Construction Management

By Matthew Bendert

Within the scope of a major construction project, the role of a construction management firm is vital. A construction manager, or management team is trained to coordinate the different processes and timetables necessary to complete a project. These individuals and teams mediate between owners, designers, contractors, and suppliers. As such, they act as overseers of the entire process, from inception to design to execution.

The Role of a Construction Manager

A construction manager is essentially a high level manager who focuses on the coordinating the different needs of a project on a large scale. In particular, the construction manager is responsible for maintaining the relationship with all the contractors and subcontractors to ensure the smooth and timely completion of a project.

The most important aspect of the position is that of defining the structure of the project management team and assigning responsibilities to each member. Beyond this, the construction manager arranges and maintains project relationships with the trade contractors and designers associated with particular aspects of the project, including setting timetables for the completion of certain sections and resolving conflicts as they arise.

Beyond coordinating the internal workings of a project, the manager must develop plans to handle external concerns. These include handling equipment and materials suppliers, developing plans with local emergency and fire departments for on-site safety, and risk management.

Working With Contractors

Coordination is a main focus of a construction manager’s job. In particular, the manager is charged with arranging the timing and working relationships between subcontractors. These responsibilities include organizing bids for specific parts of a project, signing off on subcontractor work, quality control, and monitoring time and costs.

This particular responsibility weighs heavily on the budgeting phase of a project. Construction managers work closely with owners and designers to make sure that a project is not only feasible from a physical standpoint, but also from a budgetary one. Once decisions concerning the direction, processes, and time constraints of project are set, the construction manager implements the plans.

Hiring a Construction Manager

The main reason to hire a construction manager or management team is efficiency and cost savings. A construction manager is trained to find and avoid conflicts and problems associated with a project before they happen. By avoiding conflicts between contractors, subcontractors, and designers, the manager keeps a project on track and will avoid the potentially costly conflicts that often occur when timing and budgets are not followed or unforeseen events occur.

When hiring a construction manager, it is best to find an individual or group of individuals that has been certified by the state or has received a degree from a reputable university. Most major universities now offer Bachelors of Science, Masters, and PhD degrees in construction management. Many states have a separate certification program as well.

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