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Construction Vice President Career Guide

What is a construction vice president?

A construction vice president is a high-ranking executive officer in a construction company responsible for the general management of construction projects. They act as a vital link between the various departments and oversee the smooth operation of the construction projects from conception to completion. As one of the top leaders in the organization, these professionals essentially serve as the backbone of the company, driving its strategic planning and decision-making processes.

The role of a construction VP carries tremendous responsibility and influence. They are the heart that holds together all the various project elements, offering cohesive direction and ensuring each department works toward the common goal: successful project completion. By steering the whole company toward effectively meeting client demands and constantly achieving high-quality construction outputs, these professionals significantly contribute to overall success and sustainability.

Duties and responsibilities

The construction VP is tasked with various responsibilities that keep the company and its projects running smoothly. Involved in all stages of the construction process, this role calls the shots on many critical decisions. This means working closely with all departments, from design to execution, bidding on new projects, and developing strategic business plans. They also make sure that all projects comply with safety and building regulations.

Additional responsibilities include the management of relations with clients, subcontractors, and governing authorities. They set the standard for customer service and take on a lead role in talent acquisition and development, hiring key personnel and fostering a motivating work environment that encourages growth and productivity.

Work environment

The nature of a construction VP’s work environment can be highly variable. They often divide their time between an office setting and construction sites, overseeing progress and maintaining active communication with project managers and workers on the ground. Thanks to the high-stakes, high-reward nature of the role, it can be stressful, requiring strong problem-solving and crisis-management skills.

Given the position’s prominence, it often involves extensive networking and business development activities. This may include attending industry events, meeting clients or potential business partners, and public speaking engagements or presentations. Regardless of the setting, the position requires high professionalism and leadership.

Typical work hours

A role as significant as a construction VP does not conform to the standard nine-to-five work schedule. Duty calls can happen at any time of the day or night, especially during the active phases of a construction project. While there may be more predictable office hours for administrative tasks, visits to construction sites, and client meetings, emergencies might require extended hours, early starts, and late finishes.

How to become a construction vice president

The journey toward becoming a construction vice president involves a substantial amount of formal education and extensive experience in the construction industry. Equipping yourself with the necessary skills and knowledge can be a challenging process, but one that is ultimately rewarding for those who pursue this prestigious position.

Step 1: In-depth understanding of the industry

Knowledge of the construction industry is the first step toward this career path. Understanding industry practices, management systems, material quality standards, safety protocols, and project management tools helps establish a solid foundation for future career development. This can be achieved through careful self-study, attending related seminars, and working in various positions within the industry to gain hands-on experience.

Step 2: Obtain a bachelor’s degree

A bachelor’s degree in construction management, civil engineering, or a similar field is often a requisite for this position. These programs provide students with a solid grasp of construction principles, project management, contract administration, site development, and more. It’s also important to choose a program accredited by recognized bodies like the American Council for Construction Education or the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering.

Step 3: Gain industry experience

The VP of a construction firm is most likely to be someone with extensive industry experience. This involves working with various roles within the sector, ranging from entry-level positions to supervisory ones. The goal is to gather as much practical knowledge and leadership experience as possible.

Step 4: Earn a master’s degree (optional)

While not always required, some individuals in this career path might pursue a master’s degree in construction management or business administration. Having an advanced degree under your belt puts you at a distinct advantage, especially if it’s coupled with substantial relevant experience.

Step 5: Obtain necessary certifications

Certifications like the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) from the Construction Management Association of America or the LEED Professional Credentials can significantly enhance your credibility in the industry. They demonstrate your expertise and commitment to upholding industry standards.

Step 6: Networking and building relationships

Progressing to an executive role often goes beyond mere skills and educational qualifications. Building solid relationships with other industry professionals is vital for career advancement. These relationships often result in opportunities and collaborations that may be beneficial for your career growth into the role of construction VP.

