Construction project manager best practices, roles, & responsibilities

Tips + Trends

It quite literally takes a village to build a home. From clients to contractors, subcontractors, and vendors, a lot of coordination is required and frequently a project manager is at the center of the action. But how much is too much for a project manager? How many jobsites should they be managing? What should they focus on? To help answer these questions we asked more than 140 residential construction leaders how they leverage project managers in their operations.

Most residential construction businesses only employ one project manager

Number of project managers residential construction companies employ

The majority of respondents said that their construction business only has one project manager on staff. Nearly a third said that they have two project managers and roughly another third employ three or more project managers. Deviations occur, however, when it comes to how these project managers are deployed.

More project managers means less jobsites per manager

number of jobsites residential construction project managers manage at once

Respondents were split across the board when it comes to how many jobsites their project managers manage on a daily basis. A third responded that their project managers only work on one to three jobsites while 39% said four to six jobsites and 28% said six or more jobsites. This variation can partially be explained by our sample consisting of both custom home builders and remodelers who can have projects of different sizes and complexity.  

Number of jobsites managed by the number of project managers employed

When cross-referencing the number of jobsites project managers mange with the number of project managers a company employs, a few trends start to emerge. For example, if a company has three of more project managers they are twice as likely to have their project managers handling one to three jobsites compared to six or more. Conversely, businesses with only one project manager are more likely to have that project manager working on four or more jobsites compared to businesses with two or more project managers.

Project manager best practice: focus on the jobsite or team scheduling and communication

Primary focus of residential construction project managers

Respondents were split when it came to the primary focus of their project managers. Roughly half said the primary focus of project managers should be managing jobsite activities while 40% said team scheduling and communication. A smaller portion of respondents, 7%, said client communication and 6% said financing and budgeting should be the primary focus of project managers.  

Primary focus of project managers by the number of project managers employed

Breaking down the primary focus of project managers by the number of project managers a company employs shows trends with regards to company size. Companies that have three or more project managers are less likely to have their project managers working on the administrative tasks of client communication or financing and budgeting. This is likely due to companies with three or more project managers outsourcing these types of tasks to an office admin or another employee. Meanwhile, smaller-sized companies with one or two project managers are more likely to have their project managers be a jack of all trades. Companies with one project manager, in particular, are more likely to say their main focus is handling financing and budgeting compared to companies with more project managers.

What project manager best practices should you implement?

If you’re looking to compare your business with the residential construction industry here are the highlights. Most businesses have one or two project managers who can be managing anywhere from one to six jobsites at a time. Project managers main focus should be team scheduling and communicating or managing jobsite activities. If your company only has one project manager it’s more likely they will handle other tasks such as client communication or financing and budgeting.  

If you’re interested in learning more about optimizing your business read about the impact technology in residential construction can have.  

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Harry Wahl
Harry Wahl
Marketing

Harry helps create data-driven content for the residential construction industry including case studies, customer stories, industry trends and more.