June 23, 2019


Construction managers are responsible for overseeing building and construction projects from beginning to end; they manage the early planning stages, right through to the implementation and final result. While it is their job to hire and supervise workers, there is much more to a construction manager role. They must also coordinate schedules and subcontractors, estimate project costs, report progress to clients and superiors, ensure safety codes are being met and keep the project running to set a timeframe.

It is not uncommon for a construction manager to be on-call 24/7, and work extended hours, especially when project deadlines are approaching. Majority of their time is spent within an office, as opposed to being on the worksite itself. Some construction managers may have an onsite office as well, and will travel between them depending on the project. For larger scale projects, a construction manager may be required to travel between sites quiet regularly on a day-to-day basis.

Tasks Involved

Some of the tasks a construction manager is responsible for include the following:

  • Coordinating all labour resources
  • Arrange the ordering and delivery of building materials and equipment
  • Consulting with engineering professionals, architects and other specialty or technical trade workers
  • Reading and interpreting architectural drawings and specifications
  • Negotiating with building owners, subcontractors and property developers involved to ensure all projects adhere to time and budget restrictions
  • Implementing coordinated work programs for individual sites
  • Preparing contract bids and tenders
  • Organising building inspections by local authorities
  • Overseeing the progress and standard of subcontractors’ work
  • Ensuring building standards and legislation are adhered to for quality, cost and safety reasons
  • Building under contract and subcontracting specialised building services

Becoming a Construction Manager

While some building and construction trades don’t necessarily require qualifications, to become a construction manager you will typically need a bachelors degree in a construction related field, a Diploma of Building and Construction or a Certificate IV in Building in Construction. These qualifications are designed so that graduates are familiar with the theory side of building and construction, as opposed to hands on skill and knowledge. It is essential that construction managers are familiar with all aspects of building and construction, while having firsthand experience with each trade is not.

It is still possible to become a construction manager without formal qualifications. If the individual has extensive experience and the necessary skillsets, they would pursue a career as a construction manager, however these people are usually qualified to then become self-employed general contractors which they may prefer. A worthwhile point to keep in mind is the fact that to successfully manage and oversee a worksite, a construction manager needs the cooperation and respect of the workers themselves. If a manager has no hands on experience, and doesn’t know enough about each trade to do their job effectively, this will make it difficult to tell more experiences trades what to do. Many successful construction managers opt to work in a particular trade for a number of years before pursing the necessary course qualifications to upskill into a managerial role.

What skills and abilities are required?

To become a construction manager, there are certain skills, abilities and knowledge needed to ensure you can carry out the necessary obligations to a satisfactory standard. While having an understanding of the worksite and specific trades is important, there are other characteristics a candidate must have. Some of these skills, just to name a few, include:

  • Time management – the ability to efficiently manage your own time and the time of those you’re responsible for.
  • Active listening – taking the time to absorb what others are saying to best utilise the information provided and understand the situation.
  • Critical thinking – utilising logic and reasoning to evaluate strengths and weaknesses of certain actions and weigh the approaches to problems strategically.
  • Verbal communication – conveying information to others in a clear and concise manner.
  • Coordination – structuring schedules and workflows to account for the actions of others.
  • Monitoring – keeping a close eye on the performance of yourself and others to ensure goals are being met, and implementing corrective actions if they are not.

Prospective jobs in Australia

According to statistics collated on a yearly basis by Job Outlook, in the time leading up to November 2019 job openings for construction managers are anticipated to be quite high (exceeding 50,000). Employment in this category has been strong over the past ten years, with a steady increase and only slight dips in certain years.

As construction managers are needed on a wide variety of domestic, commercial and industrial building and construction projects, there is always a need for skills professionals who fit the right criteria.

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