What Does a Construction Manager Do?
Construction managers only supervise construction. Essentially, they’re a project manager with a specific, construction-oriented focus. They use their expertise in building trades—carpentry, plumbing, electrical, general construction, etc.—to oversee day-to-day operations from pre-construction through completion. CMs also manage construction site personnel, subcontractors, run estimates, and ensure all resources are readily available and properly allocated. Construction project managers have more authority than traditional project managers. Since they oversee more than just the construction process, project managers have a greater responsibility than construction managers. They typically supervise CMs, working together to finish construction in a timely, cost-effective manner. However, on the job site, the CM is the boss. Day-to-day activities of all construction managers include:
- Hiring subcontractors and coordinating their activities.
- Collaborating with other construction specialists including engineers and architects.
- Preparing budgets, cost estimates, and work timetables.
- Resolving job site problems, delays, and emergencies.
- Complying with legal mandates, building regulations, and safety codes.
- Explaining trade information and contracts to other professionals.
- Reporting construction progress, timelines, and budget adherence to PMs and owners.
Note: For large construction projects that are too big to be managed by one person (like industrial complexes), a senior construction manager oversees other lower-tier CMs that run different phases of the project—such as the foundation, HVAC, or plumbing.