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Civil project managers, often referred to as construction project managers, are primarily responsible for overseeing the building of large construction projects, such as commercial structures, roadways, and bridges. They are involved in the areas of pre-planning, budgeting, resource allocation, contract negotiation, and worker coordination. Civil project managers might supervise construction site personnel and subcontractors, attend weekly project progress meetings, and monitor compliance with building and safety codes and regulations.

Civil project managers typically work for construction companies or engineering firms but might also be employed by government agencies. According to statistics supplied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment growth rate for civil project managers or construction managers is projected to be 11percent through 2026. The growing complexity of construction processes and technology is believed to play a major role in the increased demand for civil project managers.

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Civil Project Manager Duties and Responsibilities

Civil project managers are trained to ensure the timely and cost-efficient completion of construction projects. In performing their work, civil project managers perform a variety of core tasks, such as the following:

Complete Construction Project Planning Processes

Most construction projects start with a civil project manager. These professionals review land surveys, assess project estimations and budgets, inspect existing structures, create design plans, and review potential safety issues.

Oversee Construction Personnel

Civil project managers often manage on-site construction crews. They are responsible for negotiating the contracts of subcontractors, communicating with inspectors and architects, meeting with construction managers, and coordinating the delivery of materials with vendors.

Prepare Progress Reports and Attend Meetings

It is typically up to civil project managers to generate reports focusing on project progress, job status, and costs. They usually attend weekly or biweekly meetings to present progress information to superiors.

Civil Project Manager Skills

Those with strong communication, negotiation, and organizational skills are among those who find success as civil project managers. Creative, time-management, and supervisory skills are also important in this career. Civil project managers should be detail-oriented, have strong math skills, and be team players. They should also display above-average decision-making, problem-solving, and multi-tasking abilities. In addition to these capabilities, civil project managers should demonstrate the ability to do the following:

  • Completing project pre-planning processes, such as cost estimations and budgeting
  • Establishing construction schedules
  • Negotiating contracts and obtaining permits
  • Managing on-site construction personnel
  • Reviewing compliance with federal and local safety guidelines and standards

Civil Project Manager Tools of the Trade

Civil project managers typically use various tools to satisfy all job responsibilities. If you wish to work as a civil project manager, you should have a strong understanding of the following:

CAD software – used to create project plans

Project management concepts – from cost estimation to implementation processes, civil project managers need to be schooled in all aspects of project management processes

Microsoft Office applications – used for communicating with subcontractors, construction site managers, vendors and other professionals

Building codes and safety regulations – civil project managers need to be familiar with all federal and local codes and safety guidelines relevant to the project they are working on

Civil Project Manager Education and Training

Many employers require candidates for civil project manager positions to hold a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, building science, or construction management. Licensure for civil project managers and construction managers is required in some states. Various voluntary certifications, such as Certified Construction Manager (CCM) and Certified Professional Constructor (CPC), are available from professional associations and reflect one’s knowledge and experience in this field.

Civil Project Manager Salary

The BLS reports that the median annual salary for civil project managers is $89,300. Those earning in the 10th percentile were paid a median wage of $53,740; those in the top percent earned $158,330. Those working in areas of nonresidential building and utility system construction tend to earn the highest annual mean salaries. By state, the highest annual mean wages were paid to civil project managers working in New Jersey ($141,500), Alaska ($127,810), and New York ($121,030).

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Civil Project Manager Resources

To learn more about what is involved in becoming and working as a civil project manager, review the links provided below. Follow these links to blogs, books, and professional organizations to gain more insight into this career.

Construction Management Association of America (CMAA)

Established in 1982, CMAA provides online and classroom training and conferences for aspiring and current civil project managers. CMAA also offers voluntary certifications in this field.

Construction Manager Magazine

This digital publication offers articles covering current trends and events as well as budgeting, career insights, supply chain, and other aspects of the construction field.

Aconex Blog

Aconex, a company offering construction management software, offers a blog covering design practices, risk assessments, software technologies, and other relevant topics for civil project managers.

e-Builder Blog

This new blog explores details about project cost savings, risk assessments, and more.

Construction Project Management: A Practical Guide to Field Construction Management 5th edition

Addressing planning and scheduling principles, this book takes an indepth look at civil project manager responsibilities. Complete with case studies, updated pricing practices, and illustrations.

Construction Management Jumpstart: The Best First Step Toward a Career in Construction Management 2nd edition

From technological advances to project risk assessment, this book explores traditional approaches and current trends for civil project managers. It includes details about stepbystep processes and chapter review questions.

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