Construction Managers: The Critical Link Between Thinking and Doing

Silhouette of construction workers on scaffolding

The buildings and infrastructure we’re surrounded by do more than provide us with shelter and facilitate transportation. They shape the world we live in.

Architects dream up and conceive these structures. Engineers certify the designs are efficient and will function as intended. Construction workers and tradespeople build them, bringing them to life. The critical link among them all is the construction manager. Construction managers supervise construction projects from development through completion, working closely with each team involved in a building’s design, engineering and construction to ensure a project stays on time, is built to specification and stays within budget.

Aerotek specializes in finding and placing top construction managers, who are ultimately responsible for a significant portion of the physical world we are surrounded by on a day-to-day basis.

Number one in best construction jobs

U.S News and World Reports currently ranks construction managers as number one among the best construction jobs. While many consider this a dream job, not everyone has what it takes. Great construction managers must possess a rare combination of engineering and design skills, as well as organizational, management and practical skills. Matt Wiehe, senior professional recruiter with Aerotek says, “In my experience, they are the builders who like the idea of fitting all the pieces of the puzzle together. A good number of the construction managers I have worked with come from families with construction, engineering or architecture backgrounds — you could say it’s ‘in their blood.’”

Matt adds that the market for top talent is extremely tight in the construction field. “It has become more about the ‘fit’ than anything else. More than just pay, the commute and the ability to grow and contribute to company culture have become driving forces in attracting top talent.”

Success is in the details

Across various industries and disciplines, the difference between something good and something great is the attention given to critical details. Likewise, a key part of what differentiates an exceptional construction manager is their ability to be detail-oriented.

Applying a high level of scrutiny to all aspects of the job is critically important for the success of certain construction projects, such as government buildings and LEED-certified buildings, both of which have strict building requirements. The former, for example, must take into account sustainability and green building requirements, as well as Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility measures. Projects pursuing LEED certification earn points across several areas that address sustainability issues. Based on the number of points earned, a project receives one of four LEED rating levels: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. A construction manager who is up-to-date on current LEED requirements can more easily facilitate achieving the desired rating level upon completion of the structure.

Seeing around corners

A great construction manager anticipates problems before they arise and is able to solve them calmly and effectively. In the world of construction project management, the great managers “see around corners,” able to identify which circumstances lead to risk and mitigate them prior to their development. Great construction managers need to trust their team and, for the sake of efficiency, not duplicate efforts. Knowing the job, the requirements, your team and your contract inside and out, is key.

Great communicators

Like all great communicators, the most successful construction managers are attuned to their team's needs and ensure everyone understands what’s expected of them and when. Construction managers also assure that everyone involved with the project, from the engineer to the foreman, has the information, tools and time they need to do their jobs according to the highest quality standards.

The buck stops with them

In many types of business, there is a single project lead responsible for on-time, on-budget and on-brief delivery. Building projects — from commercial developments to massive civil construction projects — are no different. Like any complex project with a multitude of moving parts, with this responsibility comes the need for effective collaboration. In our experience, the best construction managers exhibit a trait common to many top leaders — they shoulder all of the responsibility while sharing all of the credit for a successful project with the teams they lead.

If you meet the high standards required to direct top construction projects, we encourage you to set up your free career account with Aerotek and review current construction opportunities.