What is Construction Management?

J. Beam

Construction management is a professional field that focuses on each part of the construction process of any built environment. It typically encompasses commercial building sites or multi-unit residential sites, but not usually single-family residential building sites. Management of the site may be maintained by a general contractor or a separate entity, and the personnel or firm answers to the developer and is responsible for overseeing every aspect of the project from start to finish.

As a construction manager, you can oversee virtually any kind of construction project.
As a construction manager, you can oversee virtually any kind of construction project.

Many people working in this field have an associate's or bachelor's degree, but in some cases a person with many years of experience can be certified as a construction manager without any tertiary education. Additionally, some areas may require a Masters in Construction Management for certain projects. Areas of study include advanced math, design and construction laws, architecture, estimating, accounting, and business. Construction is one of the single largest industries in the United States and the outlook for careers in the field is favorable. Job opportunities exist both in the private sector and in government.

Some construction managers began their careers as basic job site employees.
Some construction managers began their careers as basic job site employees.

During a typical project, construction management personnel are responsible for overseeing each phase of construction and resolving any discrepancies in original blueprint design and actual implementation. They are also accountable for the cost of a project and must control material and labor cost. They may work with one or more project managers, architects, and site-specific superintendents, often in both an office and hardhat environment simultaneously. In addition to overseeing the physical construction phases of a project, construction management must also be familiar with design and construction laws — such as OSHA regulations and building codes in the US &ndash and serve as a point of contact for all issues. Equally important is delivering each phase of a project within a given time frame and budget, right down to the completed building or buildings.

Construction management firms vary in size, and some provide their services exclusively to smaller general contractors. Large construction companies generally hire their own management personnel. The earning potential for jobs in this field varies by region, but can easily reach six figures with experience and reputation for effectively managing larger, multi-million dollar projects.

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Discussion Comments


I can attest to this. I worked with a large environmental contractor as a journeyman in the field for several years. My advice to him is to take night courses and pound out a two year program. It is well worth it!

If you like construction, you the program will be over before you know it. There is a whole other side to the construction projects including process,procedures, invoicing, negotiating, scheduling, etc. Good luck!

And hard works pay off. Look to your local builders exchange and AGC because there are many scholarships available.


@Domido- Hi! Construction management is definitely a field where the manager needs to understand the actual labor involved, so your husband's technical experience would be a big plus. However, he should be comfortable working with people outside of that labor-oriented arena as well. My suggestion would actually be to take a class or two and see if it's up his alley. There certainly doesn't seem to be a shortage of construction management jobs! Good luck!


My husband has really considered going into construction management. He is a skilled carpenter and a very good supervisor. However, he is not as experienced in working in more formal office situations. Is this a general requirement for construction managers, or is the hands-on experience enough? He doesn't want to begin with construction management classes if it’s going to be a no-go situation for him. A little insight, anyone?

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