Both construction managers and project managers play integral roles throughout the construction process. Some of their duties may overlap but there are several key differences in the scope of their jobs that we’ll cover below.
Key Differences Between a Construction Manager and Project Manager
- What portions of the construction project they’re involved in.
Construction managers generally only oversee the construction portion of the project. They look after and manage daily operations from pre-construction through to close-out.
Project managers, on the contrary, handle all aspects of the construction project. This includes the initial planning stages, site selection, design, purchasing, and construction. They’re responsible for making sure that all aspects of the project run smoothly, on budget, and according to schedule. They’ll also handle administrative tasks and client requests.
- When they’re brought into the process.
While a construction manager may handle some offsite duties once the project has been kicked off, their primary role is to keep the project running smoothly on location. A central part of the construction manager’s role is to manage on-site employees like subcontractors and skilled trade workers. They’ll also keep a close eye on material deliveries, resource allocation, and timelines.
A project manager is brought on at the origin of the construction project, prior to the official kickoff. They’ll often maintain a close relationship with the client and will have deep knowledge of their goals and expectations. They can then use this knowledge to communicate with the construction manager and aid them with their job duties to ensure everyone is on the same page.
- Their level of authority throughout the process.
Since a project manager is responsible for more than the construction aspect of the project, they have more ownership and influence. This also comes with more liability. Construction managers typically report to a project manager, as that is their supervisor.