Project managers in the architecture and interior design industries coordinate and oversee the project life cycle of facilities related projects. They manage projects from conception through construction and completion. These project managers develop construction plans, assist in evaluating and selecting architectural, construction and engineering contractors and coordinate the work of the project and designs teams, as well as the numerous contractors who contribute to facilities projects.
Primary Responsibilities and Job Tasks
Interior design project managers oversee the architectural design and construction efforts. They conduct market research and facilitate design review and build planning meetings. They approve design specifications and develop purchase justifications for materials where necessary. In preparation for the build phase, design managers review proposals and solicitations and coordinate with field personnel. They also conduct site inspections to ensure conformance to design specifications and building codes. Design managers review contractor performance for conformance to contract and authorize invoices for payment. They manage workflow, oversee the completion of activities and communicate progress to stakeholders.
Project managers in the architecture, interior design and construction industries need physical stamina because their work involves frequent traveling, prolonged standing, bending, stooping and working in cramped quarters. They are also exposed to weather because they perform some of their work outdoors or in partially built structures. During routine site inspections, project managers increase their risk for personal injury from exposure to potentially dangerous tools and sharp objects.
Formal education requirements vary by employer and project type. In general, ideal candidates have at least a university degree from an accredited school in architecture, building engineering or interior design and three to five years experience in design and space planning for interior or construction projects. Many employers look for candidates with knowledge of systems furniture specifications, building codes and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Qualified candidates with licenses or certifications from the National Council of Architectural Review Boards (NCARG) or the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) are highly preferred.
Career advancement opportunities for design managers vary based on performance, employer size and management structure. Within large architecture and interior design firms, project managers may progress to senior managers or business executives. Highly experienced design managers may opt for careers as independent consultants. Some managers serve as expert witnesses in court or as arbitrators in legal disputes. Managers with the required capital and business expertise may start a project management services firm, specializing in architecture, construction and interior design.
PayScale indicates project managers in the interior design industry average a base salary range of $41,493 to $68,402, with a bonus potential range of $1,043 to $5,451. Project managers employed by companies offering profit sharing programs can expect additional earnings ranging from $1,017 to $5,021. Earnings from commission range from $2,457 to $25,434. The estimated total compensation for interior design project managers in the United States, inclusive of salary, bonus, profit sharing and commission, ranges from $41,807 to $70,772, as of June 2010.