The Day-to-Day as a Construction Project Manager
Construction Project Managers oversee every stage of the building process and are responsible for keeping construction projects on budget and within the scope of the plan. They are responsible for: hiring and managing subcontractors, planning, budgeting, and remaining compliant with regional laws. Construction Project Managers work with: Architects, Engineers, Construction Managers, Designers, Tradespeople, General Contractors, Subcontractors, and key stakeholders to plan and keep projects on track. Most Construction Project Managers will eventually end up specializing in one type of construction, such as small home renovation, offices, hospitals, schools, or another type of project.
Most Construction Managers will work around 10 hours per day but may work more or less during certain phases of the project. Construction usually begins early in the morning. They will often be required to be on-call, in case of an emergency. Most Construction Project Managers work as independent contractors but can find jobs on salary bases at construction firms as well.
Every day is a bit different and each project brings new challenges, but you might find a Construction Project manager: negotiating a contract, hiring a subcontractor, inspecting installations, remedying delays on job sites, getting permits planning, organizing, scheduling, giving directions, wrapping up projects, preparing budgets, maximizing resources, working with architects and engineers on plans, negotiating contracts, attending meetings, or enforcing safety and compliance standards.
What Skills Should Construction Project Managers Have?
Construction Project Managers must have excellent accuracy with time management, as they: set the schedules, benchmarks, and plans for an entire project, including budget. As such, they should have a deep knowledge of: materials, budgeting, construction finance, and resource distribution. They’ll also likely have to adjust the budget and timeline throughout the project, so adaptability on-the-spot, along with problem-solving skills and communication will be a necessary combination.
Because they are managing a team and communicating with clients, Construction Project Managers must be great communicators in-person and in writing. This responsibility also comes with risk-management in the entirety of every project. This means assessing the risks involving: money, materials, human safety, and time.
Some Construction Project Managers or construction firms use Project Management Software, like Microsoft Project, jobProgress, Procore, CoConstruct, or BlueBeam, and Construction Project Managers should be prepared to implement software if the client or firm requests it. Each region will have its own codes, permits, and safety standards that the Construction Project Manager will have to get to know and work to adhere to during the entire project. They will need to have a high-level understanding of mathematics, architecture, site design, environmentally-friendly building practices, current construction best practices, and building codes.
Learn the Skills You Need to Become a Construction Project Manager
Project management is the practice of leading a team's work through planning and team management to meet a goal and deadline with a completed project.
Project Management Certification
The most common project management certifications are awarded by the Project Management Institute (PMI). These professional certifications ensure your ability to meet the demands of projects and employers by creating rigorous standards based on ongoing research. Some certifications include Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM), and the PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA).
Project is a project management software product by Microsoft. It is both a desktop computer program and a cloud-based program. Project is used to track projects, assign resources to tasks, develop a project schedule, manage a project budget, and analyze workloads.
Construction Project Manager Salaries
A Construction Project Manager in the United States makes, on average, $84,588 annually, according to Indeed.com.
Salaries for Construction Project Managers vary by region within the the United States. Listed below are some Construction Project Manager salaries for specific areas with the United States compared with the average national salary:
- U.S. Average $84K source n/a
New York City
Los Angeles, CA
Orange County, CA
- U.S. Average $84K source n/a
Typical Qualifications to Become a Construction Project Manager
Most clients expect Construction Project Managers to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in construction science, construction management, or a related field, like civil engineering. Construction Project Managers can get certifications from the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) or the American Institute of Constructors (AIC), which are increasingly in-demand. To obtain one of these certifications, candidates must pass a written exam. It is possible to work your way up through construction jobs without an education, but you’ll need to begin with an apprenticeship and find a firm or company that will be willing to train you for a management position.
Searching for Construction Project Manager Jobs
Construction Project Managers usually work as independent contractors or with a large firm. In this field, they place a bid or estimate for jobs they’d like to take on and the client will choose the bid that best fits their needs. There are plenty of bid sites, but Construction Project Managers can also find salary work at firms on typical job boards.
Construction Project Managers can bid for jobs on these sites:
- Construction Bid Source
- Dodge Construction Central
- Inside Higher Ed
Construction Project Managers can apply for jobs on these sites:
Construction Project Manager hopefuls can find paid internships and apprenticeships here:
Tips to Become a Construction Project Manager
Construction Project Managers are in high demand, but you’ll still need to put in an effort in gaining experience to land a job in this field. If you don’t have the proper level of experience or education to dive directly into a management level position, consider doing an apprenticeship with a construction firm in your area of interest. If you’ve finished an apprenticeship or training position at a firm and you’ve been denied a promotion at your current employer, or aren’t landing management positions, you might want to apply for positions like Estimator, Project Engineer, or another role to get some of the skills you’ll need and make progress with your experience.
