The practice of construction management


  • John Smallwood Nelson Mandela University, South Africa


construction management, discipline, knowledge, skills


International literature indicates that supervision, communication, motivation and leadership are the top ranked skills required for practicing construction management — the discipline of managing a construction business and/or project(s). Whereas operational and middle management require more skills and knowledge in operational programming, labour forecasting and organ-isation, top management requires more skills and knowledge in competitive tendering, costing and estimating, and analysis of project risk. The research reported on in the article constitutes phase two of the study ‘The practice of construction management’, which follows two previous surveys conducted to determine knowledge areas and skills required, and their fre-quency of use. The first study determined that all construction managers (CMs) need: to be able to work with people; to integrate the efforts of people, and technical expertise. Other findings include that the top four subject areas are: programming; quality management; productivity, and industrial relations. The second study determined that administration, oral communication, control-ling, co-ordinating, decision making and leadership are skills ranked among the top ten for all levels of management. Other findings include that contract administration, contract documentation, cost control, building methods and quality management are subject areas ranked in the top ten positions for all levels of management. The article concludes that the most frequently used subject areas reflect the focus at the respective levels of management: top — the management of the business of construction; middle — the management of a number of projects and operational — the management of specific projects. The article concludes that construction management undergraduate pro-grammes need to focus on management, and more specifically, the man-agement of resources within defined parameters, along with the requisite technical expertise.


Download data is not yet available.



How to Cite

Smallwood, J. (2006) “The practice of construction management”, Acta Structilia, 13(2), pp. 62-89. Available at: (Accessed: 17January2022).



Research articles

Most read articles by the same author(s)

<< < 1 2