What is construction management?

From skyscrapers to homes, engineers in construction management help shape a city

Have you ever wondered what it's like to build a new skyscraper in your city or what it takes to build a new home? University of Cincinnati construction management professor Mandy Albrecht explains how cool it is to have a hand in shaping your city.

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/embed/BJHQmbDO2yY?rel=0

How would you describe construction management?

Mandy Albrecht: Being a construction manager is kind of like being an orchestra conductor. You are deciding: when should the horn section come in? And how long or how loud should it be? And when how should it interact with the notes that the flutes are playing?

You're doing that, but with construction: with equipment, with materials coming in, with labor crews you're trying to orchestrate. So they happen at the right time and in the most efficient way to get the quality and the cost and the schedule that you need for the project.

What is it like to be a construction manager?

Albrecht: There is no one day that is the same. You need such a broad set of skills to communicate with people and with different kinds of people. Technical engineers, the owners of the projects, business people, or they might be homeowners.

The project is different every day because what you are doing changes constantly. One day you're playing in the dirt and you're excavating. Then you're erecting the structure of the building, then you're enclosing it and putting the roof on and then you're doing interior finishes. I just love the constant state of change that construction is in.

It is really cool to work in an area and be a part of projects and then when you drive by you see something that you had a hand in creating.

Mandy Albrecht, Associate Professor Educator, Construction Management

What backgrounds do construction managers often have?

Albrecht: There's a lot of different paths into construction management. The day-to-day work of a construction manager is not all engineering. It's financial management of the project or of their business. It's the people management and communication skills that it takes. It is the technical aspects, and of course the engineering aspects of building a building.

What are some real-world construction management examples?

Albrecht: Construction is very tangible. We all live in buildings and houses, so I think most people probably know what it is versus talking about nanotechnology or something that's a little harder to get your head around.

Why are you passionate about construction management?

Albrecht: One of the things that makes me really passionate about construction management is the tangibleness of it. It is really cool to work in an area and be a part of projects and then when you drive by you see something that you had a hand in creating.

Learn more about engineering!

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