The way construction projects are managed has changed quite a bit over the years, impacted by everything from computer software development and evolving compliance standards, to changing distribution models, and even big data.
Students who take construction management training study the evolution of the construction business—from historical models to current practices to anticipated future developments.
Pre-apprenticeship training in construction management introduces students to the skills needed to successfully run a construction office, and handle the unique challenges of overseeing both projects and people.
What kinds of challenges can you expect to encounter as a construction manager? These are 4 of the most common.
Time Management: Minimizing delays
For clients, project delays mean lost revenue. Whether construction setbacks are caused by environmental factors, materials shortages, or labour issues, it’s the manager’s responsibility to get the build back on track.
Construction managers must reassure the client that the project will be delivered on time, while finding ways to resolve or work around any problems that arise.
But with so many variables at play, almost every build experiences delays—so adjusting timelines and managing disruptions is always a key challenge.
Budget Management: Making accurate estimates & managing costs
Bringing a project in on-budget is one of the toughest challenges of construction management. During the bidding phase, inflated estimates will make it hard to win new projects. On the other hand, under-estimates will attract business, but the construction company will end up “eating” many extra costs—potentially risking its own financial stability.
Plus, once a project gets rolling, all kinds of “hidden” costs can emerge. The price of certain materials may unexpectedly rise, or a problematic “existing condition” may be revealed during demolition (like decay, infestation, mold, or dry-rot), which costs time and money to fix.
Construction managers are always under pressure to produce the most accurate estimates, anticipate risks, deal with surprises, and justify budget changes—all while maintaining the client’s total trust and confidence.
People Management: Motivating Workers
Construction managers are in charge of hiring the best tradespeople for each project, and ensuring their work is of the highest quality. This includes everything from selecting and scheduling subcontractors, to motivating a high standard of work on the jobsite.
Construction managers determine hiring policies, maintain personnel files, conduct performance reviews, and work hard to promote a positive jobsite “culture.” They need each tradesperson to understand the goals of the project, and take personal responsibility for achieving them.
Good “people management” skills make it easier for construction managers to communicate effectively with team members, which in turn, helps retain the most talented tradespeople and keep projects on track.
Compliance: Staying on top of regulations
Another important part (and key challenge) of construction management is staying on top of the regulations that govern building and renovation projects. These include health and safety rules, building codes, energy codes, permitting requirements, licensing laws, and more.
Failure to comply with the appropriate regulations can result in project delays or shut-downs, violation fines, worker injuries and compensation claims, etc. Managers must be aware of the rules, provide training where necessary, and ensure total compliance onsite.
From technical and administrative skills, to communications and human resources management—construction managers need a diverse set of skills to juggle projects from start to finish. Think you have what it takes?
Want to learn more about construction management training, or searching for a reputable program in the GTA?
Consider the Construction Officer Manager Program, offered by the Pre-apprenticeship Training (PAT) Institute, at both the Toronto and Cambridge campuses.