Project Management Guide
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What Is a Construction Project Manager?

All projects need managers, but perhaps nowhere is the manager more important than in construction. Ensuring that structures like hospitals, bridges, and office buildings are safely and efficiently built is critical. Construction project managers need a special set of skills in addition to those that all project managers must possess: industry knowledge and, ideally, experience. They are responsible for seeing the project through from the start (the “pre-design” phase) to the end (the “closeout”). It’s one reason the Telegraph calls the role the “most important throughout the whole building process.” So what does the construction project manager do?

According to the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA), the construction project manager (often called a CM) is responsible for collaborating with and providing oversight to the project’s stakeholders, including the owner, the architect, the general contractor, trade contractors, and subcontractors. The CM leads a team of building specialists — everyone from designers and architects to contractors and construction workers — through a series of tasks to bring the project to fruition.

These tasks may include:
  • Pre-design and planning: The CM is responsible for producing a critical path framework and creating the project’s schedule and timeline.
  • Resource allocation: The CM needs to plan and budget for all resources, from basic building blocks and tools to manpower.
  • Team leadership: The construction PM recruits the building and management teams and allocates tasks. Since they are the leader, they set the tone for the project — and therefore need excellent leadership and communication skills.
  • Monitoring progress: The CM is responsible for ensuring the project progresses through each phase successfully, on time, and on budget. They’ll be in charge of documenting each step and communicating effectively with stakeholders. They also need to troubleshoot when issues arise.
  • Budget management: The CM is the go-to person for all things budget-related. They’ll be the ones setting the budget for the project and then sticking to it.

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