Becoming a Construction Manager and coordinating projects
Interested in Construction Management jobs on Job Mail? If you have some insane organisation skills, love working with different people and have a deep love for construction and the construction industry, a career in construction management might be perfect for you.
Today we look at what a Construction Manager is, the daily tasks associated with these types of construction jobs and the career opportunities for these professionals in South Africa.
What is a Construction Manager?
Marked as a scarce skill by the Department of Higher Education and Training, a Construction Manager – also referred to as a Construction Project Manager – is involved in the control and planning of building and civil engineering projects. Responsible for the direction, control and coordination of the project at hand, construction management also involves the planning, coordination, control and direction of both human and the physical resources required for the project.
As a professional in this field of the construction industry, you will be involved in the project from its very beginning until its end.
Daily Tasks and Responsibilities
Construction Management jobs starts with preparing tenders and contract bids for a project. You will find that construction management courses and training programmes (like the one found at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology) focusses on pre-tender planning.
In this phase of the process a you will deal with various aspects including determining how to use the resources in the most optimal way.
These construction jobs also involve the monitoring of the construction project in order to ensure that the operation is running smoothly, using the provided resources in the most optimal way, and ensuring that the project is completed on time (and on spec).
You will also be responsible for submitting plants to the relevant local authorities as well as arranging the needed building inspections by these authorities. With this comes the responsibility of ensuring that the project at all times adheres to the relevant building legislations, standards and codes.
Construction management is also involved when it comes to quality control – in terms of both the labour as well as the materials being used in the construction project. You will be responsible for ensuring that the best possible results are being achieved while still staying within cost projections, safety standards and building codes and regulations.
This in turn means that Construction Managers are very much tasked with the management of budgets – both in terms of ensuring that the resources are used efficiently and on budget, as well as controlling the costs and other expenditures of the construction project.
A Construction Manager will also have to be able to interpret architectural drawings and specifications, as well as implement and manage work programmes for the sites.
Professionals in these types of construction jobs will also have to work with sub-contractors, suppliers of building materials and engineers, architects and other professionals involved in the construction project.
When it comes to the owners, subcontractors and property developers involved, you will need to pull out your best negotiation skills in order to ensure that the construction project is not only completed within budget, but on time as well, meeting all the required codes, regulations and specifications set out.
Do you have what it takes to be a Construction Manager?
Because this is such a demanding career and requires a combination of a range of skills, a career in construction management requires an array of skills and personal traits.
With the need for some insane organisational skills at the top of the list of requirements for Construction Management jobs, professionals in this field are goal-oriented individuals that are self-driven and (insanely) good at practical problem solving.
Logical thinking and the ability to effectively communicate with an array of professionals is also required for these types of jobs. Remember that you will be working with everyone from builders to architects and engineers.
You will have to be a motivational driving force, be able to tackle situations logically and establish good working relationships with everyone from suppliers and engineers, to the building crew, the property owner and the architect involved on the project.
While you will be required to have superior management skills, you will also need sound technical knowledge. Because you are involved in every aspect – from establishing a budget to coordinating work programmes – you will have to possess an all-rounder set of skills.
Career Opportunities for a Construction Manager
Jobs within this field of the construction industry are mainly found with building contractors and building sub-contractors. Because this is such an important career path within construction jobs, Construction Managers can also be pulled into top management positions in construction enterprises. Here, your skills will be applied at a corporate management level.
Qualified professionals are also able to find employment at not only property development establishments, but also at insurance and financial institutions. State and semi-state departments also offer career opportunities for these professionals.
Manufacturers and retailers within the construction industry might also require these skilled professions, while there are also opportunities for self-employment.
According to PayScale, a Construction Manager earns an average annual income of R 334 622, with experience associated with a higher income in this field.
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Education and Construction Management Courses
The learning pathway to Construction Management jobs starts with a National Certificate (Vocational) or National Senior Certificate. Do note that construction management courses and programmes offered by educational institutions will have a set of requirements for entrance.
Next you can study towards a Bachelor of Civil Engineering followed by workplace experience. You can also opt to study further, achieving an Honours in Engineering Management before taking on workplace experience.
Note that, in these types of construction jobs, workplace experience plays a very important role.
If this is the field you are interested in, South African Universities offer a range of degree programmes. The Cape Peninsula University of Technology and the Central University of technology (Free State) offers a BTech in Construction Management.
Within the Department of Building Sciences at the Tshwane University of Technology you will also find relevant construction management courses. If you would like to take your studies one step further, the University of the Witwatersrand offers a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Construction Management.
If you feel that this is the right career for you and would like to study further, research the training and degree programmes offered by the accredited tertiary training institutions in South Africa to find a programme you are happy with.
Already qualified and looking for Construction Management jobs? Job Mail plays host to a selection of vacancies in South Africa. Browse through the job vacancies online and start applying for your dream construction job by registering your CV today!