Main Responsibilities and Skills of a Project Manager in Construction
The construction industry is one of the largest yet most challenging sectors to work in as a project manager. It accounts for 4.3% of the GDP in the United States and employs over 7 million Americans in 2023 (Zippa). Therefore, construction project management jobs can be challenging even if you are well-educated and experienced.
This article will help you understand how to be a better project manager in construction. In addition, we will list the vital skills of construction project management professionals.
What is a Project Manager in Construction?
Before we can begin discussing the best skills a project manager in construction should have, we must first understand what this role entails.
A construction project manager is a professional typically hired by an owner or client of a construction business to oversee the management, coordination, and execution of the activities and personnel in a construction area. This person is the main point of contact for all parties involved and ensures the project is delivered on time, within or below budget, and to the owner’s satisfaction.
Construction Project Manager Responsibilities
The primary responsibilities of a construction project manager include such things as:
- Creating plans and schedules. Construction project managers develop action plans and timelines to ensure that all materials and personnel can be utilized most efficiently to meet the deadlines and budget from start to finish. A construction project plan must be prioritized by time, scope, and cost requirements.
- Managing relationships. The role requires developing and maintaining relationships with buyers, suppliers, and subcontractors to ensure that all materials, tools, construction technology, and workforce are available in adequate quality and quality when needed.
- Managing operations. Project construction management professionals also oversee all processes relating to the entire project, including workforce management, procurement strategies, resource allocation, cost control, quality control, and safety. The goal is to ensure that these activities follow the project’s plans.
- Overseeing construction sites. Good construction project managers ensure that the construction area is safe and securely constructed, has navigable fixtures, and is exhaustible so that no harm to the project will occur. Also, they must ensure that the owner is aware of any problems, such as a shortage of materials or labor, and resolve issues associated with the project on-site.
Besides these duties, construction project managers are responsible for change and risk management, safety, financing, construction methodologies, and other general project management tasks.
5 Must-Have Skills of a Project Manager in Construction
The skills of a construction project manager should help balance the needs of both the owner and the contractor, ensuring that both parties are happy with the project.
With respect to the listed responsibilities, a construction project manager must have these five essential skills:
1. Strong Leadership Skills
Strong leadership and team management skills are essential for any project management job.
Construction project managers must lead by example and maintain high morale among the team members like the architect, structural engineer, designer, superintendent, site clerks, and builders. They must also be solid in their decisions and promote the project goals above all else.
2. Excellent Communicator
A construction project manager must possess outstanding communication and negotiation skills. In addition, they must communicate with all parties involved (including the client, engineers, tradespeople, and subcontractors) clearly and concisely.
As mentioned earlier, strong leadership and communication skills are essential to ensure the trust is earned and maintained throughout the project.
The ability to follow instructions and conditions on every project detail is critical.
A construction project manager needs to pay attention to detail, check work regularly, and keep an eye on sub-doctrines, such as the budget and schedule.
They should expect the same approach from the team, subcontractors, and suppliers, requiring them to adhere to the project’s standards.
4. Business Sense
To keep the project on track, a project manager in construction must possess strong business sense. They should know how to manage costs, monitor budgets, and control schedules effectively.
Suppose a site manager has to choose between the less expensive option and the more expensive one; the project manager must determine which one could be used to avoid any issues.
Constructing a building is a challenging feat. Mistakes can occur, and construction project managers must be able to persuade all parties to work together to find solutions to create a project that will achieve the specified goals and objectives.
Besides, a good construction project manager must also ensure that all involved parties fulfill their contractual obligations and budget at least on time.
How to Become a Construction Project Manager
Although there are several different paths one could take to become a construction project manager, here are five general ways you can consider:
- A bachelor’s degree in business management, construction management, or a similar area is necessary.
- Experience in projects related to construction is preferred.
- A construction project manager certification is highly desirable. Consider applying for Certified Construction Manager® (CCM®) at cmaanet.org.
- Construction project managers must be able to obtain a working knowledge of design and project management software or have prior experience using such software.
- Always watch for opportunities to take on responsibility and build your experience.
The annual salary for a construction project manager in the United States ranges between 98,000 and 127,000; the average base salary is $113,000, according to salary.com.