For people in the construction industry, a project manager is usually the leader on their project. Whether you’re in commercial construction, energy management or residential work, all types of construction require a manager to make sure everything goes smoothly.
For people who are considering a career in construction management, it’s important to understand what a construction manager does. In this article, we’re going to look at the different jobs a project manager does, from the basics to the behind-the-scenes responsibilities.
The 6 Responsibilities Of A Project Manager
Unlike other construction professionals, who typically specialize in one type of work, construction project managers are responsible for overseeing a project from start to finish. This requires familiarity with several types of construction project responsibilities, as well as the ability to wear many hats. Here are the most important things construction managers are typically responsible for on a job.
Before anyone else arrives on the job site, a project manager is already hard at work. Because a manager is ultimately answerable to the company owner and their customer, their first task is to create a project management plan (PMP) that outlines every aspect of the work to be done.
First and foremost, the PMP will outline the scope of work to be done. For example, a PMP for residential development will outline how many houses are going to be built, where they’re going to be built, and the size of the houses. It will also include the overall budget.
The PMP will also lay out what standards are going to be used. For our residential development, it would specify 2×4 or 2×6 exterior wall studs, what grade of insulation is going to be used, what windows are going to be used, and so on.
The PMP also outlines any sort of site work that needs to be done beforehand, such as grading or environmental mitigation. If any permits are required, for example, a permit to dig a drainage ditch, those should be clearly stated.
Finally, a PMP will outline how many and what types of workers are needed for each phase of construction. It will also lay out specific milestones that need to be met, and what the timeline is for meeting each of those milestones.
To create a PMP, a project manager must be familiar not only with the ins and outs of how a job is done but also with the business side of construction. A degree in construction management can be incredibly handy when it comes to preparing for a career in construction project management.
For all types of construction, costs need to be estimated for each step of the job. A good PMP goes a long way towards making this happen, but even on the best construction sites there are going to be unforeseen challenges. A good project manager will build room into the budget for unexpected setbacks, and ensure that they’re paying enough workers to complete the job while staying within the budget.
Time is money. There’s nothing that will make a customer angry quite like telling them that their new apartment building will need to start accepting leases a month later than planned.
To avoid this, a project manager needs to constantly be planning ahead and preparing for the next step. While a house is being framed, a good manager will be making sure the roofers are scheduled and their shingles are delivered on time. While the roof is going on, the project manager will already be working with the interior designer to make sure they’re ready to go when the interior is ready for work.
In most types of construction, a lot of work is done by subcontractors. When a project manager has completed their PMP, it’s their responsibility to work with subcontractors to make sure responsibilities are laid out in advance. They’ll need to agree on budgets, as well as timelines, essentially creating a miniature PMP with each subcontractor.
As the head of the project, the project manager is responsible for providing a safe workplace for everyone on site. At a bare minimum, this requires them to be familiar with OSHA regulations, but there’s more involved.
Not everyone on a job site is going to be a contractor. Depending on the job, members of the public may be in the vicinity. On city jobs, in particular, it’s also important to make sure no surrounding properties are damaged.
A project manager needs to make sure that each phase of the project meets the agreed-upon standards. For residential construction, this can mean making sure roofs are properly supported, and flashing is properly applied around windows. On commercial jobs, this can involve inspecting polished concrete floors, or ensuring that floating ceilings aren’t damaged.
Preparing for a Career in Construction Management
Needless to say, if you’re going to do this job, you’re going to need some training. A construction management degree can be just what you need to set yourself apart from the competition. Anyone can say they’re a project manager, but a degree shows that you know what you’re doing.
Even if you’re not interested in being a project manager, a construction management degree can be helpful for a variety of construction careers. These include surveying jobs, like building surveyors and quantity surveyors. They also include other top-level jobs like estates management and site engineers.
A construction management degree can also help if you’re going into civil engineering. Town planners, urban designers and environmental engineers all need strong project management skills, as do environmental engineers and geotechnical engineers.
Contact Everglades University for more information about how our construction management program can help prepare you for success in the field of construction.