Site manager: job description
Site managers are responsible for ensuring that a construction project is completed on time and within budget. Alternative job titles for site managers include construction manager, project manager and site agent. Site managers work on construction sites and work often begins just before construction. More senior construction managers will take responsibility for an entire project and may be known as the project manager or project director. More junior site managers may take responsibility for only a part of a project (also known as a package).
Key tasks include:
- supervising and overseeing the direction of the project (or a package), ensuring that the client’s specifications and requirements are met, reviewing progress and liaising with quantity surveyors to monitor costs
- liaising with the client, other construction professionals and, sometimes, members of the public
- coordinating and supervising construction workers
- selecting tools and materials
- making safety inspections and ensuring construction and site safety
- checking and preparing site reports, designs and drawings
- maintaining quality control procedures
- finding ways to prevent problems and to solve any that crop up
- assessing and minimising risk
- writing reports and keeping on top of paperwork
- helping to negotiating contracts and securing permits and licences
As construction managers work on site wherever that site is, be prepared to relocate or face a longer commute as and when required.
- Construction companies (typically contractors)
- House building and property developing companies
- The public sector (a few vacancies)
- Companies that operate on or own a lot of land, such as infrastructure companies and retailers (a few vacancies)
Vacancies are advertised on TARGETjobs, on the websites of individual construction companies, by careers services and via recruitment agencies. You can also find vacancies through national newspapers and through the magazines and jobs websites of relevant professional bodies, such as the Chartered Institute of Building and Institution of Civil Engineers.
There are routes into a career as a site manager for both university graduates and school leavers. Graduates will need a degree in a construction-related subject, such as construction and project management or civil engineering. Most graduate site managers work towards gaining chartership with the Chartered Institute of Building, a professional qualification you gain on the job.
Relevant experience can be beneficial to securing your graduate job. Some employers offer sponsorship, vacation work and 'year out' placements, which can provide valuable contacts and a useful insight into the profession. Most large companies advertise formal graduate schemes or individual graduate vacancies, but aspiring site managers can also send out speculative applications to smaller companies.
To find out about how you can get into this career via a school leaver route (eg an apprenticeship or school leaver training programme) see the construction and property sector of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers. You may find our construction management job role article particularly helpful.
- Good communication skills
- Problem solving skills
- Decision-making ability
- Commercial awareness
- Ability to motivate others
- Teamworking skills
- Good knowledge of building methods and regulations