Building and Construction Manager
Kaiwhakahaere Hanga Whare
This job is sometimes referred to by alternative titles
Building and construction managers plan, organise, direct, control and co-ordinate the construction of civil engineering projects, buildings and dwellings, and the physical and human resources involved in building and construction.
Depending on their specific role, building and construction managers usually earn
$75K-$160K per year
Source: Hays, 'The 2013 Salary Guide'.
Current job prospects
How many people are doing this job?
Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2003-2012 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2012.
Pay for building and construction managers varies depending on their specific role, the size of the project they are working on, and their experience and qualifications.
- Construction site managers usually earn $75,000 to $100,000 a year.
- Project managers usually earn $85,000 to $130,000.
- Senior project managers, project directors and construction managers usually earn $110,000 to $145,000.
Source: Hays, 'The 2013 Salary Guide'.
What you will do
Building and construction managers may do some or all of the following:
- consult with building professionals, local councils, architects and clients
- estimate the number of workers, types of machinery and materials required
- estimate prices and put in tenders for jobs
- work out building programmes with building planners
- co-ordinate supplies of materials and machinery
- hire workers and apprentices and liaise with subcontractors
- plan and establish efficient health and safety systems and monitor these constantly
- establish traffic management and environmental plans and ensure they are carried out
- work with quantity surveyors to ensure costs are kept within budget
- ensure construction work meets all requirements, and is done on time
- keep records of staff and materials.
Skills and knowledge
Building and construction managers need to have:
- knowledge of building methods and materials
- skill interpreting drawings and architectural plans, and understanding their specifications
- an understanding of building standards and safety regulations
- maths skills, and knowledge of cost control and purchasing for building materials and machinery
- knowledge of health and safety procedures on building sites
- an understanding of quality control systems and how to put these in place
- administrative skills.
Building and construction managers:
- may work long and irregular hours, including weekends
- work on building and demolition sites, and may travel around the country to work on different projects or source materials or equipment
- may be expected to travel out of town to work on projects.
What's the job really like?
Kerrin Manuel - Construction Manager
"I started out as a general labourer on the broom, like anyone else, and progressed through the roles from there.
"Most people who do this role have come up through the ranks. If you do the hard yards, the opportunities come. It's a matter of whether you take them or not.
"Generally I get to the building site quite early and we're planning the day, if not the week ahead. I'll have particular tasks I'll want to have achieved by the end of the week that involve certain groups of people. We get round the table and make sure everyone's got what they need to achieve those goals. So, basically it's overseeing them and making sure we hit that deadline."
"PR [public relations] is a huge part of the role because you're not just dealing with the workers, but with consultants, subcontractors, the council and the public. It's a job where you need to wear a different hat for different roles."
Kerrin Manuel is of Ngāpuhi descent.
Mike talks about life as a construction supervisor - 1.10 mins. (Video courtesy of Got a Trade? Got it Made!)
With this job, there’s so many different things you can do if you like being outdoors there’s so much variety of work out here, every day’s something different, every job’s different, nothing’s ever the same here.
For young people getting into this industry, plenty of work out there, it’s a very good thing to get into. The current project I am working on is the Well Connected Alliance job, Waterview tunnel. This is the biggest project in New Zealand so it’s good to be a part of it.
Best decision I ever done really. I had lots of different jobs, I didn’t really know what I was doing, soon as I had this job I just worked hard for it.
My name’s Mike, I got a trade and I got it made!
To become a building and construction manager you need to have extensive experience in the building construction industry.
Construction companies are increasingly looking for construction managers with one of the following qualifications:
- a civil engineering degree
- a building qualification
- a construction management diploma
- a quantity surveying qualification.
There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a building and construction manager, though four years of secondary education is preferred. Useful subjects include English, maths and technical drawing.
Year 11 and 12 students can learn more about the construction industry and gain relevant skills by doing a National Certificate in Building, Construction and Allied Trades (Levels 1 and 2) through the BConstructive programme.
For Year 11 to 13 students, the Gateway programme is a good way to gain industry experience.
- Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation website - information on the Gateway programme
- BConstructive website - information on the BConstructive programme
Building and construction managers need to be:
- accurate and practical
- able to work with a range of people
- able to work well under pressure
- good communicators
- good at managing and motivating workers
- good planners and organisers.
"The challenge is keeping everyone on the timeline and to keep that timeline going. It’s all about planning ahead.”
Dean Ellicock - Construction Manager
Useful experience for building and construction managers includes:
- building and construction work, especially in a managerial role
- general managerial experience.
Since March 2012, certain building work has had to be carried out or overseen by a licensed building and construction manager as part of the Department of Building and Housing's Licensed Building Practitioners Scheme.
To get a licence, building and construction managers have to prove their experience and/or have appropriate qualifications.
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website - information on the Licensed Building Practitioners Schemes
Find out more about training
- Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO)
- (04) 381 6430 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.bcito.org.nz/apprentices
- (07) 834 3038 - www.connexis.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Increasing demand for building and construction managers
The number of people employed as building and construction managers increased by about 7% between 2010 and 2012, according to Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment estimates.
Demand is good because of:
- work generated by the rebuild of Christchurch following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes
- Auckland's strengthening residential building sector
- a slowly improving commercial building sector
- too few people training for the role
- large roading and infrastructure projects.
Although demand for building and construction managers is expected to be strongest in Christchurch and Auckland in 2014/2015, demand is also picking up in other regions.
Building and construction managers on skill shortage lists
Building and construction managers with experience in roading and infrastructure are in particularly high demand. Because of this, the job appears on Immigration New Zealand's immediate and long-term skill shortage lists. This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled overseas building and construction managers with roading experience to come to New Zealand for work.
Due to strong demand for building and construction managers, the role has been added to Immigration New Zealand's Canterbury skill shortage list, which highlights occupations expected to be in shortage during the rebuild of the region.
Most building and construction managers work for commercial building companies
Building and construction managers mostly work for medium to large building and construction companies engaged in commercial (non-residential) construction. However, they are also employed by construction companies working on infrastructure projects and large residential projects such as apartment complexes.
- Department of Building and Housing, New Zealand Housing and Construction Quarterly, December 2013, accessed July 2014, (www.dbh.govt.nz).
- Immigration New Zealand, 'Canterbury Skills Shortage List', accessed July 2014.
- Immigration New Zealand, 'Long-term Skills Shortage List', accessed July 2014.
- McClintock, J, operations manager, Certified Builders Association, Careers New Zealand interview, February 2014.
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2003-2012 Occupational Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2012.
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 'Key Construction Indicators - October 2012', accessed July 2014, (www.dbh.govt.nz).
- Statistics New Zealand, 'Consents Issued May 2014', accessed July 2014, (www.stats.govt.nz).
Progression and specialisations
Building and construction managers may specialise as project or site managers.
- Construction Project Manager
- Project managers deal with the big picture and are responsible for the overall planning, co-ordination, and control of a project from beginning to end.
- Construction Site Manager
- Site managers have a hands-on role and deal with the day-to-day running of the construction site. They report to a project manager. On large construction sites, there may be a number of site managers, each with a specific area of responsibility.
With experience, site managers may progress to become project managers. Construction managers may also start up their own building and construction company.
Last updated 16 June 2016