Construction project managers are the key players in any construction project team. Without project managers, construction teams would fall on hard times. Reversely, imagine what disaster would strike if a project manager didn’t know how to use their team. Listed here are the key responsibilities of project managers that allow them to manage both the teams and the project as a whole.
When estimating the project costs, project managers need a trained eye for detail to provide the most accurate estimate possible. On the other hand, when dealing with subcontractors and suppliers, they need great written and oral communication skills, as well as negotiating skills for landing down the best possible prices. In addition, project managers need to be able to work with fellow team members, as well as vendors, subcontractors, and external consultants.
Apart from having to plan their work, project managers also have to outline separate tasks for their teams. An experienced project manager will forecast and determine much of the work that needs to be done for the current project, and prepare work for that includes subdividing tasks among the team members, estimating costs, following realistic schedules as an outline for the construction team, follow the project development, and review the project to make sure everything is done by the plan.
Project managers are de facto bosses of the construction site. Their job includes hiring the right people to handle all the tasks related to the project. Hiring and firing operators is probably the most challenging task for project managers, and compared to these, supervising comes as a reward. However, even this role can get difficult from time to time, as it often requires paying attention to details someone in the team has missed.
One of the most important responsibilities is the one that project managers often let slip. Project managers need to set specific goals, get them signed by the clients and do everything to achieve them. Additionally, the PM is charged with reviewing the contractual conditions of performance, handling requirements and deliveries, as well as determining the work precision. The goals also help managers determine how many operators and types of materials are needed.
Construction projects are highly commercial endeavours, and project managers need to keep the finances in mind while planning every facet of the project. The key word here is estimation, and larger projects may also employ a cost estimator or quantity surveyor, as nomenclature between English-speaking countries varies. For example, in Australia, certified quantity surveyors are qualified professionals, members of the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS). Apart from general project management skills, their roles include tender management and selection, preparing a detailed bill of quantities and depreciation schedule, as well as preparing the final account by the end of the project.
Keeping the client and the boss updated
The project manager and their team are the only ones in charge of the construction site. Although the team manager is the site boss, there is someone above him. Some managers like to do things their own way, forgetting to update the client and their boss about the progress they’re making. In another scenario, they might hide things from the client or boss, when something goes wrong. Keeping your boss and client up to date with the project means delivering daily or weekly reports on the job status, equipment, and upcoming procedures with all project-related issues.
In many cases, the role of a project manager involves playing a dispute manager, a judge who is to bring order in the courtroom, that is a construction site. Throughout the project duration, the construction project manager resolves many disputes that involve construction workers, subcontractors, the client, third parties, and even within the manager’s own team. Since an unresolved dispute often leads to failures, it’s worth remembering that a construction project is a mechanism with many levers, cogs, and springs which need to run smoothly. The best way of dealing with disagreement is ‘nipping in the bud’, which in return requires the presence and insight of the project manager.
Education and experience
While the exact education requirements for a construction project manager vary depending on the employers, most projects require an associate or bachelor’s degree in engineering, surveying or construction. In addition, employers might also look for at least five years of experience in the construction industry, especially surveying or project management experience. Finally, construction project managers need to have extensive knowledge of costs and uses of different construction materials. On the purely managerial side, they must stay up-to-date with the latest industry regulations to make sure the materials they order and operators they hire follow the current building code.
A project manager’s role is to manage the costs that derive from construction and engineering projects, which may include new builds, renovations or extensive maintenance works. Throughout the project duration project managers should look for ways to minimize the project cost and improve the value for money, while ensuring that the work site meets all legal and quality regulations.