Differences between Project Manager vs. Superintendent

by Usama Chaudry on May 11, 2022

You might be a little confused about the working criteria between project Manager vs. Superintendent. These two might sound like similar positions with respect to their duties, but that’s not what it looks like.

 Today, we’ll discuss these two designations in thorough detail.

We’ll be able to better understand at the end of the topic. Make sure to follow up till the end. So you don’t miss important details. Without further ado, let’s get right into the details,

Who is a Project Manager?

A project manager leads a construction project through proper directions and authoritative control channels. So there are many things a project manager looks after. 

Some of them are listed below!

  • A project manager brings out the scope of a project by giving ideas
  • He has to devise a proper initial pattern to start a project
  • Project managers are to plan ideas and check their feasibility progress
  • He has to check the working quality and efficiency of the construction project
  • The project manager has to stop procurements from closing things on a balanced note

Who is a Superintendent?

A superintendent is another essential post at construction sites. Superintendent has to look after the daily activities at the site. These activities are concerned mainly with the structure and the construction of the new buildings.

Also, this position holds many chief responsibilities at construction sites. Some of these responsibilities are given below!

  • He has to supervise and direct the on-site workers by giving useful instructions.
  • Superintendent has to coordinate with construction workers to bring a specific approach with respect to the working
  • Fulfillment of work quality standards is also one of the important responsibilities of a superintendent
  • He also has to be very strict about the working rules, discipline followed by budget
  • All superintendents will have to attend important production meetings as well

Project Manager vs. Superintendent

People becoming confused between the project manager and superintendent posts is not unsettling at all. There are many similarities if we just hear about these job designations. 

So let’s break down this conversation and discuss the differences between these two positions at construction sites.

1. Differences in Salaries

It is always welcoming to discuss the salaries of compelling job designations like construction superintendent salary vs. project manager. And it can get better when we have a project manager and Superintendent together. 

So let’s take a look at annual salaries for both positions at construction sites,

Project Manager Salary

A project manager earns approximately 80k dollars if we refer to the annual chart. This annual earning is for the job designations based in the United States particularly. Also, the earning chart could be different depending upon the geographical situation.

Moreover, this can apply to the experience and education alongside. People with more experience and solid education tend to gain a better salary package compared with the others.

Superintendent Salary

The salary package is almost identical, with no significant difference from the project manager designation. But the Superintendent tends to receive a slightly better salary package than project managers.

The average annual salary for the Superintendent is about 84.5k dollars. It is slightly above the salary package of the project managers.

 In addition, experience and education differences can contribute to the salary difference with respect to this position.

2. Working Environments

This is one of the biggest differences between the project manager and the Superintendent. Your working environment matters a lot when it comes to the fulfillment of duties regarding a job of any nature. 

So these two designations are different with respect to working environments.

Project Manager Working Environment

A project manager supervises and oversees the entire construction project off-site. He doesn’t work with other workers in the field. And that is what makes it a different superintendent job position.

In some cases, this job benefits from not having to work outside in random weather conditions. But everything could be managed right within the designated place. 

This is another reason why this designated job person gets a slightly lower salary in comparison to the Superintendent.

Moreover, the duties and responsibilities are almost the same for both positions. It is just the working environment that makes a big difference on top of everything.

Superintendent Working Environment

A superintendent has to be actively present at the construction site and with other construction workers. So the working environment can make a big difference with respect to the working efficiency of the superintendents.

Moreover, the physical presence and managing other workers are more assiduous than the project manager task. 

That might be another factor why the superintendents are paid slightly more than the project managers.

3. Managing Responsibilities

Both positions have a lot of responsibilities at hand with respect to construction projects. But the thing is, these two job designated persons operate and deal with their responsibilities differently.

How do Project Managers Manage Their Responsibilities?

All project managers use technology to get the most out of their responsibility chart. They run different management software to check the working efficiency and its details. 

In addition, project managers are away from construction when performing duty.

So everything is on computer devices when it comes to management and keeping track of records. 

A project manager also communicates with the workers at the site to correct errors. That is one of the better things about remote management of construction projects.

How do Superintendents Manage their Responsibilities?

There is a clear difference when discussing responsibility management between the construction superintendent and project manager. Superintendents will have to be physically present in the field to perform their set of duties.

Also, this makes working as a superintendent very practical and harsh in unsuitable working environments. 

So working environments are not the same when we put up the comparison between Superintendent vs. project manager.

Who Has More Authority?

It is one of the important questions on the internet. Basically, roles are divided when we look at a construction project particularly. 

A project manager certainly has more authority as he manages the Superintendent in the field or working area.

Additionally, the Superintendent has authority but under the project manager. He is responsible for putting up a better work discipline along with different working responsibilities.

The Educational Requirements

Educational requirements go a long way with respect to the job designation. Both project manager and Superintendent must acquire a bachelor’s degree in construction management to get selected for the job.

So the educational requirements are identical with respect to both positions. Also, there is an important factor regarding the working experience as well. A candidate with more experience is likely to get qualified for the job than other candidates.

Conclusion

So that was our complete discussion regarding the differences between project manager vs. Superintendent. We thoroughly discussed this entire topic and figured out important differences to convey a better concept overall.

Also, the working credibility of both these positions is almost identical. These two job designated persons manage almost identical objects, but differently. There is a slight difference in salaries and a notable difference in work environments.

That’s what makes these two positions in great demand with respect to the construction projects.

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.

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