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Career profile: Construction site manager

A construction worker reaches out from scaffolding.Site managers oversee construction projects, managing other workers and keeping an eye on the schedule and budget.

What is a site manager?

Site managers are responsible for managing the construction process itself, once things like design, planning and surveying have been completed. This might include:

  • Hiring and managing staff
  • Meeting with clients and with other people working on the project, such as architects
  • Planning out the schedule for the work
  • Monitoring progress and reporting back to the client
  • Keeping up to date with regulations and making sure they are followed on site

The nature of the work a manager would oversee depends on the size of the project and the manager's seniority. A big project will normally be split into smaller parts, each with its own manager, with a senior manager overseeing the project as a whole.

Similar roles might have job titles like 'construction manager', 'site supervisor', 'site agent' or 'foreman'. There is some crossover in job titles with less senior roles, such as the clerk of works. For example, a job advertised as 'site supervisor' might be for either role.

Salaries start at around £27,000, and will rise with experience. More senior site managers can earn significantly more.

Becoming a site manager

Although you can get a site manager job without a qualification if you have enough experience, most managers will have a degree, a foundation degree or an HND or HNC. Even with a qualification, you'll still need construction experience, as well as excellent communication, planning, decision-making and problem-solving skills. It will also help if you are already familiar with things like building methods, regulations and health and safety requirements.

While some managers are employed on a permanent basis by a construction firm, especially at a more senior level, it's common to have a contract only for the length of a particular project, so you may have to spend time looking for jobs throughout your career.

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