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What does a Construction Project Manager do?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2016
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A construction project manager has four areas of responsibility: supervising staff, project management, working with clients, and acting as a resource. Construction manager is a role found on the job site for both new construction and large renovation projects. The primary role of the construction manager is to ensure that the project is completed on time, within budget, and in keeping with the original specifications.

In order to become a construction project manager, most employers require either a university or college degree and at least five years' experience working on a construction site. Typically, the degree is in business, civil engineering, or management. A university program is usually four to five years in length and a college program is two to three years.

The admission requirements to these programs include high school courses in business math, technology, and English. Although the two degrees are valued the same at the construction manager level, more career advancement opportunities may become available to the candidate with the university degree. However, workplace performance is more valued than academic credentials. Be prepared to put in the extra effort so you will be considered for more senior positions.

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People who enjoy interacting with others, are natural leaders, and have excellent interpersonal skills find this type of position rewarding. There is a level of instruction or guidance as part of this position that is a new skill for most managers. Oral communication, conflict resolution, and team building skills are highly valued in this role.

The construction project manager is required to supervise or manage teams of both skilled and unskilled laborers. The number of individuals and the breadth of areas they are responsible for vary by the scope of the job. For example, a construction project manager on a large building construction project may be responsible for the foundation pouring and the framing teams, as well as liaison with building inspectors and architects. The same type of manager on a renovation project may be responsible for sourcing and delivery of materials and managing the site.

Project management is the main focus of the construction manager’s day. In this role, he or she is responsible for project planning, creating time lines, organizing regular meetings, working with outside contractors, and keeping the team on track. Most construction projects have strict time lines and little tolerance for error. Skilled management is essential to keeping this schedule.

Interacting with the client is an important part of the role of construction project manager. He or she is typically involved in conflict resolution, providing guidance on standard construction practices, explaining building code requirements, and attending all meetings with the building inspector. The ability to work well with a wide range of people, resolve problems quickly, and sharing information and experience with staff are important skills. Many construction project managers find that additional courses in team building, effective communication, and mentoring can be very helpful.

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