Construction managers ensure that a building project is finished on time, safely, and within budget. They work on-site closely with surveyors and architects to plan, design, and build construction projects. They also hire new staff, oversee quality control, and create progress reports.
Construction management is a good job choice as it is a career in high demand which means that there is higher job security. Construction managers do work long hours and the qualification process can be lengthy. But the trade is very diverse and is good for those who are highly analytical and organised.
Below we are going to look at the ins and outs of construction management as a career choice.
How stressful is construction?
Construction management can be stressful because of the high level of responsibility involved. Often when things go wrong on-site, the construction manager is looked to for an explanation and to sort it out. But this is because they are a leader on a construction site. All leaders have a higher level of responsibility and stress is a factor that is to be expected.
Making mistakes at work is easily done. But, management errors can lead to serious effects. If a construction manager orders the wrong amount of materials for a job it could delay a project for weeks. This will lose the building company a lot of money. If they fail to spot a mistake during an inspection a whole building may need to be reconstructed. This again wastes precious time and spends. But this just means that as a construction worker, you need to be very organised, with good scheduling skills and attention to detail.
Safety is the number one priority as a construction manager. It is their duty to ensure the safety requirements for the worksite are being followed. Also, to keep their workers, visitors, and selves safe. If a construction manager fails to provide safe working environments, they can be sued.
Construction managers play a large role in hiring and organising labour employees. But, to help relieve some of the pressure, they might consult labour hire companies. The companies help to connect employers with skilled and general labour workers. Check out another one of our articles to better understand how a labour hire company works.
These pressures can all add to stress in the role of a construction manager, but there are so many rewards associated with being a leader.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a construction manager?
There are multiple reasons as to why becoming a construction manager is worth your while, including the good pay. According to PayScale Australia, the average national wage for a construction manager is $108,139 (AUD) per year.
But this does depend on where you work and what company you work for. This is above the average Australian wage. High job security also makes this role worthwhile. Around the world, we are continually building new structures every day.
Whether you’re building roads, malls, homes, or hospitals, construction is needed everywhere. So, it’s one of the most ‘in demand’ jobs right now and you will most likely never be out of work!
Another factor that makes being a construction manager worthwhile is the varied amount of job duties that you will have. Construction managers direct a project from beginning to end.
They hire subcontractors, order materials, can be self-employed, and help to build offices, apartments, or airport runways. This means that your job as a construction manager will never be boring.
Is Construction Management Hard?
Construction management can be hard with the long hours. While most jobs are 9-5, construction management is different. Job sites usually open much earlier. Often at 6 or 7 in the morning. Many also stay open much later until 6 or 7 in the evening. So, construction managers can sometimes end up working over 50 hours a week.
Alongside this, the erratic nature of being a construction manager can make your life harder. You will be involved in every little bit of the project from start to finish meaning you may be doing a different thing every day. This can mean you need to work extra time, weekends, and holidays to keep up with all your duties.
On the flip side, if you are a highly organised and efficient person then this role will be perfect for you. If you love analysing and a have mind for problem-solving, then you may find the fast-paced and varied roles aspect very rewarding. This will especially be the case if you love keeping busy while at work.
How do I start a career in construction management?
A degree is not always needed to become a construction manager. You could complete an apprenticeship in the field instead. Alternatively, you could do a diploma course and try to get some relevant work experience to get your foot in the door.
Although, most employers prefer to hire workers with at least an undergraduate degree majoring in construction management, construction science, or construction engineering. These majors will give you a head start when looking for employment compared to those who don’t have relevant degrees. It’s always good to work whilst you’re studying your degree, but you need to be mindful of how much time you work. There are things to consider before doing a PhD while working full time.
To work in construction in Australia, you also need to have a Construction Induction Card or ‘white card’. This is a short induction training course that can be done in person or online.
These courses are nationally accredited and recognised by employers. Their prices vary depending on where you are in the country. So, be wary of cheap courses that seem too good to be true. Only apply for those that are acknowledged countrywide!
What’s it like studying construction management?
A construction management degree isn’t always ‘easy’. Depending on which course you choose, a degree can require you to study in-depth building methods, legal contracts, financial management, and environmental issues.
But, if you love the subject, then your workload won’t seem as bad. So, make sure you’re interested in the subject as the degree will take 3 to 4 years of hard work and dedication to complete.
These degrees often include a work placement year where pupils will work in their chosen industry to gain vital experience. While this will be challenging as your first full-time job, this option will give you a glimpse into the field.
Whether you’re thinking about a career change or you’re just starting out and weighing up job options, ‘construction manager’ could be the role for you. If you don’t mind hard work and you love being busy, this role will really suit you.
While you’re considering careers, have you considered being an electrician – what you need to know before deciding? We can also tell you why you should become a carpenter. If you’re looking for advice and work as a general labourer, get in contact with Canberra Labour Hire.