Construction project management books allow you to improve your methods and techniques so that you can perform better in the role.
Being a construction project manager doesn’t just happen overnight.
There’s a big difference between working on site among a large team, and being responsible for leading that team. It’s your job to oversee workers and to make sure multiple projects are delivered on time and within budget.
These are just two of the responsibilities of a construction project manager, and we’ll be looking at this role in more detail further in the post.
Whilst getting experience in the role itself is one way to learn, it’s also useful to be well prepared. Whether you’re brand new to the job or you want to improve your current leadership style, construction project management books are very useful.
By understanding best practices and learning new methods from individuals who have first-hand experience, it can help steer you away from making some common mistakes. And in the construction industry, mistakes can be very, very costly.
When you’re working to tight deadlines and presenting to a client, it’s important you’re highly organised.
By reading the books below, you can learn some useful advice which you can apply in your own role.
But first things first, what does a construction project manager actually do?
Construction Project Manager Job Description
A construction project manager is a busy and varied role.
There are various routes to becoming a construction project manager whether that’s through college, university, or completing an apprenticeship.
Once you’re in the role, you will be responsible for helping to keep projects on a realistic timescale and within budget. You will also need to lead a team, ensuring you are aware of how the project is progressing so you can keep a client up to date.
Typical duties of a construction project manager include:
Understanding what the client wants
Agreeing on timescales, costs, and resources required to complete a project
Selecting and leading a team, ensuring everyone understands their own responsibilities
Liaising with contractors and suppliers
Overseeing multiple projects at once
Providing regular updates to the client so they know how the project is progressing
Resolving any issues, delays, or discrepancies
Writing bids for tender
Working between an office and multiple construction sites
Ensuring that each stage of the project is completed on time, within budget, and to a high standard
Whilst this is in no way an exhaustive list, and will vary from one company to another, this gives you a broad overview of what is expected from a construction project manager.
The Best Construction Management Books
As you can see, there is a lot to wrap your head around in this role, so understanding how to approach these different responsibilities is very important.
Introducing: Construction management books…
Construction Project Manager’s Pocket Book by Duncan Cartlidge
This practical guide is a must read for any construction project manager.
It details everything you need to know and covers the essential parts of the role from leadership skills, to negotiation, to team building.
It also delves into several important areas including:
Building information modelling
Environmental management systems
As such, this can help you feel better prepared when dealing with any of these tasks in your job role.
It’s also written in a very straightforward, understandable format, so you don’t need to worry about overanalysing what the information means.
As well as being useful for construction project managers, it’s also a fantastic read for quantity surveyors and should also be within arms reach on a job site.
Construction Scheduling: Principles and Practices Edition 2 by Jay S.Newitt
Compared to the book above, Construction Scheduling is a comprehensive, detailed read written for skilled and experienced construction project managers.
Inside the pages, you’ll find detailed knowledge and information all about project scheduling which should be top of your priority list.
The book also includes useful tutorials for the four most common scheduling software programs - Microsoft Project, Primavera Project Planner (P3), SureTrak, P6 Project Manager and Contractor. Furthermore, it details how you can integrate these pieces of software in your system effectively.
There are also examples and exercises included in the book, so you don’t need to worry about just reading large chunks of text.
The First-Time Manager 6th Edition by Lauren B.Belker, Jim McCormick, Gary S.Topchick
This is one of the best-selling construction management books in the construction industry and is full of useful how-to guides for project managers just starting out in the role.
The book helps managers to embrace their new responsibilities and makes the transition seem easier. It’s a great read for people who do not like to rely on ‘learning from their mistakes’, as these people prefer to be well prepared in the first instance.
It also provides a range of motivation and management strategies that will help project managers better lead their workforce.
Being motivated at work is key to sustaining high levels of productivity, so the strategies outlined in this book are key.
As such, this book is a must-buy for anyone new to construction project management.
Running a Successful Construction Company (For Pros, By Pros) - by David Gerstel
This book is written by a self-taught project manager who developed and applied all of his own methods to achieve success in the construction industry.
He is now a very respected figure in the business world and can pass his knowledge and expertise onto others to help them perform in their role.
In the book, David Gerstel shares his methods on how to succeed in running your own construction company so that you can hit the ground running.
As this book is written by a builder who came up through the trades himself, readers are learning from first-hand experience which is highly useful.
Running a Successful Construction Company is acknowledged as the leading book in its field, and includes a range of photos and drawings to support the written text.
Construction Management Jumpstart: The Best First Step Toward a Career in Construction Management by Barbara L. Jackson
This is a great book for beginners who are just starting out in construction management, and is another best seller in the industry.
As a practical step-by-step guide, it walks you through all stages of project management including how to assign project budgets, administer contracts, monitor performances, maintain safety, and much more.
In addition, this particular book is written from the constructor's perspective, and enables managers to get more comfortable with the fundamentals of the industry.
It also delves into Building Information Modeling (BIM), and explains how it is impacting the construction management profession.
To solidify your understanding, there are a number of review questions at the end of each chapter to help reinforce what has been covered.
Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management by Scott Berkun
Making Things Happen is not only a useful read for project managers, but also anyone working in the construction industry.
As an essay-style read, it focuses on how to achieve results from every construction project you manage. Therefore, as per the title, it teaches construction projects managers how to ‘Make Things Happen.’
Throughout the chapters, it manages to distill complex concepts and ideas into practical chunks of advice which can be applied in a real setting.
Based on his nine years of experience as a program manager for Internet Explorer and lead program manager for Windows and MSN, Scott Berkun explains what it takes to manage a project from start to finish.
Making Things Happen doesn't cite specific methods, but concentrates heavily on philosophy and strategy.
Topics in this book include:
How to make good decisions
Specifications and requirements
Ideas and what to do with them
How not to annoy people
Leadership and trust
The truth about making dates
What to do when things go wrong
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity by David Allen
This is another example of a book that applies to anyone and everyone in the construction industry.
Essentially this book focuses on teaching individuals how to do well in their job even under intense pressure and stress.
Working in the construction sector is a high-pressure job, and project managers need to know how to cope in stressful situations when multiple people are relying on them.
This book has been one of the most influential reads since it was first published 15 years ago, and is highly respected and recommended.
It is often referred to as ‘the Bible of business and personal productivity’ and the information remains relevant for years to come.
Defensive Estimating: Protecting Your Profits by William Asdal
This book is about getting the right amount of pay for every project, covering guidelines for accurately estimating and achieving the financial goals for each project.
It’s full of great tips to make sure you never walk away short-handed from what you should be earning.
It’s an absolute must-read for project managers so that you can always stay one step ahead of the game when managing the financial side of construction projects, which is a huge priority.
Performed correctly, estimating is your key to keeping more of your hard-earned profit. That’s why builder and business expert, Bill Asdal, shows builders and remodelers how to estimate based on fiscal goals and protecting the company’s bottom line.
His approach to estimating gives readers user-friendly systems to improve the process and provides hundreds of ideas and simple suggestions.
Construction Project Management Books to Learn From
So, if you’re looking for a construction project management book to help you improve your skills and leadership, then look no further.
From no-nonsense practical guides, to books written from real tradespeople, you can be sure to learn something new that will help you perform better in your role.
As we’ve discussed, project managers have a lot on their plate and it’s their responsibility to ensure projects are completed to a high standard. What’s more, they also need to successfully motivate and lead a team of employees to ensure all operations run smoothly.
Learning on the job is one option, but being prepared is absolutely key.
So, put down the tool kit and pick up one of these useful construction project management books!
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Or, get in touch with our friendly team if you want to discuss your project in more detail.