Construction Manager

Construction managers plan, coordinate, budget, and supervise construction projects from development to completion.

Interest Area: 
Persuading
Average Yearly Pay: 
$79860
Education Needed: 
Bachelor's Degree
Job Prospects: 
Average
Job Growth: 
17%

Is this career the right one for you?

Are you a Builder, a Thinker, a Creator, a Helper? Take the Career Surveyor test online and discover which careers are right for you!

Take the Test!

Job Duties: 

Construction managers typically do the following:

  • Prepare and negotiate cost estimates, budgets, and work timetables
  • Select appropriate construction methods and strategies
  • Interpret and explain contracts and technical information to workers and other professionals
  • Report on work progress and budget matters to clients
  • Collaborate with architects, engineers, and other construction and building specialists
  • Instruct and supervise construction personnel and activities onsite
  • Respond to work delays and other problems and emergencies
  • Select, hire, and instruct laborers and subcontractors
  • Comply with legal requirements, building and safety codes, and other regulations
  • Career Overview: 

    Construction managers plan, coordinate, budget, and supervise construction projects from development to completion.

    Duties

    Construction managers typically do the following:

    • Prepare cost estimates, budgets, and work timetables
    • Interpret and explain contracts and technical information to other professionals
    • Report work progress and budget matters to clients
    • Collaborate with architects, engineers, and other construction specialists
    • Select, schedule, and coordinate subcontractor activities
    • Respond to work delays, emergencies, and other problems
    • Comply with legal requirements, building and safety codes, and other regulations

    Construction managers, often called general contractors or project managers, coordinate and supervise a wide variety of projects, including the building of all types of public, residential, commercial, and industrial structures, as well as roads, memorials, and bridges. Although most managers oversee construction projects from start to finish, some consult with developers and builders on construction related issues.

    Construction managers oversee specialized contractors and other personnel. They schedule and coordinate all construction processes so that projects meet design specifications. They ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget. Some managers may be responsible for several projects at once—for example, the construction of multiple apartment buildings.  

    Construction managers work closely with other building specialists, such as architects, civil engineers, and a variety of trade workers, including stonemasons, electricians, and carpenters. Projects may require specialists in everything from structural steel and painting to landscaping, paving roads, and excavating sites. Depending on the project, construction managers may interact with lawyers and local government officials. For example, when working on city-owned property or municipal buildings, managers sometimes confer with city inspectors to ensure that all regulations are met.

    For projects too large to be managed by one person, such as office buildings and industrial complexes, a top-level construction manager hires other construction managers to be in charge of different aspects of the project. For example, each construction manager would oversee a specific phase of the project, such as structural foundation, plumbing, or electrical work, and choose subcontractors to complete it. The top-level construction manager would then collaborate and coordinate with the other construction managers.

    To maximize efficiency and productivity, construction managers often perform the tasks of a cost estimator. They use specialized cost-estimating and planning software to allocate time and money in order to complete their projects. Many managers also use software to plan the best way to get materials to the building site.

    Work Environment: 

    Construction managers held about 485,000 jobs in 2012. Approximately 57 percent were self-employed.

    The industries that employed the most construction managers in 2012 were as follows: 

    Construction of buildings 17%
    Specialty trade contractors 13
    Heavy and civil engineering construction 5

    Many construction managers work from a main office, but most work out of a field office at the construction site, where they monitor the project and make daily decisions about construction activities. For those managing multiple projects, frequent travel between sites is required.

    Injuries and Illnesses

    Construction managers have a lower rate of injuries and illnesses than the national average.

    Work Schedules

    Most construction managers work full time. However, the need to meet deadlines and to respond to delays and emergencies often requires long hours. Many managers also may be on call 24 hours a day.

    Education and Training: 

    Large construction firms increasingly prefer candidates with both construction experience and a bachelor’s degree in a construction-related field. However, some managers may qualify with a high school diploma and by working many years in a construction trade, although most will qualify primarily as self-employed general contractors.

    Education

    It is increasingly important for construction managers to have a bachelor’s degree in construction science, construction management, architecture, or engineering. As construction processes become more complex, employers are placing greater importance on specialized education.

    More than 100 colleges and universities offer accredited bachelor’s degree programs in construction science, building science, or construction engineering. These programs include courses in project control and management, design, construction methods and materials, cost estimation, building codes and standards, and contract administration. Courses in mathematics and statistics are also relevant.

    A number of 2-year colleges offer construction management or construction technology programs. An associate’s degree combined with work experience is typical for managers who supervise smaller projects.  

    A few universities offer master’s degree programs in construction management.

    Those with a high school diploma and several years of relevant work experience may qualify to become a construction manager, although most will do so primarily as self-employed general contractors.

    Training

    All new construction managers are initially hired as assistants and work under the guidance of an experienced manager. This training period may last several months to several years, depending on the firm.

