What Does A Civil Engineer Project Manager Do? (With Skills)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 9 July 2022

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Civil engineering project managers are professionals who oversee large construction projects. They often work on multiple projects simultaneously, and their job requires them to be physically fit and active to carry construction materials on site. Knowing what skills this job requires and the duties of a civil engineering project manager can help you determine if this is the right career path for you. In this article, we answer the question, "What does a civil engineer project manager do?", talk about their job responsibilities, and discuss some essential skills required to succeed in this job role.

What does a civil engineer project manager do?

If you are looking for the answer to the question, "What does a civil engineer project manager do?" it is a good idea to learn about their roles and responsibilities. Civil engineering project managers, commonly known as civil project managers, are construction project managers who oversee the building process of large projects, including commercial structures, roadways and bridges. These professionals work right from pre-planning, budgeting, resource allocation, contract negotiation, employee coordination to implementing the project's objectives. Civil project managers also supervise subcontractors and other construction site personnel, attend weekly project meetings and monitor health and safety standards compliance.

These professionals can work independently, practising privately, or work full-time with construction companies, engineering firms or government agencies. There is a growing demand for civil project managers because of the increasing complexity of construction processes and technology upgrades. While implementing their daily duties, such managers may also work with budgetary and time-related constraints, as most projects have strict deadlines that demand their complete focus.

Related: Top 10 Civil Engineering Skills And Tips To Develop Them

Duties of a civil engineer project manager

Some typical duties of a civil engineer project manager include:

Project planning

Civil project managers often work on multiple projects simultaneously, so laying out the proper plan and guidelines to follow during the construction process is an essential duty of these professionals. They start from the pre-planning stage, where they explore locations and survey land and sites for their suitability. These professionals may also assess project estimations, their budget and estimated completion time. They also examine existing structures relevant to these projects while creating design plans that serve as a visual guiding point for direct activities. Project planning also involves reviewing potential safety issues and developing future contingency plans.

Related: 19 Essential Project Management Skills To Master

Oversee construction personnel

An essential part of a civil project manager's job is to oversee the work performance of other construction personnel on-site, such as site employees and subcontractors. They manage the structure and task allocation of site crew while negotiating contracts with subcontractors, and communicating with all relevant stakeholders, inspectors and architects. They also organise meetings with construction managers and their clients to discuss their requirements and ensure that the work fulfils their needs and expectations. While overseeing personnel, civil engineer project managers also coordinate with suppliers and vendors and manage the timely delivery of materials.

Related: Comprehensive Guide: How To Become A Construction Manager

Prepare progress reports

Civil project managers analyse team performance through progress reports and visually represent the goals they are yet to achieve. This allows them to explain their vision to the team and ensure that they accomplish their goals. Monitoring construction personnel's growth enables them to regularly prepare progress reports to give the higher management insight into the tasks completed by each professional. These project reports also comprise project costs and each employee's job positions to define their roles in the final project.

Related: Basics Of Work Report Writing (With Format And Examples)

Preparing construction schedules

A considerable part of a civil project manager's job is to prepare construction schedules relevant to the overall project completion. They schedule project tasks based on the availability of funds, construction personnel and weather. Often, they reschedule many of their tasks to account for unforeseen circumstances. These professionals may use various software tools to schedule their tasks and manage the daily productivity of their team.

Reviewing compliance

Civil engineer project managers design project plans and help devise strategies to accomplish them. They also review compliance with various state and government regulations and ensure that their project or site location follows all guidelines. In cases of inconsistencies, they fix the issue and take adequate measures to prevent similar instances in future projects. These professionals also ensure that the project complies with work safety standards and regulations and ensure a healthy work environment for their employees during the construction process. Apart from adhering to safety regulations, they also ensure that their projects comply with environmental guidelines.

Essential skills for a civil engineer project manager

Some of the crucial skills essential for a civil engineer project manager include:

Communication skills

Any civil engineering construction project has multiple stakeholders, such as the client, the subcontractors, outsourced suppliers and other construction personnel. Civil project managers regularly communicate with these professionals to ensure smooth coordination between all parties. Whether it is to ensure efficiency in back-office functions or fasten the process of paperwork such as contracts, communication is an essential part of the job of a civil project manager. Good communication can lead to excellent results, as it brings along clarity and helps the construction team be more productive.

Related: Verbal Communication Examples In The Workplace (With Tips)

Organisational skills

A civil project manager often multitasks and works with multiple deadlines simultaneously. They may have several assignments to complete at once, which often requires using strong organisational skills to manage and prioritise these tasks efficiently. These managers require working with this understanding, and their organisational skills can help them quickly adapt when unexpected tasks arrive, allowing them to effective readjust their schedules accordingly.

Read More: Organisational Skills: Definition And Examples

Risk management

Civil engineering project managers understand that their project schedules may change with time and circumstances, and things may not always go according to the initial plan. Having the ability to accept and work with risks can help improve the efficiency of their tasks as they know about the uncertainties and challenges ahead, which makes it easier for them to adapt to changing environments. Risk management skills also enable them to provide the best workable solutions to problems efficiently. This skill also makes them comfortable with experimenting with different processes to find new ways to implement high-quality projects quickly.

Related: What Does A Risk Manager Do? (How To Become One And Skills)


A project manager's job involves a lot of negotiation. They often negotiate contracts with clients and other stakeholders, which is why it is essential to know how to bargain on crucial aspects, such as the budget and time. They may also negotiate to reach a mutual agreement between various stakeholders, including the vendors and suppliers, on things like scheduling employees, changing orders and sourcing materials for the construction process. Having excellent negotiation skills also means knowing when to compromise with clients when needed.


Civil engineering project managers may want to be adaptable professionals who understand that circumstances may change, and that they may need to adjust their initial plans according to the clients' updated needs. Often, these professionals are flexible in adapting to any changing requirements of a project and prepare accordingly. Here, flexibility also means adapting to new technologies or ways to perform a task to increase productivity.

Industry knowledge

Civil project managers have proficient industry knowledge of their domain and the types of projects they develop. While these professionals may be well-equipped and aware of industry trends, the construction industry is a vast and dynamic field where new techniques and practices develop each day. Good construction managers understand the basics of managing a project and know how innovative strategies that can help maximise project efficiency. When combined with project management skills, useful industry knowledge can help these professionals perform their job more efficiently.

Financial management

A construction project requires a well-detailed and structured budget plan for the project managers to implement it efficiently. Having sound financial management skills can enable these professionals to predict economic outcomes and plan their activities and budget accordingly. Project managers who are civil engineers may possess the understanding that the smallest changes can affect their project's implementation and make its costs exceed the budget. As project managers, sound financial knowledge and skills can help them prevent unfavourable situations by tracking the project spending and exploring alternate funding sources.

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