Step 7: Apply for the position

Once you’ve obtained the necessary education, experience, and certifications and built significant industry connections, you are ready to apply for this role. Have a comprehensive resume highlighting your achievements and capabilities, and express a clear vision for the company during the interview sessions. Persistence and patience can often make a big difference in this highly competitive field.

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 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, geography 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 this career guide section, we will explore various types and specializations associated with the position of a construction VP. Below, we’ll explore a comprehensive selection of possibilities.

VP of construction operations

A professional specialized in operation is commonly responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of construction projects. This officer is often in charge of making sure projects are completed on time, within budget, and to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.

VP of construction management

This executive role typically involves managing the entire construction department. Professionals in this position ensure all construction projects align with company goals and are properly planned and executed. This includes hiring, training, and overseeing a robust team of construction managers.

VP of construction strategy

These professionals primarily focus on the business side of construction projects. This includes developing strategic project plans, identifying market trends, setting project goals, and assuring the company meets industry standards, all while maximizing profitability.

VP of pre-construction services

In this role, an executive usually works on the planning stages of construction projects before they begin. This includes estimating project costs, creating budgets, selecting subcontractors, and getting necessary permits and paperwork. They may also take part in preparing contracts and negotiations.

VP of green building construction

This eco-centric role involves overseeing and implementing sustainable construction practices. These professionals specialize in green building standards like LEED and verify that projects comply. Their role encompasses everything from sourcing sustainable materials to planning the efficient use of resources.

Top skills for construction vice presidents

As a construction VP, one must bring various skills and traits to ensure success. Essential skills include excellent communication, strategic thinking, financial management, people leadership, project management, and deep industry knowledge.

Communication skills

Relaying information clearly and efficiently is crucial in this role. These professionals are often the liaison between different aspects of the company and external stakeholders. They must explain complex construction methods, deliver project updates, and negotiate deals with clarity. These communication skills are instrumental in mitigating misunderstandings and maintaining a productive business environment.

Strategic thinking

The ability to visualize the larger picture and plan for the future is essential in this position. Guiding the company toward success requires an understanding of market trends, competitive landscape, and regulatory environment. Strategic thinking empowers a VP to develop plans that drive growth and resilience in changing market scenarios.

Financial management

Financial responsibility is a significant part of the role. From understanding P&L statements to budgeting and cost-benefit analysis, these professionals must manage finances astutely. They determine the financial feasibility of projects and ensure the optimum allocation of resources, a critical skill set that directly impacts the company’s bottom line.

People leadership

The ability to drive team performance is vital in this role. Job requisites include anticipating personnel needs, delegating successfully, mentoring individuals, and fostering an inclusive work environment. Effective people leadership is crucial for team productivity, morale, and overall project success.

Knowledge of construction industry

Without a profound understanding of the construction industry, its codes and standards, and the latest technologies, achieving success can take time and effort. This depth of understanding is vital to maintaining adherence to standards, predicting potential hurdles, and exploiting opportunities for growth and improvement.

Ability to handle pressure

The construction sector is fast-paced, with tight deadlines and high stakes. Therefore, the ability to handle intense pressure is fundamental. They must make critical decisions under demanding conditions, keep the teams motivated and focused, and guarantee that projects remain on schedule to avoid cost overruns.

Negotiation skills

From settling contracts to ensuring project deadlines are met, negotiation skills are essential. An effective construction VP must broker agreements that meet company objectives, respond to unexpected project changes, and manage conflicts. Their negotiation effectiveness can dictate project success, timeliness, and profitability.

Construction vice president career path

A career path for a construction VP opens wide to numerous high-level leadership positions within the construction industry. Depending on their specific field of expertise and years of experience, many professional growth opportunities await.

One common next step is transitioning to a company president or chief operating officer (COO) position. The COO role generally entails overall company operational management, often spanning multiple projects or departments. Leveraging their in-depth knowledge, they can guide corporate strategy, manage risks, and oversee efforts to ensure projects are delivered on time and within budget.

