Construction managers plan and coordinate construction
projects. They may have job titles such as constructor, construction
superintendent, general superintendent, project engineer, project
manager, general construction manager, or executive construction
manager. Construction managers may be owners or salaried employees of a
construction management or contracting firm, or may work under contract
or as a salaried employee of the owner, developer, contractor, or
management firm overseeing the construction project. They may plan and
direct a whole project or just a part of a project. The Handbook
uses the term “construction manager” to describe salaried or
self-employed managers who oversee construction supervisors and workers.
In contrast with the Handbook
definition, “construction manager” is defined more narrowly within the
construction industry to denote a management firm, or an individual
employed by such a firm, involved in managerial oversight of a
construction project. Under this definition, construction managers
usually represent the owner or developer along with other workers
throughout the project. Although they usually play no direct role in
the actual construction of a structure, they typically schedule and
coordinate all design and construction processes, including the
selection, hiring, and oversight of specialty trade contractors.
Managers who work in the construction industry, such as general
managers, project engineers, and others, increasingly are called constructors.
Constructors manage, coordinate, and supervise the construction process
from the conceptual development stage through final construction on a
timely and economical basis. Given designs for buildings, roads,
bridges, or other projects, constructors oversee the organization,
scheduling, and implementation of the project to execute those designs.
They are responsible for coordinating and managing people, materials,
and equipment; budgets, schedules, and contracts; and safety of
employees and the general public.
On large projects, several different management systems may be used. In the general contractor
system, the owner hires a general contractor to manage all activities.
Working for the general contractor, construction managers oversee the
completion of all construction in accordance with the engineer’s and
architect’s drawings and specifications and prevailing building codes.
They arrange for trade contractors to perform specialized craftwork or
other specified construction work. On small projects, such as
remodeling a home, a self-employed construction manager or skilled
trades worker who directs and oversees employees often is referred to
as the construction “contractor.” In the construction management
system, the owner hires a firm to oversee all aspects of the project.
The management firm will then hire a general contractor to run the
construction process and oversee construction of the structure. The
major difference from the general contractor system is that the hired
management firm, rather than the owner, works with the individual
construction manager. In the design-build system, the owners,
architects, general contractors, and major subcontractors are brought
together to cooperatively plan and design the project. The design-build
group may be from an individual firm or a conglomeration of separate
entities. The construction manager participates during the design
process and may be in charge of the construction project once the
design is agreed upon.
Large construction projects, such as an
office building or industrial complex, are too complicated for one
person to manage. These projects are divided into many segments: Site
preparation, including land clearing and earth moving; sewage systems;
landscaping and road construction; building construction, including
excavation and laying of foundations, as well as erection of structural
framework, floors, walls, and roofs; and building systems, including
fire-protection, electrical, plumbing, air-conditioning, and heating.
Construction managers may be in charge of one or more of these
activities. Construction managers often work with engineers,
architects, and others who are involved in the construction process.
managers evaluate and determine appropriate construction methods and
the most cost-effective plan and schedule. They divide all required
construction site activities into logical steps, budgeting the time
required to meet established deadlines. This may require sophisticated
estimating and scheduling techniques and use of computers with
specialized software. (See the statement on cost estimators elsewhere in the Handbook.)
They oversee the selection of trade contractors to complete specific
pieces of the project—which could include everything from structural
metalworking and plumbing to painting and carpet installation.
Construction managers determine the labor requirements and, in some
cases, supervise or monitor the hiring and dismissal of workers. They
oversee the performance of all trade contractors and are responsible
for ensuring that all work is completed on schedule.
Construction managers direct and monitor the progress of construction activities,
sometimes through construction supervisors or other construction
managers. They oversee the delivery and use of materials, tools, and
equipment; and the quality of construction, worker productivity, and
safety. They are responsible for obtaining all necessary permits and
licenses and, depending upon the contractual arrangements, direct or
monitor compliance with building and safety codes and other
regulations. They may have several subordinates, such as assistant
managers or superintendents, field engineers, or crew supervisors,
reporting to them.
Construction managers regularly review
engineering and architectural drawings and specifications to monitor
progress and ensure compliance with plans and schedules. They track and
control construction costs against the project budget to avoid cost
overruns. Based upon direct observation and reports by subordinate
supervisors, managers may prepare daily reports of progress and
requirements for labor, material, machinery, and equipment at the
construction site. They meet regularly with owners, other constructors,
trade contractors, vendors, architects, engineers, and others to
monitor and coordinate all phases of the construction project.