Construction management is a professional field that focuses on each part of the construction process of any built environment. Construction management typically encompasses commercial building sites or multi-unit residential sites, but not usually single-family residential building sites. Construction management of the site may be maintained by a general contractor or a separate entity, and the construction management personnel or firm answers to the developer and is responsible for overseeing every aspect of the project from start to finish.
The construction management field requires a minimum of four years in an undergraduate program and may require a Masters in Construction Management for certain projects. Areas of study for construction management include advanced math, design and construction laws, architecture, estimating, accounting, and business. Construction is one of the single largest industries in the United States and the outlook for careers in construction management is favorable. Job opportunities exist both in the private sector and in government.
During a typical project, construction management personnel are responsible for overseeing each phase of construction and resolving any discrepancies in original blueprint design and actual implementation. Construction management personnel are also accountable for the cost of a project and must control material and labor cost. They may work with one or more project managers, architects, and site-specific superintendents, often in both an office and hardhat environment simultaneously. In addition to overseeing the physical construction phases of a project, construction management must also be familiar with design and construction laws — including OSHA regulations and building codes — and serve as a point of contact for all issues. Equally important is delivering each phase of a project within a given time frame and budget, right down to the completed building or buildings.
Construction management firms vary in size, and some provide their services exclusively to smaller general contractors. Large construction companies generally hire their own construction management personnel. The earning potential for construction management varies by region, but can easily reach six figures with experience and reputation for effectively managing larger, multi-million dollar projects.