Detailed Guide for Construction Managers in California
May also be called: Construction Area Managers; Constructors; General Contractors; Project Engineers; Project Managers
What Would I Do?
Construction Managers* plan, coordinate, and budget a wide variety of construction projects from development to the final construction phase. A few possible projects include building residential, commercial, and industrial structures; roads; bridges; wastewater treatment plants; fueling stations; schools; and hospitals. They divide all required construction site activities into logical steps, estimating and budgeting the time required to meet established schedules.
Construction Managers may schedule and coordinate all design and construction processes. They direct and monitor the progress of construction activities. This may include directly supervising specific parts of the project or managing construction supervisors. Some of Construction Managers' activities may include the selection, hiring, and oversight of specialty trade contractors, such as plumbers, ensuring that all work is completed on schedule. Construction Managers, in conjunction with the architectural team, are responsible for obtaining all necessary permits and licenses. Depending upon the contractual arrangements, they may be responsible for directing or monitoring compliance with building and safety codes, other regulations, and requirements set by the project's insurers. They work with a wide range of clients and professionals, including, architects, engineers, contractors, and public officials, such as building inspectors.
Tools and Technology
Construction Managers make use of various tools and instruments, including lasers, smart levels, tablet computers, smart phones, scanners, and video conference equipment. They may also utilize accounting, scheduling, energy audit, and integrated construction management software.
Construction Managers can play an important role in the emerging green economy. The primary difference between the work of green Construction Managers and the duties of their conventional counterparts lies in their ability to implement environmentally friendly materials and technologies. This creates a more ecofriendly construction project.
Other green activities include minimizing solid waste and maximizing efficiency through materials management and coordination of all activities. Additionally, use of sustainable products, such as sustainably harvested wood, and limiting the use of low volatile organic compound (VOC) paints, lacquers, and adhesives to reduce indoor pollutant levels can be helpful in greening the overall project. Construction Managers work with the rest of the design team to determine the best value for the owner, balancing cost and feasibility. They can also establish long-term sustainability and energy efficiency goals for the owner.
Important Tasks and Related Skills
*This product was partially funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration. The information contained in this product was created by a grantee organization and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. All references to non-governmental companies or organizations, their services, products, or resources are offered for informational purposes and should not be construed as an endorsement by the Department of Labor. This product is copyrighted by the institution that created it and is intended for individual organizational, non-commercial use only.
As the emerging green economy calls for more innovative and environmentally friendly products and practices, there will be changes to the work and worker requirements for Construction Managers, such as new tasks, skills, knowledge, and credentials. Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.
|View the skill definitions|
|Task||Skill Used in this Task|
|Prepare and submit budget estimates and progress and cost tracking reports.||Management of Financial Resources|
|Develop construction budgets that compare green and nongreen construction alternatives in terms of short-term costs, long-term costs, or environmental impacts.||Administration and Management|
|Interpret and explain plans and contract terms to administrative staff, workers, and clients, representing the owner or developer.||Oral Comprehension|
|Procure Leadership in Energy Efficient Design (LEED) or other environmentally certified professionals to ensure responsible design and building activities or to achieve favorable LEED ratings for building projects.||Management of Personnel Resources|
|Develop and implement programs, such as safety, environmental protection, or quality control programs.||Monitoring|
|Study job specifications to determine appropriate construction methods.||Written Comprehension|
|Apply green building strategies to reduce energy costs or minimize carbon output or other sources of harm to the environment.||Building and Construction|
|Implement new or modified plans in response to delays, bad weather, or construction site emergencies.||Judgment and Decision Making|
|Implement training programs on environmentally responsible building topics to update employee skills and knowledge.||Learning Strategies|
Below is a definition for each skill.
|View the tasks to skills list|
|Management of Financial Resources||Determining how money will be spent to get the work done, and accounting for these expenditures.|
|Administration and Management||Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.|
|Oral Comprehension||The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.|
|Management of Personnel Resources||Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.|
|Monitoring||Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.|
|Written Comprehension||The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.|
|Building and Construction||Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.|
|Judgment and Decision Making||Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.|
|Learning Strategies||Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.|
Construction Managers oversee construction projects either from an off-site main office or a construction site field office. Some Managers may need to travel when they are responsible for more than one project. They may also need to go out of state to some sites. When projects take place in foreign countries, Managers usually take up temporary residence in that country.
Although the work usually is not inherently dangerous, injuries can occur. Therefore, Construction Managers should be trained in proper safety procedures to avoid risk of injury caused by uneven ground, large machinery, noisy equipment, and heavy traffic.
Most Construction Managers work over 40 hours per week and can be on call 24 hours a day in order to deal with delays, bad weather, or emergencies at the site. This management job is not typically unionized.
Will This Job Fit Me?
This is a job that should appeal to those who like entrepreneurship, carrying out projects, leading people, and making decisions. The job may also be attractive to those who like working outside and enjoy work activities that include risk taking. Construction Managers should also have effective oral and written communications skills and time management skills.
What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?
The median wage in 2016 for Construction Managers in California is $99,644 annually, or $47.90 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.
Benefits vary by employer, but generally include medical, dental, life, and vision insurance as well as vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans. Some receive tuition reimbursement, bonuses, and vehicle allowance or use of a company motor vehicle. Those who are self-employed are responsible for their own insurance and retirement plans.
