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The construction manager is one of the most senior people on a building site and pretty much everything is his or her responsibility, one way of another.


Average salaries are in the region of £26,000.00 to £55,000.00. Salaries will vary depending on location / employer

Career Profile

A construction manager is one of the most senior people on a building site and pretty much everything is their responsibility.

What they do

Any building, from a skyscraper to a new building estate, a factory or even just a small project, needs someone to ensure that from start to finish it is done within a specific timeframe and to budget.

The construction manager is responsible for the practical side of managing and planning every stage of the build. They make sure the tradespeople and other construction workers are sticking to a joined-up plan and everything is kept moving along.

They’re assigned by the project sponsor to ensure that all relevant goals are met. It's one of the most important construction jobs and has the ultimate responsibility for all aspects of the build. Typically, they’ll work closely with architects and construction engineering professionals on a project. 

Construction managers can be in charge of a whole site or a big part of a large-scale project. They may either hold a degree in construction management or will have been in construction for several years and have worked their way up in roles such as site supervisor or team leader. 

Typical duties include: 

  • Handling health and safety on a project
  • Setting bench marks of work to be done
  • Setting and agreeing budgets for the work
  • Managing and recruiting staff for the project
  • Being directly responsible for the work being carried out and the decision making 
  • Working on-site - inspecting work, checking materials and their delivery and storage, checking everyone is following safety rules
  • Working in the office - dealing with contracts, working with clients, holding meetings to keep the project on time and on budget

Salary

  • Newly trained construction managers can earn in the region of £27,000 - £33,000
  • Trained with experience construction managers can earn in the region of £33,000 - £48,000
  • Senior, chartered or master construction managers can earn in the region of £48,000 - £58,000

Salaries depend on location, employer and level of responsibility. Salaries and career options also improve with chartered status.


 

Visit our Careers Explorer A-Z to get more information on the whole range of construction careers on offer.

Learn more about construction careers – and some of the misconceptions surrounding them – with our Myth Busters .

Case Study

Robert Woolcock is a construction manager with Willmott Dixon Ltd.

What do you do?

Generally, my role is to oversee a number of construction projects. I am responsible for the delivery and commercial success of the projects, ensuring that the highest levels of health, safety and quality are achieved while maintaining excellent client relationships. I do this by reviewing the site activities with the site team, ensuring that all tasks are planned and thought through before commencing. On design and build projects, I’m also responsible for ensuring that design information is delivered in a timely manner and that the design is efficient and coordinated.

How did you get started?

I started my construction career as a civil technician when I left school, working for a contractor. I felt there were limitations on how far I could progress within that role so asked to be trained as a site manager. I managed my first site when I was 21 and have worked my way up to the position of construction manager.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I enjoy construction. I like the diverse range of projects that my role allows me to get involved with.

What skills do you need?

My communication skills have probably developed more than any other. I’m a reserved person but communication is key to succeeding in a construction role so I’ve had to improve.

Proudest career moment?

I’m proud to be in a senior position at a relatively young age. At 31 I was responsible for more than £50m of construction work.

What’s your big ambition?

To become a director of a construction company. I hope to achieve this within the next 10 years.

Any advice on how to get into construction?

The construction industry is an extremely challenging but rewarding industry. Those considering a career in the industry should be prepared to work hard to achieve great results.


 

Gordon Battye is a construction logistics manager with Thames Tideway Tunnel Ltd.

What do you do?

We will build and operate the Thames Tideway Tunnel. This is a £4.2bn project to clean up the River Thames by intercepting storm overflow sewers that normally discharge into it. I provide construction logistics support to everyone within the organisation to move the project forward to the construction phase. This includes construction delivery, planning, scheduling, environmental factors and organising the contractors appointed to build the tunnels.

How did you get started?

I have more than 40 years’ experience of major civil engineering, mainly tunnelling for sewers or railways. Having worked in a site-based construction management position for 25 of those years, I took the opportunity to switch to a client/designer role. This makes use of my experience during the planning and design stage of major projects.

What do you like about your job?

The need to be alert and mentally active all day. The challenge it gives me to input and influence the planning and design of a project. Knowing that because it is a major infrastructure project, I’m contributing to something that will have long-term benefits for the people using it and the country as a whole. It’s good when we get it right first time, but working through problems and learning from these is equally satisfying.

What skills do you need?

You never stop learning in this industry. On this project I’ve learned from my involvement with the development consent order process for procuring nationally significant infrastructure projects, and developing the reports and responses required to support the examination process.

What are you most proud of in your career?

Never turning down a challenge. Finding ways either singularly or through effective teamwork to overcome and problem, and learning in the process.

Proudest career moment?

Not easy to say. I hope to continue working beyond normal retirement age and continue to support younger people starting out in their first construction jobs.

Any advice on how to get into construction?

The future is bright for construction with many long-term, significant UK infrastructure projects set to go ahead, and many opportunities worldwide. Whether it is a particular skill through construction apprenticeships, or an engineering career path through design and construction, take time, research and study. There is plenty of advice available. If you’re not sure, there are general construction engineering courses available that allow you to choose which direction you eventually follow.

Take our Personality Quiz to find out which of the many jobs in the construction industry is right for you

Qualifications & Training

How to become a construction manager

The most common career path to securing construction management jobs is achieving an HNC or university degree and gaining significant experience in the construction industry. That usually means starting out with A-levels (or equivalent such as Scottish Nationals or Welsh Baccalaureate) at grades A-C.

Degrees that can lead to a position as a construction manager include building management, engineering, construction management, project management and building studies. It’s a good idea to check your qualification is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Building.

Construction managers have usually put in at least 10 years in the sector before being considered for the role. People who have not completed a related qualification in construction management can still move into the role on the strength of their experience in the industry. At this point they can complete a diploma in construction management.

You usually need a degree, a Higher National Certificate (HNC) or a Higher National Diploma (HND), in a relevant subject. This could be in construction, civil engineering, construction management, architecture or building surveying.

Entry requirements vary according to the level of course, but are normally 1-3 Highers for an HNC or HND and 4-5 Highers for a degree.

As a school leaver, you can apply through CITB for a Modern Apprenticeship, after taking a group of subjects at Standard grade or National 5. Subjects should include English, maths and science or technological subjects. You can then study part time for an HNC or HND.

You need to hold a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent to work on a construction site. You will need to pass a health and safety test and have a Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) certificate.

 

Want to find out more?

Try our Matching Service for work experience opportunities in your local area, with new opportunities being added on a regular basis. 

Looking for a vacancy?

Here are some construction vacancy websites you may find useful: 

Careers in Construction

Indeed

The number of job vacancies related to your preferred job role may vary daily, as these are external websites. Check regularly to see new opportunities as they are posted.

Career trends and forecasts

4,310 additional staff needed

The UK construction industry will need an additional 4,310 construction project managers to meet demand every year from 2017 until 2021, according to the latest Construction Skills Network research (LMI). The majority of the demand for these construction jobs is a fairly even split between North East, East of England and Northern Ireland.

Search other careers

Find out more about other roles in the construction industry and what they involve.

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