Alternatively, assuming the position of chief executive officer (CEO) is inarguably an eminent career advancement. CEOs typically hold the highest-ranking executive position, steering long-term company objectives, making major corporate decisions, and building relationships with partners, the industry community, and stakeholders. Considering that VPs already possess ample leadership and management skills, they are often uniquely prepared for the CEO’s comprehensive responsibilities.

A more specialized advancement path could lead to the role of a director of construction, a position primarily focused on overseeing and coordinating construction projects from inception to completion. This role requires exceptional project management skills, deep knowledge of various construction strategies, and budgeting and time management—skills a seasoned VP will undoubtedly possess.

Finally, some professionals may choose to strike out independently, leveraging their experience and industry contacts to start their own construction management company. Starting their own business allows for immense autonomy and the chance to build a strong reputation as a standout player within the industry.

Technology is increasingly essential in effective construction management. In the capacity of a VP, technology adoption and integration have become integral to the job. Innovative tools like Building Information Modeling (BIM) and project management software are transforming how projects are managed and delivered. Therefore, these professionals must be well-versed in such technological trends and be capable of integrating them into their strategies for seamless project execution.

Another critical trend in recent years is the increasing focus on sustainability. As environmental consciousness grows, it is becoming imperative for construction leaders to prioritize sustainability in their projects. This includes focusing on energy-efficient designs, choice of materials, and construction practices. Embracing sustainability can enhance a company’s reputation and help secure client trust.

Additionally, professionals in this role must monitor workforce trends. With the rising generation of younger workers, leaders must adapt their management styles to match generational needs and expectations. Likewise, there is a growing trend toward greater diversity and inclusion in the field, and construction executives should consider this in their talent acquisition and retention strategies.

Employment projections for construction VPs

Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in construction management is projected to grow 8 percent through 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. As construction becomes more complex, companies are expected to continue demanding experienced managers. The increase in new construction projects should result in job opportunities for construction managers, including positions of significant leadership like that of the vice president.

Construction vice president career tips

Understand the industry landscape

It’s just as crucial to be knowledgeable about the industry’s overarching trends and shifts as it is about the day-to-day operations of your organization. This knowledge aids in anticipating changes and capitalizing on opportunities. Stay updated with the latest construction technologies, government regulations, sustainability trends, and economic indicators that impact the construction sector. Knowledge about your competitors’ strategies can also give you a competitive edge.

Exhibit strong leadership

Your position as construction VP requires strong leadership abilities. In this capacity, you will lead diverse teams, so skills such as clear communication, conflict resolution, and motivating your team to deliver quality results are essential. You’re not just managing projects; you’re guiding people, and your leadership approach will significantly impact your team’s performance and success.

Build a professional network

Networking is vital for any career, and it’s especially significant for those in leadership positions in construction. Building a robust professional network can open opportunities, offer industry insights, and support career growth. Attend industry conferences and seminars and participate in professional forums and social media.

  • 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

A strong understanding of the business aspects is pivotal in this role, as you will make decisions impacting the organization’s bottom line. This comprehension includes financial management, strategic planning, and operational efficiency. Gaining formal education or attending workshops on finance, business management, or similar subjects can be useful.

Engage in continuous learning

The construction industry constantly evolves. In this role, showing a commitment to learning demonstrates that you stay current with the latest industry advancements. Participating in training programs and earning industry-specific certifications can not only expand your knowledge base but also increase your credibility in the construction industry.

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

Promote a culture of safety

Job site safety should be a priority in any construction project. As a VP, you can influence the safety culture within your organization. Champion safety training programs, advocate for investment in safety equipment, and consistently enforce safety regulations. A strong safety culture reduces accidents, increases worker morale, and positively affects 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 in the construction industry 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 is a significant part of their job description. It 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, as an executive, influencing the company’s strategic direction is critical to the role. 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 various responsibilities, including 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.