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A construction manager, also known as a site manager, supervises different operations of a construction project. A construction manager operates in a very dynamic field, where it may feel like no each construction project brings unique opportunities and challenges, making the job ever-changing and dynamic. These unique aspects of construction management attract individuals from various related fields, such as engineering and construction.
Ken Yingling, a construction professional with over 30 years experience, stated:
“Arriving at a cleared jobsite with nothing and then leaving that same jobsite a year later with a new structure is an incredible feeling. That sense of accomplishment and pride needs to be infectious and handed down to our next generation. “
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated construction management jobs to rise for 16% between 2012 and 2022. And the good news doesn’t stop there - construction managers get a hefty paycheck too. The lowest-paid get around $50,000 while the highest paid ones get around $144,500+ in yearly compensation.
Is Construction Management basically Project Management?
It may be intuitive to think that construction management is part of the project management umbrella since constructing a site is a project after all. Well, project management and construction management differ greatly.
While the project manager oversees all operations, from start to end, the construction manager comes into play in terms of managing the actual construction process. The project managers do not necessarily come from a construction background, while construction managers mostly do.
As a project manager, you will be involved in the process from the project’s inception, while as a construction manager, you will be involved once the project reaches the building phase. The graph above shows the difference between the two roles.
However, this does not mean that a construction manager will not be involved in contracts, budgeting or quality control. They will be involved but only in tasks related to the building specifically. They have similar responsibilities, but of different scopes.
So, what does a construction manager actually do? 🏗
Construction managers are responsible for managing and coordinating efforts between various individuals involved in the construction process. This may include architects, engineers, contractors, various suppliers, and so on.
Construction managers oversee the construction project from start to finish in a timely and cost-effective way. It is their duty to make sure that the project is delivered on time and on budget.
Managing a construction project can be viewed as conducting an orchestra. Construction managers coordinate between the design team, usually made up of architects and engineers, and sub-contractors. Common daily activities of a construction manager may be:
Collaborating with architect and engineers in terms of the design of the building
Planning schedules for on-site and off-site workers
Reporting to the building owners
Ensuring healthy and safe work practices
Monitoring regulatory compliance
Supporting Roles 👷
Construction managers are supported by project engineers and superintendents at a managerial level. Project engineers are the ones doing all the paperwork, making sure that the project is documented at each step of the way. Superintendents, on the other hand, are more hands-on, going out at the construction site and coordinating with field staff.
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A typical task required of construction managers is facilitating communication between different parties. For instance, the architect communicates what they want to the construction manager, who then serves as a communication bridge between the architect and the subcontractor.
Between the communication from all different parties, the construction manager is supposed to find a solution for problems that may arise along the way, and ensure harmony between all parties involved in the construction process. At the end of the project, it is crucial to ensure that the building budget is met and the building is technically sound.