Project Manager and Construction Manager

A Construction Manager and Project Manager are two separate occupations with their own unique set of responsibilities, job duties, and obligations.

Construction Manager vs. Owner's Rep

A real estate project manager deals in all aspects of the real estate process from the initial assessment/conception phase, until the final move in, and beyond.  On the other hand a construction manager, is concerned solely with the construction aspect of the project.


Related: Q&A Project Manager 


The project manager will act as a client advocate throughout the project duration so that all of the project goals are met. During the life cycle of the project, the project manager will become the owner’s trusted adviser, single point of contact for parties and the go-to person for performance and procedures. The project manager will act as the liaison between the client and all vendors, designers, engineers and contractors to ensure constant communication across the various parties and that each objective and milestone is met.

Simply put the project manager will plan, manage, oversee and fine-tune all of the details of the project, not just its construction phase—and will even help to select and ultimately manage the construction manager. A project manager will assist in the hiring of a general contractor and/or construction manager and will oversee their quality of work through site visits, punch-list walkthroughs, and reports at weekly project meetings. A project manager will also track and review the construction managers change orders, make sure all vendors are coordinated to and with the CM’s schedule and challenge the CM on lead times for products and delays.

On the other hand a construction manager typical scope of work is limited to the pre-construction / construction phase. The construction manager will supervise all construction aspects of a project and will typically participate in pre-construction meetings, manage sub-contractors, and provide onsite supervision during construction.

Stephen Fean
Stephen Fean is the Vice President of Business Development at Watchdog Real Estate Project Managers, a real-estate consulting firm that provides owner’s representation and project management services. More about Watchdog Real Estate Project Managers as well as additional blog posts can be found here.
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