Construction is a team sport. Whether it’s a house or a skyscraper, no large-scale project can be completed from top to bottom by one person alone. From the architects and engineers to all the specialized skilled trades working in the field, each player brings an irreplaceable piece to the puzzle.
And just like any good team, a coach is needed to inspire and to offer strong leadership. Leaders empower teams to overcome obstacles and clench victory.
Enter: the construction manager, recently ranked by U.S. News as the number one most desirable job in construction.
What Does a Construction Manager Do?
A construction manager is responsible for coordinating the harmonious flow of human work, communication, and material resources between the numerous specialized individuals and disparate departments involved in a project from its beginning to its end. Think of a building like a motion picture and the construction manager as the director. They may not have written the script (read: blueprints), but it’s the construction manager who’s on-site every day to make sure everyone is working in sync to bring the final production to life.
Construction managers need mastery over a wide array of hard and soft skills to do their jobs correctly. Having practical experience and strong roots in the nuts-and-bolts of what goes into the day-to-day work of construction is a must. Construction management requires a high degree of emotional intelligence as well. Communication is key in this line of work: a good construction manager needs to understand people and be proficient at speaking the technical language of every worker on their crew, be they electricians and plumbers or roofers and siders. By the same token, construction managers also need to know how to negotiate contracts with clients and be able to communicate higher level ideas with a project’s engineering and architecture teams. On the business side of things, they need to be well versed in managerial strategies and know how to handle complex finances, from a project’s opening bid to its final budget line. Unlike a lot of careers in the industry, a construction manager also needs a Bachelor’s Degree, which we’ll explore more in greater detail below.