Blog Post

What does a construction manager do? A guide for aspiring managers

15.10.2020 | 7 min read | Written by Alexandra Hasek

Construction managers are the team leaders in any project. They act as the working watchman for any detail starting from the small fixations to the large structure work. Moreover, their job includes checking for any safety hazards and ensuring that every step of the project is properly planned. That’s why the construction manager employment is projected to grow 11% from 2016 to 2026 and that is faster than most of the construction jobs according to Bureau labor of statistics.

Woman as an female architect, engineer with helmet, blueprint, plans phoning on a construction site with crane

The construction managers tasks are various and interlaced because every task might be in a different location and with a different contact circle. In order to perform his work on the best level, a construction manager is in need of a technological tool that understands his task and leads him to achieve his goals. The CM job description usually includes reviewing projects terms, specifications and conditions. In addition to regular tasks oversee and to ensure quality control management plan implementation.   Find in this article the construction manager roles and responsibilities and how to start your career path in this field.

Construction manager main responsibilities

Construction managers are typically involved in the project from the start. First, they help the owner with establishing his plans. Then the CM goes through a multitude of management duties including quality, safety, cost, and scheduling management. These management related tasks continue with him till the closeout. The following are some of his responsibilities in the project from the start to the end:

  • Prepare cost estimation and budget.
  • Set the initial schedules and timings for starting.
  • Negotiate and explain the contracts to the owner and the rest of the team.
  • Collaborate with the architects in the design phase to set the goals.
  • Supervise the construction work on site.
  • Respond to any defects and delays with a backup plan.

Last but not least, managers must know how to operate their job in the most intelligent method. They must be open to the latest developed engines in the engineering technology market to implement them in all the project phases. PlanRadar is the construction manager’s most required assistant in his daily working routine specifically for supervision. The software offers a new method of tracking the construction defects by ticketing. Each ticket will be saved as a document and filtered using multiple filters and then categorized according to its completion date. Be the leader of the change now and try PlanRadar for 30 days free of charge to benefit from all of these features yourself.

The role of construction manager vs the role of project manager in the project

Although those two keywords are always used interchangeably, however, each one of them represents a different kind of work and job responsibilities. Basically, the construction managers main job tasks are focused around the construction phase.  On the other hand, in the project managers job, we find that they usually represent the owner starting from selecting the site and throughout all the construction process until the end of the projects. We will briefly explain the difference between the two roles and responsibilities.

Project manager’s role

Planning phase: PM contributes at this stage by providing the budgets, schedules and plans the owner needs to formulate his decision.

Design phase: The PM role in this phase is somehow limited. He assists the design team by consultancy of the site potentials and weak points.

Bidding and contracting phase: The manager will guide you to choose between contractors through the bidding process. This step is the connecting stage in the project where you check that you are finished with technical drawings, plans and the selection of the construction manager and general contractor.

Construction phase: The main leaders in this step are construction managers but the project manager’s job continues as the main touch point between the team and as a supervisor.

Project closeout: Once the construction phase is ended the project manager’s jobis to ensure finishing any legal related papers for the warranties and help the owner in checking on all his demands in constructing the facility.

Construction managers

Design phase: CM is preferred to be part of the early stages of the design team, so they can work together on the construction plans, sequence, and methods.

Construction phase: This is the main place that construction managers are originally hired for. The CM job on site is to follow up the workflow, ensure that the required materials and equipment are always available. He is the first working order’s holder and if any defect arises, he is responsible to find the solution and track its completion. PlanRadar is the most helpful tool at this stage especially as the software offers a documenting and ticketing feature that ease the CM daily job tasks.

Project Closeout: The construction manager`s role is finalized by ensuring that the facility is following the building codes and is done with its legal affairs. He also has to formulate the last punch list for his projects, and he is also responsible to oversee if the building is being delivered as the initial description or not.

Finally, the main difference between the two jobs is the degree of authority in the project. The PM authority does extend to all the project members and activities including the construction manager while the construction manager main authority is on site with all its duties and laborers. If you have made your decision for your career to be a construction manager, follow the rest of the article to find the tips and skills you need to know for stable and progressive career development.

Related reading: What PlanRadar can do for General Contractors

General manager construction: 6 Skills needed to be effective on site

Being a construction manager requires multiple strengths to coordinate multiple tasks and cooperate with your working team all the time. The following are the main key points that you need to develop in yourself to increase your working productivity and to have a healthy, effective working site.

  • Communication skills: The CM must have some flexible communication skills, so he can interact with the rest of the project members.
  • Teamwork skills: CM is never one person, he is always surrounded by a team which he is responsible to gather them as one unit to work effectively.
  • Decision making: You cannot expect what is the next problem that will arise in the project. An experienced CM has a fast decision-making skill allows him to manage any unexpected events.
  • Presentations: Construction managers are expected to provide a regular update on the working progress, to do so he must have an appropriate level of presentation skills.
  • Organizing and systematic skills: A good CM understands well how to organize his tasks and sequence them in order. This should minimize wasted time and effort.
  • Quality and defect quick observation: The main task of the construction management is to check for any defects on site, to do so he has to detect any defect at the blink of an eye. That’s what differentiates between the experienced and junior CM.

Managing a construction project is not an easy to handle task, in order to do so developing your strengths is your first step toward building your construction careers goal. Start with establishing a plan for your engineering profession and check a small list of what you have to do to get a good vocation in the current market. Next, you will need to find out what the academic and experience requirements of construction manager jobs are so you can finalize your checklist.

Building and construction project manager career path

In the last years, the demand for employment of construction managers increased. If you are looking forward to work in this job there are two things that you have to inherit before starting, education and experience. First for the education, to be a construction manager there is a minimum requirement as having a bachelor’s degree in civil or any construction related field of study. To do so you have two options, either to finish your civil engineering studies and complete your path with a management diploma or study in a specialized construction management college or technical institute. And if you are looking for a further advanced step pursuing your master’s degree in the construction management field will be a big addition to your future moves.

The second requirement is the experience which plays an important role in the construction managers performance because it is usually gained through managing construction projects that are similar. The larger the project you have worked on the more experience you should have gained from it. Try to get an internship with large construction firms to be prepared for any advancement opportunities afterward. By time you will have a self-knowledge base about the projects terms and building descrpitions that will qualify you to earn the job at the end. Finally, the construction managers job is a kind of investment, you invest in yourself to enhance your working reputation and what you’ve paid once you will gain back with benefits. Start your investment with utilizing software in your work and begin using PlanRadar for advanced defect management. You will save up to 40% of your work expenses and most importantly your nerves. For more pricing plans and offers, you can contact our customer care center at any time.

Get started in 4 easy steps.

1. Create an account

2. Upload plans

3. Invite team members

4. Download app