What Is an Expeditor in Construction? Roles and Responsibilities

June 12, 2024

An expediter plays a pivotal role in the manufacturing and construction industries by ensuring efficient management and timely availability of materials and equipment. This essential position helps keep projects on schedule and within budget through meticulous coordination and communication. Here's an in-depth look at the responsibilities and importance of an expediter in construction.

Role Overview

An expediter ensures that all necessary materials and equipment are available and in proper working order at construction sites as needed. In larger residential and commercial construction companies, this role can overlap with purchasing departments. The primary responsibilities of an expediter include:

Managing Materials and Supply Orders

Expediters are responsible for managing the procurement of materials and supplies, ensuring they meet project specifications and fit within the project parameters. This involves placing orders, tracking deliveries, and resolving any issues that may arise with suppliers.

Coordinating Multiple Jobs

In many cases, expediters must coordinate supplies for multiple projects simultaneously. This requires maintaining strong relationships with materials providers to ensure timely deliveries and efficient resource management. By balancing these various demands, expediters keep construction projects running smoothly.

Subcontractor Coordination

Another critical aspect of an expediter’s role is the coordination with multiple subcontractors to ensure they perform their tasks at the appropriate times. This includes scheduling and communicating with subcontractors such as drywallers, carpet installers, and plumbers.

Ensuring On-Time Completion

Expediters must ensure that all subcontractors arrive and complete their tasks on schedule to avoid any delays that could impact the project timeline or budget. Their role is crucial in maintaining the overall flow of the construction process.

Communication Requirements

Effective communication is a cornerstone of an expediter’s role. They act as a liaison among different parties involved in the construction process.

Liaison Role

An expediter serves as a communication bridge between the home office, construction crews, suppliers, and subcontractors. This involves outlining and sharing schedules using project scheduling software and maintaining regular phone interactions to keep everyone informed and aligned.

Interactions with Management

In addition to coordinating with on-site teams, expediters work closely with construction managers and company leaders to oversee supply deliveries and manage overall project timelines. Their ability to communicate effectively ensures that any issues are promptly addressed, keeping the project on track.

Background Requirements

While no formal education is typically required for the role of an expediter, there are certain expectations and skills that employers look for.

Education and Experience

A high school diploma is generally expected, and familiarity with construction materials and processes is crucial. Many employers provide on-the-job training to help new expediters get up to speed.

Key Skills

Excellent communication and organizational skills are essential for an expediter. Strong negotiation skills are also important to procure supplies at competitive rates. These skills enable expediters to manage their responsibilities effectively and contribute significantly to the success of construction projects.

Salary and Job Outlook

The role of an expediter is both rewarding and demanding. According to ZipRecruiter, as of March 2021, the average expediter salary is approximately $59,068 annually or $28 per hour. However, this can vary based on geographic location.

Geographic Variations

Expediters in Massachusetts, for example, can expect an average salary of $61,214 annually, while those in North Carolina may see an average of $44,749 annually. It is advisable to use a cost of living calculator, such as the one on NerdWallet, to understand the value of the salary in different locations.

Job Market Research

Anyone interested in pursuing a career as an expediter should research job descriptions on employment sites like Indeed. Reviewing these listings can help candidates understand the specific demands and expectations of the role, as well as identify common industry terms and keywords. This research can enhance job applications and tailor resumes to better fit the job market.

By understanding the key points and responsibilities outlined, it is evident that an expediter plays a crucial role in keeping construction projects on schedule and under budget through effective coordination and communication. Their expertise ensures that materials and equipment are always in the right place at the right time, thus facilitating the smooth progress of construction operations.

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