Differences Between Project Management & Construction Management

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People building homes often hire either a construction manager or a project manager.
People building homes often hire either a construction manager or a project manager. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Construction management is a practice that is applied to construction projects and programs. Planning, design, construction and postconstruction activities are all included in construction management. Project management is a practice where a manager oversees an entire project by hiring subcontractors, ordering materials and managing the work on the project.

Construction Management

Construction management is completed by large companies with large customer bases. These types of companies do much more than build and manage a project. Often, they offer financing, construction support and options for purchasing materials. Typically, a construction management company does not have a manager on the job site at all times. A worker may show up from time to time to check on things though.

Project Management

Project managers are hired for a specific project. Their main responsibility is to ensure that the project is completed, from beginning to end. They must hire and schedule all subcontractors for the project, order materials and ensure that materials are there when the workers need them. Project managers are at the project site at all times when workers are there. They answer questions for workers and solve any problems or issues that may arise.

Advantages

Both types of management offer advantages for project owners. Project management offers a benefit for owners of the project. They can retain control over all aspects of the project and always make the final decision. Another benefit of this is that when the owners are in control, they realize the benefits of competitive bidding. This helps save the owners money. On the other hand, construction management also offers advantages. Owners who do not want to be part of the decision process don’t have to be when a project manager is hired. When a project management company is hired, the owners pay only one person.

Disadvantages

With project management, owners may feel overwhelmed being responsible for all decisions. Owners also must deal with many companies when it comes to accounts payable. One disadvantage of construction management is that owners lose touch with all the contractors, allowing the construction management company to take over the entire process. Owners often also end up paying more money than they would have by hiring a project manager.

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