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Project director

Project directors have overall responsibility for the successful conclusion of construction projects. They oversee project managers, who coordinate teams to ensure that work is completed on time and within budget, to a high standard. Project directors provider leadership to strategically manage risk, monitor finances and ensure each phase of work is started or completed on time.

Average salary*

£40000

-

£100000

How to become a project director

There are several routes to becoming a project director. You can gain the qualifications you need by completing a university or college course, or an apprenticeship.

You should explore the options to find out which is the right one for you. Usually, a project director will have had several years’ experience in the construction industry.

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

University

You could complete a foundation degree, Higher National Diploma (HND), undergraduate degree or postgraduate award accredited by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB). Relevant subjects include construction management, business and project management or building studies.

You’ll generally need:

College/training provider

Your local college or training provider may offer construction-related courses at higher national certificate (HNC) or diploma (HND) level, which would help you on your career path to becoming a project director.

Apprenticeship

An apprenticeship with a construction firm is a good way into the industry. Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16. As an apprentice, you will 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.

You could study a higher or degree apprenticeship in construction project management or business and management. You’ll usually need 4 - 5 GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels (or equivalent) for a higher or degree apprenticeship.

Work

If you’ve already worked in supporting roles within project teams and have proven management experience or qualifications, you may be able to apply directly for a role as a project manager or director.

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 project director. Potential employers will always be pleased to see work experience listed on your CV.

Skills

Additional skills which may benefit anyone looking to become a project director include:

  • Leadership and business management skills
  • Knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • Persistence and determination
  • Able to use your initiative
  • Be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • Maths knowledge
  • Excellent verbal communication skills

What does a project director do?

As a project director will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of a project to ensure the quality is a high standard, and that it is running to the timescales allowed.

The job role of a project director involves the following duties:

  • Monitoring build progress, overseeing finance and ensuring project quality
  • Making strategic decisions and providing leadership and direction to project managers to implement those decisions
  • Meeting with clients, stakeholders and project managers to report on project progress
  • Liaising with clients and building strong working relationships
  • Devising cost-effective plans to enable effective project completion
  • Managing risks to avoid delays or reputational damage
  • Ensuring permits and legal papers are secured ahead of the project
  • Managing project managers and enabling them to supervise and manage their own teams
  • Working in an office and on a construction site.

How much could you earn as a project director?

The expected salary for a project director varies as you become more experienced.

  • Project directors with limited experience in the role can earn in the region of £40,000 to £60,000
  • With experience, project directors can earn in the region of £60,000 to £90,000
  • Senior project directors can earn in the region of £90,000 to £110,000 or higher.*

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 project director vacancies: 

As these are external websites, the number of job vacancies related to your preferred job role may vary.

Career path and progression

You’ll need at least ten years’ industry experience to be a project director. Professional qualifications from the Association for Project Management (APM), Project Management Institute (PMI) and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) will help to prepare you for a more senior role.

Once you are working as a project director, you could specialise and oversee a particular area of project management, such as contracts or planning. Alternatively, you might set up as a self-employed consultant and set your own salary.

As an experienced director, you could progress to become a company’s executive director or CEO, or set up your own business.

Progression Opportunities

Explore the progression opportunities below

  • Current role Project director From planning through to completion, project directors have overall responsibili...
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  • Current role Construction director As head of construction, the construction director is responsible for planning &...
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  • Current role Self-employed contractor A self-employed contractor or sub-contractor runs his or her own construction bu...
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