Construction managers plan, budget, organise and oversee all aspects of construction projects. This can include residential, commercial or public structures as well as memorials, roads and bridges. Construction managers collaborate with architects, engineers, trade workers, city inspectors and other construction professionals. They hire subcontractors, respond to work delays and emergencies, and comply with all building and safety codes.
- Obtain all required building permits and licences
- Collaborate with architects, engineers and other construction experts on plans, safety or problems
- Perform or contract out pre-building assessments such as cost-estimating and environmental impact
- Plan, organise and schedule construction activities to meet deadlines
- Requisition and maintain inventory for all needed building supplies and materials
- Prepare or revise contracts with clients, consultants, suppliers and subcontractors
- Explain plans and contracts to owner, developer or related administrative staff
- Direct and supervise construction workers, including trade and craft workers
- Oversee and assess all construction activities for quality, legal safety standards and building codes
- Respond to work delays, inspection issues, emergencies and other problems
- Submit budget and progress reports to clients
Skills and qualities
Most construction managers begin as an assistant to a more experienced manager. After gaining experience, you may start supervising small projects or one aspect of a larger project. Some construction managers specialise in managing a phase of a building project, like structural foundation or plumbing.
Construction managers with a high school diploma or associate's degree and several years of experience in construction choose to be self-employed general contractors.
Having a bachelor's degree and additional certification can help you stand out among other candidates for more challenging construction manager jobs. Years of successful management can lead to a role as the top-level construction manager on a lucrative, large-scale project.
On call for emergencies
Most construction managers work full time during daylight hours. Strict deadlines, delays and emergencies can lead to extra hours, and you may put in more than 40 hours a week. Construction managers are typically on call 24 hours a day to deal with any unexpected issues.
Construction managers may have a main office but usually work out of a field office on the construction site. Those in charge of multiple projects will travel frequently between locations.
Despite spending time in offices doing administrative work, construction managers still deal with weather and safety issues when on-site. You may be at risk for injury and exposed to chemicals, fumes and other hazards. Following safety protocols and wearing protective clothing and equipment can help reduce that risk.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
Qualifications and training
Bachelor’s degree in construction science
While requirements may vary, most employers now prefer that construction manager candidates have a bachelor's degree. Relevant subjects include construction science, construction management, building science, architecture and engineering. Those looking for further education may obtain a master's degree in construction management.
Extensive experience as a construction or trade worker can lead to a position as construction manager, but typically on smaller jobs. Apprenticeships or an associate's degree in construction management or construction technology are also available.
Construction managers typically receive on-the-job training from a more experienced manager. Training can take several months or years, depending on the employer.
Certification for construction managers is available from the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) and the American Institute of Constructors (AIC). Some states may require a licence for managers, so check with your state licensing board.
SourcesAmerican Institute of Constructors (AIC) Bureau of Labor Statistics Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) O*NET OnLine Oxford Martin School
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2022