If you’re working with a firm, make your goals clear to your bosses. This will help you both set expectations and ensure you’re learning what you need to get a promotion. You might get a few small promotions first, like transitioning to assistant manager or a junior position, instead of a full promotion to Project Manager. If you’ve never taken a course, consider taking one! It might be the leg up you need if you’re having trouble finding a job or getting promoted.
Make a list of the skills and experience you think you might be lacking before approaching this subject with your boss, which may gain you some respect and move the process along more quickly. Try to be objective and be ready to take and implement feedback from anyone you are reporting to. Since you will eventually be managing people, too, be willing to accept feedback from those who are in lower or adjacent positions as well!
The best way to get promoted in construction is by being direct with your boss and ready to work. If they tell you to go get on the ground-level before you can get promoted, they’re probably hoping you’ll glean some knowledge from the subcontractors and tradespeople. Get your boots dirty and get to know the expertise of subcontractors. A good Construction Project Manager will have a directory of subcontractors and tradespeople with whom they have good working relationships. It doesn’t hurt to spend a few days working side-by-side with them to build rapport!
What Job Titles Would a Construction Project Manager Hold?
Construction Project Manager is a relatively standardized position. They can specialize in small home renovation, offices, hospitals, schools, or other types of projects. Some Construction Project Manager job titles will indicate these specializations.
Construction Project Managers can look for these job titles:
- Construction Project Manager
- Junior Construction Project Manager
- Construction Manager Trainee
- Construction Manager Apprenticeship
Construction Project Manager is a highly specialized form of the project manager. Most Construction Project Managers have the proper skills to easily transition into a Project Manager role in another field. A Project Manager is responsible for planning and executing a project including procuring materials and labor, defining the scope, and creating a timeline for a complex project. These positions will usually pay about the same, but Construction Project Managers could earn more–depending on their location.
If a Construction Project Manager wanted to upskill into a Project Management position that required less running around, they could work their way into tech. They would need to learn coding, software planning and development, and tech design skills. They would also need to gain some experience in technical positions such as Software Developer or Software Designer.
They could eventually attain the role of Software Project Manager. From there, they could work their way up to a Product Manager position. The Product Manager oversees the development of large and complex products, the team that develops the product, as well as the budget and timeline of the product in development. Some Product Managers work with physical products. A position that works with non-technical physical products would not require as much technical experience.
If you’re more interested in working with networks and databases, you can pivot into moving up to an IT Project Manager job. This role could be attained through working as a Cybersecurity Engineer, Database Administrator, or other IT role. IT Project Managers are responsible for successfully accomplishing an organizations’ IT goals by planning, organizing, and budgeting resources.
Nearly all of these positions require at least a four-year degree in computer science or information technology. Obtaining a Project Manager role in another industry may be difficult, however, demonstrated experience can be enough if you’ve worked your way up through any of these stepping stone jobs. Each of the listed roles here will likely result in an increased annual Salary for a Construction Project Manager.
Salary Comparison to Construction Project Manager
Project managers bear the responsibility of managing projects from launch to closing. They work in a variety of industries, from construction to information technology. With broad oversight on budgeting, planning, risk management and scheduling, project managers provide leadership and guidance throughout the project term. Project managers are in high demand and enjoy competitive salaries and compensation.Learn about becoming a Project Manager
Product managers guide product development from ideation to market. Starting with consumer and market research, they use their understanding of customer wants and needs to inform product development and go-to-market strategy. They will work closely with engineering, marketing, sales, and other teams to launch products. After launch, they solicit and analyze feedback on the product to inform future iterations.Learn about becoming a Product Manager
Software Project Manager
Software project managers lead software development projects from concept to completion. Using their deep expertise in scheduling, budgeting, sequencing, and resource allocation, software project managers are critical in a software project's success. Software project managers must be able to understand and interpret customer and client needs and deliver a completed, functioning product. After development, they will continue to solicit and incorporate user feedback into future iterations.Learn about becoming a Software Project Manager
IT Project Manager
IT Project Managers are responsible for successfully accomplishing an organizations’ IT goals by planning, organizing, and budgeting resources. IT Project Managers lead teams to complete projects, such as: software and application development, hardware installations, network upgrades, cloud computing and virtualization rollouts, or business analytics and data management infrastructure.Learn about becoming a IT Project Manager