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What skills do you need as a Construction Manager?

by Chloe Baird

Do you work in building and construction and are ready to take the next step up in your career? Or maybe you have a very clear career path in mind and want to know how you can best work towards it?

Becoming a Construction Project Manager means having plenty of experience, a thorough understanding of the building and construction industry, and having a range of different skills that can mean the difference between success and failure of a project. 

If you’re set on becoming a Construction Project Manager in this booming industry, then read on to find out what kind of skills are needed to reach your goal. 

Discussing Construction Plans

Are you looking to take the next step up in your career and become a Construction Manager?

What does a Construction Manager do?

The building and construction industry in Australia employs about 1.5 million people. This translates to 9% of the country’s total workforce. 

Construction Managers are in charge of overseeing a construction project and running a job site safely and efficiently. The job of a Construction Manager is to interpret architectural designs, instruct team members, delegate tasks and co-ordinate supplies and resources, all with the goal of completing the project on time and within the assigned budget. 

Because they’re involved in all aspects of the job site’s operations, Construction Managers need to have a strong understanding of the building and construction industry. This comes with experience. 

Some of the responsibilities of a Construction Manager include:

  • supervising workers;
  • hiring new workers and sub-contractors;
  • co-ordinating schedules;
  • quoting project costs;
  • liaising with building owners and property developers;
  • consulting with engineers and architects;
  • communicating with suppliers and ordering building materials;  
  • preparing contract bids; 
  • arranging building inspections; and
  • ensuring that safety standards are always being met.

What skills do construction managers need?

If you have your sights set on becoming a Construction Manager, there are a few key skills you’ll need to have. These are the top 6 must-have skills a successful Construction Manager needs:

1. Communication

Construction Managers need to have exceptional communication skills. To ensure that work is completed safely and efficiently, they need to be able to clearly direct their team members and make sure all instructions are understood correctly. They also need to maintain transparency with building owners and developers.

2. Organisation

Managing a construction project is no mean feat. Construction Managers need to have strong organisational skills in order to make sure they’re prioritising the right tasks so that things can progress smoothly. 

3. Adaptability

Construction Managers need to work well under pressure. Not all construction projects go according to plan. The wrong supplies might get delivered, or not at all; bad weather could totally disrupt the schedule; or a last-minute change to the construction plans could set work back. A good Construction Manager needs to be able to quickly and intelligently adapt when a situation changes, and find the best way to move forward to make sure that the project is still completed on time, and within the budget, without cutting corners.

Construction Workers

As a Construction Manager, you need to be able to confidently direct a large team of people to make sure projects are finished on time while adhering to safety standards.

4. Risk Management

There’s no point tiptoeing around the fact that construction sites can be dangerous. But that doesn’t mean that workers will inevitably be injured while on the job. A good Construction Manager will not only have enough experience, foresight and knowledge to be able to identify potential risks, but will know exactly how to handle them if they occur. 

Of course, it’s impossible to account for every single different kind of risk on a job site. However, if a Construction Manager is good at their job then they will have a plan in place in case an accident does happen. 

5. Leadership

All of these skills contribute to being a good leader. Construction Managers need to have strong leadership skills in order to effectively take charge of a project. But don’t mistake good leadership for micromanaging. On a busy construction site, micromanaging is an inefficient way to manage a large team of people. A good Construction Manager should be a strong enough communicator to be able to relay plans to their workers and then trust them to get the job done. Organisational skills come in to play when they check up on their workers to see if things are running on schedule, or if they’re being held up for some reason. If they’re being held up, the Construction Manager needs to get to the bottom of the problem and find a solution. 

There’s a lot of pressure put on a Construction Manager, and the job requires a strong suite of skills that lend from an experienced, foundational knowledge base. But for the right people, becoming a Construction Manager can be a highly rewarding career path.  

Want to find out what your leadership style is? Discover what the top 5 most common leadership styles are and read our blog: How good leadership can help businesses adapt to change.

6. Commitment

Working as a Construction Manager can be a demanding gig. You’re often expected to work long hours to make sure that the project is running on time. And being responsible for so many people can be stressful at times. Being a Construction Manager means taking on the full accountability of the role and always giving it 110%. However, you will be rewarded for your efforts: the average weekly salary for Construction Managers is $3450, more than double the all jobs national average. 

Becoming a Construction Manager

Most jobs in the building and construction industry will require you to have a licence that verifies you have the necessary skills required to perform and sign off on a job. The licences vary between states in Australia, but most require you to have a formal qualification. 

Open Colleges offers courses in building and construction that can help you get started in your career or take the next step up the ladder (no pun intended). 

To become a Construction Manager, experience is key. Your knowledge of the industry will be your most valuable asset, along with the six skills we mentioned above. Having a formal qualification, like a Diploma of Building and Construction (Building) or Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building), can certainly help.  

What are you waiting for? Find out where a career in building and construction could take you and start a 7 day free course trial online today.

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