Construction management is an administrative service which utilises specialist project management skills to oversee the whole planning, implementation, and management of a construction project, from its inception to its completion. In the construction industry, this service is most often provided by field engineers who oversee the day-to-day management of the construction site. The most important skills required in this role are effective written and verbal communication skills, problem-solving and interpersonal skills, and the ability to organise and lead a crew of technicians and fitters.
Construction jobs require an understanding of both the technical and business aspects of the industry, and the knowledge of various systems and fundamentals, such as mathematics and engineering. Graduates with their first job placement will be assessed on their interpersonal and communication skills before they are offered a role in construction management. Those successful candidates will have excellent written and verbal communication skills. These qualities are fundamental for the position, as it is the ability to communicate effectively and build team spirit within the construction workplace. Other relevant construction management skills that may be needed include problem-solving, team building and leadership.
For many graduates, they begin their career as part-time employees, although some find full-time positions in construction management. For those in this role who complete their studies and obtain a degree, they will be assessed on their academic performance and potential for career progression. Those who attain a degree, and continue to gain more relevant experience, are likely to be placed higher up in the company, or be promoted to a general position. Those who obtain a job and perform exceptionally well may be offered a chance to advance to a more senior position.
A construction management specialist will also have the responsibility of managing the overall project management function, delegating tasks to the general contractor under his / her direction. The construction manager should not only be involved in the day-to-day running of the construction project, but must be aware of all major milestones achieved and provide regular updates to the project manager. A construction manager should also ensure that all material and supplies are supplied to the general contractor. He / she will be required to sign off on completion of each task delegated, as well as supervise the completion of the project.
Construction managers must also consider the legal aspects of construction management. It is essential for these professionals to understand and comply with regulations regarding workers compensation, safety and health, environmental considerations and property management / construction fraud. In addition, construction managers are expected to be trained in safety and health issues. They may be required to implement policies regarding ergonomics and worker training. Additionally, construction managers are expected to be responsible for training new recruits in safety and health matters.
There are some distinct differences between a construction manager and a construction planner. A construction manager has the authority to hire and fire employees. As well, he / she has final say over all decisions pertaining to the budget, scheduling, materials, technology and personnel requirements. A construction planner only has the authority to decide where and how to spend a certain amount of money. In addition, a planner cannot hire his/her employees.
Construction managers and engineers often work side by side. In addition, engineers can perform many of the construction management functions. In addition, engineers can perform many of the same tasks as a construction manager. For instance, engineers may oversee project scheduling and manage material purchases, track costs and/or rework plans, assist in the design phase of the project, oversee construction cleanup, determine risk mitigation strategies, submit bids for projects, review and approve cost estimates, and work with subcontractors and suppliers.
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