Career Development

What Does a Construction Manager Do?

Find out what a construction manager does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a construction manager.

Construction managers are responsible for overseeing the construction of new buildings, renovations to existing structures, or other projects that require a large amount of physical labor. They commonly work with contractors and subcontractors to ensure that all aspects of a project are completed on time and within budget.

Construction managers must be able to effectively manage people as well as projects. They often have to coordinate communication between various parties involved in a project, resolve conflicts when they arise, and make sure everyone is working toward the same goals.

Construction Manager Job Duties

A construction manager typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Managing the project budget and working with the client to ensure that funds are available to complete the project within budget requirements
  • Reviewing blueprints, drawings, and other architectural plans to ensure compliance with local building codes
  • Managing the work of architects, engineers, contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, laborers, and other workers involved in the construction project
  • Ensuring that workers adhere to OSHA regulations including safety training and equipment use
  • Evaluating bids from contractors based on price, experience, and other factors such as references or certifications
  • Overseeing the planning and implementation of projects to ensure that they are completed on time and within budget
  • Determining materials needed for a construction project and working with suppliers to make sure they have enough materials on hand
  • Reviewing contractor proposals and selecting the most qualified contractors for each phase of the project
  • Coordinating with architects, engineers, subcontractors, suppliers, and other professionals involved in the project

Construction Manager Salary & Outlook

Construction manager salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and type of company for which they work.

  • Median Annual Salary: $85,000 ($40.87/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $145,000 ($69.71/hour)

The employment of construction managers is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

Demand for construction managers will increase as the economy grows and demand for new types of commercial and residential buildings increases. Construction managers will be needed to oversee the planning, design, and construction of these projects. In addition, many older buildings will require renovation or repair, which also will create jobs for construction managers.

Related: In-Depth Construction Manager Salary Guide

Construction Manager Job Requirements

A construction manager typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Construction managers are typically required to have a bachelor’s degree in construction management, civil engineering, construction engineering, architecture or a related field. These programs typically include courses in construction methods, building materials, building codes, safety and construction management.

Training & Experience: Many aspiring construction managers will receive on-the-job training in their current positions. This training will help you learn the specific skills and techniques required for the role. You may also receive training in the classroom through a bachelor’s or associate’s program.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications enable construction professionals to prove their qualifications to current and future employers. Although typically not required, certifications for construction managers act as further proof to the client that they have all the skills, knowledge and experience needed to handle a major construction project.

Construction Manager Skills

Construction managers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Leadership: Construction managers often have leadership skills that allow them to direct large teams of workers. Effective leaders can motivate their teams to work together and complete projects on time and within budget. You can use your leadership skills to help your team overcome challenges and achieve success.

Communication: Construction managers use their communication skills to relay information to their team and clients. You may need to communicate with clients to answer questions or provide updates on the project. You can use your communication skills to help your team understand the project’s goals and how to complete their tasks. You can also use your communication skills to help your team resolve any issues that arise.

Organization: Organization skills can help construction managers plan and execute their projects. Organization skills can help you manage your time and resources, which can help you meet deadlines and stay within budget. Organization skills can also help you delegate tasks to your team members.

Problem-solving: Problem-solving skills allow construction managers to identify and resolve issues that arise during a project. You may use problem-solving skills to find solutions to challenges that affect the budget, schedule or quality of a project. You can also use problem-solving skills to identify and repair any issues that arise during the construction process.

Budgeting: Construction managers need to be able to create and manage budgets for their projects. This involves estimating the cost of materials, labor and other expenses. Having strong budgeting skills can help you make informed decisions about the project and help you stay within your budget.

Construction Manager Work Environment

Construction managers typically work full time, and some may work more than 40 hours per week to ensure that a project is completed on time. They may work on evenings and weekends, as well as during regular business hours, to monitor construction progress and meet with clients, architects, and other professionals. Construction managers may travel to job sites around the country or around the world, depending on the location of the construction project. They may also travel to attend meetings, conferences, and training sessions.

Construction Manager Trends

Here are three trends influencing how construction managers work. Construction managers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Technical Skills

The construction industry is evolving rapidly, and the need for more technical skills is becoming increasingly important.

As construction managers, you will need to be able to manage projects that require a high level of technical expertise. This includes everything from understanding complex building codes to managing teams of contractors who specialize in different areas.

In addition, you will also need to be able to communicate effectively with clients and understand their needs. This will help you to ensure that your projects are completed on time and within budget.

A Greater Focus on Sustainability

The trend of sustainability is growing in popularity across all industries, as businesses become more aware of the impact that they have on the environment.

Construction managers can capitalize on this trend by focusing on green building practices and materials. This includes using renewable energy sources, recycling materials, and designing buildings that use less water and energy. In addition, construction managers can promote sustainable practices to their employees and clients.

Greater Collaboration Between Design and Construction

The trend of greater collaboration between design and construction is having a major impact on the way that buildings are being built today.

This trend is leading to a more collaborative work environment, where designers and builders are working together to create buildings that are both functional and beautiful. As a result, construction managers will need to learn how to work with designers in order to create buildings that meet the needs of both parties.

How to Become a Construction Manager

Construction managers have a lot of opportunities for growth and advancement. They can move up the ranks to become project managers, superintendents, or construction managers-in-charge. They can also move into other related fields such as engineering or architecture.

The best way to advance your career as a construction manager is to stay current on industry trends and technologies. Attend training courses and workshops, read industry publications, and network with other professionals.

Related: How to Write a Construction Manager Resume

Advancement Prospects

Construction managers typically start out as construction workers or as assistant managers. With experience, they advance to construction superintendent or project manager positions. Some construction managers eventually become general contractors, starting their own construction businesses.

Many construction managers have a bachelor’s degree in construction science, construction management, civil engineering, or a related field. Some jobs, especially those in larger firms, may require a master’s degree.

Construction managers must be able to read and understand construction blueprints and drawings. They also must be familiar with the materials, methods, and the tools used in construction.

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