In what would be a bizarre sight for someone traveling from only 50 years in the past, skyscrapers and other enormous, complicated structures now dot the skyline of almost every major city.
These massive constructions, and even some smaller ones, often require a large number of professionals from different fields working simultaneously and concurrently to get the building up. Walk by one of these properties during construction work, and from the extent of seemingly scattered ongoing activity, it is perplexing how they ever get anything meaningful done.
If you have ever wondered how these properties get developed with grinding to a halt from common complications, you have stumbled on the ubiquitous but relatively obscure field of construction management.
What is Construction Management?
Construction management is a highly skilled service that employs the use of specialized project management techniques in the world of construction, overseeing the planning, design, and erection of the structures.
The goal of construction management is to properly utilize the available resources, controlling the project’s duration, cost, and quality. Consequently, construction managers typically manage large scale high-budget projects that involve sizable financial commitments and require extensive management like transportation infrastructure, commercial real estate, military infrastructure, and industrial facilities.
However, with the growing amount of commercial structures and increasingly complicated residential buildings in the country, the need for construction managers is on the rise.
For even larger projects, it is typical for the structure to have several construction management specialists on the job, each supervising a specific part of the erection process and answering to a head construction manager.
Furthermore, many construction managers specialize in specific construction types or different aspects of construction to further enhance their value in the marketplace.
The Role of Construction Management
The three central roles construction management serves are:
Maximizing Project Effectiveness
The construction manager is the employer’s representative onsite. Hence it is the job of construction management to ensure that the project matches the employers while working out to be as effective as possible. To achieve this end, construction managers handle the planning, coordination, budgeting, and supervision of the project from conception to completion.
Organizing other Professionals
It is the construction manager’s job to liaise with and manage engineers, architects, and other specialists on the project to ensure that it achieves the chief aim.
Ensuring Legal Conformity
Another vital responsibility of construction management is to ensure that the entire building process conforms with all relevant local, state, and federal laws.
Other vital responsibilities that fall under the jurisdiction of construction managers include:
- Briefing clients on project status
- Hiring and supervising subcontractors
- Dealing with deadlines, delays, and safety concerns
The Construction Management Process
The process of construction management includes four main stages: Feasibility and design, pre-construction, procurement, and construction.
Feasibility and Design
Here, the construction manager works to determine the goals and objectives of the project, making decisions on everything from the building size to the number of rooms, space management, and lots more.
Next, the manager works out the designs for the structure, including plans for all of its layers, and then proceeds to create the final drawings and specifications for the project.
The pre-construction stage begins when the construction manager gets the go-ahead from the project owner to proceed with construction. The manager must then carry out site inspections and soil tests before proceeding.
Here, the construction manager acquires the materials, equipment, and labor that the project needs.
First, the construction manager must convene a pre-construction meeting to iron out decisions on material use and storage, quality control, site access, work hours and payment schedules for contractors and workers, then, construction begins.
Construction Management Requirements
Typically, most construction managers, especially those on larger projects, are people with both college degrees and significant construction experience. However, construction managers without traditional education still become favorites for top projects if they have the expertise to back them as this field is significantly experience-driven.
Nevertheless, the increasing amount of automation and the use of more complicated systems in construction today is creating a situation where the demand for relevant formal academic requirements is on the rise.
However, even after bagging a degree, the experience is still of vital importance, and the fact that many construction management degrees include up to a year of practical onsite expertise is a testament to that fact. Even after graduating from college, many construction managers still spend extended periods as apprentices under established managers before handling projects of their own
Many jobs now require construction managers who have at least a Bachelor’s in construction management, engineering, or architecture. A construction management degree instructs undergraduates in all the skills necessary for handling the onsite management responsibilities you need for managing construction projects.
For construction management, you do not have to bother with national memberships as there are no requirements for federal licensing in the field. However, some states still require a state license before you can practice there.
Construction Management Degrees
The two academic options for an aspiring project manager are either a bachelor’s degree or a Master’s in construction management.
A bachelor’s degree takes around 3-4 years to complete and has the same requirements as any regular university degree. In contrast, the masters take about 1-2 years and typically requires a Bachelor’s in Construction Management, Construction Engineering, Architecture, Civil Engineering, or other related fields.
Construction Management Jobs
The jobs available to you as a construction management professional include:
- Construction manager
- Building surveyor
- Building services engineer
- Building control surveyor
- Estates manager
- Site engineer
- Sustainability consultant
- Fire risk assessor
- Quantity surveyor