16 Highest-Paid Construction Jobs (Salaries and Duties)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 8 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Construction is a broad industry with a variety of different career opportunities. Constructing a large commercial building can require dozens of unique trade specialists and project managers. Exploring the varying roles within the construction industry may help you find the right career for you. In this article, we list 16 of the highest-paid construction jobs, along with their typical duties and average national salaries.

16 of the highest-paid construction jobs

There are many opportunities and pathways for joining the construction industry, some of which may lead to the highest-paid construction jobs. Roles with more responsibility and specialist roles that involve advanced technical skills may have a higher average salary. Below you can discover 16 high-paying construction jobs:

1. Plumber

National average salary: $70,355 per year

Primary duties: Plumbers are specialists in laying piping systems that direct the flow of drainage. They may install toilets, showers, taps and hot water systems. In residential and commercial construction, they often connect buildings to sewerage mains. Plumbers commonly work for plumbing businesses or general construction companies.

2. Electrician

National average salary: $86,391 per year

Primary duties: Electricians focus on the installation, maintenance and repair of electrical components. They can use a variety of electrical cables to connect houses to a power source and install interior wiring. Their typical duties might include installing light switches, connecting home media systems and providing internet access to buildings. Electricians typically work with electrical, tech and construction companies.

3. Carpenter

National average salary: $87,636 per year

Primary duties: Carpenters are typically woodworking experts. They may use a range of hand tools and power tools to erect wooden frameworks. Carpenters cut, shape, glue and join pieces of wood together to create the form work of houses and structures. They may also specialise in creating wooden furniture or designing kitchen and bathroom cupboards. Carpenters may work for carpentry businesses, in small workshops or on building sites.

4. Preconstruction manager

National average salary: $91,119 per year

Primary duties: A preconstruction manager focuses on the organisation of the preconstruction process. Before the construction phase begins, several permits and licenses may require approval from local councils. Preconstruction managers help to ensure building documentation gains approval on time. Preconstruction managers work for building companies involved in both the residential and commercial industries.

5. Project estimator

National average salary: $92,062 per year

Primary duties: A project estimator mostly uses measurements, quotes and expected costs to determine the overall expense of a construction process. They typically determine the number of materials used for a project and provide an estimation of the cost of those materials. Project estimators often work within a project team, constructing large commercial buildings and infrastructure.

6. Low voltage technician

National average salary: $104,839 per year

Primary duties: Low voltage technicians are specialists in the installation of low-voltage systems and applications. Their duties can range from installing to maintaining fire alarms, multi-media systems, surveillance equipment and audiovisual devices. Low voltage technicians work for specialist electrical companies.

7. Estimating manager

National average salary: $113,492 per year

Primary duties: Estimation managers coordinate a team of estimators to ensure the accuracy of cost and material estimates. Estimating managers may analyse and investigate building material estimates to ensure a tender has a fair cost. Estimating managers can use a wide range of management tools to allocate duties and tasks to estimators on the team. Estimation managers typically work for large construction companies or specialised estimating businesses.

8. Commercial project manager

National average salary: $115,416 per year

Primary duties: Commercial project managers help organise and coordinate project teams when constructing commercial buildings. Commercial projects may have several project managers and can comprise over one project team. Commercial project managers typically work for large-scale commercial construction companies.

9. Residential project manager

National average salary: $117,293 per year

Primary duties: Residential project managers implement management procedures within a project team. Their main purpose is usually to increase or maintain the productivity of a project team. They typically specialise in residential construction and work for residential building companies.

10. Electrical foreman

National average salary: $118,622 per year

Primary duties: An electrical foreman supervises a team of professional electricians. Their tasks range from inspecting site conditions to ensuring the correct materials are available. Two of their primary functions can be to promote safe working conditions and ensure electrical operations are running efficiently. These professionals typically work for trade service companies that specialise in electrical services.

11. HVAC technician

National average salary: $126,353 per year

Primary duties: HVAC technicians are primarily responsible for installing heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Most commercial and residential buildings require effective ventilation to keep the building's temperature consistent. HVAC technicians work for specialised HVAC businesses or large-scale commercial construction companies.

12. Construction manager

National average salary: $150,321 per year

Primary duties: Construction managers typically help manage and supervise building teams when erecting civil, commercial and residential structures. Construction managers often implement management processes that help to improve the efficiency of tradesmen. They work for commercial and residential building companies.

13. Construction superintendent

National average salary: $168,034 per year

Primary duties: Construction superintendents are typically responsible for coordinating management teams within commercial construction projects. These projects can include shopping centres, theatres, hospitals and many other large buildings. A construction superintendent utilises a wide variety of management tools to supervise the construction process. Construction superintendents typically work for commercial building companies.

14. Project superintendent

National average salary: $181,002 per year

Primary duties: Project superintendents work in civil construction, building highways, bridges and public amenities. Civil projects might take months to complete and require extensive licensing, permits and registrations. Project superintendents coordinate teams of professionals and ultimately ensure the smooth completion of the project. Project superintendents usually work in government agencies or civil construction companies.

15. Site superintendent

National average salary: $197,812 per year

Primary duties: Site superintendents commonly work away from home on large-scale construction sites. These sites may be remote and far from existing amenities. Site superintendents usually coordinate building projects by implementing management systems. These management systems help to ensure each team of professionals understands their role and tasks. Remote construction sites may have many variables to consider, such as water, power, fuel and food. Site superintendents usually create procedures to help manage these variables. These professionals typically gain employment with mining companies and large-scale building businesses.

16. Heating engineer

National average salary: $212,092 per year

Primary duties: Heating engineers usually design heating systems for large commercial buildings. Heat systems include ventilation ducts, extraction fans and air filters. Heating engineers are experts in fire safety. They may conduct fire safety ratings of buildings and evaluate fire safety procedures. Heating engineers may work for commercial and industrial building companies.

What are the different types of construction?

There are four major categories of construction. Each industry typically specialises in different types of construction. There may be some careers that have responsibilities across all four building sectors. Below you can find some more information on the different types of building sectors:

Residential

Residential construction is the process of building a house. There are many trades involved in the construction of a dwelling, such as plumbers, carpenters, electricians, landscapers, painters and plasterers. Each role usually has specialised skills in the installation of aesthetics and functions of a home. Like most of the construction industry, there can be standards and regulations that require adherence, along with permits and licenses that may need approval.

Commercial

Commercial construction relates to private building projects that aim to create buildings that produce a profit. Commercial construction may involve the building process of retail stores, shopping centres and cinemas. Commercial construction projects often have aesthetic designs to attract potential customers. Commercial buildings may experience a high level of public traffic, so they usually have strict safety procedures in place. Commercial project managers usually consider specific design aspects, such as ramp access, elevators, emergency exits and fireproofing.

Civil

The public sector generally finances civil construction, including the development of infrastructure. Most civil construction projects focus on the water, earth and transport industries. Some of the infrastructure that civil projects create include bridges, dams, roads, overpasses, tunnels and railway lines. National budgets may cover the cost of these large scale civil constructions.

Industrial

Industrial construction involves the development and creation of large manufacturing and production facilities. Some of the industrial projects include the creation of nuclear power plants, coal refining plants, goods manufacturers and power plants. There are typically high paying construction jobs within the industrial industry as there are often greater responsibilities in ensuring public safety. Power plants may produce extreme amounts of energy and require advanced building methods that allow the plant to operate safely.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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