What Is Construction Management?
Construction projects involve a lot of components and different, often moving pieces. Plumbing, electricity, and HVAC systems need to be installed, drywall and windows need to be hung. Everything needs to be up-to-code and safe and the workplace itself needs to follow safety standards. Behind every great construction project is a skilled and efficient construction manager.
Construction management involves creating a schedule for a construction project, ensuring that costs are under control, and maintaining high levels of quality. A construction manager typically works directly with the owner of a project to help keep it on budget and on-schedule.
If you are already working in construction, you might be interested in moving up and into a construction management role. If you’re just beginning to consider a career in construction, becoming a manager at some point might be a goal you set. Learn more about the skills and responsibilities required by construction management and what it takes to become a manager.
What Skills Should a Construction Manager Have?
Construction managers have multiple responsibilities when working on a project, which means that they should have a varied skill-set. As a construction manager, you would be responsible for keeping a project safe, meaning that it would need to follow OSHA’s standards for the construction industry. Those standards ensure that workers at a construction site are properly protected from falls and other potential injuries.
As a construction manager, you would also be responsible for keeping a project’s costs under control. That can mean working with the owner of the project to create a budget or finding ways to reduce expenses during the process without sacrificing quality or safety.
A construction manager also has the responsibility of supervising other people. It’s important to have good people skills and to know how to encourage people to do their jobs and tasks efficiently.
Some of the other skills you might want to cultivate to thrive as a construction manager include:
- Customer-service skills: As a construction manager, you typically need to work directly with the owner of the project. That means going above and beyond to ensure that their needs are met and that the project lives up to their expectations.
- Business skills: It’s important to have business savvy as a construction manager. You might need to negotiate with vendors to get a good deal on a product, you’ll most likely need to know what to look for when hiring crew members, and you’ll need to be able to keep a project on track.
- Decision-making: You should be able to make decisions quickly and easily as a construction manager. Issues might come up or the project might need to change course due to a shortage of supplies or a problem with staffing. Managers who are able to make a choice quickly and stick with it will be able to thrive in their roles.
- Technical knowledge: You should have more than a basic understanding of all aspects of the construction industry, including plumbing, drywall, and electricity. It’s essential for a construction manager to look at blueprints and plans and understand what they mean. Some managers play a more hands-on role in the design process, making technical skills even more critical.
How Much Do Construction Managers Make?
The median annual salary of a construction manager was $95,260 in May 2019. Salaries for construction managers can vary based on the industry they work in and how much they work. Managers who primarily work in residential construction tend to earn slightly less than managers who work on non-residential projects or in heavy industry.
How Do You Become a Construction Manager?
The role of a construction manager is usually not an entry-level position. Some managers earn four-year degrees in construction management and also have years of on-the-job experience. It is possible to become a manager without earning a four-year degree, though, provided you have ample experience in construction and are willing to work as a self-employed general contractor.
For many people interested in careers in construction, the first step to take is to pursue a career certificate. Orange Technical College offers a Building Construction Technologies certificate program at our Westside campus in Winter Garden, Florida. The certificate prepares students for jobs in construction. It can also be the first rung on the ladder of advanced training in the field. After earning the certificate, students can move on to pursue an associate’s degree in Construction & Civil Engineering Technology if they wish.
If a career in construction and a job as a construction manager sounds appealing to you, take the first step today by contacting Orange Technical College to learn how to enroll.
- “What is Construction Management?”, CMAA, https://www.cmaanet.org/about-us/what-construction-management
- “Construction Standards”, OSHA, https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_id=10154&p_table=STANDARDS
- “Construction Managers”, Bureau of Labor Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/OOH/management/construction-managers.htm#tab-5