PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Construction Project Managers have many responsibilities. They are the highest ranking representative of the builder who's on the jobsite on a regular basis. This means they are supervisors, coordinators, troubleshooters, and jack of all trades. Essentially, their job is to make sure that every aspect of the job gets done effectively and on schedule. To do this, they need to know everything about every trade being performed on site and understand the project at hand.

Responsibilities

Most construction projects are managed by a builder who subcontracts the individual jobs out to specialists. This means a crew specializing in pouring slabs will lay down the foundation, a separate group will do carpentry, another will do roofing, and so on. One of the greatest challenges to the builder, and therefore of the project manager, is to coordinate all the different sub-trades and jobs,  making sure everything is accomplished in the correct order and according to code. This becomes challenging as inevitable delays occur, and by law, certain tasks cannot be completed before others. On a residential housing project, for example, the exterior finished surface cannot be applied before windows are in place and the roof is on.  Painters obviously can't work until the exterior finish is in place. Coordinating the schedules of many different crews is a vital responsibility of the project manager that can prevent costly delays and sore tempers.

Reading blueprints is an essential skill for the project manager, who will always have a set of plans for the job at hand, not just for their own reference, but for the subcontractors' as necessary. Referring back to the plan is a good way to show a contractor where they may be in error. But in some cases, it may be too late to undo something that's been done, or  the plans may not be practical on the site as drawn up. In these cases, the project manager will have to improvise or get approval for changes. In either case, it's a working knowledge of the individual trades and the job as a whole that allows the project manager to make practical and effective recommendations. Occasionally, changes will rise not from the realities of the job site, but from the architect or builder. In these instances, the project manager's job is to bring these changes to the subcontractors and make sure they are understood and executed correctly.

Day-to-Day

The job of a construction project manager is not easy, but it rarely if ever involves the same degree of physical labor that individual craftsmen perform on the job. In fact, the project manager will usually even have a small crew to assist with supervisory responsibilities. This frees them up for meetings with architects, other contractors, or executives.

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