Construction is a lucrative industry in the UK, and the backbone of its modern infrastructure. Building companies and engineering firms alike represent a strong opportunity to build a skilled and valuable career, especially when it comes to progression to more senior project management roles.
In order to be eligible for any project management position in construction, you will typically need a number of relevant qualifications, on top of the basic skills and experience to back up your seniority. Relevant qualifications range from apprenticeship diplomas to HNCs and degrees in architecture, construction or civil engineering.
But core requirements aside, what are the skills that would set you apart from other project managers in construction? Here are some vital qualities you should possess in order to excel in the field.
First and foremost, you need to be an effective team player. Project management involves the curation and collection of disparate elements to effect positive results, and bring a multi-faceted endeavour to completion within timeframe and budget. This can only be achieved by close collaboration with different department leaders, to co-ordinate each phase of development.
This is true not only of your colleagues in other departments, but also of the ground teams carrying your project to completion. While project management roles are quintessentially leadership roles, it is all too easy for newer project managers to make the mistake of drawing a line between their work and that of teams on the ground.
Your teamwork mentality should also cross over into the health and safety aspects of any construction project. While there are legal requirements in relation to the provision of a safe working environment, you should also have a strong ethical pull towards ensuring the safety and comfort of employees on your project.
This can be achieved in a number of ways, from building a strong relationship with PPE suppliers to enforcing robust health and safety procedures to minimise risk. Taking the time to tour project sites with health and safety officers from your team can give you more of an idea of the challenges they face, while ensuring contractors see you as an engaged project manager with their best interests at heart.
Calm Under Pressure
Project managers do not commonly work on one project at a time; sometimes several projects will run concurrently, or new projects will enter the planning phase while others are nearing completion. As such, project managers can find themselves under significant degrees of stress through juggling several different, and sometimes competing deadlines.
A good project manager can remain calm under pressure, and understand the limits of their day. This ability to deal with pressure will enable them to handle emergencies with expediency, and to delegate less important tasks in order to focus on the more pressing aspects of a project.