In construction, there’s more than one way to go about building something. The same can be said for a career in construction. People have their own reasons for getting into the industry, from following in their family’s footsteps to seeing how the world around them is built. Even the educational route to get there can vary between getting a college degree or completing an apprenticeship. The keys to success vary even more when you cross borders.

That’s why we asked some of the top general contractors in Canada to provide advice to industry newcomers and hopefuls on how to build a successful career in construction.

Communicate efficiently

allison clark

“To have a successful career in construction, you have to be efficient at communicating. Speak your truth. With all the busyness, communication is one thing that often gets left off to the side. Making connections, especially with subcontractors, allows you to communicate much more efficiently and creates better relationships.”

— Allison Hall, Estimator at Clark Builders

Listen to everyone’s ideas

“This tip was given to me when I first started in construction. I was an onsite project engineer, and my manager at the time said to me: ‘Randy, don’t think you have all the answers.’ And he was right. There are a lot of knowledgeable people out there, and it doesn’t matter what position they’re in. Whether it’s a worker on site or a vice president, just take the time to listen. A lot of people have good ideas, so if you’re willing to take their opinions, you’ll be able to learn and grow your career.”

— Randy M. Dupree, Director of Estimating Solutions at Chandos Construction

Love what you do

daniel clark builders

“Like with any career, you have to love what you do. Construction is evolving every day, so you always have to be on top of the current trends and get ahead of what the industry is doing. And fundamentally, I believe with any career; it’s about networking. In construction, that’s meeting other industry partners, and creating a peer group that you can talk to at any time and bounce ideas off. Build your career that way.”

— Daniel Buisse, Corporate Risk Coordinator at Clark Builders

Be open-minded to different solutions

Joe Stuart Olson

“For somebody starting their career in construction, the biggest tip I can give is to be open-minded. Construction is not a one way or the highway type of deal. There are always multiple ways of doing things and multiple solutions to solve a problem. Sit back and have an open mind to suggestions. There’s rarely an occurrence where something’s impossible. If you look at some of the massive megaprojects around the world, I guarantee at some point somebody looked at that and said, ‘It’s impossible.’ Well, you know what? They’re built. They’re there. They’re standing. There’s always a way.”

— Joe Elliott, Senior Estimator at Stuart Olson

Interested in a construction career? Here are the most in-demand preconstruction jobs.