At the helm of every hard hat project, from building a single family to an apartment building, is a construction project manager (CM). A CM has the primary responsibility of planning a particular construction job and overseeing its progress along the way.

10 Responsibilities of a Construction Manager. Connaughton Construction.

Plan the Work

Before the first nail is hammered, it is the Responsibility of a Construction Manager to plan the work the crew will do.

The CM looks over a proposed project to determine how and when the work will be performed, including prep work that must be completed before the building starts. A cost estimate is determines the price of the project. The CM then develops a deliverables schedule. This schedule is the road map the construction team must stick to in order to finish the job in a timely and cost-effective manner. And the construction manager must review the project in depth in order to be prepared to handle tasks that come up along the way.

Hire Subcontractors

On a construction site, the CM is the boss. “They want you to cook the dinner; at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries,” legendary NFL coach Bill Parcells once famously said of his desire to be involved in choosing the players for his teams. For construction project managers, the sentiment holds true when it comes to selecting the right players to complete the job.

The construction manager is not only responsible for planning the work and making sure it gets done, but also supervising the hard hats who do it. That means coordinating and directing the efforts of construction workers. It also means hiring, disciplining and perhaps even firing those who step out of line. In other words, it’s the CM’s job to get the work done through other people.

Get Materials

The CM must obtain the right materials for the job and supplies — from nails to bulldozers — necessary to complete the project. Not to mention finding a place to store supplies and implement a method for tracking inventory. It’s important that the CM be thorough in this aspect of the job. Keeping costs within budget while ensuring that no time will be lost waiting on additional equipment or repairs once construction begins.

Set Goals

A construction CM may not be the one drilling holes, turning screws and hammering nails, but it’s his or her responsibility to make sure all of the work is done properly, on time and within the projected cost.

The CM typically sets specific project goals after the contract with the owner (client) is signed. The CM reviews the contractual conditions of performance – requirements and deliverables – to determine precisely the work that must be accomplished in order to satisfy the contract. He or she then determines cost and time goals as well as “micro-goals” for accomplishing different phases of the construction. Based on these goals, the CM sets out the number of workers and types of supplies and materials necessary to reach them.

Stay On Time

A particular job typically comes with a very specific set of objectives and constraints. The time in which it should be completed is a key goal. It is the responsibility of a Construction Manager to closely manage time. The construction contract often includes money penalties against the builder in the event the project runs late. Time, indeed, is money.

In order to meet an overall construction deadline, the CM must set a specific schedule with a number of deadlines for the various projects that must be completed. The CM  reviews the work on a daily basis to ensure that it’s timely progressing. If there’s a slow down – whether because of weather, an accident or simply a task that takes longer than expected – the CM must make changes to get the job back on track.

Stay Under Budget

The CM must keep money in mind while overseeing the work.

Before the work begins, the CM runs cost estimates – considering subcontractors, wages and materials – to help establish a budget. Cost-projection is a crucial aspect of construction management because it determines the parameters under which not only the work will be done, but also on which the project’s financial success will be determined.

Once the project begins, the CM must ensure his crew doesn’t overrun the budget. Thus, he or she oversees costs on a daily or at least weekly basis, comparing costs incurred to the estimates and limiting or eliminating costs as necessary to stay under budget.

Keep Client (and Boss) in the Loop

On a construction site, the CM may be the boss, but he serves two masters: the construction company that employs him and the client for whom a particular project is being built.

The CM is expected to keep both of these parties informed as to the ongoing process and any hiccups that come along across the way. This is typically done by preparing a variety of internal and external reports pertaining to job status, equipment, policies and procedures along with a host of other issues. If an issue arises that will cause the construction schedule to change, for example, the PM must inform the client of the situation, projecting how it is expected to affect timing and costs and specifying any planned adjustments to be made.

Proper Permitting

The Historic District of Boston has strict permitting guidelines. It takes an experienced and diligent team of architect and contractor to know the Back Bay Architectural Commission requirements. All exterior work (whether or not it is visible from a public way) requires the review of the Back Bay Architectural Commission.  A Certificate of Appropriateness, Design Approval, or Exemption Application must be submitted to and approved by the Commission prior to beginning any exterior work.

To keep a project moving, the Architect lays out the design and obtains the commission approval. The Construction Manager obtains the proper permits and keeps the project moving forward organizing many tradesman toward completion of the project.

Draft Contracts

The contract between the owner and builder typically spells out all the work to be done. It is therefore imperative that the CM be involved in drafting it and be closely familiar with the requirements in order to ensure that they’re met.

But this isn’t the only agreement that a CM must manage to make sure the project goes off without a hitch. There are also architects, materials suppliers and subcontractors (electricians, carpenters and heating and cooling professionals, for example) to be located and brought into the fold. The CM must monitor agreements with each of these parties covering the various pieces of the building project puzzle that they will complete.

Manage Risk

An essential component of troubleshooting is risk management; that is, limiting the amount of trouble that will need to be “shot.” A wide variety of factors present potential risk in a construction project: site conditions; design assumptions; public regulations; worker safety; and environmental concerns and regulation, to name a few. As a result of the increasing number of risks, owners have taken to sharing it by requiring that a builder be at least partially liable in the event of a loss due to these factors .

It is therefore the CM’s job to analyze risks going into the project so that both the builder and the client are aware of them and can reach a mutual agreement on how the risk will be shared. Once construction is underway, the CM must try to mitigate the risks by carefully selecting materials and equipment and closely monitoring the work being performed.

 10 Responsibilities of a Construction Manager

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