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Construction Manager

Source of Information: Next Step / DirectGov / Careers Advice Service

Construction Manager

The Work

Construction managers, also known as site managers or site agents, supervise and direct operations on a construction project to make sure it is completed safely, on time and within budget.

As a manager on smaller sites, you might have full responsibility for the whole project. On larger sites, you may be in charge of a particular section and report to a senior site manager.

Your duties would typically include:

  • discussing plans with architects, surveyors and buyers before building work starts
  • planning work schedules for the job, using project management software
  • preparing the site by hiring staff, installing temporary offices and taking delivery of materials
  • working closely with the site workforce once building is underway
  • monitoring progress, costs and checking quality
  • making sure the work meets legal requirements and Building Regulations
  • reporting regularly to the client.

You would also be the main point of contact for subcontractors and the public. As a senior manager, you could oversee several projects at the same time.

Hours and Environment

You would work around 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday, possibly with some evening or weekend work to meet deadlines. Some of your time would be spent travelling between sites and meeting clients and contractors.

Sitework would be in all weather conditions. You may sometimes have to work at heights, for example when inspecting roofing. You would wear protective clothing on site, including safety boots and a hard hat.

Skills and Interests

  • excellent people skills to work with staff at all levels
  • a creative approach to problem solving
  • the ability to motivate your team
  • excellent organisational and planning skills
  • the ability to take on responsibility and make decisions
  • good maths and IT skills
  • an in-depth knowledge of building methods
  • awareness of health and safety.


To work as a construction manager you would need the following skills and knowledge:

  • building studies and building engineering
  • surveying and civil engineering
  • construction engineering management
  • building management.

You could gain these skills by completing a relevant BTEC HNC/HND or degree, or through several years' experience in the building industry.

To search for colleges and universities offering HNCs/HNDs and degrees, visit the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service website. Entry requirements vary, so you should check with individual colleges and universities for details.

You may be able to get sponsorship from an employer to help you with the cost of studying. Once you complete your course, the sponsoring company would usually take you on full-time. Contact companies directly to find out about sponsorship opportunities that may be available.

You may also be able to get into this career after gaining industry experience as a building technician or site supervisor (clerk of works). See the related profiles for more details about these roles.

Visit the ConstructionSkills website for more information on construction careers and qualifications. The Know Your Place campaign aims to promote the construction trades as a career choice for women.


If you were starting on a large construction company's structured training programme, you would gradually gain experience in a number of work areas such as estimating, planning, buying and assisting a site engineer. With experience, you would take on larger projects and more management responsibility.

If you are working in the industry and hold a degree unrelated to construction, you may be able to gain the knowledge you need for construction management by taking the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) Graduate Diploma Programme.

You may also be able to complete relevant NVQs, including:

  • Construction Site Supervision Level 3
  • Construction Site Management Level 4
  • Construction Contracting Operations at levels 3 and 4
  • Construction Senior Management Level 5.

Contact CIOB, the National House Building Council and the Association of Building Engineers for more details about their training programmes.

The CIOB also has information on a range of short course covering all aspects of construction management, including project management, contracts, construction law and regulations.


Construction managers are normally employed by building companies and specialist subcontractors. Opportunities may also exist with central and local government departments, utility companies and larger companies like major retailers.

With experience, you could progress into contract management or consultancy. With further training, you could also move into teaching or support services, such as health and safety inspection.

You may find the following useful for job vacancies and general reading (links open in new window):


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Annual Income

  • Construction managers can earn from 27,000 to over 45,000 a year, depending on experience.
  • Senior managers can earn more than 70,000.

Figures are intended as a guideline only.

Further information

If you would like to discuss your career options with a learning advisor at the Careers Advice Service advice line, call 0800 100 900 or use our online enquiry form.


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