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Construction manager

Direct operations on a construction project to make sure it's completed safely, on time and within the budget.

Also known as: site agent, site manager

About skillsGetting in

About the job


Source: National Careers Service



Entry level





Entry level





Entry level




people are currently employed

High growth

500 more jobs in 5 years

These figures refer to this job and similar ones with comparable skills and qualifications. They only apply to Scotland. Source: Oxford Economics

A day in the life — construction manager

What it's like

You would supervise and direct operations on a construction project to make sure the building or structure is completed safely, on time and within the budget.

You’d manage the project on behalf of another company, your client. You’d lead and motivate the construction team and sort out any problems that arise during the project.

On small sites you might have full responsibility for the whole project. On larger sites you may be in charge of a particular section and report to a senior site manager.

Before the building work starts, you would:

  • discuss plans with architects, surveyors and buyers

  • plan work schedules using project management software

  • hire employees

  • arrange for materials to be delivered to the site

  • set up temporary offices at the site

Once construction has started, you would:

  • work closely with the workforce on site

  • check progress, costs and quality

  • make sure the work meets legal requirements and building regulations

  • report regularly to your client

You would also be the main point of contact for subcontractors and the public.

As a senior manager, you could oversee several projects at the same time.


You would work around 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday, possibly with some evening or weekend work to meet deadlines.


Site work would be in all weather conditions. You'll sometimes have to work at heights, for example when inspecting roofing. You'd wear protective clothing on site, such as safety boots and a hard hat.


Some of your time would be spent travelling between sites and meeting clients and contractors.

Explore more information about this job

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Related industries

Many jobs can be done in lots of different industries. We've highlighted the ones we think are most important for this job.

  • Construction and built environment
  • Energy
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Top skills

Skills are things you're good at. Whether you know what yours are or not, everyone has them!

It's useful to learn which ones are important in a job so you know the areas you need to brush up on. It can also help you work out if you're suited to a career.

Here are some of the skills you'll need to do this job:

  • making decisions
  • delegating
  • managing resources
  • developing a plan
  • attention to detail
  • working with numbers
  • problem solving
  • verbal communication
  • building relationships
  • motivating others

Your skills are important

Our unique skillsets are what make us stand out from the crowd. Learn about each skill in depth and discover what employers look for in your applications and interviews.

Discover skills

Getting in

Explore the sections shown for more information about getting into this career.

You might have qualifications which are not shown here but will allow you access to a course. You can compare your qualifications by looking at their SCQF Level. For more information about this, check out the SCQF website.

Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Colleges and universities will list subjects you'll need for entry to a course. Some useful subjects include:

  • Design and Manufacture

  • Engineering Science

  • Practical Craft Skills

  • Foundation Apprenticeship: Civil Engineering

  • Skills for Work: Building Services Engineering

You can get a head start in this career by doing a Foundation Apprenticeship in S5 and S6.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification which is the same level as a Higher. You'll also learn new skills and gain valuable experience in a work environment.

Discover what's on offer at your school on  Apprenticeships.scot.

You need a Higher National Certificate (SCQF Level 7), Higher National Diploma (SCQF Level 8) or degree (SCQF Level 9/10) in a relevant subject:

  • Construction

  • Civil engineering

  • Construction management

  • Architecture

  • Building surveying.

You can enter Higher National Certificate (SCQF Level 7) or Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF Level 8) with National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or equivalent qualifications.

For entry to a degree (SCQF Level 9/10) you will require National 5 qualifications and Highers or a relevant HND.

Qualifications that demonstrate an understanding of construction, planning and organising and practical skills, such as Skills for Work Construction Crafts (SCQF Level 4/5).

You must have a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent and pass a health and safety test to work on construction sites.

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