Updated March 2021.
The field of construction management attracts people from all different backgrounds. Some already have hands-on experience as builders.
Others have administrative experience, and understand about coordinating schedules, organizing information, and meeting deadlines.
Some are completely new to the field. But they’re interested in construction and naturally drawn to project management.
They want to see how a build comes together, behind the scenes. They want to play a key role in organizing, planning, and overseeing that process.
Sound familiar? You’ve come to the right place.
So, what’s it really like to work as a construction manager? What does training involve, and what sort of jobs can you get just starting out? Is the salary good?
Here’s your quick guide to the world of construction administration and management.
Your Options for Construction Office Manager Training
This field is quite different from other skilled trades, because it has a university training option.
Some construction managers actually have degrees in business, accounting, engineering, economics, or finance. There are also construction management bachelor programs.
But...you don’t have to get a degree to start a career in construction administration. Many employers will accept a diploma combined with related work experience.
If you don’t want to invest in a 4-year degree, you can opt for college-level construction management training.
These are obviously much shorter, condensed programs that skip over all the theory—and focus on the practical skills needed to work in a construction office.
You can finish a construction management diploma in as little as 36 weeks.
The difference? A diploma will qualify you for entry-level roles. In other words, you won’t start out as a manager.
Most likely, you’ll get hired as an assistant to the construction manager. More on that next.
Entry-Level Construction Office Jobs—What Will You Be Doing?
So, unless you already have several years of job-site experience, chances are you’ll begin your career as a construction administrator or construction office coordinator.
You’ll need to learn the ropes, before you can take a shot at managing builds on your own.
What will you be doing on a daily basis? Typical tasks for construction administrators include:
- Assisting project managers
- Helping with accounting tasks (creating purchase orders, processing invoices)
- Updating project files, maintaining the database
- Helping with budget preparation, tracking spending on projects
- Responding to inquiries
- Scheduling sub-contractors
- Preparing progress reports on construction projects
Advancing to Construction Manager Positions
After you’ve earned your stripes as a reliable, organized, skilled administrator, you can start competing for management positions.
It varies depending on the size of the company and budget for the project, but some construction manager positions require just 1-2 years of proven experience.
(Others may call for 10+ years—it all comes down to the complexity of the build, money involved, and the company doing the hiring.)
There are a lot of employment options to choose from. You could work for a residential, commercial or industrial construction company, real estate developer, or electrical, mechanical or trade contractor.
One thing is for sure: when you step into the manager role, you’ll be responsible for keeping the project on track, on time, and on budget.
That means coordinating everything from conception to completion. Typical tasks include:
- Analyzing project requirements and preparing progress schedules
- Estimating costs and preparing budgets
- Preparing bids
- Overseeing accounting and payroll
- Communicating with vendors and supply companies
- Coordinating sub-contractors
- Supervising office staff
- Resolving problems, delays
- Ensuring worker health and safety
- Reporting to stakeholders on the progress of construction projects
These are all skills taught in construction manager training programs. Courses cover everything from occupational health and safety, to managerial finance, cost estimating software, and human relations.
How Much Money do Construction Office Managers Make?
This is an excellent time to become a construction office manager. Why? Because demand is strong for this position, all across Ontario.
The Government of Canada Job Bank gives “construction project manager” 3 stars for employment growth—its highest possible rating.
The rating holds true for the whole province. And demand in this field is expected to hold steady for the next 10 years in Canada.
What about salary? Wages are also strong for construction managers. The latest Government Wage Report pegs the median salary for managers at $80,000/year.
Here's the average salary for construction managers in Toronto, ranging from the low end, to the highest paid professionals in the industry:
Low range: $40,000
High end: $132,000
So, even at the lowest range, the average sits at $40,000—and there’s obviously a lot of room for growth.
Source: Government of Canada Job Bank Wage Report
What Skills Are Involved in Becoming a Construction Office Manager?
Organization is probably the first skill that comes to mind. But becoming a construction office manager takes more than strong organization.
The truth is, successfully managing construction projects takes a very specific skillset. If you want to pursue this career, certain things should come naturally to you, including:
- Teamwork and people skills
- Communication (written and verbal)
- Numeracy (good with numbers, calculations, data)
- Analysis and problem-solving
- Information management (writing reports, updating files, organizing records)
- Business savvy (you understand business goals and can relate to company management)
- Leadership (you can motivate a team, resolve conflicts, and keep projects on track)
Construction office managers are the glue that holds everything together. They are the bridge between the actual builders on-site, and company executives.
They help management deliver on their promises to clients—which ultimately, ensures growth and success for the whole enterprise.
At the end of the day, this is a business role. If you’re really interested in hands-on building work (electrician, carpentry, HVAC, etc.) you’re better off on another career path.
However, if you like being in charge, can handle responsibility, and are great a leading a team, this is the job for you.
Still not sure? Read on for your next step.
Is Becoming a Construction Office Manager Right For You?
Still have questions about training, careers, or whether becoming a construction office manager is right for you? Your next step is to talk with an Admissions Advisor.
An Advisor will walk you through training, possible employers, career options, and the skills needed to succeed in this career.
Together, you will discuss your strengths, learning needs, and professional goals. The Advisor will tell you honestly if this program is right for you - or if they'd recommend pursuing a different trade.
Get started by clicking below to explore the Construction Office Manager program.
You can see a detailed course list, chat live with an Advisor, or request free information via email. We’re here to help!