What is the job of a project manager
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- Project Management Consultancy
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What is the job of a project manager in construction?
If you are planning a new build or home extension, you will be considering hiring a project manager. But what is the job of a project manager? As a project management consultancy based in London, we work with a wide range of clients who ask us just that. Below, we look at the roles and responsibilities of a project manager in construction.
A project manager's role in the construction industry is a varied and wide-ranging occupation that encompasses almost every construction site aspect. Ultimately, a construction project manager's goal is to deliver the construction project that has been planned.
They ensure that the building project runs to the specified schedule and that no unnecessary costs are incurred. Project managers are responsible for ensuring the construction project's logistics run smoothly, choosing which workforce members will perform which jobs and monitor the project throughout the building process.
They often liaise with whoever has commissioned the construction project alongside other professionals to complete the specified construction project management plan.
What does a project manager do?
The universal duties of a site project manager are, in essence, to make sure that a construction project is completed by the pre-specified construction project management time and within the pre-specified job description sum.
A little deeper down, the construction project manager is responsible for bringing together the team to carry out the construction management work and maintain awareness of all aspects of the project site through its duration to report back to the stakeholders.
At the beginning of the project, the project manager must ensure that they understand what the client or company they are working on to achieve through the construction project management. A part of this understanding includes the discussion and agreement on the related timescale, costs and materials that are realistically required to complete the proposed work.
Once the construction project manager understands what the project will entail, they will develop a specific plan. This plan will outline precisely how each portion of the project will unfold. This creation of a detailed plan will help the construction manager to keep track of the overall project and allow them to report any delays or foresee any problems that could occur.
Once the project manager has the specific plan for the project, they will use their technical skills to assemble their construction managers and architects and the project management team.
This will include negotiating with the contractors to carry out the work specified in the project plan. It will also include negotiations with suppliers of the materials they decided were essential to completing the project.
While the project is underway, the construction project manager's role becomes one of the communication skills. The construction project manager must use their skills to articulate the project's needs to any staff member at any level.
This ensures that the entire team working on the project understands its ultimate goal and how it precisely fits into its overall plan.
These communication skills must also include reports to the stakeholders or clients that the project is being done for. They must be aware of the project's progress and any issues that may have or will arise.
Additionally, it is the project managers onus to resolve any issues that arise during the project. The project manager should be able to do this via their extensive knowledge of all aspects of construction.
Given that the construction project manager is the senior-most member of the project team, it stands to reason that they should also be the most knowledgeable of the processes that are being undertaken.
In this way, the project plan and execution can be realistically achieved by the project team. If the construction manager does not understand the processes they are suggesting for the project, it will undoubtedly fail.
Suppose the project being undertaken is of considerable size. In that case, the project manager may have to oversee multiple smaller related projects simultaneously from start to finish to create the larger, overall project. Again, this will be achieved by delegation to junior project managers and the selection of the right project teams to carry out the work.
Construction Project Manager Responsibilities
As previously mentioned, a project manager's responsibilities mean that they need to be skilled in both the intimate work taking place during a project and oversee the entire project at a universal level.
Again, they also need to arrange and manage teams of contractors to carry out the work. They also must be able to source and acquire the relevant materials required to complete the work. All of this must be done as per the project manager's plan developed at the start of the project.
Ensuring that the construction project runs to the specified timeframe and is completed within the budget initially set out is the construction project manager's main aim.
Alongside these needs, the project manager must also ensure that whatever construction work is completed on time and meets the necessary regulatory codes and is legally sound.
Considered planning of every portion of the project will ensure that it is completed satisfactorily.
These detailed plans will allow the construction project manager to monitor the overall project's progress and provide them with a means of spotting potential future issues such as delays.
Detailed plans also allow for more accessible and concrete communication between all the moving parts of the project. Clearly defined goals, budgets, and timeframes mean that every person working on the project knows exactly what they need to achieve, by when and for how much.
Without an effective plan, the construction project will not run smoothly and could ultimately fail.
Almost akin to planning, establishing benchmarks for the project is a mode by which the project manager can track overall progress.
By creating these definitive markers, the project manager may evaluate the project's health and monitor its progress at any point throughout its duration.
These benchmarks allow the project manager to know whether the project is running on time and budget. Without these signifiers of the project's condition, the project manager will likely become lost, not knowing what is taking place or for how long.
As outlined in the planning stage, a project manager must ensure that the project is delivered on time. Therefore, it stands to reason that a project manager must be able to manage time effectively.
This involves establishing a time frame for the project that is realistic and manageable. Therefore, a project manager must effectively time each step of the project, taking into account any delays that could occur.
Another crucial role that the construction project manager must carry out is that of risk management. This includes the monitoring of any potential risks to health and safety that may occur during the project.
Once identified, the project manager must ensure that the workers can continue their work safely. There are internal and external safety concerns surrounding any project. Internal risks include unrealistic scheduling that may force workers to rush what they are doing hazardously.
External concerns include things outside of the project manager's control, such as regulation changes or extreme weather. Project managers will create contingency plans so that risks and hazards found during construction projects are mitigated before they have a chance to affect workers.
Project managers must also allocate the right resources to where they are needed most as per the job description. Understanding where resources are required the most allows a construction project manager to avoid shortages, ultimately leading to delays in the overall project.
If shortages occur for reasons outside of the construction project manager's control, the project manager must alter the project's plans effectively to accommodate these changes.
Managing the Budget
Without the correct budget, a construction project is doomed to fail.
Therefore, it is another crucial duty of the construction project manager to ensure that the project they oversee is financially viable and to adapt any sections of the proposed plan to account for budgetary changes.
Maintaining considerations of the budget throughout the project's duration allows the project manager to keep track of spending and preemptively make financial alterations before any problems affect the work being done.
Managing and Communicating with Staff
Project managers must select and hire the appropriate staff for the project they oversee as per the job description. Effective hiring means the construction project manager will communicate clearly with their team, allowing for fluid and timely completion of the project work.
Hiring the right workers also enables the project manager more flexibility, meaning that should change need to be made to the overall project plan, knowledgeable staff will be able to take this in their stride, effectively delegating any changes that need to be made.
Managing Relationships with Key Stakeholders
While effective communication with sufficiently knowledgeable staff is crucial for a project's internal operations, just as essential is effective communication with external stakeholders, project managers must communicate succinctly and clearly with outside clients about the project's status at all times.
Coordination with outside stakeholders ensures the project's efficient running, while efficient communication with sub-contracted third parties also allows for the project's smooth running.
Are you considering the job of a project manager in construction? If you live in Twickenham or the surrounding areas of London our RIBA registered architect can help. Contact our expert today for construction project management in London.