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The basics
Study abroad : Subject Guides

What is construction management?

Are you a natural problem-solver? Love architecture and construction? You've come to the right place.

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If you’re organised, efficient and have an interest in building and construction, a career as a construction manager might just be your calling. In this profession, you can expect to work closely with architects, surveyors, and other professionals within the building trade. As a construction manager, you will carry a great deal of responsibility to ensure that all construction is conducted safely, within budget and completed within a specific timeframe. Construction managers must be comfortable giving instructions to large teams, and therefore need to possess excellent communication and project management skills. 


What is construction management?


Construction management involves coordinating the construction of buildings and infrastructure. The construction manager is responsible for designing, planning, budgeting, scheduling and organising the build itself. At each stage, there can be complications, so problem-solving skills are a must as a construction manager. Every building you can think of will have had a construction manager to oversee the project. This could be a house, bridge, dam, airport, or even a shopping centre.


What does construction management involve?


The duties of a construction manager can vary depending on the scale of the project and the choice of sector. For example, there are several routes you can take within construction management such as residential, industrial, commercial, infrastructure and environmental. However, no matter what area you work in, common responsibilities tend to include:


  • Planning and managing construction projects from start to finish
  • Managing the budget, timeframe, and logistics of the build
  • Checking materials and hiring necessary equipment 
  • Recruiting staff to work on the project
  • Delegating tasks to different teams
  • Setting targets and objectives 
  • Regularly reviewing risk, safety, and construction guidelines
  • Handling contracts
  • Meeting clients and other stakeholders such as consultants or subcontractors to discuss progress and expectations.
  • Writing reports
  • Supervising construction teams, providing feedback and guidance


How can I become a construction manager?


There are a few ways of becoming a construction manager including gaining a university degree or completing an apprenticeship with a construction company. At the undergraduate level, you could study one of the following subjects for relevant training and skills to prepare you for a career as a construction manager:



A degree in one of the above programmes will generally take three to four years to complete depending on the study destination. 


During an undergraduate degree in construction management you can expect to learn about the following topics:


  • Building design
  • Construction and technology
  • Construction science
  • Economics
  • Building services
  • Structural design
  • Contracting
  • Surveying
  • Building information modelling
  • Project planning and analysis
  • Sustainable construction
  • Construction law


Some construction degrees will also offer a placement year where you can gain real-world experience of the industry. This gives students the opportunity to network, develop their skills and boost employment prospects. Global leaders in construction include Balfour Beatty, Bechtel, Vinci and Kiewit Corporation.


Your university may have well-established links to leading construction companies that you could take advantage of. This experience, no matter how prestigious the company, would look great on your CV, helping you to find work after university.


Where can I study construction management?


Many universities around the world offer courses related to construction management. There are various factors to consider when deciding on a country for your studies such as affordability, university ranking, and proximity to home. But for now, take a look at the following universities offering construction management bachelor’s degrees:


Construction management in the UK:



Find out more about how to compare universities when deciding on your study abroad journey.


Construction management in the USA:



Masters in construction management 


If you’ve studied an unrelated undergraduate degree but still wish to become a construction manager, there’s no need to fret. You can still apply to study one of the above subjects at the postgraduate level to gain the necessary knowledge which will qualify you for the field.


A master’s degree in construction management tends to take one year on a full-time basis and two years on a part-time basis. If you want to stand a good chance of being accepted, do some related work experience as this will be highly regarded by the admissions team and lecturers, particularly if you haven’t studied a related degree before applying.


Check out the following universities for masters’ degrees in construction management and building in Australia:



What is the salary of a construction manager?


Starting salaries for construction managers range from GBP 26,000 to GBP 33,000 in the UK, but this can increase to GBP 33,000 to GBP 50,000 with experience. More senior and chartered construction managers can earn more than GBP 50,000 to GBP 70,000.


Remember that your salary as a construction manager will vary according to the sector, country, and scale of the projects you work on, so this is just a guide for your reference.


Transferrable skills in construction management


Whether you study civil engineering, architecture, construction management or surveying you will gain plenty of transferrable skills that are highly useful and relevant across a wide range of professions. For example:


  • Problem-solving 
  • Analysis
  • Communication 
  • Planning and organisation 
  • Numeracy and IT 
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Use of modelling computer programs
  • Leadership 


So even if you choose to study for a construction management degree, you will have a range of skills that can be applied to almost any career if you change your mind or if you decide to move in another direction. 


Now that you know what to expect from a construction management degree your next step is to start browsing courses.


Use our course matcher tool to find the course you want depending on your preferences and qualifications. You can also stay up to date with the latest news by checking out our international student news bulletin.


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