Construction management is a great career for someone interested in building and design. Working as a construction manager allows you to learn construction from one end to the other – from the planning stage with architects and engineers to the budgeting stage with cost estimators, to the production stage with laborers.
A good project manager must have the skills and personality to overcome obstacles – unforeseen delays, requests to change the original scope of work (change orders), and bad weather are common. Construction managers obtain work permits, hire contractors, troubleshoot emergencies, and keep clients informed on work timetables and progress.
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Education For Construction Project Management
While it’s possible to work your way up to project management, a solid education in the discipline is very helpful. Pursuing a bachelor’s degree or certificate in construction management will help you understand the complexities of the construction industry. Some of the responsibilities you’ll learn about include estimating, cost control, risk management, and contract administration.
Given the recent increase in environmental concerns, you should consider earning a LEED AP (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional) credential from the U.S. Green Building Council. This certification demonstrates in-depth knowledge of green building standards, and it is a must for project managers hired for green building projects.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that over 100 colleges and universities offer programs in construction science, building science, or construction engineering. Earning certification is another way to become more marketable and competitive as a job seeker. The Construction Management Association of America awards the Certified Construction Manager designation, and the American Institute of Constructors awards the Associate Constructor Certification to those who have the required experience and pass a technical exam.
Education is important to advancement as a project manager, but experience also counts. As an example, some construction managers start out as a carpenter or glazier and eventually rise through the ranks without formal education. Internships working with architects and general contractors can also help establish experience.
Those new to the field can get practical experience working as an assistant until they’ve learned the ropes and are ready to supervise their own construction project. The more knowledge and experience you have in the industry, the more likely you are to be successful as a project manager. Consider the benefits of a cooperative education program, so you can gain on-the-job experience as you study.
Good communication skills are critical for effective project management. You have to deal with quite a few people – owners, management, project engineers, architects, subcontractors, vendors, and inspectors. All of these stakeholders have differing needs and demands, and you’ll need to prioritize among multiple requests while remaining calm and confident. Strong writing ability is required, as the job involves a lot of paperwork, from email to requests for information (RFIs).
Project managers spend at least as much time in their office as on a job site. Managing and scheduling subcontractors, dealing with permits, developing project timelines, and managing a complex budget require good computer skills. Most companies have a construction project management software to help you keep up with everything, and familiarity with spreadsheet software is also helpful. Math skills and knowledge of accounting help with budgets and billing and good organizational skills are necessary for all aspects of the project.
FAQs: What Makes A Great Construction Project Manager?
What is the role of a construction project manager?
A construction project manager oversees various aspects of construction projects, from planning and budgeting to production and completion. They obtain work permits, hire contractors, troubleshoot emergencies, and keep clients informed about project timetables and progress.
Is formal education necessary to become a construction project manager?
While it’s possible to work your way up to project management, having a solid education in construction management is very helpful. Pursuing a bachelor’s degree or certificate in construction management can provide essential knowledge and skills, including estimating, cost control, risk management, and contract administration.
Are there specialized certifications that can enhance a construction project manager’s qualifications?
Yes, specialized certifications can make a construction project manager more marketable. For example, earning a LEED AP (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional) credential from the U.S. Green Building Council demonstrates expertise in green building standards, which is valuable for green building projects. Other certifications like the Certified Construction Manager or Associate Constructor Certification can also enhance one’s qualifications.
Can you become a construction project manager with work experience alone?
Yes, it is possible to become a construction project manager with work experience alone. Some individuals start in the construction industry in roles like carpenters or glaziers and work their way up to project management positions without formal education. Gaining practical experience through internships or as an assistant can also pave the way to becoming a project manager.
What are the essential skills for a successful construction project manager?
Effective project managers need strong communication skills to interact with various stakeholders, including owners, architects, subcontractors, and inspectors. They must be skilled in prioritizing tasks, managing multiple requests, and handling paperwork. Additionally, proficiency in construction project management software and spreadsheet software, as well as math, accounting, and organizational skills, are essential for success in this role.
How can I gain practical experience in construction project management?
Gaining practical experience can be achieved through internships, cooperative education programs, or by working as an assistant under the guidance of experienced project managers. These opportunities allow you to learn the ropes of construction project management while on the job.
Are there educational programs for construction project management?
Yes, numerous colleges and universities offer programs related to construction, such as construction science, building science, or construction engineering. Pursuing a degree or certificate in construction management can provide valuable education in this field.
What is the significance of good communication skills for construction project managers?
Good communication skills are crucial because construction project managers interact with various stakeholders who have differing needs and demands. They must prioritize requests, remain calm and confident, and handle a significant amount of paperwork. Strong writing skills are also required for tasks like email correspondence and requests for information (RFIs).
How important are computer skills for construction project managers?
Computer skills are essential for construction project managers, as they spend a considerable amount of time managing and scheduling subcontractors, dealing with permits, developing project timelines, and handling budgets. Familiarity with construction project management software and spreadsheet software is beneficial. Additionally, math and accounting skills are valuable for budgeting and billing processes, and strong organizational skills are necessary for managing all aspects of a project.