Managers in construction are under-recognised, and their range of responsibilities dwarfs that of managers in other business sectors, according to BAM Construct chief executive Graham Cash.
He said: “Traditionally the business world seems to expect managers to wear a suit and tie and sit behind a desk in an office. In our sector, they wear hard hats and reinforced boots and work in temporary accommodation. That image has deceived many into under-valuing the skills that our professionals possess.
“A construction manager not only has to manage a multi-million pound budget, often on tight margins, but he or she also has to manage a very complex technical challenge and one subject to significant regulation.
“When it comes to managing people, construction professionals have literally hundreds and sometimes thousands of people to manage from specialists to labourers, whether employees, sub-contractors, or apprentices.
“Many people talk in business about managing risk. Our people live with it in every sense. There is a high degree of susceptibility to risk from what they find in the ground but also from the elements threatening the budget and the timetable - and they live daily in a potentially hazardous environment.
“Even after that, a construction manager has to be a diplomat to the client, a dictator when necessary, and a planner and problem solver throughout. And the community is on their doorstep.
“The scale of these professional demands would defeat many other managers in the UK economy.”
Cash was speaking ahead of the Chartered Industry of Building’s annual Construction Manager of the Year Awards, in which BAM managers have won nine silver or gold awards over the past four years.
BAM projects with managers shortlisted among this year’s awards include the Ashmolean Museum, South Thames College, Newcastle under Lyme College, Park Lane College Bradford, and the Rose Bowl in Leeds.
Denise van Outen will present the awards tonight at The Grosvenor Hotel, Park Lane, London.