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04 June 2021

What skills are required to be a construction manager?

Tom Whitney, Construction Management

Construction managers oversee and lead a range of building projects from start to finish. They ensure building projects are completed safely, within budget and on time. As a construction manager, you’ll oversee work schedules and coordinate subcontractors, determine material and labour costs, regularly report progress to clients and stakeholders, ensure safety codes are being met, and make sure the project is running on schedule.

Responsibilities of a construction manager:

  • Oversee the logistical requirements of a project including the ordering and delivery of building materials and equipment
  • Read and interpret architectural drawings, blueprints, and technical specifications
  • Consult with tradies, architects, designers, engineers, clients, contractors, sub-contractors and local authorities
  • Hire and supervise the activities of subcontractors and other team members
  • Regularly report on progress with clients, third parties and other stakeholders
  • Review timings, budget, labour, risk and project plans to ensure work stays on track
  • Conduct site visits to inspect work, check materials and ensure staff are following safety procedures
  • Comply with legal requirements, building and safety codes, and other regulations

What skills are required to be a construction manager?

Strong technical construction skills

Every construction worker needs to know how to interpret architectural drawings and blueprints, which are two-dimensional drawings that contain all the details needed for a project. Construction managers are involved in every facet of a building site’s operation so having a strong understanding of the worksite and specific trades is essential.

A well-rounded understanding of the project lifecycle

A construction project is made up of different stages which all have different processes and stakeholders. Construction managers need to understand what these different stages are, and how they work with different stakeholders within each stage.

Knowledge of local building codes and laws

Construction professionals also need to have a solid understanding of their local building laws and codes. This is essential in ensuring buildings meet the requirements to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of the building occupants.

Be an excellent collaborator

Construction managers collaborate with tradespeople, architects, designers, engineers, clients, contractors, sub-contractors and local authorities. The success of a construction project depends on the communication and interactions between stakeholders. Your job as a construction manager involves communicating ideas and information clearly and succinctly, as well as articulating intricate project details to other team members.

Be IT-savvy

Construction professionals must have the digital skills to use Building Information Modelling (BIM) tools such as Autodesk Revit so that they can communicate effectively and exchange graphical and non-graphical information efficiently.
As design requirements become more complex and more difficult to present in 2D drawings, innovative BIM tools allow professionals to manage client needs, improve efficiency, increase productivity, and ensure infrastructure is sustainable. Employers look for people who can interpret drawings and models quickly, as well as make timely, informed decisions based on data and information provided in building information models.

Keep projects on track and within budget

Construction projects are complex, time-intensive, and often involve large capital investments. Construction managers play an important role in coordinating all activities, tasks, resources and workers to make sure projects finish on time, on budget, and within the required quality standards. The ability to plan and schedule construction operations using tools and frameworks such as flowcharts, network analysis, Gantt charts, Critical Path Method and precedence diagrams is extremely important

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