Why Choose a Career in Construction Development Project Management?

Posted by MDA Projects on Thursday, April 13, 2017 with 8 comments
Choosing the right career in a world that is constantly changing, where some industries and roles might not exist in 20 years from now, is daunting. The truth is, for the most part we have
no real idea of what things will be like in the future.

That said, we can assume with a fair degree of certainty that there will always be a construction development industry: the need for building structures has existed since humans first walked the earth. Like all industries, the built environment slows down and speeds up in response to the economic climate but, with an ever-expanding global population it will of necessity continue to evolve and advance. It will always exist.

What is a construction development project manager?

Everyone practices project management to some extent. In its most basic form, project management is about establishing and achieving goals. It’s also about the planning, organisation and oversight required to meet these goals.

However, whereas project managers in some other industries might take responsibility for a particular aspect of an area or project, a professional and qualified project manager in the construction development industry orchestrates and oversees all aspects of a construction project from concept to completion and beyond.

Typically the project manager identifies objectives, defines project scope, manages time, cost and quality, and factors in project changes. It goes without saying then that one of the most important members (perhaps arguably the most essential) of any construction development team is the project manager.

Is there a demand for project managers in construction development?

In the last 50 years, the industry has evolved and splintered from core disciplines such as architect, quantity surveyor, engineer and builder into increasingly specialised disciplines. This includes importance roles concerning environment, heritage, health and safety, BBBEE (broad based black economic empowerment), and green and sustainable buildings among others. Add to this all the laws and codes that come with these new and necessary disciplines and it becomes even more critical for an objective and interdependent project manager to bring all the various disciplines together to act as one cohesive entity. In other words, the construction development project manager is the binding element that holds it all together. The project manager takes responsibility for facilitating a successful project outcome.

How to know if it’s the right career for you?

There is an inordinate amount of pressure for young people finishing school to pick an industry, pick a qualification and then you have a career path perfectly slotted into a neat box. In the past, if you wanted to work with people you chose psychology. If you wanted to work with figures you picked accounting. Project management in the construction development industry doesn’t fit into a neat box. 

In fact, if you have a strategic and analytical mind and have an affinity for people but don’t want to be desk bound then this could be the career for you. First, it’s important to start by knowing yourself, who you are, what your talents and skills are and then making an informed decision.

Requirements for a career in project management in construction development

Project managers must be professionally qualified and registered. The minimum qualification is a relevant four year degree or diploma in engineering, building management or similar with appropriate industry registration. This includes the SACPMP (South African Council for Project and Construction Management Professions) and ACPM (Association of Construction Project Managers). 

Seasoned construction development project managers will tell you that on-the-job learning is lifelong, particularly the kind of learning that happens on site, during the building process.

Typical profile of a construction development project manager

Real project managers are not averse to getting their boots dirty. They spend time on and off site. They take time to observe, listen, ask questions, and they show a healthy appreciation and respect for people. They interact with a kaleidoscope of personalities from all walks of life: From professionals in various disciplines to the on-site workforce that has the responsibility for the physical construction of a development.

The best construction development project managers are exceptional communicators who take responsibility for conveying the bad news as well as the good. They are natural born planners but, while planning is central to the role, experienced project managers are always prepared for the unexpected. It’s part of what makes the construction development project management role exciting and challenging.

Related topics:
Does A Construction Development Project Manager Add Real Value?