Construction management (CM) is a specialised part of project management that involves overseeing the planning, design, and construction of a project, from its beginning to its end. Since it’s a part of project management itself, its often also called as construction project management. The purpose of CM is to control and manage a project’s time / delivery, cost and quality. These are the basic tasks that determine the timely completion of the project within the budget limits.
On smaller sites, project managers may carry sole responsibility for the whole project and work as construction managers also but on larger sites it will be assigned to specific construction manager. In case of larger projects there may be several construction managers reporting to senior construction manager who in turn will report to project manager.
Construction sector is getting formalised
In India, traditionally, the task of construction management was left to non-professionals. But now the construction sector is getting formalised and the trend of employing construction managers to perform construction management is setting in. It’s also true that nowadays labour and environment laws have become stringent and wider in application and monitoring and surveillance by the authorities to ensure implementation of these laws have also been intensified. Many a times clients specifically require qualified construction managers to look after construction at the ground level.
Construction manager should be knowledgeable
Since the construction manager is in charge of a building contract he must be aware of, and in control of, all aspects of site operations. He oversees specialized contractors and other personnel. He schedules and coordinates all design and construction processes to ensure a productive and safe work environment. In short, he will make sure jobs are completed on time and within budget with the right amount of tools, equipment, and materials. He works closely with other building specialists, such as architects, engineers, and a variety of trade workers, such as stonemasons, electricians, and carpenters. Many managers also are responsible for obtaining necessary permits and licenses. They are often responsible for multiple projects at a time. For projects too large to be managed by one person, such as large buildings and industrial complexes, a construction manager would only be in charge of one part of the project. To discharge his duties efficiently, a construction manager must know construction methods and technologies, and be able to interpret contracts and technical drawings.
Construction management Vs Project management
Project management involves much wider scope of job profile than construction management and usually a construction manager reports to project manager. In simple words, a construction manager oversees all construction activities while the project manager supervises him. The project manager has greater responsibility to the project, as he/she oversees more than the construction process.
Construction managers manage only the construction portion of the project as they are experts in building trades including electrical, carpentry, plumbing and general construction. A construction manager looks after specific portion of the project.
A construction manager is involved in personnel management at the construction site and he will ensure that materials are delivered on time, that tools are available and that resources are properly allocated.
On the other hand, a project manager in a real estate project, for example, manages all aspects of the project which includes initial planning, site selection and analysis, design, procurement, construction and the physical move. He works more closely with the client while the construction manager deals only with his subordinates and the project manager.
NICMAR is a premier institute
National Institute of Construction Management and Research (NICMAR), established more than thirty five years ago by the Indian Construction Industry, is the premier construction management institution dedicated to provide post graduate training in construction, projects, real estate, infrastructure and allied areas in the country. Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, has recognised the Institute as a Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (SIRO). With strong support from the industry, NICMAR is recognised as a prestigious Centre of Excellence in techno – management education in CRIP. The Institute has excellent campus placement record, including overseas placement, even during recent economic downturn.
However, Neel Kumar, a Construction Manager in a reputed company is of the opinion that one should be aware of the course content and its relevance today before opting for any institute. “One should not be doing the course just for the sake of doing it,” he says. Ultimately, it’s the experience knowledge on the field which will mould your future.
Construction management degree with an outdated syllabus is of little use in practical life. The E&C industry is moving towards its version 4.0 which lays more emphasis on digitization. The industry fast adopting prefabrication, automation, 3D printing, virtual reality, drones, sensors, robots for repetitive or hazardous processes, and data and a construction manager too should be aware of all these subjects. Therefore, one should ensure that curriculum includes Building Information Modelling (BIM), AI, IOT, Big Data, Block Chain, latest project management software etc.
In India, urbanisation is picking up pace and in next 20 years or so nearly half the population in the country will live in cities and towns. Further, its also reported that nearly 70% of the housing requirements in the country are yet to be constructed, signifying importance of construction and real estate in the coming years. Therefore, construction management will occupy a special significance in the construction sector in the coming years.