Project Manager vs. Construction Manager: What’s the Difference?

construction management vs project management

Project Manager vs. Construction Manager: What’s the Difference?

Many people wonder what the difference is between a construction manager and a project manager. While some use these phrases interchangeably, there’s actually a significant difference between the two roles.

This article will highlight the similarities and differences existing between each role to give you a better understanding of what’s needed for your project.

Construction Manager vs. Project Manager: An Overview

The following overview will provide a point-by-point comparison of the two roles and describe the types of duties, hierarchies, and working conditions involved in each.

What Is a Construction Manager?

A construction manager’s role is more limited in scope than a project manager’s. They’re involved with the project from the pre-construction phase to the end of construction.


Depending on the size and nature of the project, a construction manager may be responsible for any of the following:

  • Supervising the construction team
  • Assigning various tasks
  • Working with contractors and suppliers
  • Ordering items as needed
  • Maintaining current inventory
  • Ensuring that the project meets local construction guidelines
  • Scheduling team members
  • Compiling work cost estimates
  • Monitoring the building project’s progress
  • Reporting to the project manager

Throughout this process, the construction manager maintains close contact with the project manager and informs them of any issues.

Project Involvement

The construction manager is only involved in the project from the pre-construction phase to the end of the construction process.

Work Environment

When it comes to construction management vs. project management, one of the primary differences is the work environment. The construction manager is typically on-site and not in the office as frequently as the project manager.

construction management vs project management

What Is a Project Manager?

A project manager represents the tenant throughout the entirety of the build-out process. They help with site selection, budgeting, and move-in. After the final phase, they can continue to provide ongoing support if needed.

The project manager essentially manages the construction manager. In addition, they’re tasked with managing the architect, engineers, and any vendors involved in the project.


The project manager’s primary responsibility is to ensure that the project is completed on time and under budget, if possible. In addition, they’re responsible for representing the client and managing the build-out. During this latter phase, some of their responsibilities include budgeting and scheduling. The duties of vendor management also fall to them.

More precisely, the project manager is responsible for all of the following:

  • Discussing the project with the client
  • Formulating a budget and plan for construction
  • Finding a location and securing the land
  • Hiring the team
  • Setting deadlines for each stage of the project
  • Estimating costs across all stages of the project
  • Supervising the entirety of the project

As you can see, the project manager has a wide range of important responsibilities throughout all stages of construction.

Project Involvement

Essentially, the project manager is involved in all stages of the project.

Work Environment

While the project manager may occasionally visit the construction site, most of their work is done in the office.

Which Is Right for You: Construction Manager or Project Manager?

Hopefully, this information has cleared up some of the confusion surrounding construction management vs. project management. Now that you have a better idea of what each of these individuals does, you can decide which is right for your project.

Both the construction manager and the project manager have significant roles throughout the project. However, most project managers are required to have a BA or some form of higher education to stay competitive within the market, while construction managers aren’t subject to this requirement.

In light of this fact, one factor you should consider if you’re currently weighing becoming a construction manager vs. a project manager is whether you already hold a degree or are willing to take the time to earn one.

Need Assistance with Your Construction Project? The Experts at Constructable Can Help

When it comes to construction management vs. project management, everyone is on the same team. If you have a construction project that requires assistance, the experts at Constructable are ready to help.

At Constructable, we hold ourselves to the highest standards and believe in getting things right the first time. As such, we remain fully committed to the success of every project we work on. Call us at (832) 844-0500 and tell us more about your project today.

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