The construction industry continues to prove its resilience during the pandemic, and we see this first-hand at Perlo Construction. With new markets emerging and projects across education, healthcare, food service, and retail sectors, the need for more skilled workers on and off the field is inevitable.
A few weeks ago, we presented the first in a two-part series about careers in construction. If you missed it, check out this blog to learn about the vast range of office and management roles in construction, and take a look at our careers page for exciting opportunities with Perlo.
This week, we want to showcase a variety of field construction jobs through the lens of a recent Perlo project, the gorgeous, state-of-the-art tasting room in the Stoller Experience Center at Stoller Family Estates.
Project Superintendent and Foreman
Identifying the right project superintendents to lead field crews is crucial to success for the general contractor and business owner on any project. With the Stoller Experience Center’s unique location, state-of-the-art features, custom work, extensive site utilities and strict winery requirements, the project was most definitely fun – but no easy feat. Ray Caswell, Project Superintendent and Leo Molash, Project Foreman at Perlo, led the charge with their combined 40 plus years of experience in construction and building some of the Willamette Valley’s most beloved wineries.
There are many types of project superintendents and job titles with varying responsibilities. As well, roles may be interchangeable depending on the company and project scope. In the broadest terms, a project superintendent is the primary supervisor and responsible for the project, including daily scheduling, maintaining the safety and compliance and managing all activities from start to finish. The superintendent works hand in hand with the foreman, who leads and the field crews to ensure the different jobs are on track and do not interfere with one another,
Ask any project superintendent and they will tell you that communication is the key to any project success, as well as learning about the trades from the ground up. Most superintendents have many years of experience in one of more of the construction trades. While a college education is not necessarily required, it is helpful. A superintendent must have a good understanding of construction methods, scheduling, and blueprint reading, as well as a basic knowledge of communication skills. Demonstrated leadership ability is essential (Build-Oregon.com, Associated General Contractors Oregon-Columbia Chapter (AGC)).
Learn more from three of our veteran superintendents from last week’s blog: A Chat with Superintendents—A Story of Three Builders.
Excavators clear the land by moving earth, rock or other materials with tools, equipment or explosives and are responsible for grading and prepping the site for foundations and site design. The process often includes trenching, wall shafts, tunneling and underground utilities, and requires the cooperation of a group of experts from engineering, geology, plumbing, electrical and more. This is particularly true with wineries due to their remote locations and strict regulations with process waste.
The Stoller Experience Center has several unique features that required the preliminary work of an excavator. In addition to the site grading, holes as deep as 50 feet were dug to prepare for high-end and high-tech process waste systems, sentiment tanks, and a septic field. These are just a few examples of the extensive work done by excavators. Many excavators learn equipment operation on the job after earning a high school diploma or equivalent, and others learn through an apprenticeship or by attending vocational schools.
The job outlook remains steady and is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029.
A roof is one of the most important details to get right on a building. Roofers replace, repair, and install building roofs to protect from weather, aid with heating and cooling, and establish curb appeal. At the Stoller Experience Center, two types of roofing were installed: a built-up, or layered roof system, and corrugated metal.
Employment of roofers is projected to grow at a steady 2 percent from 2019 to 2029, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook. However, job openings are projected to rise from the need to replace workers who retire or leave the occupation for other reasons.
Ironworker (Steel Erector)
Structural and reinforcing iron and steel are important components of buildings, bridges, roads, and other structures. While the primary metal involved in this work is steel, workers often are known as ironworkers or steel erectors. Most of the work involves erecting new structures, but some ironworkers also help in the demolition, decommissioning, and rehabilitation of older buildings and bridges.
When you walk into the Stoller Experience Center, you can’t help but notice the steel and wood-framed structure, and stunning wall of custom tube steel-framed glass overhead doors that are operated using large counterweights within the tube steel support columns. Steel erectors used a crane to erect the steel columns that support the windows and leveled, installed and finished the steel with a carbon steel finish.
Employment growth in this trade is expected to rise with the demand for larger projects, such as high-rise buildings, or public projects such as road improvements and bridges. The need for ironworkers is anticipated to grow 5 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.
The Stoller Experience Center makes learning about winemaking and the vineyard more accessible with emerging technologies. Electricians played a huge role in bringing a high-tech wine tasting experience to life with an impressive audio-visual package that includes interactive tasting tables, and a 136-square-foot immersive display.
Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems. In terms of the Stoller Experience Center, conduits were run throughout the entire building, including to the roof in order to install outdoor speakers, and to ensure that the winery could stay connected for years to come as technology evolves.
To become an electrician, most go through an apprenticeship, but some start out by attending a technical school. Most states require electricians to be licensed. The job outlook for electricians is promising, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with employment projected to grow 8 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Cement Mason and Concrete Finisher
When it comes to concrete, you have to do it right the first time—you don’t really get a second chance. Cement masons and concrete finishers work quickly and diligently to smooth and finish surfaces of poured concrete, such as floors, walks, sidewalks, roads, or curbs.
Perlo Construction self-performed the concrete at the Stoller Experience Center, which was a big design element to tie into the natural but modern aesthetic of the space. To enjoy the stunning 270-degree vineyard views, there is an outdoor 10,000-square-foot concrete patio, that leads into a large indoor space with sleek trowel-finished concrete floors.
Experts in concrete finishing are often part of a union, but this is not a requirement. Education for this field comes on the job, and is a skill that requires time to master. You can learn more about unions below:
Construction trades are varied and vast. We have highlighted only a few here, but the other trades involved on the Stoller Winery project included:
To learn more about skilled trades, visit the Associated General Contractors Oregon-Columbia Chapter (AGC) Build-Oregon website.
This week’s blog barely scratched the surface on the extensive number of unique field jobs and individuals in construction. Although each job is unique, one thing is clear—no one job is standalone. Every trade worker has their own responsibilities, but all are part of a bigger puzzle that must connect to ensure the project can come together perfectly and stand on its own for years to come.
We hope this two-part series in careers in construction was insightful and opened your eyes to the vast opportunities in a rapidly growing and steady industry. To learn about more careers in construction, read the blog on office and management jobs, and check out Perlo Construction careers for job openings.
To experience the Stoller Experience Center first-hand, visit their website to make reservations.