Construction Project Management: What It Is And Why It Benefits Construction Projects

Behind the scenes at most large and not so large construction sites is a construction project manager. In a recent radio interview, Richard Kolomy from Valentine Constructions described what a construction project manager is and he explained what a construction project manager does.

How a Construction Project Manager Differs From a Construction Manager

Responding to a question from the interviewer, Richard explained that there are major differences when comparing a construction manager to a construction project manager. He said,

“…what a construction manager does is he focuses mainly on that single project… and they basically organize the day-to-day activities and the programming for that project to ensure it runs smoothly, runs on time, and runs on budget.

A project manager works at a little bit more of a distance to that. They’re much more involved in office-type work, feasibility studies, and contract administration, choosing certain types of sub-trades that will be working onsite based on their tender price. They also get involved in the design aspects of buildings, mainly in the field of constructability and technology.”

Project Managers Often Have Lots of Help

Kolomy also noted that what role a construction manager plays is dependent on the job size. A company that builds single family homes may have a project manager overseeing an entire development of homes or a single family home construction site. Additional help is far less for a single home construction job than for a development site. A site that is for a large, multiple number of single family homes is akin to a 50 story construction job in the downtown area of a city. As Richard explains,

“…but you have foreman, obviously, gang leaders, foreman, site managers, construction managers, and then project managers. And there’s a whole line of individuals. The smaller the project, you don’t need as many different layers of people to manage the individuals. As you can imagine on a large project, it’s quite difficult to manage materials, handling, and things like that.”

Agreeing with Kolomy are A.K Munns and B.F. Bjeirmi, members of the Department of Civil Engineering at Dundee University in Dundee Scotland. The pair wrote an article entitled The Role of Project Management in Achieving Success that was published in the International Journal of Project Manager on February 12, 2015. The article they wrote says that,

“The project team will be responsible for the planning and control of the use of these resources, consequently the parent organisation will be interested in the success of the project management process. The team will be accountable for their use of these resources, and if they fail to be effective they must expect to give an account for their actions. “

Project Managers are Not Unique to the Construction Industry

Further into the interview Kolomy explained that certain principles of construction project management closely resembles some of the tasks that project managers do in other industries. Kolomy told the interviewer,

“Well, a lot of principles overlap. But I suppose the bureaucracy changes a lot. So the mining industry is probably a good example. If you’re working in the mining sector, they’ve got a lot of complex standard procedures that all contractors must follow. Whereas if you’re working on somebody’s house, it’s a lot different. So you’ve got to deal with things differently. It might be much more paper-based, depending on if you’re working on a dangerous industrial installation or a client’s house.”

Project managers are key players in many industries, but few are as complicated and diverse as construction industry project management. Construction project managers are well educated and have, for the most part, highly developed skills. When those skills are coupled with an excellent project management team and new construction management software their contributions to project success are enormous.