What is Construction Project Management and how is it different from general project management?
Construction Project Management is, essentially, project management that is applied in the construction industry. The different construction sectors include office/commercial, industrial and processing, hotel and leisure, public and institutional, residential, retail, and mixed-use.
Construction Project Management involves planning a construction project (identifying a suitable location for the construction, and estimating cost and duration of the project), performing project management-related tasks at the construction site, and reviewing and analysing the outcome of the construction project once it has been completed.
One of the main differences between Construction Project Management and general project management is that Construction Project Managers are required to have specialised knowledge and understanding of the design and construction process, as well as of the administrative and supervisory duties specifically involved in construction.
Some of the skills and abilities that are essential for Construction Project Managers include being able to implement public safety measures, having good time management and decision-making skills, being able to manage human resources and to resolve conflict and disputes, and to have the necessary skills in Mathematics, and skills in contracting and contract management.
Typical Responsibilities of a Construction Project Manager
A Construction Project Manager’s duties will usually include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Planning the project (including the budget)
- Managing human resources and supervising workers
- Sourcing the necessary resources and materials
- Setting specific goals and objectives
- Making sure that the project is completed within the given timeframe
- Making sure that the budget is not exceeded
- Communicating with the client and other relevant parties so that everyone is kept informed
- Resolving disputes and managing conflict
- Drafting contracts (particularly with subcontractors)
- Managing risk
Jobs in Construction Project Management
Construction Project Managers can be employed by private organisations, such as large construction or development companies, or they can be employed in the public sector. Alternatively, Construction Project Managers can be self-employed.
People with qualifications or experience in Construction Project Management can be employed in positions such as Project Engineer, Project/Area Superintendent, Project Manager, Estimator or Senior/Chief Estimator.
Professional Bodies for Construction Project Management
This is the South African Council for Project and Construction Management Professions. It was established in terms of section 2 of the Project and Construction Management Act 48 of 2000 and aims to protect the public. Amongst other things, the SACPCMP does the following:
- It liaises with SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority) and educational institutions regarding the standards of competency required for registration.
- It maintains a national register of professionals.
- It develops a code of conduct for registered professionals.
The SACPCMP’s mission is to maintain professionalism in the construction management practice by developing an environment that will encourage and facilitate:
- Access for everyone that is prepared to acquire the necessary skills.
- High quality education and training.
- The formation of partnerships with others in the field that have the same mandate and ideals.
- The promotion of research and development, aimed at improving practices, procedures and stakeholder satisfaction.
- Monitoring of integrity, honesty and sustainable practice.
This is the Association of Construction Project Managers. It is a voluntary association recognised by the SACPCMP.
Members include specialist project management professionals working in the built environment.
There are different categories of membership: Student Member, Associate Member, Affiliated Member, and Full Member. The membership criteria must be met before an applicant can become a member.
The main purpose for establishing the ACPM was to define the service and performance levels that are expected from Project Managers in the construction industry, and to establish a recommended fee scale.
Construction Project Management Studies
If you already have a background in construction, you could add to this by completing a general project management course. However, due to increasing demand for construction management skills, many universities now offer degree programmes specifically designed for those who want to study construction project management.