How To Become a Construction Manager in 7 Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

July 20, 2021

Construction managers oversee various aspects of a construction project to ensure it runs smoothly. They use their construction knowledge and leadership skills to manage projects and meet deadlines. If you're considering a career in the construction field, learning how to become a construction manager may help you decide if this industry is the right choice for you. In this article, we discuss what a construction manager is, explain how to become a construction manager, and provide tips to help you in pursuing this role.

What is a construction manager?

Construction managers lead a team of construction professionals while working on a building project. They manage a project from the project development stage to project completion. Construction managers form relationships with various professionals that perform work on a project, like labourers, contractors, architects and civil engineers. They typically have a bachelor's degree and extensive experience in the construction field.

What does a construction manager do?

Here are several duties that construction managers complete:

  • Ensure quality control: construction managers ensure all professionals working on a construction projects perform efficient and high-quality work.

  • Communicate with client and colleagues: construction projects often involve many people, like clients, engineers and contractors. Construction managers communicate with all parties involved in the project to ensure they're aware of the project's status and progress.

  • Manage project costs: construction managers track and maintain a project's budget and make financial decisions when necessary, like adjusting the budget to allow for more expensive materials. If a project is at risk of going over budget, they may seek approval from the client to expand the budget.

  • Ensure employee safety: construction managers ensure the safety of their colleagues and team members while working by identifying potential hazards and finding solutions to keep the construction site secure.

  • Coordinate construction activities: construction managers assign construction duties to members of their team, based on the team member's skills, experience, and construction abilities.

  • Check the project meets contract requirements: construction projects often involve a contract that contains guidelines and information project details. Construction managers ensure team members meet the contract requirements correctly.

  • Solve construction issues: if there is an issue on the construction site, like an equipment problem or construction accident, construction managers identify the error and take the proper steps to correct it.

  • Prepare reports about a project's progress: construction managers prepare reports that provide insight into a project's progress, including information about the project's deadline and tasks.

Related: Construction Skills and How To Improve Them

Construction manager skills

Here are some skills that construction managers use on a daily basis:

Leadership

Having proper leadership skills may help construction managers guide their team to complete high-quality construction projects. Successful leadership skills include providing positive feedback to team members, recognizing areas of improvement in a project, and ensuring all aspects of a project run smoothly. To develop your leadership skills, consider taking management courses while in college or shadow construction managers while they work.

Related: The Top 9 Leadership Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

Communication

Strong communication skills may help construction managers interact with various construction professionals. They typically keep team members informed of the project's progress and ensure that everyone understands their duties. Communication skills may also help keep team members safe, since construction professionals can communicate potential hazards or site risks clearly.

Teamwork

Since construction managers collaborate with team members and colleagues, it's important that they use excellent teamwork skills. To use teamwork skills, they may be open to feedback about a project idea and actively listen to other construction professionals. Having strong teamwork skills may help construction managers organize projects more effectively.

Related: Teamwork Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a construction manager

Becoming a construction manager involves achieving career advancement in the construction field. Use these steps to help you become a construction manager:

1. Get a college diploma

The first step to becoming a construction manager involves receiving a college diploma in construction technology. During your education, you can learn about construction equipment, machinery, tools, techniques and materials that you may use while working. You may also take courses that can help you develop your leadership skills, like project management courses.

2. Gain experience

It's important to gain experience as a construction professional to build your leadership skills and construction knowledge. Once you receive your degree, apply to entry-level construction positions. Try observing other construction professionals to get a better understanding of the skills and techniques they use while working. During your entry-level position, you may work as an assistant to an experienced construction manager, which can give you insight into various aspects of construction management procedures and guidelines.

3. Become a supervisor

Before becoming a construction manager, you must first have experience as a construction supervisor. Working as a construction supervisor can build your leadership skills and help you feel comfortable in a managerial position. You may become a supervisor at the company you already work for, or you can apply for a supervisor position at other construction companies. While working as a supervisor, try to get feedback from employees to see which managerial styles work best for them. You can apply any feedback you receive to future manager positions to help you better connect with team members.

4. Consider a master's degree

It's useful to consider pursuing a master's degree in project management to help you achieve career advancement and expand your leadership abilities. A master's degree in project management can teach you the management and organization skills that you can use to lead a project effectively. Look online to find master's programs that are a good fit for you. Many master's programs allow students to take classes part time, which can allow you to continue working in construction while completing your degree.

5. Get certified

Though employers may not require you to have construction management certification, getting certified may give you a more in-depth understanding of construction procedures and management qualities. Here are some certifications you may get as a construction manager:

  • Gold Seal Certification: The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) offers this certification that prepares construction management professionals to lead teams in the industrial, commercial and civil infrastructure sectors of construction.

  • Project Management Competence Certification:Offered by the Project Management Association of Canada, this certification trains individuals to use excellent organization and time management skills to lead construction projects.

6. Create your resume

To help you secure a position as a construction manager, it's important to have a resume that reflects your construction experience and management skills. Include specific details about your duties for each construction position and try to emphasize your leadership skills throughout your resume. Be sure to update your resume regularly to add new work experience, skills, or certifications. Prepare a tailored cover letter to accompany your resume to expand on your skills and connect with hiring managers.

7. Apply to jobs

Once you strengthen your leadership skills and gain management experience as a construction supervisor, you can apply to construction manager positions. Look online to find construction management positions that are a good fit for you. You may also contact professionals in your network to see if they're aware of any construction management opportunities.

Tips for becoming a construction manager

Here are some tips to keep in mind when becoming a construction manager:

Network

Networking is an important part of achieving career advancement, so it's useful to establish relationships with other construction professionals. To build your network, try meeting establishing connections with colleagues in your workplace. You may also join a professional construction management society, like the Project Management Association of Canada.

Related: Guidelines on How to Network

Stay up-to-date on advancements

It's essential to stay updated on advancements in the construction field, like innovative construction techniques or new equipment. As a construction manager, you can teach your team members about advancements that they may find useful while working on a project. To stay up-to-date on construction advancements, you can attend construction management conferences or continue your construction education by taking classes every few years.

Take professional development courses

As a manager, taking professional development courses can help you strengthen your leadership skills. It can also help you recognize areas of improvement in your managerial style to help you better connect with team members. In professional development courses, you can learn about performing conflict resolution, delivering valuable feedback, and boosting project management skills.

Construction manager work environment

Construction managers usually work on construction sites, which may be outside, in a commercial building or in a residential building. Oftentimes, they manage several ongoing construction projects at the same time, so they may need to travel to different construction sites throughout the day. They may also travel to meet with clients or colleagues, like architects and contractors. Because of the equipment and materials that construction professionals operate, construction managers wear protective material, like protective glasses and gloves.

Construction managers typically work a standard 40-hour work week, though they may need to work on evenings or weekends, depending on the needs of the construction project. Construction managers may have to respond to emergencies at a construction site, which may also require them to work outside of their standard hours. If a construction manager's residence isn't located near the construction site, they may have to move temporarily.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article affiliated with Indeed.

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