Construction operations managers typically work in large construction companies that oversee several construction projects at once. They ensure the commercial viability of these business units by working with the project managers to achieve efficient allocation of resources. Operations managers -- who can find employment in building companies, oil and gas exploration firms, and civil engineering companies -- also develop construction strategies.
Using the Skills
To be effective on the job, construction operations managers need superb analytical and business skills. One of their main objectives is to meet project budgets, so they must assess the operational and financial risks for proposed construction projects and help the company to select the most commercially viable ones. Multitasking and leadership skills are also important, as these managers should be able to prioritize projects according to urgency or client demands, and effectively delegate tasks to project managers. Clear speaking and writing skills are useful when explaining technical information to clients and drawing project budgets.
Developing Construction Strategies
It is the job of construction operations managers to design and execute construction strategies for various projects. This may involve outlining guidelines for selecting contractors, determining who takes responsibility in case of unexpected events such as natural disasters, and specifying the order in which construction activities will be undertaken. These managers also contribute to the development of a range construction programs, such as a quality assurance program. In this role, they collaborate with civil engineers to, for instance, outline the quality checks a completed project undergoes before it is delivered to the client or owner.
These professionals ensure that all construction projects in progress are completed on schedule and within budget. They stay in constant communication with project managers, ready to address any arising challenges. For example, when a project manager and a contractor have different interpretations of a building blueprint, the operations manager can use his professional expertise to provide a final interpretation.
A construction project manager also serves as a link between project managers and the company. If a project manager requires additional funds to complete the project, for example, the operations manager presents the case to senior company executives for approval.
The first step to becoming a construction operations manager is to obtain a bachelor's degree in construction management or another closely related field such as construction science. You will likely start out as an assistant construction manager, before advancing to manage small, and then large projects. After gaining several years of construction experience and earning a master’s degree in project management, you can become an ideal candidate for this position. To boost your prospects, obtain the Project Management Institute’s Project Management Professional credential.
Experienced construction operations managers with an additional master’s degree in business administration have the best chances of becoming general managers of construction companies.
The job site Indeed reports that constructions operations managers earned an average annual salary of $69,000 as of March 2015.