The Difference between a Builder and a Construction Manager

The Difference between a Builder and a Construction Manager

Construction Manager on-site

If you’re passionate about building and construction and looking to break into the industry, you’re probably wondering whether a career as a builder or a construction manager is the best choice for you. Or, perhaps you’re already a builder and contemplating a career move into construction management.

Both career options are rewarding and challenging, but despite what many people think, they are different pathways.

Main Differences between a Builder and a Construction Manager

A Builder:

  • Takes on responsibility for delivering specific construction and labour tasks. They may also be involved in the excavation and demolition of a site.
  • Manages their own workload and often work within a small team.
  • Is usually self-employed and the type of work they do is varied. They could work on a residential home one week and a city skyscraper the next.
  • Sources all materials required for a job, always cleans up the worksite as well as ensuring the safety of themselves and their team.
  • Carries out the majority of their work onsite. On smaller jobs, they may work alone.
  • Will often be required work with hazardous materials and to operate machinery.

A Construction Manager:

  • Monitors and oversees numerous parts of the construction process such as hiring staff and seeking permits.
  • Works with many stakeholders such as owners, developers, contractors, architects, project managers and local council.
  • Requires excellent communication skills and the ability to build rapport with people from a variety of backgrounds and industries.
  • Is responsible for solving problems and being a direct point of contact for other people in their team.
  • Manages other people’s workloads, including delegating tasks and supervising where necessary.
  • Ensures that OH&S standards are always adhered to, and compliance in other areas is satisfactory.
  • Maintains a high level of responsibility.
  • Works across projects, with a mixture of both office and site work.
  • Is usually employed by a company.


Builder or Construction Manager: What’s right for you?

Both jobs have positive aspects, but a career as a construction manager is viewed by many to be incredibly rewarding, less taxing on the body and have higher salary potential.

Construction managers carry out minimal manual labour, meaning a decreased risk of short and long-term injuries. They have more responsibility, and work with different people every day.

Being employed as a construction manager rather than a sole trades-person also means you’ll enjoy perks such as sick leave and annual leave, giving you the opportunity to achieve a healthy work-life balance.

Construction managers also work onsite and are involved in the building process, however are expected to be across other areas of the project too.

Construction manager consulting on-site

How to become a construction manager

How can you move into a career as a construction manager? If you’re already a builder, trades-person or working in the industry in some capacity, you’re heading in the right direction. You’ll have plenty of transferable skills that will set you up for success as a construction manager.

If you’re working in other fields, the good news is that a variety of careers are excellent pathways into construction management. These jobs include finance, human resources, administration or customer service.

The quickest way into your new career is by completing a relevant diploma qualification. Networking with industry connections and working on soft skills such as leadership and communication are highly important action steps you can take now.

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Learn to be a construction manager

A Diploma of Building and Construction (Management) (CPC50308) is a highly respected course which will equip you with the practical skills needed to succeed in the industry.

You can study flexibly online, alongside your current job and receive one on one support from your tutors.

A Rewarding Career Move

Construction is a challenging and rewarding area to work in, and as the industry continues to boom, the potential for jobs has never been greater. If you’re looking for a change in direction from building or other relevant sectors, then a career in construction management is worth considering.

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