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What skills and experience do I need to be a successful site manager in construction?

  • Publish Date: Posted about 5 years ago
  • Author: James Kenealey

​The construction industry employs more than 2 million people across the UK, with the overall value of construction new work hitting a record high of £99,266 million in 2016 alone. With more construction firms emerging across the country than ever, the industry is an increasingly popular one to work in, with a range of different roles available at every level you can imagine.

One of the most popular – and important – roles within construction is that of the site manager. Tasked with overseeing the day-to-day operations of projects, including safety, adherence to budget, staffing and timelines, their job is a crucial one in ensuring construction projects are completed successfully. A construction site manager can be responsible for everything from project and cost management, contract administration and safety adherence, as well as managing staff across the project. As such, the skills and experience they need are vast and varied.

Here are some of the most important things you need for your career in construction site management:

The ability to organise and plan effectively

As the main point of contact and ‘go-to’ person for a construction site, it is imperative that a site manager has impeccable organisation skills. These are essential in ensuring projects are run effectively and efficiently, according to the schedule and in line with the budget. Site managers will write and monitor project plans and schedules, requiring an ability to utilise time and resources efficiently throughout the duration of the project – hence planning is essential.

The role brings with it a high degree of responsibility and the site manager will be expected to keep abreast of all site activities, in addition to relevant health and safety regulations and legislation.

Mathematics and IT skills

As with many roles within construction, site managers need to have excellent mathematics and IT skills to plan efficiently and ensure a project’s financial status is accurately tracked and updated. Commercial awareness will ensure site managers can allocate and manage budgets in line with the project requirements, while a knowledge of building methods and project management software can help with overall information and finance management. Site managers are expected to understand construction drawings and technical information passed down from architects, civil engineers and surveyors, so knowledge in this area is key.

Leadership and communication prowess

Site managers need to be strong communicators and able to lead from the front. Projects can span anywhere from weeks to years, and the site manager needs to keep their team motivated, engaged and on-task for the duration of this period. The role sees regular liaison with clients and contractors alike, so clear, confident communication is crucial to get the job done and maintain positive professional relationships.

The right education

While a degree isn’t absolutely essential for establishing yourself as a site manager, it is one of the best – and most established routes – to help you enter the industry and ensure you advance quickly. A degree in building studies or engineering, surveying, construction engineering or site management can help you to secure the top jobs, particularly if your course is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Building. Afoundation degree or HND can also help.

For those without a degree, an apprenticeship in a construction supervision area is another method of entry, as is good old-fashioned inquiry experience. The Chartered Institute of Building Graduate Diploma Programme can help to accelerate the progression of construction professionals without relevant degrees.

Professionals may choose to complete a professional qualification awarded by the CIOB – known as a chartership – to solidify their knowledge and certification within site management.

Secure your role in construction site management

With the industry continuing to grow within the UK and site managers constantly sought after by our construction clients, we have a wide range of construction site management jobs available. Take the next step in your career today.