One of the roadways to effective construction project management is to have a reliable construction project manager. This key role comes with its own set of challenges, requiring a unique combination of skills and expertise. In this blog, we’ll dig into several of the necessary skills a construction project manager should possess to successfully navigate these challenges.

First, however, are a couple of preliminary questions that need answered.


What is the role of a construction project manager?

“If you’re looking for a serene profession, go for construction management.” Said no knowledgeable construction project manager, ever.

From supervising the daily activities of coworkers on a construction site to making sure the project is finished on time and within budget, a construction project manager has numerous responsibilities vital to a project’s outcome beyond just managing the project itself. As a prime example, the responsibilities of these project managers include routinely reporting its progress to all the stakeholders.

What are construction project management skills?

Construction management skills are the capabilities and traits that can help a person effectively fulfill their duties as a construction manager. A combination of technical skills and certain soft skills will help a manager supervise a construction project and oversee a construction crew.

Here, then are the most important skills.


On-point communication

Communication skills lie at the very heart of every thriving business and a construction company is indeed no exception. Minus effective communication, skilled workers would be powerless to function to the best of their ability and a project could be totally derailed.


A productive project manager can employ means such as construction software and face-to-face meetings to communicate their ideas, make decisions and settle issues. They need to communicate often and appreciate the need to tailor their project updates in a manner that’s both instructive and understood by all stakeholders. Possessing robust verbal, written and presentation skills will help them communicate successfully with all concerned parties, helping guarantee the project is completed with minimal annoyance.


Effective communications skills also help keep morale high. Managers need to be diplomats. Nobody wants to work for someone who degrades them, so construction teams will only benefit from a manager who respects and reassures them.




Leadership in construction is a basic skill that forms the foundation for many others described herein.

To effectively lead a team through an entire project, a construction manager must:

  • Provide clear instructions
  • Set specific goals
  • Motivate people to work together as a team

A successful construction manager understands their team and each contributor’s strengths to put together an appropriate action plan. In the construction industry, there are numerous setbacks and curveballs that demand a strong leader to determine and manage them successfully.


Know your drawings, always ask questions,’ says one construction veteran. “Never act like you know everything, listen and keep an open mind.”




Popular culture and movies still adore the lead actor who saves the day as the remedy for whatever afflicts society. In reality, a company lone wolf who decides the “whole ball of wax” usually fails. There are simply way too many variables for one person to have all the answers.


A business with a distinct set of people who bring diverse life and work experiences outperforms other businesses. So, it follows that a construction manager must be a collaborator to blend all the advantages and reduce the disadvantages.


Aside from diversity, all construction projects also feature multiple entities working within their own systems to finish their pieces of the whole. A construction manager must have well-honed collaboration skills to make all the pieces fit on time and within budget.



Delegation . . . goes hand-in-hand with collaboration

We’ve identified how construction managers simply need help from others to complete their project tasks, and they often employ their delegation skills to allocate duties to their team members. Obviously, knowing how to delegate can help ensure the project continues to move forward. It’s also important to know the team members’ strengths and weaknesses so they can be matched up with the duties that best suit their talents.


By and large, a good project manager knows how to delegate tasks based on team members’ strong points. 


For instance, if one team member has a particular knack for numbers, a good project manager will take note of this. In the future, he/she will allot them tasks including budgeting and scaling of construction products.


Moreover, delegation of jobsite tasks will inspire trust among the project manager and the individual workers he/she oversees. Top-notch project managers delegate work, allowing the team to finish tasks while still staying available when issues arise. It’s unreasonable to think that project managers will keep an eye on every detail, so building trust within the team helps to ensure the long-term health of the project.


This means avoiding micromanagement . . .

In an industry where projects are large and complex, micromanagement is simply a waste of time. The best construction project managers trust that their colleagues and team members have the essential skills to complete the tasks and by delegating tasks and openly describing the job to be done, they avoid getting caught in the project’s minutia and instead focus on the end results.



Construction knowledge

To be an outstanding construction project manager, he/she needs at least certain construction knowledge and skills. True, they don’t have to be an expert in the field, but developing a good grip of every step of the construction process and the best practices can go a long way.


Apart from having a good foundation in the basics of construction, they should also be at ease with architectural and engineering drawings. It’s also important for construction managers to remain up to date on most construction materials and procedures.


