delegate tasks effectively, and promote a healthy and constructive work environment. They are also responsible for resolving conflicts, rewarding achievements, setting performance expectations, and providing guidance to staff. They must foster a safety-first culture to prevent accidents and injuries.

What is the role of a construction vice president in conflict resolution?

In any business, conflicts can arise. They could be between team members, within a project, or with vendors or clients, and construction VPs are tasked with addressing these conflicts swiftly and effectively. They must maintain a fair and objective attitude, listen to all sides, and find the best resolution that respects all interests. They also need to implement measures to prevent potential conflicts in the future.

How does a construction vice president maintain industry knowledge?

Keeping up-to-date with industry trends, standards, regulations, and technologies is vital for the role. This can be achieved through regular industry seminars and workshops, subscribing to industry publications, and networking with peers. Active involvement in professional organizations and ongoing training courses is also beneficial. Staying informed about technological advancements in construction equipment, materials, and methods will also be advantageous.