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A construction manager is someone who plans, coordinates, budgets, and supervises construction projects from early development to completion.
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Construction managers, also called general contractors or project managers, typically do the following:
Construction managers coordinate and supervise a wide variety of projects, including the building of all types of residential, commercial, and industrial structures, roads, bridges, power plants, schools, and hospitals. They oversee specialized contractors and other personnel. They schedule and coordinate all design and construction processes to ensure a productive and safe work environment. They also make sure jobs are completed on time and on budget with the right amount of tools, equipment, and materials. Many managers also are responsible for obtaining necessary permits and licenses. They are often responsible for multiple projects at a time.
Construction managers work closely with other building specialists, such as architects, engineers, and a variety of trade workers, such as stonemasons, electricians, and carpenters. Projects may require specialists in everything from structural metalworking and painting, to landscaping, building roads, installing carpets, and excavating sites. Depending on the project, construction managers may interact with lawyers and local government officials. For example, when working on city-owned property or municipal buildings, managers sometimes confer with city council members to ensure that all regulations are met. For projects too large to be managed by one person, such as office buildings and industrial complexes, a construction manager would only be in charge of one part of the project. Each construction manager would oversee a specific construction phase and choose subcontractors to complete it.
To maximize efficiency and productivity, construction managers often use specialized cost-estimating and planning software to effectively budget the time and money required to complete specific projects. Many managers also use software to determine the best way to get materials to the building site. Most managers plan a project strategy and must identify and solve unexpected issues and delays. They choose personnel and subcontractors for specific tasks. Often, these decisions must be made quickly to meet deadlines. Self-employed construction managers generate their own business opportunities and must be proactive to find new clients. They often market their services, bid on jobs, and learn how to work on a wide variety of projects.
Construction managers address budget matters and coordinate and supervise workers. Choosing competent staff and employees, as well as establishing good working relationships with them, is critical. Managers also must delegate tasks to workers, subcontractors, and other lower level managers effectively. Managers must give clear orders, explain complex information to workers and clients, and discuss technical details with other building specialists. Self-employed construction managers must get their own projects, so the need to sell their services to potential clients is critical.
Managers must know construction methods and technologies, and be able to interpret contracts and technical drawings. Construction managers must meet deadlines. They ensure that construction phases are completed on time so that the next phase can begin. For instance, constructing a building foundation cannot begin until the land excavation is completed. They must write proposals, plans, and budgets clearly for clients and others involved in the building process.
Many construction managers work from a main office, but most work out of a field office at the construction site where they monitor the project and make daily decisions about construction activities. For those who manage multiple projects, frequent travel may be common.