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By Louise Morrisey
April 8, 2018
Australian construction workers are currently in massive demand, with sky-high levels of building activity in both the private and public sectors driving a need for new employees. According to a report by Hays, the construction industry in Australia added over 100,000 workers to the sector in the past 12 months alone.
This means there are tens of thousands of workers who are brand new to the construction industry or are undertaking supervisory careers in construction and project management for the very first time.
If you’re new to project management or supervising and want to get an idea of what’s required to excel at construction management, it is always sensible to get advice from an experienced project manager.
A project manager has their eye on the prize throughout all stages of construction. They often have years of experience in managing teams, budgets, timelines, and priorities. At the start of 2017, there were approximately 10,000 available project manager jobs on job-search site Seek alone, making it an optimal time to pursue this career.
Jobsite ANZ spoke to Hugh Campbell, owner of construction project management business Employmates, specialising in hospitality projects. Campbell shared some valuable advice about working as a project manager in Australia.
Getting Started in the Thick of It
Most importantly, Campbell’s encourages those looking to become project managers in the construction industry to get on site as quickly as possible.
“Be on site quickly and as often as you can,” he says. “You can learn more in a day on site than a year in the classroom.”
Hands-on experience will aid in thinking more laterally, which is a crucial skill to have when taking into consideration the ever-changing nature of a construction site. Campbell also believes that problem-solving is a core component of the job, and not a commonly known one either. Therefore, getting involved on the job site right from the get-go is vital to build the skills that will serve you in the long term.
Communicate Sincerely and Effectively
If you are not a clear communicator, it is essential that you take the time to refine this skill. When talking to various stakeholders in a project, you need to be able to talk clearly, concisely, and accurately. This way you will be able to keep everything running smoothly.
As a result of communicating effectively, all stakeholders understand each other, and you may be able to avoid possible misunderstandings. When you are sincere in all of your communications, you enhance effective communication by improving trust.
Campbell believes that as much as 90 per cent of a project manager’s role is to manage the flow of information between various parties and stakeholders.
He notes, “sending clear communication with attention to detail ensures that information flows smoothly and is responded to quicker.”
Use Technology Wisely
When asked how Employmates uses technology, Campbell says that his team has replaced all computers and paper with Samsung tablets to enable new efficiencies within the organisation.
“Using Samsung tablets allows us to pull up drawings, make markups, send RFIs, email, and sign documents, without the need for a mobile office,” he remarks.
This is a trend that is seen throughout the wider construction industry, with the rapid increase of technology set to change construction as we know it – from prefabrication, to cloud, 3D printing, and more.
One cannot overlook how effective technology is in keeping accurate documentation. Even on a small construction project, there are thousands of interactions between people, along with events involving different materials, equipment, and people.
Many project managers place a huge amount of importance on keeping accurate documentation. Fortunately, there is a huge variety of tools that can assist with documentation, with new and easy ways to share and store information quickly.
If you liked this article, here are a few eBooks you may enjoy:
Bringing Job Costing to the Field
The Future of Construction Safety
Top 6 Rework Offenders Killing Your Margins
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Project Management Software
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