Adds another construction professional, “Get out into the field! If you know how to do something and know how long it takes to complete a task, you will be better prepared. I never ask my guys to do something I wouldn’t do, and I am always the first to jump in and help. Having the formal education is good, but the practical skill set in the field is just as important.”



Flexible and transparent planning

As a project’s changes relating to time and money tend to pile up quickly, it’s critical that managers plan effectively. As with most industries today, construction managers must remain flexible and open to such changes. This necessitates that one must be ready to accept changes in materials, regulations and standards and have the ability to gain access to the right information quickly in order to adapt to such changes.


With the advancement of technology, construction professionals must take advantage of digital technology to remain relevant. Some might just call this being tech savvy, while in truth, utilizing current technology and new tools is no more than keeping up with today’s construction industry.


Project managers must also pay attention to all projects that are going on simultaneously, from laying out of the foundation to mapping the plumbing lines. This also requires transparency so your team can see what’s going on and make instant changes when problems come up, and they will.


In brief, having the flexibility to make changes entails making sure the entire team understands the project’s scope every step of the way.  



Problem-solving tools

While it might be enjoyable to think that nothing ever goes wrong with a construction project, it’s only wishful thinking. That’s why it’s best to have a back-up plan at all times in the event that something doesn’t go as intended.


True, it’s impossible to predict the worst-case scenario. Nevertheless, project managers must be able to think on their feet and adapt when necessary. They should also possess the skills required to keep projects going and sidestep delays even when problems arise. Problem-solving tools are essential for sustained progress and meeting deadlines.



Ability to recognize and reward achievements

Perhaps one of the greatest skills one can acquire as a construction project manager is how to relate to others. As a prime example, recognizing and rewarding when the team achieves a target creates a bond, establishes a cheerful place of work and boosts the teams’ productivity for the ensuing project.

Says one lead project engineer, “Set realistic goals, challenge workers, recognize and reward achievements and recognize positive behaviors. “

To be able to celebrate when a goal is achieved, it’s imperative to set achievable goals.

Here’s an illustration of an achievable monthly goal for a team of seven: Frame the house and mount dry wall in one week.

Here is an example of an unachievable goal: Complete the entire house with The Plaza Hotel prominence.

Establishing unachievable goals only results in stress and frustration. Goals need to be set by considering only reasonable ones. This doesn’t mean, however, that the goals should be too easy, only achievable.

When employees do attain a set goal, agree to a bit of celebration and be sure everyone involved knows how pleased stakeholders are. The project manager can even offer occasional performance-based rewards. Recognizing and rewarding achievement is a critical step in retaining the dedicated people that make up the team.



Risk Management

Being able to identify and assess construction site risks, draw up a risk management plan and provide reports is just one other aspect of the duties of good construction managers.


Life is unpredictable. So, what separates an average construction manager from a great one is the ability to recognize this.


The wrong materials may have been shipped to the site or a structural support failed, and it sent the project off schedule. A successful project manager understands that risks happen and has a thorough plan in place to handle things that go awry. The project manager, as well as the team, has to sit down and identify as many risks as possible before the project begins, so their plan is actionable when initiated.


That being said, some risks are incredibly difficult to identify and mitigate. Project managers ahead of the game will think about solutions to reduce this risk, including technology that incorporates artificial intelligence and machine learning.


Innovations currently exist that can identify a range of risks, including essential safety issues.



Willing to learn

Finally, the last but not the least skill is to possess an eagerness for nonstop learning. Since the construction project manager can’t live in the past, he/she continually works toward improving their skills. Always with the goal of becoming a better project manager, he/she is also devoted to becoming skilled with new tools or new management methods.


Says one veteran manager, “I’m currently a construction project manager. I can tell you that my hands-on experience has provided me with the ability to be more accurate than my counterparts that don’t have hands-on knowledge. The ability to look at a wall that had glue used in the 1940s and know that you just can’t throw a plastic up on it can be the difference between completing and missing a deadline. Anyone can time crunch new construction. But for non-standard material use and complicated rehabs, the hands-on knowledge is king.”


Adds another manager, “I could go on for hours. Know your drawings, always ask questions, never act like you know everything and keep an open mind.”


Final thoughts

The construction world is a diverse and complex field that requires a high level of skill and competence to make sure that projects are executed efficiently. That’s why the professionals here at PDDM Solutions welcome your inquiries concerning construction project management. Simply contact us at your earliest convenience.