Construction Management» open the printable degree» search for more Areas of Study
Construction Management is the complex and detailed management of people and physical resources necessary to successfully design, develop, construct and operate residential, commercial and public properties. The building construction manager requires skills in project planning, cost and quality management, law and real estate, fire safety, building codes, industrial relations and people management as well as knowledge of construction techniques and materials.
It should be noted that construction managers, architects and civil (structural) engineers may end up working in the same industry, but their disciplines are very different. Architects are responsible for the creative, conceptual design of a structure, while the engineer concentrates on the technical engineering (mathematical) solutions for structures and their maintenance. Construction managers work with certifiers, architects and engineers to ensure that structures are built to budget, in a safe and timely manner.
Construction management opens up a range of career opportunities working with contractors and developers in the building or civil engineering industries, in both on and off site roles. While the program concentrates on the building industry, graduates acquire principles of project and resource management that can translate into other industries, particularly working on one-off projects such as ship building and film production.
This degree has a compulsory 16 weeks practical experience element. Students need to complete industry experience before commencing their final year of study.
For more information about Construction Management, visit the School of Architecture and Built Environment site.
Further Study Options
Some occupations require a higher level of completed study than an undergraduate degree, and for this reason it is worthwhile considering the range of Honours, Research Higher Degrees (RHD), Postgraduate Coursework and additional study options available. These options may also be useful for specialising in a particular area, or to stimulate career change. Some of the future options following a degree in Construction Management include:
Honours are awarded for outstanding performance in the program as a whole. For more information, see program handbook.
After completing a degree there are a broad range of postgraduate options available in a variety of fields which can allow you to specialise in a particular area of interest or build upon your existing knowledge base. To explore such options please visit the Postgraduate Handbook.
The following list of jobs provides some examples of the types of work available to construction management graduates in the commercial construction industry.
- Contract Administrator
- Building Site Manager / Building Site Supervisor / Building Technician / Clerk of Works
- Building surveyor
- Contracts Administrator
- Contracts Manager
- Development Compliance Officer
- Quantity Surveyor/Construction Economist/Cost Engineer
- Events Manager
- Graduate Cadet/Building Cadet
- Graduate Programs - Public and Private Sectors
- International Aid/Development Worker
- Operations Manager/Construction Manager/Project Director
- Urban/Regional Planner
- Construction - Project Manager
- Construction - Consultant Project Manager
- Property Developer
- Quantity Surveyor/Construction Economist/Cost Engineer
- Site Engineer
- University Lecturer / Academic
Graduates can use the transferable skills gained in their studies to work outside the construction industry. In some instances, further study may be required.
The above diagram represents some typical career steps for construction management graduates. Click here to hear a presentation from Hays Montrose about career steps in the construction industry. The above diagram plots some of the information in this talk.
Getting the Edge
Most employers seek to recruit people who have relevant work experience and an appreciation for their industry. Here is a check list of ideas about gaining experience and industry knowledge.
- Check the type of experience most employers in your field of interest expect. Don’t overlook the part time work you may be currently doing. Most employers understand that the skills are transferrable even if the work is not in their industry.
- Check your academic program for any courses that involve a placement or the opportunity to undertake an industry based project.
- Check your school for Summer Scholarships for research opportunities.
- Check vacancy sites for advertised traineeships, part time employment and vacation work opportunities in your field.
- Source and approach organisations directly about possible work shadowing or information interview opportunities.
- Source and approach organisations directly for paid work opportunities.
- Consider volunteering.
Note: Gaining experience may be important but not at the expense of your studies. Make sure you do not overload your timetable with unrealistic work commitments.
Construction management employment opportunities exist in the private sector in small, medium and large organisations. Construction management graduates also work in local, state and federal government departments. Below is an example of some major organisations, in a variety of industries, which formally target graduates with qualifications in construction management.
- Abigroup (Australia)
- Aker Solutions (International)
- Arup (International)
- AusAID (International)
- Australian Building Codes Board (Australia)
- Australian Defence Force (International)
- Baulderstone (Australia)
- Bechtel (International)
- BlueScope Steel (Australia)
- Bovis Lend Lease (International)
- Centrelink (Australia)
- Chevron (International)
- Conics (Australia)
- Connell Wagner (International)
- Defence Materiel Organisation (Australia)
- Department of Defence (Australia)
- Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government (Australia)
- Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (Australia)
- Fire Departments such as Fire and Rescue NSW (Australia)
- GHD (International)
- Hatch (Australia)
- John Holland Group (Australia)
- Kellogg Brown & Rott (International)
- Laing O'Rourke (Australia)
- Leighton Contractors (Australia)
- Medicare (Australia)
- NSW Department of Commerce (Australia)
- NSW State Government Building Professionals Board (Australia)
- Rail Corporation New South Wales (Australia)
- Reckitt Benckiser (International)
- Roads and Traffic Authority (NSW) (Australia)
- Sinclair Knight Merz (International)
- Sydney Water (Australia)
- Thiess (Australia)
Some large organisations have specific graduate recruitment programs designed to employ the pick of graduates each year. You must be in your final year of study or recently completed to apply for these programs. The timing of these recruitment drives varies and may occur at any point in the academic year, in some cases starting as early as the first few weeks of the first semester or trimester.