What is the Job Outlook?
Most job openings will be created by the need to replace Construction Managers who retire or leave the field for other reasons. Opportunities may be best for Managers with advanced technical knowledge or extensive experience. Green economy activities and technologies may increase the demand for Construction Managers; however, like many occupations, employment may be sensitive to fluctuations in the economy.
Projections of Employment
In California, the number of Construction Managers is expected to grow faster than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Construction Managers are expected to increase by 19.2 percent, or 9,000 jobs between 2014 and 2024.
|Estimated Employment and Projected Growth|
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Due to Net
|View Projected Growth for All Areas|
Annual Job Openings
In California, an average of 900 new job openings per year is expected for Construction Managers, plus an additional 660 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 1,550 job openings.
|Estimated Average Annual Job Openings|
|Jobs From Growth||Jobs Due to|
|View Data for All Areas|
How Do I Qualify?
Education, Training, and Other Requirements
A bachelor’s degree in construction science, construction management, building science, or civil engineering is generally the minimum educational level that employers will consider for a position as a Construction Manager. Construction Managers need to be knowledgeable in the California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen) as well as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Understanding of the whole building systems approach for successful integration of energy efficient design and knowledge of Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP) and Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) regulations are valuable.
Fewer Construction Managers are being hired from the ranks of construction craft workers, such as carpenters, masons, plumbers, or electricians, than in the past. A bachelor’s degree is increasingly becoming a standard educational requirement for the position. It is still possible; however, for experienced construction workers to move up to become Construction Managers. Hands-on construction experience is very important, whether gained through an internship, a job in the construction trades, or another job in the construction industry.
Early Career Planning
High school students interested in becoming Construction Managers should take courses in drafting, business, mathematics, computer science, English, and Spanish. The last is increasingly important due to the large numbers of monolingual Spanish speakers working on construction sites.
Construction Managers who hold a LEED credential are required to take continuing education units every two years. Some Construction Managers also take additional college courses to enhance their job-related skills. They may take courses whose subject matter ranges from general management skills, to management skills specifically related to construction or technical knowledge of construction methods and practices.
Licensing and Certification
There is no license specifically for Construction Managers. However, those who are engineers obtain a Professional Engineer (PE) license in order to be able to approve engineering documents or oversee less experienced Engineers. Engineers are also required by the State to obtain a PE if their work may affect the public welfare. The PE is obtained through the California Department of Consumer Affairs, Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists. The license must be renewed every two years.
Those who work as general contractors should be licensed by the California Contractors State License Board under the California Department of Consumer Affairs. Their Web site address is www.cslb.ca.gov. Contact the agency that issues the license for additional information. Click on the license title below for details.
Even though certification is not required to work in the construction industry, a number of Construction Managers are making the effort to become certified.
Numerous entities offer voluntary certification programs for Construction Managers. Requirements combine written examinations with verification of education and professional experience. The American Institute of Constructors awards the Associate Constructor (AC) and Certified Professional Constructor (CPC) designations. The Construction Management Association of America awards the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) designation. Applicants for the CCM also take a self-study course that covers the professional role of a Construction Manager.
Many Construction Managers obtain LEED credentialing. The LEED credential is awarded to those who complete programs regarding green building practices and principles and LEED requirements, resources, and processes. The certification exams are given by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). To become a LEED Associate no work experience is necessary to take the exam, but in order to become a LEED Accredited Professional, experience is needed within three years of application with a project registered for or certified by LEED.
In California, Build it Green offers certifications, including Certified Green Building Professional (CGBP), requiring two days of training and an exam. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Career InfoNet Web site and scroll down to "Career Tools." Click on "Certification Finder" and follow the instructions to locate certification programs.
Where Can I Find Training?
There are two ways to search for training information:
Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.
Where Would I Work?
The largest industries employing Construction Managers are as follows:
|Industry Title||Percent of Total Employment for Occupation in California|
|Nonresidential Building Construction ||14.0%|
|Residential Building Construction ||12.0%|
|Building Equipment Contractors ||8.2%|
|Building Finishing Contractors ||3.5%|
|Other Specialty Trade Contractors ||3.4%|
Finding a Job
Direct application to employers is one of the most effective job search methods. Schools and training providers may operate placement centers for their students. Jobs may also be found through registration with temporary employment agencies and through classified advertisements in newspapers and trade publications. Internet job listings also provide helpful job leads. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.
To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).
Yellow Page Headings
You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Construction Managers.
- Construction Companies
- Heavy Construction
- Home Developers
- Steel Buildings
Find Possible Employers
To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:
- Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
- Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
- Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
- Contact the employer for possible employment.
Where Could This Job Lead?
Opportunities for advancement depend on a Construction Manager's level of performance and competence, and the size and type of employing company. In larger companies, it is possible to become a top-level manager or executive. With extensive experience, some may become independent consultants. Construction Managers may also establish their own construction management services, specialty contracting, or general contracting firm.
Below is a list of occupations related to Construction Managers with links to more information.
|Construction and Building Inspectors||Guide|
|First-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers||Guide|
These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.
For the Career Professional
The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.