Construction site manager: job role explained

Job role: site managers
Site managers make things happen on a construction site. Find out more about what you would be doing and how you can become a construction manager as a graduate or as an apprentice.

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Good choice if... Degree needed? Additional qualifications

Construction site managers ensure things get done on a construction site. They make sure that the building work is finished on time, within budget and to a high standard. They organise schedules of work (plans of what should happen when); manage workers; and deal with issues such as health and safety, logistics and the effects of the building work on members of the public.

On larger and more complicated projects, an experienced site manager will have a number of assistant managers, each looking after one part of the project (or package), such as the foundations.

Sam Saunders, who is on a construction management training programme, gave an example of one of his projects that involved working on the structural frame and brickwork packages for a residential building. He ensured that trade workers were working in a safe way and inspected work to make sure it matched up to the design and was of good quality.

Site managers typically work for construction contractors and are based on site. As with any job role on site, you may have to work night and weekend shifts, and hours can be long: a 40-hour week is normal and you will probably have to work overtime as deadlines approach.

Would a career in construction management suit me?

It’s a good choice if…

  • You like to take charge.
  • You like working with other people.
  • You can make decisions quickly.
  • You like solving problems.
  • You are organised.
  • You don’t want to work in an office – and you don’t mind being out in all weathers.

Do I need a degree to become a site manager?

Getting a degree is an established route into site management. You can start out as an assistant manager if you have studied a construction management or project management degree approved by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), or another closely related subject such as civil engineering. A few employers might hire you with a different degree and pay for you to complete a postgraduate course.

The quickest way to get into management via an apprenticeship route is to complete a higher apprenticeship, for which you'll either need A levels (or equivalent), an advanced apprenticeship in something like construction supervision or experience in the industry.

Do I need to gain an additional qualification when working?

Many site managers work towards a ‘professional qualification’ known as chartership when they enter the profession. This is an on-the-job qualification that tells the world that you are qualified to a high standard. It is awarded by the CIOB. When applying and being interviewed for a role in construction management, you will be expected to know about chartership.

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