Construction manager job

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Sophie James is a trainee construction manager working in Leeds. As part of her training, Sophie is doing a Degree in Construction Management on a day-release basis.

What is your role?

I assist the site management team in the smooth running of the construction site. I help to ensure that the construction project is completed on time, to budget and that it meets quality standards.

What project are you working on?

I'm currently working on a £17,000,000 project for Yorkshire Housing. It consists of five sites, which will all contain new apartments and houses. It's a two-year programme and we are currently ten weeks into the project.

What are your weekly tasks?

Most days, I work from 8.00am to 5.30pm. Usually, I help with the day-to-day management of subcontractors and I make sure that the site is run efficiently and safely. My tasks include directing and supervising the work of subcontractors, carrying out safety inspections and directing traffic on site.

I normally attend about three site meetings a week, which include design team, site team and progress meetings. They usually involve a number of people such as the client, the architect, subcontractors and engineers. One day a week, I go to university to study for my degree.

Do you work in a large team?

I work within a team of 15 employees and we work with up to 150 subcontractors.

Do you spend most of your time outdoors?

Sometimes I spend the whole day outdoors and on other days I spend a lot of time in the site's portacabins, where I have access to all the usual office equipment so that I can keep the paperwork for the project up to date. This includes keeping a site diary, completing progress reports and filing drawings.

What skills and qualities do you need?

You need to be able to communicate well with people from diverse backgrounds and have the ability to listen. You must be able to come up with ideas and not be afraid to suggest them. Confidence is necessary when talking to subcontractors. You must also be flexible and adaptable to change because every day is different.

Why did you choose to work in construction?

I've always been interested in buildings, the way they are build and the speed with which they are constructed.

What training have you had?

While working for a previous employer, I completed a BTEC National Diploma in Building Studies. At the moment, I'm gaining practical work experience on the job, as well as doing a Degree in Construction Management, for which my employer pays the course fees. My employer also runs a personal development programme, which means I can develop my skills and have my performance regularly assessed.

What do you like most about your work?

It's varied, challenging and rewarding. At the end of a construction project, it is very satisfying to see how much the building is worth to the occupier. I also like working outdoors and with people.

What do you dislike about your work?

There's nothing I don't enjoy about the work, although the job can be harder in winter when the weather is really bad.

What are your plans for the future?

I aim to be the best I can in everything I do. Hopefully, I will become a contracts manager, looking after several projects at any one time.

Sophie's route to her construction manager job

  • GCSEs.
  • Worked in a bank and various office jobs.
  • Worked for a construction firm and did BTEC National Diploma in Building Studies.
  • Doing part-time Degree in Construction Management while working.

Sophie's onstruction manager tips

  • Never give up when things seem to be getting hard, as construction management is very rewarding.
  • Always have faith in yourself.
  • You make your own opportunities; if a door opens and you see an opportunity take it before the door closes.

Construction manager related jobs












  • Architect
  • Building control surveyor
  • Building technician
  • Chartered surveyor
  • Civil engineer
  • Clerk of works/Site manager
  • Construction operative

Salary information

  • Whilst training, construction managers earn around £16,000.
  • Experienced managers earn around £25,000 or more.
  • This can rise to £40,000 or more.
  • Extra benefits may include a car and expenses.

Getting in

  • The usual way to become a construction manager is to do a degree in a subject such as construction management.
  • Another route is to enter as a technician and progress by studying for a degree either full or part-time. Some employers provide time off for study during training.
  • It is important for applicants to have work experience in the building industry.
  • Having completed a degree, graduates usually do further training on the job.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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