What does a Construction Manager do?
The role of a construction manager is to plans, executes and supervises construction projects from start to finish. Construction managers usually collaborate with engineers, architects, and other project managers to ensure the successful completion of a project.
The duties of a construction manager typically involve:
- Preparing budgets, cost estimates and work schedules and timetables.
- Explaining contracts and technical information to other collaborating professionals.
- Working with architects, engineers, and other construction specialists.
- Keeping track of the project progress and reporting work progress and budget matters to clients.
- Selecting subcontractors and coordinating and scheduling their activities.
- Responding to work delays, emergencies and other problems.
- Ensuring compliance to building and safety codes, legal requirements and other regulations.
Construction managers are commonly referred to as project managers or general contractors. They supervise a wide variety of projects including residential, commercial, industrial and public structures as well as bridges, roads, and memorials.
Construction managers work with different building specialists such as civil engineers and architects and also various trade workers such as carpenters, electricians and stone masons. The type of project determines the specialist required whether that’s on paving roads, excavating sites, and painting to landscaping.
Habits Of Construction Workers
As a construction manager, you have to handle lots of important things in your routines. You take several decisions to address critical situations and do lots of planning to enhance job performance.
While working in this profession, people often develop lots of specific work habits that carry on for years ahead. Those who are new to this profession or are planning to work as a construction manager in their career are advised to go through the details below. Here we are going to talk about the five great work habits of a construction manager that ensures him great returns at work. These habits have a direct relationship to the outcome of your routine tasks.
- Focus on proper planning:
Poor planning can cause terrible downfalls at the construction site. When you are working as a construction manager, it is your responsibility to plan things with the right strategy and use appropriate measures to bring out the best results. A good construction manager has a habit of planning all long term and short-term goals in advance to ensure desired productivity in the premises. They usually stay busy in tracking progress, establish specific work schedules for workers, create new milestones, set objectives and define the scope of the project as well.
- Communicate effectively:
One essential work habit of constriction managers is their effective communication skills. Actually, the construction site is often loaded with a wide range of distractions, and it can lead to a major fall in the quality of communication. But a good construction manager maintains his pitch to right level while ensuring that best details are conveyed to the teams at the right time. They are more proactive, spare time to listen to the employee concerns and organize team meetings from time to time.
- Ensure higher involvement:
A construction manager is always happy to handle his responsibilities with complete involvement. This habit is important to ensure that everything is running perfectly at the site. Good construction manager takes charge, and they know individual responsibilities for every worker on the site. They set a positive example for other employees and deal with problems directly to ensure fast solutions.
- Good organizers:
Construction sites are often messy with obstructed walkways and loads of dirt all around. The fact is that if things are not organized properly, they can lead to major accidents. That is why good construction managers follow great organization skills. They are always ready to ensure maximum safety for the workers on the premises.
- Establish good work hours:
Construction projects have longer-term targets, and they need continuous work efforts, but it doesn’t mean that workers must be forced to do overtime. A good construction manager set appropriate work hours for all the workers and practice time management. They keep employees motivated by providing complete care for injuries and health issues as well. A good construction manager is always careful about productivity with never ever make a mistake of hurting the physical and mental health of employees.
Construction managers also interact with government officials such as city inspectors and lawyers to ensure that all regulations are met.
Analytical skills – These are essential skills for planning and executing a project strategy and resolving issues that arise as a result of unexpected delays and unforeseen circumstances. Planning software and cost estimating tools also require analytical skills to use efficiently.
Customer Service skills – The constant interaction of construction managers with different specialists, trade workers and professionals requires good working relationships and good communication skills.
Business skills – The role of a construction manager involves coordinating and supervising workers, handling budget matters, selecting and working with competent staff.
Initiative – Construction managers who are self-employed need to take the initiative to look for business opportunities and find new clients. This involves bidding on various jobs, marketing their services and becoming proficient in special home improvement projects such as insulating homes, sanding wood floors and installing mosaic glass tiles.
Decision-making skills – Successfully completing construction projects involves making informed and timely decisions on personnel and subcontractors to work with and how to meet deadlines and targets.
Leadership skills – Construction managers must understand how to effectively delegate tasks and duties to lower level managers, subcontractors and construction workers.
Technical skills – Construction managers must be able to read and interpret architectural drawings and blueprints and have sufficient know-how on different construction technologies and methodologies.
Speaking skills – Construction managers must possess good speaking and communication skills to be able to explain complex information to construction workers and clients, give clear orders and discuss technical matters with building specialists. Self-employed construction managers must also be able to market and sell their services to potential clients.
Writing skills – Construction managers must be adept at writing proposals, budgets, and plans and documenting the progress of the project work for clients and other stakeholders involved in the building process.
Time management skills – Construction works need to be completed on time since various construction phases need to be completed before the next phase can begin as scheduled. Time management is essential for a construction manager to meet his deadlines.
Construction managers held on average 373,200 jobs in 2014 and about 4 in 10 construction managers were self-employed. The largest employers of construction managers included specialty trade contractors, non-residential building construction followed by residential building construction and heavy and civil engineering construction.
Most construction managers have a field office at the construction site where they spend a majority of their time monitoring the project and making daily decisions about construction activities.
Construction managers work full time although for most times longer hours are required in order to meet deadlines and deal with delays and emergencies. In some instances, a construction manager is on call 24 hours a day.
Pay and Job Outlook
The mean annual wage for construction managers in May 2016 was $89,300 and $42.93 per hour. The lowest 10% bracket earned less than $53,740 and the highest 10% bracket earned more than $158,330. The top industries with the highest paying wages were the heavy and civil engineering construction and non-residential building construction.
Earnings for self-employed construction managers are mostly dependent on the business they generate. Some construction managers also earn overtime pay and bonuses.
The projected job growth for construction managers is 5% from 2014 to 2024 due to the expansion of overall construction activity. Business and population growth exert demands for new office buildings, residences, hospitals, schools, retail outlets and other structures in the coming decade. New and upgraded infrastructure requirements will also spur growth and create job opportunities for construction managers.
Steps to becoming a Construction Manager
- Gain construction experience
The main prerequisite for starting a construction manager career is to accumulate as much construction experience possible. This involves getting firsthand experience in construction site operations and also working as construction assistant or apprentice.
Internships, long term jobs, and cooperative education programs provide practical construction experience thereby reducing on-the-job training. An individual can qualify to become a construction manager through extensive construction experiences such as spending many years in masonry, carpentry or general subcontracting. New construction managers can also work as assistants to experienced managers before embarking on independent work.
To get certified as a Certified Construction Manager (CCM) through the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) or bachelor’s degree requires eight years of construction experience coupled with four years working as a construction manager.
This certification requires recertification every three years as a result of work experience and professional development.
Pros and Cons of Construction Managers
- High salary and steady job growth opportunities.
- This career is ideal for people who like to start and carry out projects.
- High job satisfaction rate.
- Long working hours.
- Advancing in this career requires a lot of time, skill, and experience.
- High-pressure job due to many responsibilities.