Construction Management Vs. Project Management: What’s the Difference

by Usama Chaudry on February 22, 2022

It might be a boring task to learn the terminologies, but it may leave you in great confusion if the terms are not described clearly. 

The two terms that are often confused about in the construction industry due to their interchangeable nature are: 

Construction management vs. project management.

And suppose you are planning to get your foot into the construction industry. In that case, it will be vital for you to learn the duties and responsibilities of project manager vs. construction manager to get familiar with both roles and what it requires to complete an entire project.

So we will start by defining both the terms separately and then do a comparative analysis of construction management vs. project management

What Is Meant By Construction Management?

The process of construction management involves supervising a building project. The persons responsible for overseeing a construction project of a new building are called construction managers. They order construction materials, assign tasks to the construction project team, and coordinate with the subcontractors. They are delegated to work at construction sites, where they have to manage the working staff and check whether or not the process of the building complies with the safety protocols of the company.

What Is Meant By Project Management? 

Project management is the process of overseeing all areas of a project, from the starting point to the final yield. Project managers are responsible for leading the whole project of a new building. For this purpose, they have to meet with the customers to discuss initial project strategies, employ a project management team and maintain the building manuscripts. Project managers make a financial plan for the project, execute it, and collaborate with the clients or owners of the project. Moreover, they direct the construction team, in which the construction manager is included well. 

Construction Management Vs. Project Management: What’s the Difference?

It is essential to know the difference between project managers vs. construction managers to get a better insight into the kind of work done in the construction industry.

When working on smaller projects, project managers may complete the tasks of a construction manager. But when it comes to working on a larger scale project, they both have to collaborate to construct new buildings. 

Construction managers vs. project managers have a few similarities, but it’s crucial to know the differences between them when pursuing your career.

So here are some critical differences between construction management vs. project management:

Core Duties

After becoming a project manager, you will have the following responsibilities:

  • Discussing the design of the project with the clients 
  • Making a financial plan for the project 
  • Choosing the location for the project and working to make the land safe for a new project
  • Creating a timeline for the project entailing deadlines for each phase 
  • Hiring the crew for the project, including the construction manager 
  • Estimating the cost of marketing and recruiting factors of the project 
  • Keeping a record of the project’s documents 

Whereas:

The duties of a construction manager include:

  • Governing the process of construction on the worksite regularly.
  • Assigning tasks to the construction team and overseeing them 
  • Coordinating with contractors and subcontractors 
  • Ordering goods and preserving the inventory of materials 
  • Ensuring that the project follows all the construction guidelines 
  • Making schedules for the crew members 
  • Estimating the cost of the construction processes 
  • Giving updates to the project manager regarding the construction’s progress 

Qualification & Experience Requirements

Employers require construction managers to possess a bachelor’s degree in construction management or civil engineering. Generally, construction managers have many years of experience in the construction industry, and some working sites may need an engineering, architecture, or general contracting license.

On the other hand:

Project managers should have completed a bachelor’s in architecture, engineering, or construction management. They may have project management or construction experience under their belt. In some provinces, they must have a license to conduct building processes. For gaining a competitive position, they can also earn a certificate in project management or construction. 

Required Skills

Construction managers and project managers require the following set of skills: 

Delegation skills: 

Construction managers are responsible for assigning tasks to the construction team.

While:

Project managers delegate tasks to the contractors as well as the construction manager. 

Relationship building:

Construction managers neither have a direct contract with the contractors nor are they responsible for satisfying clients’ needs. 

Contrarily: 

Project managers communicate directly with the contractors and the clients and maintain a trustworthy relationship with the customers.

Technical skills:

Construction managers may utilize construction-related technical skills as they have construction experience and a better knowledge of construction designs and materials.

Whereas:

Project managers mostly have an administration background, so they utilize technical skills related to administration and business. 

Nature of Work

Construction managers mainly work at construction sites where they supervise the building tasks. 

In contrast, project managers may need to travel to the worksite, but they also work in a typical office environment and travels to meet with the client to communicate project plans. 

Scope of Projects

Construction managers are only responsible for supervising the construction of the building and may start working after the budgeting has been finalized. 

On the contrary, project managers have to keep an eye on all the aspects of the project, including creating a budget for the entire project, fixing the working location, procuring land, specifying building codes, dealing with clients, hiring staff, and meeting deadlines. 

Average Salary

If we compare construction management vs. project management salaries, we can conclude that project managers tend to earn higher. 

The median construction manager salary in Canada is CAD 81,000. Entry-level construction management positions start from CAD 67,000, while most experienced construction managers earn up to CAD 120,000 per year. 

On the other hand:

On average, the construction project manager’s salary is CAD 102,000 per year in Canada. 

Entry-level project management positions start from CAD 70,000, and project managers with higher experience make about CAD 130,000 per year.    

What is better project management or construction management?

It depends on what an individual wants to be. But if we put construction management vs. project management on the scales, project management will outweigh the former.

It is because of the following reasons:

  • Project managers have comparatively higher salaries than construction managers.
  • Project managers can step in to the construction industry without prior construction experience, whereas construction managers must have a robust construction background.  
  • Project managers have more authority over a project than construction managers as they have greater responsibilities. The project manager has even the power to supervise the construction manager.  

Conclusion:

If you want to pursue a career in construction, it is worthwhile to remember the primary differences between construction management vs. project management.  

When comparing the duties of construction manager vs. project manager, it will not be in vain to say that project managers have more control over the project than the construction managers; that’s why they earn a higher salary. 

We hope to have thrived in sharpening the blurry line between construction and project management. 

If you still aren’t clear on this topic, kindly let us know in the comment section.

Usama ChaudryUsama is a professional engineer and graduated from the University of Alberta. Computations of electrical and thermal characteristics are among his research interests. Usama's hobbies outside of professional work include reading, playing tennis, and trekking.

Related

The Primus Workforce team is proudly built on hands-on industry knowledge and experience.