What is Construction Management?

Updated April 27, 2021 | Staff Writers

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What is Construction Management?

With a growing number of commercial and residential properties being developed or rebuilt, Construction Management is becoming an increasingly important profession in the United States. A construction manager helps ensure that the projects under his or her direction are completed on time and on budget, whether the project involves a small tract of housing or the construction of a large urban skyscraper. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that as of 2014, there were about 373,200 active construction managers within the United States.

What Do Construction Managers Do?

Essentially a construction manager helps to ensure that a construction project is effectively completed for their employer. They plan, coordinate, budget, and supervise the project from the initial concept to the final steps. In most cases, a construction manager will work closely with engineers and management alike, serving as the individual who helps bring the various components of the project together.

In addition, construction management specialists will work with federal, state and local authorities in order to ensure that the project conforms to all relevant laws. For example, a construction manager would be in charge of ensuring that his or her project complied with all relevant environmental regulations. In other cases, the manager would work to ensure that the building project was in compliance with state and local earthquake safety laws.

Given the wide range of construction projects within America, many construction managers choose to specialize in certain fields. For example, many construction managers only work with projects involving the construction of factories or other commercial buildings. By specializing, the manager ensures that he or she is fully aware of all aspects of the construction project.

For larger projects, there may be several management specialists, each one supervising a specific part of the project and answering to a manager who is in overall charge of the operation. Even if there is only one manager, he or she will be working with a large number of employees. For this reason, a construction manager needs to be able to effectively and positively interact with other project members.

Educational Requirements

A construction manager is usually someone with both a college degree and construction experience. As construction becomes a more complex and automated process it is likely that formal educational requirements will continue to increase. Most construction managers are expected to have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, construction science or architecture. Some managers may have obtained an associate’s degree at a community college, which would prepare them to work on smaller projects.

Even after graduating with a degree, most construction managers will spend several years working under an experienced manager. This provides the individual with valuable practical experience in this field and will prepare the manager for supervising projects on his or her own.

Finally, while there are no federal licensing requirements for this field, some states do require that construction managers obtain a license in order to practice within the state. Other managers may obtain certification from professional management organizations in order to improve their skills and demonstrate their commitment to potential employers.

The Outlook for Construction Managers

Today’s growing economy, coupled with an aging infrastructure that will have to be replaced in the near future, promises a bright future for the field of Construction Management. Furthermore, the growing emphasis on environmentally sustainable architecture makes having skilled managers more important than ever before. These facts will ensure that construction managers will continue to be in demand for the foreseeable future.

Related Resource: The 20 Best Online Masters in Construction Management Degree Programs

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