    Work Experience

    Practical construction experience is important when entering the occupation, because it reduces the need for initial on-the-job training. Internships, cooperative education programs, and previous work in the construction industry can provide that experience. Some construction managers become qualified solely through extensive construction experience, spending many years in carpentry, masonry, or other construction specialties.

    Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

    Although not required, certification is becoming increasingly important for construction managers. Certification is valuable because it can demonstrate knowledge and experience.

    The Construction Management Association of America awards the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) designation to workers who have the required experience and who pass a technical exam. It is recommended that applicants for this certification complete a self-study course that covers the professional role of a construction manager, legal issues, the allocation of risk, and other topics related to construction management.

    The American Institute of Constructors awards the Associate Constructor (AC) and Certified Professional Constructor (CPC) designations to candidates who meet its requirements and pass the appropriate construction exams.

    Some states require licensure for construction managers overseeing a public project. For more information, contact your state licensing board.

    Important Qualities

    Analytical skills. Most managers plan a project strategy, handle unexpected issues and delays, and solve problems that arise over the course of the project. In addition, many managers use cost-estimating and planning software to determine how much materials are needed and the time and cost required to complete projects.

    Business skills. Construction managers address budget matters and coordinate and supervise workers. Choosing competent staff and establishing good working relationships with them is critical.

    Customer-service skills. Construction managers are in constant contact with owners, inspectors, and the public. They must communicate work plans clearly, and explain work stoppages when they occur.

    Decision-making skills. Construction managers choose personnel and subcontractors for specific tasks and jobs. Often, these decisions must be made quickly to meet deadlines and budgets.

    Initiative. Self-employed construction managers generate their own business opportunities and must be proactive in finding new clients. They often market their services, bid on jobs, and must learn to perform special home improvement projects such as installing mosaic glass tiles, sanding wood floors, and insulating homes.

    Leadership skills. Managers must effectively delegate tasks to construction workers, subcontractors, and other lower level managers.

    Speaking skills. Managers must give clear orders, explain complex information to construction workers and clients, and discuss technical details with other building specialists, such as architects. Self-employed construction managers must get their own projects, so the need to sell their services to potential clients is critical.

    Technical skills. Managers must know construction methods and technologies, and must be able to interpret contracts and technical drawings.

    Time-management skills. Construction managers must meet deadlines. They ensure that construction phases are completed on time so that the next phase can begin as scheduled. For instance, a building’s foundation cannot be constructed until the land is completely excavated.

    Writing skills. Construction managers must write proposals, plans, and budgets, as well as document the progress of the work for clients and others involved in the building process.

    Pay: 

    The median annual wage for construction managers was $82,790 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $49,680, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $144,520.

    In May 2012, the median annual wages for construction managers in the top three industries employing these managers were as follows:

    Heavy and civil engineering construction $85,130
    Construction of buildings 81,830
    Specialty trade contractors 79,470

    Salaried construction managers also may earn bonuses and overtime pay. About 57 percent of construction managers were self-employed in 2012. Their earnings are highly dependent on the amount of business they generate.

    Most construction managers work full time. However, the need to meet deadlines and to respond to delays and emergencies often requires long hours. Many managers also may be on call 24 hours a day.

    Job Outlook: 

    Employment of construction managers is projected to grow 16 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations.

    Construction managers will be needed as overall construction activity expands. Population and business growth will result in the construction of many new residences, office buildings, retail outlets, hospitals, schools, restaurants, and other structures over the coming decade. Also, the need to improve portions of the national infrastructure will spur employment growth as roads, bridges, and sewer pipe systems are upgraded or replaced.

    In addition, a growing emphasis on retrofitting buildings to make them more energy efficient should create jobs for general contractors, who are more likely to manage the renovation and upgrading of buildings than oversee new large-scale construction projects.

    To ensure that projects are completed on time and under budget, firms are increasingly focusing on hiring construction managers. Furthermore, construction processes and building technology are becoming more complex, requiring greater oversight and spurring demand for specialized management personnel. Sophisticated technology, worker safety, environmental protection, and new regulations setting standards for building and construction material also will drive employment growth.

    Job Prospects

    Job opportunities for qualified construction managers are expected to be good. Specifically, those with a bachelor’s degree in construction science, construction management, or civil engineering, coupled with construction experience, will have the best job prospects.

    Although employment growth will provide many new jobs, a substantial number of construction managers are expected to retire over the next decade, resulting in additional job openings.

    Employment of construction managers, like that of many other construction workers, is sensitive to fluctuations in the economy. On the one hand, workers in the construction industry may experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of construction falls. On the other hand, peak periods of building activity may produce abundant job opportunities for construction managers.

    For More Information: 

    For information about construction manager certification, visit

    American Institute of Constructors

    For information about construction management and construction manager certification, visit

    Construction Management Association of America

    For information on accredited construction science and management educational programs, visit

    ABET

    American Council for Construction Education

    NCCER

    Comments

    i would be like to know salary of CM

    Share your thoughts

    The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
    All comments are moderated. Please be courteous. Spammers will be fried and served on toast.