The construction industry plays a huge and vital role within the British economy, generating £90 billion annually – which is 6.7% of UK GDP. Despite this, almost one fifth of all jobs within construction are deemed difficult to fill because businesses struggle to find employees with the right experience, skills or qualifications.
The need for skilled Project Managers cannot be denied – statistics from the US show that for every $1 billion (USD) invested in the United States, $122 million was wasted due to lacking project performance. Project Managers are vital to keep projects on track, use budgets effectively and ensure jobs are completed correctly.
If you’ve been working on building sites for a number of years and feel that now is the time to step up into the role of a Project Manager, you may be considering a postgraduate degree in construction project management. Alternatively perhaps you are already a Project Manager, but wish to enhance your CV and progress your career.
Why is the Project Manager so important?
Put simply, the Project Manager (PM) is responsible for the success of a construction project. They oversee every aspect, including the planning, execution, monitoring, control and closure. Project Managers ensure that timeframe targets and budgets are met. Additionally, it is critical that a good client relationship is maintained throughout the project.
A PM’s responsibility extends beyond the project itself to the management of their colleagues and day-to-day activities. For example, they may need to check the correct building materials have arrived at the site on time or explain the day’s activities to their team. As part of the monitoring process, PM’s must regularly report on the project’s progression to sector management and the client. In fact, client support is a big part of the role. PM’s will plan and arrange visits to potential, new and existing clients to ensure they have everything they need.
This level of responsibility is rewarded with a consummate salary - the median income for construction PMs in the UK is £40,000, with salaries capping at about £65,000. In the United States the average salary is nearer to $100,000 [£75,000].
What key skills do you need to be a good Project Manager?
You’re likely to already have substantial experience within the construction industry, which puts you in good stead for a role in project management. However, there are a number of key skills required to be a good PM.
Financial management is one of the most crucial. In construction, it is acknowledged that projects frequently cost more than expected – for example, in New York the One World Trade Center was completed at a final cost of £2.5bn making it the world’s most expensive skyscraper but also finishing at eight times its original budget.
As the Project Manager, it is your job to request more funds to keep the project in construction and, doing so, means you’ll need to explain exactly where the money has gone and why more is required. At Nottingham Trent University (NTU), our online MSc in Construction Project Management includes modules on Cost Studies and Procurement that will help you gain crucial financial management skills, not only in ensuring that your costing at an initial stage is accurate. You’ll also develop the necessary skills and strengths to enable you to analyse your finance accounts and the ability to diagnose specific financial problem areas and to come up with solutions.
The other main thing a Project Manager is responsible for is time management. This is tied to finances as an over-running project will inevitably cost more. However, time management also breeds confidence from your client and ensures your on-site team is working as effectively and efficiently as possible. For this, you’ll need leadership skills to manage and organise people as well as skills in collaborative working so that you can manage relationships with suppliers and clients.
What else does NTU’s online MSc in Construction Project Management offer?
Our online MSc is one of the best ways to obtain the skills and knowledge you need to become an effective PM. The course is fully accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Best of all, because the degree is taught 100% online and part-time - there’s no need for you to quit your existing role or move. You can work your career development around your current personal and professional commitments.
You’ll take a close look at the role a PM takes in Construction Health and Safety, a vitally important area of the design and management process and an issue at the forefront of the industry’s collective thinking. Also covered are the legal frameworks that govern construction project management, as part of the Contracts and Legal Rights and Responsibilities modules. These give you an understanding of construction contract formation, certification and claims and legal processes and legal decision making respectively.
Throughout the online course, you’ll build on your existing knowledge of the construction industry and learn brand new skills, including an awareness of cutting-edge construction technology such as Building Information Modelling (BIM). With an emphasis on embracing various research methods, you’ll feel confident moving towards your own self-defined research project and dissertation at the end of your degree.
The skills our online MSc will help you develop will progress your career as a Project Manager. If you think it sounds like the right course for you, then get in touch with us today to find out more.