Career Paths

Here's a look at the diverse roles played by those employed in the heat and frost insulation industry:

Apprentice/Journeyperson

Apprentices and journeypersons are tradespeople. They do hands-on work in the field, fabricating and assembling insulation materials and applying them to institutional, commercial and industrial structures. For information on becoming an apprentice or journeyperson heat and frost insulator, visit the Getting Started section of this Web site.

Site foreman

As the front-line supervisor, the site foreman oversees the work of journeyperson and apprentice heat and frost insulators. On smaller projects, the foreman acts as a liaison between the project manager and the tradespeople. On bigger projects, a general foreman will play that role, with each foreman being supervised by the general foreman, who oversees the work of up to 20 journeypersons and apprentices.

Foremen begin their career as journeyperson heat and frost insulators, and advance to a supervisory role by demonstrating solid management skills and excellent on-the-job performance. Additional training is not required, but most candidates for a site foreman position have upgraded their skills by completing additional trades or business development courses.

General foreman

The general foreman is the senior-most crew position on the job site. General foremen are needed on large construction projects where they serve as the liaison between the project manager and the site foreman. The general foreman oversees the work of the site foreman and ensures that the work is completed according to drawings and specifications.

In addition to being an exceptional heat and frost insulator in the field, a general foreman must have strong management skills. Typically, to become a general foreman you must first work as a site foreman on a minimum of one to two dozen projects. With experience and a strong track record, you can be promoted to general foreman.

As with the role of site foreman, additional training is not required, but most candidates for general foreman have upgraded their skills by completing additional trades or business development courses.

Project manager

The project manager oversees the construction project and ensures that work is completed on time and on budget. Project managers are not required to have experience as heat and frost insulators. However, they must have a solid understanding of the trade and excel at interpreting documents. Today, most construction project managers have graduated from a university program in mechanical engineering or technology, or have fulfilled the requirements of the Gold Seal certification programs.

The Canadian Construction Association's Gold Seal Certification Program is a national program for project managers, superintendents and estimators. Certification is based on your education, experience and ability to satisfy the program requirements. You may also be required to take a Gold Seal exam. For more information on the Gold Seal Certification Program, click here.

Estimator

Estimators review blueprints for proposed work, and scout the job site to determine how much material is needed and how long the work will take. They work through the contractor's office and don't spend much time on the job site after their initial site assessment. To become an estimator, you can enrol in a civil or construction engineering program at most Canadian colleges or universities. The Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors also offers training for estimators.

Estimator certification is also available through the Canadian Construction Association's Gold Seal Certification Program. Click here for more information.