Everything starts with the degree, most of the positions require a higher national diploma or certificate with 2 or 4 years experience in a construction related programs. A university degree of construction or civil engineering is preferred. During the university education, students have to obtain high-level information on many core topics of civil engineering as; Statics, Fluid Mechanics, Material Sciences, Hydraulics, Structuring, Reinforced Concrete, Design, Construction Health & Safety and the last but most important, Construction Management lessons.
We have to admit that it is not easy to obtain the required degree as you have to deal with advanced Physics and Maths lessons until you finish whilst also finding time for the important, verbal lessons. Among all the hard work you have to put some effort to gain real life job experience. Being an intern for a summer is just simply not enough. Construction management pays attention to the time you have spent in the site. Building the background for the job with the education is the simplest part. After finishing one of the necessary programs, job applicants feel like a fish out of water at job interviews. Why? We’ll come to that particular subject later.
The construction certification programs are declared as a must for many of the job advertisements. National Vocational Qualifications up to level 7 can guarantee your professional experience via certification without having to leave the current job you work on. Also you may have to get a certifications like NEBOSH, National Certificate in Construction Safety, IOSH for managing and working safety, HSQE, Health and Safety, Quality and the Environment, and membership of the International Institute of Risk Managements (IIRSM). Having a CSCS Card, and SMSTS are also wanted as an ordinary requirement. Safety Fire Safety and Risk Management Certificates can be a bonus in related areas. All of the certificates above comes with the price and if you fail to pass one of their exams, you may have to start over by registering for the next semester for that particular certification exam also paying the tuition and exam fee again.
The Job Interview
Job interviews are a bit harsh. You will realize that the executives and construction department heads always look for the work experience gained on site. It is really hard for a new graduate finding the first job to gain that experience. But with the help of networking and a bit of luck you will be called for interviews. You may think as the certificates and the diploma should be enough for the job as a graduate but the overwhelming responsibility of the job in construction sector is complicated. We have to look from the eyes of the company executives at this point. What skills are they looking for in a site manager candidate? To explain this, we should give the answer of another question. What does construction site managers do?
Construction site managers are both the eye and the hand of employer on construction sites. Job description consists;
- Managing the engineer team and low level employees with discipline while constantly reporting procurement contractor. Site manager should act like a leader with collaboration skills and pay attention to key performance indicators.
- Project Design and Evaluation, construction site manager should know phasing and report that if the project plan is feasible, compliant to contract protocols. Does the project budget assure the successful delivery of the plan into reality in required timescales.
- Identify the risks, can we assure the safety of workers during the project while optimizing the costs? If the logistics and operational delivery supplies delayed, what will be your back-up plan?
- Site safety; construction site manager should have the knowledge of current H&S legislation, in order to train and manage the employees about the safety standards, taking precautions against possible work accidents. There will be times that you will find yourself witnessing tragic situation like a worker who fell from the structure. An explosion in the excavation site because of the mis-calculated amount of explosives. Pedestrians walking through demolition site, etc. You should be aware of the risks and taking necessary measures.
- Poisoning; exposure to asbestos can be deadly. Diversity of the workers sometimes can be the problem sometimes. Technical personnel as electricians,drywall workers, masons may not know the precautions while entering the site. They can be exposed without knowing, they can bring it to their homes with their clothes. Site manager should be aware of the risks and assure taking the precautions considering variety of possibilities.
- Organizational Business Management; site manager should have the skill of understanding and implementing project into the project management software, using the managing, planning & scheduling applications on site and should have the knowledge of using office software.
- Customer Relations, maintaining positive relations with the customer via good communication and problem solving skills is a must. Site manager should be adaptable to changed customer demands during the project without frustration.
- Personal Sacrifices, stakeholders and customers will want you to dedicate yourself to the construction site. There will be many nights requiring you to stay for work. Some of your weekends will be ruined because of the constant phone conversations and construction site accidents or project schedule will not fit the timescales so you will be called to work.
According to payscale, a construction site manager in United Kingdom earns minimum £27,000 per year. The salary rises as the experience of the site manager increase. Average salary is around £39,000 and site managers with the experience of minimum 10 years can earn up to £58,000. Governmental resources as the national career service state that senior construction site managers can earn up to £70,000. By the way, we can clarify that 1% of site managers are women, so the “this is a man’s job saying” is still true in the real life (but don’t let that put you off). An average site manager in London earns 21% more than the site manager in Manchester. Many of the workers in this area states that the working hours are long, H&S is risky and workmanship quality among co-workers is really back-breaking.
In the 2016, the need for site managers will rise more than 10% according to government expectations.
Construction site managers constantly work above 40-50 hours a week. When a deadline needs to be met, working more than 24 hours consecutively is stated as normal. Even annual leaves can be postponed by the employees.
London in Particular
London is the most expensive city in UK and has the fastest growing construction industry in England. More than 2,000 available jobs online shows that the need for site managers are high in London, with offers that start from £30,000. A good place to start your hunt is with PSR Solutions, who have numerous site manager jobs in London. 26% of site managers in London are working in building structures while 60% of them are working in infrastructure and renovation. The need for extra housing and business centers are covered by increased amount of high-rise buildings. As stated at The Economist, this is raising the costs. Constructing buildings above 20 floors is increased up to £4,300 per square meters while smaller buildings cost around £3,200, affecting the average house prices. While much of the central London is being knocked down and rebuilt by the custom-built mini cranes because of the narrow streets and moving cars, the rents went up higher and offices are more expensive every year. Nowadays London is living its golden times in construction sector among all the European cities. We can expect that construction managers will be needed more in the upcoming 10 years in this city.