Learn How To Become a Mechanical Contractor
You already know a construction project requires a diverse team of professionals, including a mechanical contractor, designer, and civil engineer. A mechanical contractor operates and supervises mechanical systems in a construction project and uses construction management software like Bridgit for an efficient workflow.
Mechanical contractors also document the project status from the mechanical perspective and report everything to their team leader, i.e., a mechanical professional. This job position requires proper education, a degree, and skills.
This article will guide you on how to become a mechanical contractor if you want to pursue this field in the construction industry. So let’s dive in!
Requirements to become a mechanical contractor
Mechanical contractors are professionals who get an HVAC license to work at the construction site. But before acquiring the license, they must fulfill the following requirements to become a mechanical contractor.
The first and the most fundamental requirement is getting an academic qualification, i.e., completing 4 years of a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering. That’s also the most common step people take after completing college.
The mechanical engineering degree will equip you with the following:
- Basic education – You will get theoretical concepts and other basics in the four-year mechanical engineering program.
- Mechanical skills – You will learn mechanical skills at the basic level in the workshops.
- Technology – You will learn how to use mechanical contractor software in the construction industry.
If you have already completed a 4-year program in any other field, you can opt for a major in mechanical technology. Remember that renowned construction companies look for qualified candidates with at least a mechanical degree.
You can learn the working methodologies while working on the project, but you can’t get an education at the construction site. That’s why enrolling in a mechanical institute and pursuing a relevant program is important.
Universities offer apprenticeship programs during the last two years of a mechanical engineering degree. But is completing an apprenticeship program worth it?
Construction companies prioritize those candidates who have academic qualifications and also do an apprenticeship. Considering those criteria, you should join an apprenticeship program and complete it. You will also get a certificate for completing the program.
During the apprenticeship program, you will be exposed to a practical environment where mechanical engineers work. You will also implement the concepts you learned in your academic era.
The best thing about the apprenticeship is you can work with experienced mechanical contractors and engineers. That way, you can learn new things and acquire professional experience.
You already know technology has penetrated the construction industry, and companies are also equipping their workforce with construction software. According to a report, the construction software market will be worth $6520.8 million by 2022-2028.
So, construction companies look for mechanical contractors familiar with the latest technology. You can find what technology is in demand in the construction industry and learn it online. You will also find short courses on that particular technology.
For example, mechanical contractors use software to supervise HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems. You can learn about that software and the technology it uses. That software might be for simulation purposes, and you will learn how it works.
Certificates are important if you want to enter the construction industry as a mechanical contractor. These certificates might be of any of the following types:
- Mechanical skill – You should consider doing a certification in a mechanical skill that your university has not offered, but companies demand that skill.
- Management – A mechanical contractor must know how to manage mechanical systems and operate them. You can learn that by completing a mechanical management certification.
- Software – You can learn how to use construction management software associated with mechanical contractors.
There’s no timeline for when to do a mechanical certification. But it’s better to do that once you get the degree. The certification’s timeline varies with the body that provides the courses.
Remember to check the accreditation of mechanical degrees before enrolling in the course. Unfortunately, many institutions provide fake or unattested certificates with no value for the companies.
Go for a master’s degree
Some companies want their employees to pursue a master’s degree to keep them academically updated. Although it’s optional, you should consider doing a master’s in mechanical engineering to upgrade your qualification.
The master’s programs focus on a particular area. You can select your major and keep working as a mechanical contractor during your master’s degree.
Responsibilities of a mechanical contractor
Let’s look at the responsibilities of a mechanical contractor in a construction project.
Mechanical contractors work with the project management team and manage the mechanical activities. If you have done certification in mechanical management, you might get to work with project managers.
Operate mechanical systems
During your early professional years, you will be operating mechanical systems at the construction site, like:
- Heating – You will operate thermal systems to maintain and provide the required amount of heat.
- Ventilation – You are responsible for monitoring the ventilation of the space and checking air quality.
- Air conditioning – You must regulate the indoor temperature to comfort the workers.
The mechanical systems vary with the construction project’s type, which you will find in the client’s requirement document.
Supervise on-site construction
As a mechanical contractor, you supervise construction activities at the jobsite. Several mechanical tasks are performed during construction, like mechanical designing and combustion.
Mechanical designers and engineers execute these tasks. However, you will be responsible for supervising every mechanical activity and documenting the performance of the mechanical systems.
Supervising all those activities means you will be held accountable if a mechanical system fails to deliver. If machinery or software runs into a problem, you must report it and either fix it or replace it with an alternative resource.
Mechanical contractors are different from general contractors as they are more focused on the mechanical systems of a construction project. You must first get an academic degree and pass the test to get a license to work as a professional. After that, you can apply as a mechanical contractor and join companies to work on construction projects.