Construction managers work at the center of complex projects. They connect all the parties involved and work with each to ensure a project is built safely, on schedule, and within budget. Construction managers are critical to the built environment, including the nation’s roads, buildings, bridges, and other infrastructure.
Those who work in construction management collaborate with many people to plan and execute a project. Their work directly impacts the quality, sustainability, safety, and function of the finished construction project as well as the overall state of the built environment.
Because of their importance, construction managers are in high demand. Federal data estimates that the number of construction managers nationwide will grow 8% over the next decade, adding more than 36,000 jobs.
For most construction managers, earning a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management is the first step toward a successful career. It’s also a career increasingly drawing women into the construction industry.
What Is Construction Management?
Construction management entails planning and overseeing a construction project from start to finish. It involves managing various aspects of the project, including the project schedule, budget, safety, and quality control.
Construction projects involve three major players: the owner, who commissions and funds the project; the architect and engineers who design the project; and the general contractor, who builds the project, according to the Construction Management Association of America. The construction manager represents the owner’s interests, ensuring the project comes in on time, within budget, and in a way that meets the owner’s expectations regarding quality, scope, and function. They work with specialists throughout the project, including architects, engineers, and trade workers (stonemasons, electricians, carpenters, and more).
Most construction projects can be broken down into six phases.
- Initiation. Sometimes called the conception phase, this involves design teams identifying the project’s needs and how they will be met.
- Pre-construction. Once details are finalized, this phase calls for assembling the construction team and solidifying milestones, communication plans and identifying project risks.
- Project execution. The actual building phase of the project.
- Commissioning. This includes the final walkthrough, presenting the finished building to clients, and training them on systems in the building.
- Occupancy and warranty. In this phase, the clients move into the building, and the construction team is no longer on site.
- Project closure. This includes holding a meeting to review areas of the project that went well and those that can be improved.
What Is the Built Environment?
The built environment refers to the human-made physical surroundings where people live and work. The term encompasses all buildings, roads, bridges, parks, and other infrastructure that constitute cities and towns.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the built environment “touches all aspects of our lives, encompassing the buildings we live in, the distribution systems that provide us with water and electricity, and the roads, bridges, and transportation systems we use to get from place to place.”
Creating the built environment depends upon the skills of construction managers, who play a crucial role in how a finished project will function and improve the lives of people in the community. Today’s construction managers also focus on the sustainability of the finished building, as well as the environmental impact of the sources used to construct it.
What Are Some Job Titles in Construction Management?
Once entering the profession, graduates from an online BS in Construction Management program are prepared for many jobs. In addition to construction manager, some of the more common titles include construction estimator, director of construction, project manager for construction, LEED manager (who focuses on sustainability), and engineering manager.
Pay has increased along with demand. The average annual salary for construction managers reached $108,210 in May 2021, according to federal government data,
NMU Global Campus BS in Construction Management Degree Program
The NMU Global Campus online BS in Construction Management program offers students the opportunity to prepare for the challenges of the fast-paced construction industry. The program is a Top 10 construction management degree program.
Industry-experienced faculty teach the program’s innovative curriculum. They play a vital role in supporting student mentoring, establishing program goals, attracting guest speakers, and more.
Entry into the 100% online program requires seven years of documented construction industry experience, three professional referrals, and completing a prior learning assessment. NMU also considers applying up to nine credits toward a student’s degree based on their experience. Students may also be able to transfer previously earned academic credits.
Topics covered in the program include estimating, scheduling, pre-construction, interpreting scopes of work, writing contracts, purchasing materials, working with subcontractors and vendors, and methods of ensuring a project’s success. Students also hone their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.
With the flexibility of earning a degree online, students can continue to earn a living while also learning the skills and knowledge needed to prepare them for success as construction managers.