How to become a Project Manager in building and construction

Construction is generally a collaborated and unified effort. It includes different people with varying tasks working to complete a project. Roles are defined, which makes things easier as everyone knows the tasks they need to do which will lead to a smoother completion of tasks. However, unified construction efforts aren’t as simple as everyone just working together. There needs to be leadership; someone to take the helm and steer the project in the right direction. This falls to the Project Manager.

The role of a Project Manager involves planning, managing and carrying out projects of construction. To be a Project Manager is to take on significant responsibility, of which many are not able to do. Here is a guide to becoming a Project Manager in building and construction. 


Gaining qualifications

It goes without saying that with any role of importance, any semblance of documented skills or know-how is required to be competent. In the case of project management, this is especially paramount. These qualifications can be gained in numerous ways. For instance, many look to particular construction courses as sufficient to become a Project Manager. A Certificate IV or Diploma in Project Management will provide you with the minimum qualifications to be eligible to undertake project management. One can also study higher levels in a university. Be that as it may, this is not the only way. Many reach the level required by gaining hands-on experience in construction projects, which over many years enables them to be considered proficient enough to manage a group of workers, delegate tasks and meet expectations. You could, however, be proficient in both aspects; through completing courses and at the same time learning in practical construction environments, you would be placing yourself on the fastest route to becoming a Project Manager. 


Comprehension of the basic principles of time, cost and quality

Project management is an important role, and it means you will need to be able to meet certain standards consistently. A common method of defining these standards is the time-cost-quality triangle, which serves as a benchmark for satisfactory project management. It represents the scope of a project by which you need to cover and assure is accounted for – as shown in the diagram below. Firstly, time must be adhered to. You need to know when certain tasks need to be done and how much time should be allocated to those tasks. Monitoring progress and modifying plans based on this will enable you to complete a project in an orderly manner. You also need to be aware of how much is spent on the project. Ensuring the right amount of money is spent in different areas whilst wasting as little amount of resources as possible will keep costs at a minimum. This could include managing labour resources, procuring only the necessary construction materials, and negotiating with other professionals such as architects and engineers for their services. Lastly, quality is a process of ensuring fit for purpose final products which meet standard requirements outlined. A project manager could ensure this through adherence to construction laws and regulations, following through on stakeholders demands, and analysing risks and finding ways to mitigate them. Being able to understand the paramters of this triangle is a key component of becoming a Project Manager. 

become a Project Manager in building and construction

The ability to work with and service the needs of the stakeholder

The most important person apart from the Project Manager is the stakeholder, who is receiving the final product. In a managing role, you will need to be able to converse and discuss the project with the stakeholder, who will outline what they require, and in turn you must be able to articulate your plans for the project. The scope triangle mentioned above is directly linked with the relationship with the stakeholder; meeting their needs also means applying these needs to the scope triangle to achieve a successful outcome. This could be done in various ways. For example, holding regular project reviews and writing up reports for the stakeholder keeps them in the loop, and will enable them to provide feedback, recommend changes or make no suggestions in the case of everything going according to plan. All in all, knowing how to have a good relationship with the stakeholder built on trust and exchanging of information ultimately is essential in this line of work. 


Skills in managing people

Knowing how to get the best out of people is an asset, and is crucial to becoming a Project Manager. Being the leader of a project means assuming responsibility, delegating tasks and managing individuals. Following time, cost and quality constraints requires contribution of varying amounts from different people. Some professions may have contrasting importance to a project than others, and being able to extract output from each labour resource is paramount to success. There are multiple management styles, from laissez-faire to autocratic, and however you choose to proceed will affect how your team performs as well as the project overall.

Becoming a Project Manager is not an easy feat, but nevertheless it is achievable if one knows the strategies and methods to reach this point. 

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