what is a site manager?

As a site manager, you coordinate activities at a construction site. While you don't participate in the design stages, you plan the activities at construction sites. Your job involves hiring workers, assigning duties and supervising. Due to the complexity of tasks at a construction site, you require in-depth building and construction knowledge. Sometimes, you interpret architectural drawings and specifications to ensure the construction work meets the desired standards.

Aside from coordinating workflows, a site manager troubleshoots any issues during construction. For instance, you liaise with subcontractors and suppliers to ensure materials are delivered on time and work progresses as expected. You make reports to clients or investors. You also review building practices to verify compliance with health and safety standards and project management procedures.

A site manager is not uncommon to work extended hours or be on-call 24/7. When problems crop up, you work additional hours to resolve issues and ensure the project meets the deadlines. You also negotiate with contractors to ensure the construction work adheres to the stipulated budgets.

site manager jobs

average site manager salary

The median site manager salary is $90,000 per year.  At the peak of your career, you may earn up to $120,000 yearly. Site managers are highly paid, but their earnings depend on their experience and qualifications.

what factors affect the salary of a site manager?

Your salary is based on your experience and educational qualifications. Site managers joining the profession have lower pay due to their minimal expertise and hands-on skills. As your years of experience in the field increase, you can demand higher remuneration due to the technical knowledge you bring. Some site managers work up to the role with minimal qualifications and earn less than those with additional certifications. With a diploma or certificate, you can negotiate a higher remuneration package.

The size of the company may also influence your salary prospects. When you work for a start-up company, your earnings are lower due to limited resources. However, working for multinationals and large property developers increases your remuneration due to more complex duties and significant resources.


types of site managers

The roles of site managers depend on the types of projects they supervise. Some types of site managers include:

  • residential site managers: as a residential site manager, you oversee the building of residential properties. You liaise with clients and other construction professionals to complete the projects according to the design plans. You also supervise the procurement of construction materials, budgeting, managing and scheduling of staff.
  • commercial site managers: as a commercial site manager, you manage the construction of production or manufacturing facilities. For instance, you may supervise construction work on mining sites or warehouses for storing finished products. You ensure the projects meet the industry standards and manufacturer's specifications.
  • restoration site managers: as a restoration site manager, you work with architects and other tradespeople to preserve the appearance of buildings. You assist with finding contractors and supplies for the restoration process. You also supervise repairs to historic buildings and ensure they are stable.
Male smiling, standing outside on a balcony talking to a person
Male smiling, standing outside on a balcony talking to a person

working as a site manage

As a site manager, you provide construction work is completed on time without glitches. You resolve any challenges that arise and ensure a smooth workflow. Explore the duties, work schedules, work environments and job prospects of site managers.


education and skills

Site managers often start as construction workers and tradespeople employed on work sites. However, specialised qualification in construction or building improves your competitiveness. Some of the qualifications to pursue are:

  • management qualifications: a diploma course in building and construction equips you with a basic knowledge of construction methods. When you complete the course, consider pursuing an advanced diploma to learn management skills or a bachelor's degree in construction management.
  • work experience: as a site manager, you require extensive work experience working on construction sites and helping supervisors oversee projects. You also need a White Card to work in construction settings.

skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of a site manager include:

  • commercial awareness: your job involves managing the project's costs to ensure it is cost-effective. This role requires commercial understanding  and industry knowledge on optimising costs.
  • leadership skills: leadership skills help you guide a wide range of professionals and co-workers. Effective leadership ensures construction workers are motivated and inspired to complete work on time.
  • problem-solving skills: any construction project presents numerous risks and potential challenges. Problem-solving skills help you find effective solutions to problems and avoid delays.
  • decision-making skills: as you oversee a construction project to completion, you make a series of decisions, from the best materials to the most effective schedules.

FAQs about working as a site manager

Here are the most asked questions about working as a site manager:

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