Building and Construction Manager
Kaiwhakahaere Hanga Whare
This job is sometimes referred to by alternative titles
Building and construction managers plan, control and co-ordinate civil engineering or building projects, and the resources and people involved.
Building and construction managers usually earn
$90K-$150K per year
Source: Hays, '2016 Hays Salary Guide', 2016.
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 and location of the project they are working on, and their experience and qualifications.
- Construction project managers usually earn $90,000 to $140,000 a year.
- Construction site managers usually earn $100,000 to $150,000.
- Senior project managers, project directors and construction managers may earn more.
Source: Hays, '2016 Hays Salary Guide', 2016.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the figures and diagrams in our job information)
What you will do
Building and construction managers may do some or all of the following:
- consult with clients, building professionals, local councils and architects
- estimate the number of workers, types of machinery and materials required
- estimate prices and put in tenders for jobs
- plan building programmes and co-ordinate supplies of materials and machinery
- hire workers and apprentices and liaise with subcontractors
- plan, establish and monitor health and safety systems
- establish and implement traffic management and environmental plans
- work with quantity surveyors to ensure costs are kept within budget.
Skills and knowledge
Building and construction managers need to have:
- knowledge of building methods and materials
- skill interpreting drawings and architectural plans
- an understanding of building standards and safety regulations
- maths skills, and knowledge of cost control and purchasing
- knowledge of health and safety procedures
- an understanding of quality control systems
- administrative and business skills.
Building and construction managers:
- may work long and irregular hours, including weekends
- work on building and demolition sites, where conditions may be dusty, dirty and noisy
- may travel out of town to work on projects, or source materials and equipment.
What's the job really like?
Kerrin started at the bottom - sweeping up
"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."
Planning and co-ordinating every day
"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."
Working with people in many different roles
"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 extensive experience in the building construction industry.
Construction companies are increasingly looking for building and construction managers with qualifications such as a:
- civil engineering degree
- building qualification
- construction management diploma
- quantity surveying qualification.
There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a building and construction manager. However, NCEA Level 2 in English, maths and design and visual communication are useful.
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.
- BConstructive website - information on the BConstructive programme
- Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation website - information on the Gateway 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.
Useful experience for building and construction managers includes:
- building and construction work, especially in a managerial role
- general managerial experience.
Some building work has to be carried out or overseen by a Licensed Building Practitioner. To get a licence, you have to prove your experience and/or have appropriate qualifications.
Find out more about training
- Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO)
- 0800 22486 - email@example.com - www.bcito.org.nz/apprentices
- 0800 486 626 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.connexis.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Building boom drives demand for building and construction managers
There is a high demand for building and construction managers due to:
- a construction boom that is predicted to last until 2021, meaning more building work
- the extra 22,000 houses that are needed over the next 10 years in Auckland
- building work needed to upgrade leaky homes and earthquake-prone buildings
- the Christchurch rebuild, which is predicted to extend until at least the end of 2017
- the Government's plans to spend over $13 billion on transport networks between 2015 and 2018
- the $850 million Transmission Gully project north of Wellington, which is expected to be under construction until 2020.
However, like many building jobs, this role can be affected by economic conditions. A downturn in the economy can lower demand for building and construction managers.
Building and construction managers on skill shortage lists
Building and construction managers with experience in building, roading and infrastructure are in high demand. Because of this, construction project manager appears on Immigration New Zealand's immediate, long term and Canterbury skill shortage lists.
This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled overseas building and construction managers to come to New Zealand for work.
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.
- BRANZ and Pacifecon, 'National Construction Pipeline Report 4', July 2016, (www.branz.co.nz).
- McClintock, J, operations manager, Certified Builders Association, Careers New Zealand interview, June 2016.
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2006-2015 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2015.
Progression and specialisations
With experience, building and construction managers can progress to more senior positions and may also start up their own companies.
They may progress into specialised roles, including:
- Construction Site Manager
- Construction 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.
- Construction Project Manager
- Construction 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.
Last updated 16 January 2017