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A project manager is in charge of making sure a building or other kind of structure is done properly from start to finish. He or she drives the project from the first idea through to the final brick, pipe or block of concrete.


Average salaries are in the region of £26,000.00 to £60,000.00. Salaries will vary depending on location / employer

Career Profile

A project manager is in charge of making sure a building or other kind of structure is done properly from start to finish.

What they do

Project managers have overall responsibility for getting a project started; the planning, design and building, careful monitoring of progress and bringing the whole thing together by writing a final report. Projects can be new buildings or working on existing buildings.

Projects managers need to have a variety of skills, including: 

  • Making sure everything is on time, budget and built to the highest standards
  • Giving clear timescales and objectives to clients and the team
  • Setting out detailed plans for how to achieve each stage of the project
  • Negotiating with contractors and suppliers for materials and services
  • Demonstrating knowledge of all areas of construction
  • Communicating with clients, contractors, colleagues and suppliers on the progress of a project
  • Making sure all paperwork is done for making bids and spending

The working day:

As a senior project manager you will have developed your project management skills to reach the stage where you’re competent and sufficiently experienced to be responsible for larger construction projects.

These projects could be physically and financially larger, or could be more complex and challenging to deliver.  It’s likely you’ll be one of the most senior people on site and you’ll be expected to know the finest details of the projects that you are managing. You are likely to manage several projects simultaneously and will have a team of more junior project managers to support you in the delivery too.

Typical tasks include: 

  • Understanding what the client or company wants to achieve
  • Agreeing the timescales, costs and resources needed to deliver the project
  • Drawing up a detailed plan for how to achieve each stage of the project
  • Selecting and leading a project team
  • Negotiating with contractors and suppliers for materials and services
  • Directing a multi-disciplinary team and ensuring that each stage of the project is progressing on time, on budget and to the right quality standards
  • Reporting regularly on progress to the client
  • Maintaining effective communication with stakeholders
  • Coordinating market/ customer research
  • Resolving any issues/ delays which may occur
  • Reviewing project procedures
  • Preparing the final report at the end of a project

Hours & Salary:

Sometimes a project manager is working in the office, sometimes on a construction site and other times out meeting clients, contractors and suppliers. 

  • Newly trained project managers can earn in the region of £28,000 - £34,000
  • Trained with experience project managers can earn in the region of £34,000 - £50,000
  • Senior or chartered project managers can earn in the region of £50,000 - £60,000

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


 

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Case Study

John - Project Manager|3:17

John Baggley is a project manager with CCG Scotland Limited, a main contractor for social housing in the West of Scotland.

How did you get started?

I started my construction career as an apprentice joiner and worked up through the ranks to ultimately become a project manager with CCG. It’s a role I enjoy and one I’m looking to grow further as we develop.

What do you do?

Day to day on the contract I oversee everything to ensure that we’re working in a safe fashion and that health and safety is never compromised. I also oversee the project management of the contract and ensure we’re working to the programme dates and maintaining high standards.

Health and safety on a building site is paramount. It is one of the major things we set about to manage on a daily basis, ensuring everything is set up in a safe manner and we’re working to safe processes. No compromise can be made on health and safety. It is a major factor within the industry at the moment.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I enjoy the day-to-day running of site activities, managing multi-trade teams and multi-tasking. I like ensuring the site runs seamlessly and looking ahead to the project development and making sure we meet our targets.

What kind of skills do you use in the job?

The skills I’ve developed mainly entail programme management and designing timelines. I ensure that each thing is achieved successfully without compromising other aspects of the project. People management is another great skill that helps to create a great team.

Any career highlights?

The most proud I’ve been during my career in construction was when I won the gold award at the Chartered Institute of Building Annual Awards in 2011 for Construction Management. We won the award because the main thing we had to overcome was the proximity of a subway and getting past it was a major challenge. But we managed to do it and were recognised for that.

Where do you see your career going next?

Hopefully I will become a contracts manager and then work towards being a contracts director of a construction company. Ambition within the construction industry will be greatly rewarded, I think I’m testament to that. I started off on a construction apprenticeship with the ambition to grow and grow. Being a 33-year-old in the position I’m currently in shows that ambition does pay off.

What would you say about joining the construction industry?

I’d strongly advise anyone to join the construction industry. You learn several different skills, several different trades and you learn to process lots of different pieces of information. It’s a great industry to be involved in.

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Qualifications & Training

England & Wales

There are various ways to become a project manager. You will usually be qualified to degree or postgraduate level, often in project management. Other useful degree subjects include business and management, IT or construction management. These are particularly good if your course includes work placements.

You could study part-time for a project management degree or postgraduate qualification while you are working, or work towards NVQs at levels 4 and 5 in Project Management or levels 3, 4 and 5 in Business Improvement Techniques. There are also NVQs at levels 3, 4 and 5 specific to project management in construction.

The other way in to the role is on the strength of your experience in the construction industry. You could start as a member of the project support team, or manage smaller projects as part of another job and progress to managing larger projects full time.

A background in business, management, engineering, science and technology is useful. It helps to be familiar with the use of PRINCE2 and specialist software such as MS Project or Workbench before you apply for project management work.

Scotland

Many entrants have a degree in project management.  For entry to a degree you normally need 3-5 Highers including English and perhaps Maths.

Postgraduate courses in project management are available at several universities throughout Scotland including construction project management.

Most project managers have relevant experience in business or industry.

It helps if you have skills and experience in PRINCE2 (Projects in Controlled Environments) software, and specialist project management software like Microsoft Project and Workbench.

Training

You could study part time for a degree or postgraduate qualification in project management while you are working.

You can work towards professional qualifications in project management at various levels from any one of the following organisations: the Association for Project Management (APM), Project Management Institute (PMI) and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

The Information Systems Examination Board, which is part of the British Computer Society (BCS) offers courses in project management for those working in IT

Senior Project Manager

To become a senior project manager, you will need to hold a qualification from one of the following organisations: 

  • Association for Project Management (APM)
  • Project Management Institute (PMI)
  • Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

You have a number of options to progress in your career as a Project Manager. Through work experience and continuous professional development, you will put yourself in a better position to be able to work on bigger projects and gain wider experience. With more experience you will get better opportunities for promotion.

Chartership

Once qualified with experience you can also become chartered or a chartered Builder.  Becoming chartered means you have proved that you are highly experienced and skilled at doing your job.

It is comparable to a bachelor’s degree and is recognised all over the world. Becoming chartered can enhance your career, increase your salary and boosts the professionalism of your organisation.

There are many routes to becoming chartered. Whether you’re a graduate, have technical or vocational qualifications or have simply built up years of experience, you can choose the path that best suits you.

You can achieve chartership through the relevant professional institution for the career you are following however a full range of management roles within construction can gain chartered status through  The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).

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: 

Project Manager Jobs
Guardian Jobs

Reed

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

330 additional staff needed

The UK construction industry will need an additional 330 construction project managers  to meet demand every year from 2016 until 2020, according to the latest Construction Skills Network research (LMI). The majority of the demand for construction project manager jobs is a fairly even split between North East, East of England and Northern Ireland. 

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

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