Many industries have contrasting jobs that explain their versatility, but none more so than building and construction. There are a plethora of roles to be explored within the industry, and provide options to people with different needs and skill sets. No two days are the same in construction, especially in jobs that require a combination of theoretical and technical knowledge.
One such role of particular note is a construction manager. This job does have certain importance, as it involves having control and eyes everywhere. It is quite encompassing, as a construction manager would be expected to cover many different areas at the same time, whereas someone such as an electrician has their own area of expertise to worry about.
The road to becoming a construction manager is quite defined. But how exactly does one become a construction manager in Australia?
What is the role of a construction manager?
Before detailing the steps to becoming a construction manager in Australia, we must first define the role of a construction manager, and what they actually do.
Construction managers collaborate with clients to organise and manage the construction of residential and commercial building projects and civil engineering projects. They must be focused, as they have to manage different parts of the project all at once. This includes resources, labour etc. being monitored over the duration of the process to make certain the project is completed on time and within budget.
Being a construction manager is not easy. Having the capabilities to lead a group of people successfully is key. High attention to detail and strong people management skills are a must. It is also suited to people who excel at organising and coordinating multiple and varied activities in various aspects.
The day to day tasks of a construction manager include but are not limited to:
- interpreting architectural drawings and documents
- estimating the workers, materials, machinery and resources required
- coordinating labour resources; hire workers and subcontractors
- Submitting building plans to local authorities
- purchasing materials and equipment
- consulting with architects, engineers and other relevant professionals
How to become a construction manager?
Becoming a construction manager is a long journey, but one that is easy to define. The most recognisable part of this process is education.
In most industries, education is a fundamental part of becoming an experienced professional, and construction is no different. There are courses available which teach you the necessary requirements to become a construction manager.
A course that can get you started is the Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building).
Certificate IV is a level of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) which is used to separate qualifications in education and training, classified as levels. Out of 10 levels, Certificate IV is the fourth, and represents a general rise in education standards from the previous three levels. There are courses of different areas in this level, and building and construction is one of them that features prominently.
The course itself comprises 16 units, with 13 of them being core and the other 3 being elective. The topics covered include but are not limited to:
- Applying building codes and standards to construction processes
- Managing occupational health and safety (OH&S)
- Conducting on-site supervision of projects
- Reading and interpreting plans and specifications
- Arranging for building applications and approvals
What the Certificate IV in Building and Construction aims to do is enable you with skills in planning projects, applying codes and regulations, and managing resources effectively. It also seeks to enhance your knowledge in building and construction to an advanced level, which drastically increases chances of eventually becoming a construction manager.
You can even become more experienced by taking your education to the next level by completing a Diploma of Building and Construction (Building). This course represents a general rise in difficulty from the Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building).
The Diploma of Building and Construction includes 18 units, with 13 of them being core and the other 5 being elective. Various areas are covered such as:
- Applying principles of OHS risk management
- Controlling project quality and risk
- Applying building codes and standards to construction processes
- Applying site surveys and set out procedures
The Diploma of Building and Construction (Building) is a more advanced course, which means it essentially opens more doors if you are looking to become a construction manager.
Learning theory is required, however not the only component of becoming a construction manager. Obtaining hands-on experience is key to becoming qualified enough to be considered for roles in construction management. You will typically start off as an apprentice, working in different areas to develop your skills and knowledge. Common examples include bricklaying and carpentry.
It goes without saying that actually completing tasks whilst learning is extremely beneficial to developing your skills in construction. The industry is one that is mostly based in physical movement, and therefore being on the construction site will already trigger the process of increasing your capabilities.
As an apprentice, you will have many opportunities to learn about what it takes to be a construction manager. From delegating tasks, to allocating resources, to managing staff, you will get the chance to understand how different facets of the job need to be monitored all at once.
Even whilst completing studies at the Certificate IV or Diploma level, you can undertake practical projects to further your knowledge. This would eventually become experiences which you can use to highlight your skills and ultimately help increase your chances at becoming a construction manager.
As the role of a construction manager is demanding, you can expect to work in a variety of areas of construction. You may work on public projects that serve the needs of the people, such as roads, railways and tunnels. Or perhaps more commercial, such as shopping centres. Or even residential, from as small as houses to as large as apartment complexes. For each type of area of construction, there are varying processes involved. Time, costs and resources can change, and having the expertise as a construction manager is important to understand how these aspects change with each type of project that comes next.
Becoming a construction manager is no easy feat. It takes many years of learning, hands-on experience and projects under your belt to become an experienced professional. However, the journey is just as rewarding, and following the process will surely enable you to become a successful construction manager in Australia.
Parker Brent is an accredited provider of building and construction courses. If you are interested, enquire here today.