Construction projects require the expertise of different fields due to their complex nature. One core role in construction projects is the mechanical contractor. A mechanical contractor installs heating, ventilation, and plumbing systems. Some project managers use software solutions like Bridgit to oversee their contractors and for resource optimization efficiency.
Experienced mechanical contractors supervise installing and maintaining the HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system. They are also familiar with mechanical tools, such as pressure and force gauges, to calculate smartly.
This article discusses the roles and responsibilities of a mechanical contractor and where it leads you as a career path.
What Is A Mechanical Contractor?
A mechanical contractor deals with mechanical projects in residential and commercial domains. You will find mechanical contractors at the jobsite working on the installation of the following systems:
Mechanical contractors also supervise maintenance and repair during construction. So, simply put, mechanical contractors are all-rounders who stay in the loop with every construction team leader.
Duties Of A Mechanical Contractor At The Construction Site
You might see mechanical contractors in every construction activity. Those are juveniles who are gaining experience under a senior mechanical contractor’s supervision. The duties of mechanical contractors after reaching an authoritative post include the following responsibilities.
Mechanical contractors get involved with the following construction project stakeholders in the planning phase:
- Client: The person or company who brings the project. Also called the project owner.
- Construction Manager: The person who manages the construction activities onsite and offsite.
- Contractor: Contractors deal with the subcontractors’ hiring and resource procurement. They are mostly active at the jobsite.
- Designer: They provide visual construction documents, like architecture and blueprints of the project.
The mechanical contractor plans the construction activities by giving their input. Without that, the construction planning is incomplete.
Mechanical contractors are responsible for installing various mechanical systems in a construction project. The most common ones include the following:
- HVAC: This system includes heating, ventilation, and air conditioning in the building.
- Electrical: The creation of electrical networks by combining wires, feeders, transformers, and power lines throughout the building.
- Refrigeration: It’s the requirement of special purpose buildings by circulating the cool air and evacuating the warm air via chimneys and ventilation.
- Plumbing: A network of pipelines connected to the drainage, storage, and water circulation systems.
Thus, a mechanical contractor must have diverse knowledge and strong communication skills to cooperate with other managers and contractors.
Companies hire mechanical contractors for the inspection of HVAC and other mechanical systems. A general contractor can’t fix these systems in case of malfunction. Only a mechanical contractor knows the technicality inculcated in the system to solve the issue.
According to research, regular maintenance of HVAC systems can mitigate the risk of costly breakdowns by 95% in residential and commercial buildings. A mechanical contractor is responsible for the maintenance of HVAC and other systems.
Companies or residential authorities hire mechanical contractors for maintenance and repair. Some organizations sign an agreement during the construction that the mechanical contractor will keep maintaining and repairing the systems for the next 5-10 years.
Mechanical contractors usually work in senior-level positions overseeing ongoing construction activities related to mechanics. They guide amateur mechanical engineers and contractors in their tasks. Other team members consult a mechanical contractor when stuck on a milestone.
Many mechanical contractors use construction management tools to supervise the tasks. Other members can join the same tool and get their queries answered in real time. That enables the construction teams to save time and stay connected with the mechanical contractors despite not being present at the jobsite.
Mechanical Contractor Job Outlook & Salary
The average annual salary of a mechanical contractor is $82,000 in the US. Besides, the highest-earning mechanical contractors are involved with installing and maintaining elevators in residential and commercial projects.
Currently, mechanical contractor jobs are expected to grow by 4%, providing around 12,800 opportunities by 2028 in the US. Construction companies look for qualified mechanical contractors with professional work experience in HVAC systems.
You can also work as an independent mechanical contractor after acquiring enough experience and a license.
How To Become A Mechanical Contractor?
Here are the requirements to become a mechanical contractor.
You should at least have a high-school diploma to get the entry-level position. However, employers require a mechanical engineer having a 16-year academic background. You can have a better starting position if you have done a master’s in mechanical engineering, heavy equipment, and diesel.
Some institutes offer mechanical certifications, which is another option to boost your professional growth as a mechanical contractor.
Having experience working as a mechanical engineer or in any other junior-level position helps you become a mechanical contractor. Although mechanical contractors have a diverse experience of at least over five years, you can start from the junior level or join an apprenticeship in the beginning years.
That working experience will help you understand the dynamics of the mechanical industry, including:
- Implementing concepts of mechanical engineering
- Using different mechanical tools and equipment
- Working in a challenging environment
- Collaborating with other team members
- Professionally communicating with seniors
After you complete your required years in an organization as a trainee or junior mechanical engineer, you can apply for a license and become a professional mechanical contractor.
You can get the mechanical contractor’s license after completing the required years in the industry. Remember that independent work doesn’t count in your experience. The license-providing institutes are government-owned and want proof of professional experience.
So, you must complete your beginning years in a reputable organization to learn and acquire experience. If you are lucky, you might get promoted to a mechanical contractor post, and the very organization will also issue a license.
Mechanical contractors are versatile. They are involved in every activity during and after the construction of residential and commercial projects. A senior mechanical contractor first validates the elevators, plumbing, HVAC, and electrical systems, and then the respective team members start working on them.
Organizations hire a professional mechanical contractor with their team to inspect, install, and maintain mechanical systems. So, complete the academic requirements, gain enough experience, and become a mechanical contractor to lead construction projects.