Architect Vs. Construction Manager: What Is The Difference?

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 18 January 2023

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.

Architects and construction managers are professionals that assist in the construction of new buildings. These two professions have some similarities, but they differ in several important ways. Learning more about these jobs and their differences can help you decide which construction job is right for you. In this article, we compare architects vs. construction managers in terms of their definition, duties, skills and education and discuss how the two professions differ in a few crucial areas.

Related: Project Architect Vs. Project Manager: Find The Difference

Architect vs. Construction Manager

Comparing the job roles of an architect vs. construction manager on some basic parameters such as definition and duties can help you understand the differences between them. Here are a few key differences:


An architect is a professional who plans, organises and oversees the construction of buildings. Architects usually work for large companies that clients contract to build residential or commercial projects. They are skilled communicators who take clients' directions and descriptions, respond with proposals, construct a final design and then coordinate with the different professions required to design a building that is aesthetically pleasing, practical and safe for living. They have a thorough understanding of both the art and the science of building design.

A construction manager is a professional who is in charge of the design, planning, budgeting and construction of various buildings. They work with clients and a building team to verify that the project meets the client's expectations. A construction manager also supervises workers, ensuring that they adhere to safety and productivity standards. Since their job responsibilities are intensive, they often work long hours split between office work and project site activities.

Related: Architect Vs. Civil Engineer: What Is The Difference?


The duties of an architect vary based on the project, but they usually involve:

  • Designing a building plan that satisfies a client's specific requirements

  • Developing and refining a design's blueprints

  • Creating graphic models of a structure using specialist design software

  • Using specialised design software to create graphic models of a building

  • Supervising the project to ensure that the team develops the design properly

  • Studying local zoning rules, building codes and regulations

  • Evaluating costs and effects of the project, such as environmental changes

  • Collaborating with the construction crew, including the manager

The following are some duties of a construction manager:

  • Preparing a construction strategy to ensure that the crew completes a project on time.

  • Supervising a construction crew and assigning responsibilities to members of the crew.

  • Assigning tasks and deadlines for all components of a project.

  • Putting together a team to finish a job.

  • Handling all project-related costs.

  • Purchasing construction supplies.

  • Creating and implementing a budget for a project.

  • Generating progress reports to keep clients up to date on the construction.

  • Monitoring the construction process to verify that it complies with safety codes and environmental regulations

  • Working with an architect or design team to achieve objectives and make progress.

  • Recruiting and training the required employees and subcontractors

  • Communicating with all building and construction specialists, such as engineers and architects, to ensure that everyone works well together as a team and focuses on the final result.

  • Assuring that the construction crew follows the proper procedures and practices.

  • Updating clients regarding all project-related developments.

Related: Architect Vs. Draftsman: What Are The Differences?

Skills For Architects And Construction Managers

Professionals in these career paths may employ similar skills in their jobs. For small-scale construction projects, an architect may act as the project manager. As a result, their responsibilities and skills may overlap. Both architects and project managers can use the following skills:


The ability to perform basic maths, such as addition and subtraction and to employ complex formulas, is a vital part of these careers. Architects and construction managers use maths to develop plans and set them into action. A construction manager can use maths to design a blueprint, measure construction spaces and set budgets for materials and funds. Architects require extensive knowledge of mathematical principles, so they can efficiently plan and design buildings and other structures.

Communication skills

During the process of construction, these specialists communicate with one another, clients and a construction team. Professionals in these domains can use efficient communication skills to clarify steps, budget limits and design plans. You can finish projects more swiftly and accurately if you listen carefully to clients and give precise instructions to team members.

Related: 10 Ways To Improve Your English Communication Skills

Problem-solving skills

A construction manager and an architect may work together to solve challenges. They may think creatively and use adaptive thinking to make project modifications. Construction projects of all kinds might face unexpected challenges, so it is vital for these professionals to possess the ability to identify the sources of the problems and find the best remedies. For example, if a key employee is sick, excellent problem-solving skills can enable them to come up with other ways to transfer that employee's responsibilities.

Related: How To Highlight Problem-Solving Skills On A Resume


The architect and construction manager may be in charge of the construction team during a project. Working in a team and dealing with a variety of people necessitates a high level of social competency. This entails employing management techniques such as delegation, motivation and active listening.

Related: Leadership Roles (With Examples And Functions Of Leadership)

Attention to detail

To ensure that a project fulfils the required specifications, it is vital for these professionals to pay close attention to the smallest details. These roles in construction require you to follow building designs carefully. Paying attention to details can help you discover whether your team has overlooked any safety precautions or other critical elements in the construction process.

Related: Attention To Detail: Definition, Examples And Tips

Peripheral Skills For Architects And Construction Managers

Construction managers and architects may also require the following peripheral skills to perform efficiently and become successful in their position:

  • Financial planning: The construction manager is typically in charge of budgeting. This necessitates meticulous budget planning and supplier negotiations.

  • Time management skills: A construction manager oversees the project's deadlines and schedules. To plan the project and the schedules of the team members, they need time management skills.

  • Flexibility: To thrive in this managerial role, it is beneficial for construction managers to be adaptable since there are various factors involved in the design, planning and building of many projects.

  • Engineering knowledge: They are responsible for designing building plans that comply with safety, efficiency and aesthetic standards. Building secure structures requires engineering skills.

  • Technical skills: An architect requires additional technical skills and industry expertise. Besides being knowledgeable about architectural plans and tactics, they also need software and blueprint design expertise.

Related: Technical Skills: Definitions And Examples

Education For A Construction Manager

Professionals typically require a bachelor's degree in a relevant field to become a construction manager. These programmes can take up to four years to complete and they focus on various aspects of design, structural science, engineering, materials management and economics. Construction managers who want to work in the field can get a degree in one of the following fields:

  • Construction science and management

  • Construction engineering

  • Civil engineering

  • Building science

  • Construction management

With a two-year diploma and sufficient job experience, certain firms may allow you to work as a construction manager. Although most jobs require some form of college education, you may be able to work as an independent contractor with only high school graduation.

Related: Comprehensive Guide: How To Become A Construction Manager

Education For An Architect

It is vital for aspiring architects to earn a bachelor's degree in architecture. These programmes last five years and usually involve an internship along with professional training. A professional with a bachelor's degree in another field can pursue a master's degree in architecture. Depending on the focus, these programmes might take anywhere from one to five years to finish.

Where Do Architects Work?

Most architects work in an office setting, either at their firm or from their home studio, to plan and create structures. Architects that work for a firm usually collaborate with one another regularly, coming together and sharing design ideas. Architects may travel for client meetings when consulting with them.

Architects spend a significant amount of time on-site after the construction of a project begins. Project locations might vary depending on the architect's client. Architects who work primarily on residential projects may spend time in the suburbs on smaller-scale projects. Those who design commercial structures in urban areas become accustomed to working in complex, high-altitude settings.

Where Do Construction Managers Work?

Construction managers usually work outside of the office on construction sites. Many of them work on multiple projects, which require travel between construction sites frequently. Since most available projects may not be in the construction manager's hometown, the post frequently necessitates a temporary relocation to another city, state or even nation. Construction managers typically work full-time hours, with many instances causing overtime work. When working on-site, it is vital that they wear the required protection gear, just like everyone else in the construction industry.

Explore more articles