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Contracts manager

Contracts engineer, contracts supervisor

A contracts manager in the construction industry manages contracts relating to building projects. They study the legalities of contracts and help to negotiate terms and conditions with clients and third parties, before drawing up legal documents to outline terms of service and project deliverables.

Average salary*

£25000

-

£70000

Typical hours per week

38 - 40

How to become a contracts manager

There are several routes to becoming a contracts manager. You could complete a university course, an apprenticeship or apply directly to an employer for work.

You should explore these routes to becoming a contracts manager, to find out which is the right one for you. Although some of these options have certain qualification requirements, many employers are more interested in people who are enthusiastic, willing to learn and can follow instructions.

You may need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on a construction site.

University

To become a contracts manager or a contracts engineer, you could complete a foundation degree, Higher National Diploma (HND) or undergraduate degree in a subject that covers contract law, such as:

  • Civil or structural engineering
  • Construction management
  • Business or contract management
  • Building studies
  • Quantity surveying.

You’ll need:

  • 1 - 2 A levels, or equivalent (foundation degree or HND)
  • 2 - 3 A levels, or equivalent (undergraduate degree).

> Equivalent entry requirements explained

> Find a university course

> Funding advice

Apprenticeship

You could enrol on a higher or degree apprenticeship in construction management and specialise in contract work once you have qualified.

For a higher or degree apprenticeship, you’ll need: 

  • 4 - 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent
  • Up to 3 A levels, or equivalent.

Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16. As an apprentice, you’ll be fully employed by your company and expected to work a minimum of 30 hours a week. Your time will be split between on-the-job experience and a college or training provider.

> Find an apprenticeship near you

> Guide to apprenticeships

Work

If you have some previous experience in quantity surveying or estimating, you may be able to find work as a contracts assistant in a construction company. Your employer may help you to gain the experience and training needed to progress into a role as a contracts manager or a contracts engineer.

Work experience

Work experience is essential to gaining employment within the construction industry. You could gain this at school, or by working weekends and holidays with a company or relative who works as a contracts manager. Potential employers will always be pleased to see work experience listed on your CV.

> Find out more about work experience

Skills 

Desirable skills and knowledge for a contracts manager include: 

  • An understanding of the construction industry 
  • An understanding of legal documentation
  • Maths and IT knowledge 
  • Strong leadership skills 
  • Business management skills 
  • The ability to use your initiative 
  • Good verbal communication skills.

What does a contracts manager do?

As a contracts manager, you’ll be responsible for overseeing important legal documents relating to construction projects and ensuring that any issues which arise are resolved as quickly and effectively as possible. 

The duties of a contracts manager may include: 

  • Preparing tenders for clients and commercial bids to help bring in new business
  • Developing and presenting project proposals
  • Meeting with clients to find out their requirements
  • Producing plans and estimating budgets and timescales
  • Discussing, drafting, reviewing and negotiating the terms of business contracts
  • Agreeing budgets and timescales with the clients
  • Managing construction schedules and budgets
  • Dealing with any unexpected costs
  • Attending site meetings to monitor progress
  • Acting as the main point of contact for clients, site and project managers
  • Working with third parties to ensure that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities
  • Making sure construction projects meet agreed technical standards
  • Liaising with technical and financial staff, sub-contractors, legal teams and the client’s own representatives
  • Overseeing invoicing at the end of a project
  • Working on-site and in an office.

How much could you earn as a contracts manager?

The expected salary for a contracts manager varies as you become more experienced

  • Newly trained contracts managers can earn £25,000 - £35,000
  • Trained contracts managers with some experience can earn £35,000 - £45,000
  • Senior, chartered or master contracts managers can earn £45,000 - £70,000.*

Hours and salary depend on location, employer and any overtime you may do.

* Salaries have been collected from multiple industry sources and have been updated as of 2019


Jobs

Check out the latest contracts manager vacancies: 

As these are external websites, the number of vacancies related to your preferred role may vary. New opportunities will be posted as they come up.

Career path and progression

With experience as a contracts manager or contracts engineer, you could move into the role of a facilities manager.

Alternatively, you could apply for chartered status as a contracts manager to improve your salary and career options. 

Progression Opportunities

Explore the progression opportunities below

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  • Current role Contracts manager During a construction project, the contracts manager overseas the contracts proc...
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  • Current role Purchasing manager Purchasing (or procurement) managers buy equipment, goods and services for their...
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  • Current role Procurement Manager As a procurement director you would be responsible for a team and a number of pr...
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