Architectural Project Manager Job Description
Construction projects are incredibly complex, with multiple timelines and contractors working together to plan, develop, and build residential, industrial, and commercial projects. Architectural project managers play a vital role in coordinating all of these activities, working with both clients and contractors to develop plans, set schedules and timelines, and complete projects according to time and budget expectations. This is a demanding role that requires excellent time management, problem-solving, and personnel management skills to successfully balance client needs, contractor schedules, and construction regulations to successfully execute building projects.
Architectural Project Manager Duties and Responsibilities
Based on our analysis of current job listings, architectural project managers perform the following duties no matter the project or employer:
Develop and Review Building Plans
An architectural project manager’s duties often begin with developing building plans, usually collaborating with design and architect teams and reviewing plans for construction projects. In addition, architectural project managers play an important role in site selection and development, using their expertise to identify potential issues that may arise during construction.
Estimate Costs and Provide Oversight
After selecting a site and developing a building plan, architectural project managers are responsible for estimating project costs and developing a budget. Once the project is underway, architectural project managers visit sites to monitor progress, oversee contractor activities, and work to eliminate delays and stay on budget.
Consult with Clients
Architectural project managers spend a significant portion of their time interacting directly with clients, from the initial site selection and development process through completion of the construction project.Excellent communications skills are required to ensure that the project meets the client’s needs and that clients remain informed of progress and developments.
In addition to interfacing with clients, architectural project managers play an important role in managing contractors. This can range from initially selecting contractors and receiving bids to answering questions during the building process.This part of an architectural project manager’s day-to-day role often involves visiting the job site to verify that contractors are adhering to building plans and regulations.
Oversee Scheduling and Timelines
Because many aspects of large-scale construction projects require coordination between multiple teams of contractors as well as local inspectors and utilities, architectural project managers must actively manage schedules and timelines to prevent delays and ensure that projects are on time and within budget.
Conduct Site Planning and Compliance
Finally, architectural project managers are responsible for all aspects of site planning so that projects comply with local zoning, environmental, and safety regulations. In some cases, this requires that an architectural project manager is well-versed in local, state, and national regulations and building standards.
Architectural Project Manager Skills and Qualifications
Architectural project managers balance direct, day-to-day oversight of construction projects with big-picture planning and communication with clients and contractors. Typically, architectural project managers will need a bachelor of architecture degree and at least five years of experience, along with the following skills:
- Architectural experience – architectural project managers need extensive architectural experience along with a state license, which requires the completion of the Architect Registration Exam (ARE)
- Drafting and engineering – experience with drafting building plans and blueprints is also essential to an architectural project manager’s role, since they are responsible both for developing plans and reviewing drafts developed by other architects
- Personnel management – because they direct and oversee contractor activities and often work with teams of architects and designers, architectural project managers should also have a background in personnel management
- Project management – with so much of this role requiring high-level planning, schedule management, and coordination, architectural project managers need extensive experience in project management best practices
- Communication skills – an architectural project manager spends significant time corresponding both with clients and contractors, so they need effective written and verbal communication skills
- Problem-solving skills – over the course of construction projects, circumstances can change and issues can arise, so architectural project managers need to be agile problem-solvers to prevent delays and see projects through to completion
Tools of the Trade
Architectural project managers split their time between an office setting and job sites, so familiarity with basic office programs is essential, as is expertise with:
- Architecture software (AutoCAD, ArchiCAD, Revit, SketchUP)
- Project management tools (BQE Core, Asana, Deltek Ajera)
Architectural Project Manager Education and Training
Generally, architectural project managers need at least a bachelor of architecture degree. This is typically a five-year program.Most architectural project managers also undergo a period of supervised work under a senior architect before completing the Architect Registration Exam (ARE) and receiving their state licensure.
Architectural Project Manager Salary and Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median yearly wage for architectural and engineering managers is$134,730. However, because this estimate also encompasses engineering managers, who oversee industrial and manufacturing projects, the higher end of this salary range may exceed the level of compensation architectural project managers can expect. This role also has some overlap with construction project managers, who earn a median annual salary of $89,300. Given the additional experience and licensing required to become an architectural project manager, the salary for this role will likely fall between these two figures.
Employment for architectural and engineering managers is expected to grow 6 percent by 2026, while employment growth for construction project managers is forecast to grow 11 percent in the same time period.
The role of architectural project manager is a relatively recent industry development, but the list of resources that explore the construction process through the lens of project management is constantly growing:
Architectural Management – read about the latest topics and perspectives in architectural project management
Management of Construction Projects: A Constructor’s Perspective – written by John E. Schaufelberger and Len Holm, this project-based textbook explores construction projects with real-world examples
“Characteristics of Project Management in Architecture” – this article discusses project management considerations and practices and how they relate to construction projects
Building Construction: Project Management, Construction Administration, Drawings, Specs, Detailing Tips, Schedules, Checklists, and Secrets Others Don’t Tell You: Architectural Practice Simplified – author Gang Chen takes a straightforward, thorough look at architectural project management, covering everything from client relations to design and construction
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