What Does a Residential Project Manager Do? (With Skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 18 January 2023

Published 30 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A residential project manager participates in all phases of building and construction. They usually lead teams that may include engineers and ensure subcontractors complete construction work within time and budget. Learning what a residential project manager does and their skills can help you decide whether it's an attractive career. In this article, we look at the duties of a residential project manager, highlight their top skills, show their average annual salary and cover the steps to become one.

What does a residential project manager do?

To answer the question, 'What does a residential project manager do?' a residential construction project manager usually plans and manages the construction of homes, apartment blocks and duplexes. They can work in various industries and sectors, including construction, engineering, technology and health care. The project manager leads a team, creates budgets and decides project timelines to ensure construction work progresses smoothly and finishes by the planned project completion date. Because of the immense influence on construction sites, a residential project manager is ultimately responsible for a project's success. Here are their primary duties:

Coordinate inspections and permits

Before construction work begins, the residential project manager may submit house plans to local building departments for evaluation and approval. They may also obtain the necessary permits. One of their work duties is to coordinate the necessary inspections with home inspectors.

Read more: What Does a Project Manager Do? (With Job Descriptions)

Budget site finances

Construction projects cost money and resources, sometimes running into millions of dollars. The residential project manager usually prepares and submits construction project estimates to clients. Once a project begins, the residential project manager may look for ways to cut costs and ensure contractors and builders stay within budget limits.

Manage construction work

Residential project managers may oversee everything that relates to residential construction work. Tasks may range from planning to delivery of finished private homes or apartments. In addition, residential managers can also determine fit-out timelines, identify vendors and establish performance standards for projects.

Monitor construction progress

Construction projects have start and finish dates. The project manager can ensure subcontractors, builders and tradespeople perform their scope of work according to established work schedules and set timelines. They may also provide updates on project timelines to stakeholders.

Related: Construction Supervisor Interview Questions (With Answers)

Ensure safety and compliance

Working with the company's management, the residential project manager ensures all construction work and employees on-site adhere to safety and environmental procedures. They may plan, create and implement safety policies and ensure that everyone complies with local and state rules and regulations. As the project progresses, the manager may identify noncompliance issues like unsafe work conditions and ensure the contractor takes appropriate rectification measures.

Find contractors and vendors

A typical home construction project may involve different people. It's the work of the residential project manager to match talent to the tasks. For example, they may find architects, engineers, builders and suppliers for the conversion of heritage buildings into residential blocks. They may also identify specialists to forge cast-iron railings and install lead-lead windows for heritage sites.

Related: What Does a Site Manager Do? Everything You Need to Know

Top skills for a residential project manager

Residential project managers typically require the following skills and abilities to perform their jobs:

Collaboration

Construction projects usually involve many different parties. For example, the construction project manager may share responsibilities with architects and engineers and ask questions when developing and implementing building plans. A project manager who seeks feedback and involves others can form strong relationships and partnerships with the people they work with and ensure project success.

Project management

Construction projects have schedules, milestones and outcomes. It's essential for the residential project manager to know how to manage construction projects from start to finish. Strong project planning and team management skills can help ensure projects' work goes smoothly and contractors meet deadlines.

Leadership

As with any leadership role, a construction project manager usually leads a team of employees. This can range from project officers to builders. A person in this role can lead by example, make decisions and focus on helping the team with daily tasks. Having the ability to inspire and lead can ensure work meets quality standards and everyone complies with safety requirements.

Organisation

At some point, construction projects may overlap. A residential project manager may find themselves managing multiple projects at the same time. A high level of organisation ensures the project manager prioritises the most important tasks for each project. Using their organisation skills, they can also develop schedules to meet project deadlines.

Negotiation

An effective residential project manager is a skilful negotiator who knows how to keep parties happy and works towards a unified goal. They can use negotiation skills to navigate terse discussions about budgets, scope of work, resources and timeless. Proactive project managers know when and how to apply persuasion techniques that may encourage solutions and maintain positive workplace relationships.

Risk management

Construction projects usually include financial and safety risks, something construction managers understand. Order costs may change and employees can be exposed to hazards. Using their risk management skills, a manager can change the initial plan or update schedules to address issues that could slow down project progress.

How to become a residential project manager

You can follow the steps become to become a project manager for residential construction:

1. Complete a relevant degree

Construction project managers typically require a bachelor's degree in a construction-related field. You can major in building science, construction engineering, or construction management. The curriculum may cover building standards and codes, construction methods and technology, occupation safety, management principles and labour relations. Undergraduate degrees usually take three years to complete. Alternatively, you may also complete a nationally accredited Certificate IV in Building Construction (Building) or a diploma in construction project management from a tertiary institute.

Related: Top 10 Certificates in Construction Work (With FAQs)

2. Gain some practical job experience

Employers usually look for project managers with construction knowledge and building experience. You can gain experience and develop real-world skills through apprenticeships or internships at a building company. During your internship, you may learn construction basics and develop project management skills. You may also supervise small projects along with a long-serving construction project manager who has managed several house construction projects.

3. Register with Australian Business Licence and Information Service

To work as a residential construction project manager, you need to register with the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS). Eligibility requires the completion of accredited qualifications and practical construction industry experience. You can apply for an ABLIS licence once you obtain the necessary academic qualifications and possess two years of practical experience. It's crucial that you provide details of your training, business operations and work samples. Professional memberships and insurance coverage are other requirements. It's also mandatory to be a holder of a white card. You can renew your licence on an annual basis.

4. Create an outstanding resume and cover letter

As a project manager for residential construction projects, it's important to create a resume highlighting your skills, experience and qualifications. Keep your resume well-structured, clean, and concise and adapt it for every company. After creating a resume, you can write a cover letter explaining why you are the best candidate for the position. Reiterate your skills and abilities, show that you have practical experience in construction management and mention a specific accomplishment. Proofread your resume and cover letter to ensure they convey the right message.

5. Find a residential project manager job

Join different job boards and use their search tools to find positions that match your qualifications and interests. You can also use your professional network to find employment opportunities.

Once you find a job, look at the job description and research the company's activities to better understand the role and the organisation. If you have little to no experience, you can apply for entry-level jobs. You can gain experience and eventually obtain a promotion to a senior position with a building or construction company.

Related: 16 Highest-Paid Construction Jobs (Salaries and Duties)

Residential project manager work environment

A residential construction project manager typically works in an office setting, though they may visit the project's physical site to monitor progress. Managers can spend a lot of time sitting behind a desk, writing emails, making calls or using project management software. They usually work regular hours, though some can work overtime or irregular hours depending on their project's progress.

Related: How to Become a Project Manager (Including FAQs)

Residential project manager salary

The average salary of residential project managers is $110,426 per year. However, it may vary depending on their qualifications, level of expertise and the employer's location. Long-serving project managers typically earn more than those in junior or mid-level roles.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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