Find out if employers in your area/s of interest have graduate programs, when they typically recruit and what recruitment methods they use. Check with the Careers Service .
Job Prospects and Salary
For up-to-date information please see Job Outlook Australia. This site provides basic Australian labour market information including job prospects, skills requirements and salaries. You might try some of the classifications below as a guide on this site.
Check out the latest Hays/MBA NSW Salary Survey
Building surveyors’ job prospects
Building Surveyors are in high demand! There are shortages throughout the profession in all states and territories.
Private firms, local councils, government departments, health authorities and fire services all employ Building Surveyors, so there are plenty of opportunities to advance.
It is possible to work in federal or state government writing building codes and legislation, or local Councils enforcing local laws and building standards or for large and small firms certifying buildings for construction.
Law firms are increasingly using building surveyors for their knowledge of building codes and legislation to settle claims and provide expert testimony and builders and developers are using Building Surveyors to solve design problems and provide alternative building solutions that will still provide an appropriate level of safety.
Societies and Associations
Associations and societies often provide relevant and up to date information about a variety of issues relating to specific industry sectors. These can be a good starting point to learn more about occupations through profiles, industry news, links to academic journals and information on research developments. Many also offer student membership, conference and professional development activities, newsletters and the opportunity to participate in projects.
- Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers, Australia (Australia)
- Australian Constructors Association (Australia)
- The Australian Institute of Building Surveyors (AIBS) (Australia)
- Australian Institute of Building (Australia)
- The Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS) (Australia)
- Building Designers Association of Australia BDAA (Australia)
- Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) (International)
- Construction and Property Services Industry Skills Council (CPSISC) (International)
- Master Builders Association Australia (Australia)
- Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (International)
- Singapore institute of Surveyors and Valuers (SISV) (International)
The Bachelor of Construction Management (Building) program is accredited by:
Don’t overlook student societies and associations. As well as student chapters of professional associations, some faculties or schools have discipline based student associations. Check your school or faculty web site; perhaps you might start one if one doesn’t exist.
Some academic disciplines run Seminar Programs that involve regular seminars presented by University of Newcastle academics, visiting academics and postgraduate students. Check your schools website for the timetable.
Job Search Sites
Searching job sites is a good way to gain an understanding of: industries recruiting professionals in this field; types of roles and the requirements or expectations of employers for these roles. There are many online job search sites, here are a few to start with:
Australian and International
- CareerHub: the University of Newcastle Careers Service careers and job search site for enrolled students and graduates.
- CareerOne: Australia wide job listings, all levels and industries including executive positions
- MyCareer: Australian and international listings
- Seek: comprehensive Australian job listings, also includes New Zealand and UK listings
- The Big Chair: Management and Executive Jobs
Graduate Attributes and Employability
Graduate attributes for the Bachelor of Construction Management (Building) are the skills, abilities and knowledge sets that are highly sought after in the construction industry. Below is the complete list of attributes that graduates will have demonstrated upon the completion of the degree.
- Use knowledge of the construction industry, the environment and social processes that inform and contribute to construction practice, to optimise decision-making and evaluation of construction practices and processes.
- Be able to communicate effectively with stakeholders and members of construction teams to facilitate project delivery
- Demonstrate leadership potential as appropriate, to manage construction and construction related projects and/or processes
- Be able to work effectively both independently and collaboratively in interdisciplinary and multi professional environments and teams to facilitate clients centred construction project outcomes
- Perform the range of industry skills required by professional bodies, appropriate to their employer and context
- Be able to conduct and employ research skills appropriate to the building and construction industry
- Demonstrate professional and personal behaviour consistent with a commitment to lifelong learning, accountability in practice and the promotion and development of construction industry professions.
- Demonstrate the capacity of lateral and creative thinking to solve construction engineering problems.
- Demonstrate understanding and function in the context of social, cultural, global, environmental, ethical and business opportunities in the construction industry, and an understanding of the need for and principles of sustainable development
You will recognise these attributes in the selection criteria listed in the following job ads.
Sample Job Ads & Tips
Job ads provide useful information about the job and the required skills, experience and qualifications. Information like this is useful in career planning. Below is a small sample of job ads with tips on planning and job applications; explore further to gather more useful information for your planning.
Please note: the job ads listed on this page are not current and were sourced from a variety of websites in 2010.