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Being a Construction Project Manager

Being a Construction Project Manager

Renovation tradesBeing a Construction Project Manager

A construction project manager is deemed an essential position in the building industry. Project managers are responsible for managing and executing building projects; their role is crucial to achieving fixed goals. In this article, we’ll delve into the myriad facets of this job as well as the required skill set, responsibilities, challenges, and career opportunities.  

What is a construction project manager? What is their role?

Construction project managers are called to supervise and coordinate all aspects of a project, from design to completion. They’re responsible for planning and organizing the workflow, managing resources, monitoring deadlines and budgets, and coordinating the different project stakeholders. They work in close collaboration with architects, engineers, subcontractors, and clients to ensure the project is delivered on time, within budgetary constraints, and compliant with quality standards.

Overall, construction project managers are tasked with ensuring the complete overview of a building project, from start to finish. Specifically, responsibilities include the following:

Initial Planning 

  • Weigh the client’s needs

  • Define project goals

  • Establish a detailed plan (including timelines and budget)

Resource Management 

  • Coordinate with the various active participants (architects, engineers, labourers, etc.)

  • Select suppliers and subcontractors

  • Buy and manage necessary materials and equipment

  • Overall worksite supervision

Project Monitoring 

  • Monitor the project’s progress

  • Assess the compliance of construction plans and standards 

  • Adhere to established deadlines and budget

Risk Management 

  • Identify and mitigate potential risks during the project

  • Establish safety and quality assurance measures  

  • Adhere to regulatory compliance

  • Anticipate potential issues

Communication 

  • Ensure regular communication with project stakeholders (clients, in-house team, suppliers, subcontractors, regulatory authorities, etc.)

  • Make sure all parties are well-informed regarding the project’s progress and any future tweaks

Problem Solving 

  • Identify and solve problems occurring during the projected timeline

  • Look for viable solutions and make decisions promptly to mitigate delays and additional costs

Quality Check 

  • Carry out a full project evaluation once completed

  • Ensure the work meets the client’s expectations

  • Manage any needs for tweaks and complete final regulatory checks

How to Become a Construction Project Manager—Skills, Training, and Pay Scale

To be a successful construction project manager, you must have a whole set of technical and management skills, most notably:

Degree and Education 

Oftentimes, a degree in civil engineering, architecture, or a related field is required. However, depending on your province of residence, some job positions may solely require a vocational civil engineering degree or training certificate in a similar field of study. 

Experience 

Relevant construction industry-related experience is typically required, which may vary based on the responsibility level of the position in question. Employers may simply ask for a few years of experience as a project manager or construction technician

Technical Know-How 

In-depth knowledge of construction standards, building codes, construction methods, and project management techniques are a must. The ability to read plans and technical drawings is also important. 

Project Management Skills 

You must have project management skills and be able to plan and structure workflows, manage resources, and allocate budgets. Quality, risk, and delay management expertise is also highly important.

Leadership Qualities 

A construction project manager must be able to lead a team and efficiently coordinate with the various stakeholders involved in the project. Communication, problem-solving, and decision-making skills are all a must-have.

Legal Knowledge 

An understanding of provincial construction regulations to avoid any legal repercussions. An in-depth knowledge of building contracts is also preferred.

Tech Skills 

Proficiency in various management software such as Microsoft Project, including estimator, planning, and computer-aided design software (CAD) is typically required. 

Keep in mind that such requirements may vary based on the employer and position in question. Therefore, it’s best to consult job offers and descriptions to gain as much insight as possible. 

An Emphasis on the Financial Side of Being a Construction Project Manager

We have to reiterate this point, one of the key duties of the job is financially managing the project. Title holders must be able to monitor and control costs, manage financial resources, and submit regular follow-up reports to higher management. Improper financial management can lead to significant cost overruns and project completion delays. 

Therefore, the project manager must have a good understanding of financial management principles and cost control techniques. 

What is the average salary of a project manager in Canada?

The average salary of a construction project manager in Canada may vary based on the province of residence, experience, company size, and the projects in general. Typically, professionals with a few years of experience under their belts can earn yearly salaries of $60,000 to $80,000. However, said figures may fluctuate. It’s always best to consult up-to-date data regarding the prevailing construction industry wage in Canada to obtain specific and updated information. 

Career Opportunities for Construction Project Managers 

Working as a construction project manager is a rewarding job with numerous career advancement opportunities. Project managers can transition to more substantial project management positions, such as project director or choose to specialize in risk or environmental management.

In a nutshell, there are ample career opportunities for construction project managers. Here are a few:

Lead Project Manager

Construction project managers can transition toward lead project management positions, where they're called to oversee multiple projects simultaneously. They coordinate teams, manage resources, and ensure each project’s goals are adhered to.

Construction Director 

With several years of experience under their belt, construction project managers can transition toward higher management positions, where they’ll be called to supervise an entire department within a single construction company. They'll be responsible for strategic planning, developing new initiatives, and managing a construction team. 

Construction Consultant

Some construction project managers choose to shift to a consultant position, offering their services and expertise to other companies. They can offer advice about project management, construction planning, and problem-solving.

Construction Contractor 

Construction project managers often choose to start their own construction company. As contractors, they can manage several projects, network with clients, and financially profit from their construction projects. 

Installation Manager 

Construction project managers can also transition into installation manager positions, where they’ll be responsible for building maintenance and functioning, equipment, and already-built installations. 

Real Estate Development Manager

Some construction project managers choose to make a career move toward real estate development, evolving into a role in which they’re responsible for the research, design, and planning stages of new real estate projects. 

Such career opportunities often depend on one’s experience level, skill set, and professional aspirations. One can also specialize in specific construction sectors, such as sustainable construction, public infrastructures, or international project management. 

Construction Project Manager: A Career with Ample Opportunities 

Being a construction project manager is a demanding yet rewarding job. Title holders are responsible for managing and executing construction projects, ensuring the latter are completed on time, within budgetary constraints, and compliant with quality standards. To excel in such a role, project managers must have a whole set of management and technical skills, as well as an in-depth knowledge of financial management. With the right set of skills and relevant experience, a career path as a construction project manager can lead to ample job advancement opportunities and a dynamic job in the construction industry.


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Last modified 2024-01-11

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