Construction Project Management Basics


This course is offered in partnership with MTCopeland.  This course was designed for anyone seeking to transition into the booming field of construction management and learn about the diverse set of skills needed to plan and build a project from conception to completion.  With over 100,000 satisfied students and a course catalog of over 1,000 classes, we are here to help you – Invest in Yourself.



Dr. Kenneth S. Sands II is an Assistant Professor in the Construction Management Program at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, FL, and an experienced construction management professional. He holds a doctorate in Environmental Design and Planning from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. He’s also worked as an estimator and project manager, with previous experience in purchasing, buyout and project site supervision. Dr. Sands’s passion for the construction industry was inspired by his father’s work as a carpenter.

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Course Description

Learn the many responsibilities project managers have, key team members and how to prepare RFIs and submittals from start to finish.

Course Outline

Introduction – Your instructor—educator and experienced construction management professional Dr. Kenneth Sands—welcomes you to the course and introduces the fundamentals of construction project management.

What is Construction Project Management – Being a construction project manager is like conducting an orchestra. Learn about a construction project manager’s many responsibilities, including coordinating subcontractors, maintaining the budget and schedule, managing safety onsite, and general problem-solving.

Skills Every Project Manager Needs – Because construction project management is an all-encompassing role, it requires many skills. Ken emphasizes what he believes are the most important skills for a construction project manager: flexibility, decisiveness, the ability to multitask, and curiosity.

Common Construction Project Manager Roles and Responsibilities – Learn about common responsibilities in project management, like ordering the right equipment, materials, and tools before construction begins; managing equipment during construction; and monitoring project execution throughout.

Contract Administration and Management – Understanding and aligning on contract terms with the owner, general contractor, and various stakeholders is one of the first steps on a project. Ken reviews typical contract contents, as well as the various kinds of subcontracts that might come into play on a project.

Key Roles: Project Executive & Senior Project Manager – Learn about the responsibilities of two top roles on a project management team: the project executive, often seen as the general manager and point person to liaise with the client, and the senior project manager, who supervises and leads the rest of the team.

Key Roles: Project Manager & Field Engineer – Learn the roles of the project manager and field engineer. The former oversees site logistics and manages materials and resources; while the latter handles all of the project documentation, from the site to plans and warranties.

 Key Roles: Estimator & Scheduler – Though construction estimators and schedulers do much of their work before the project begins, they still have responsibilities throughout the construction process. Learn about how both roles work with the project management team to keep a project on budget and on schedule.

Key Roles: Superintendent – Of all the roles within project management, superintendents often work with the subcontractors the most. Ken explains how superintendents coordinate safety protocols, equipment use, and inspections, and review the quality of work being done onsite.

Key Workflows for a Project Management Team – Because project management covers so much logistical ground, there are many steps in a construction project manager team’s workflow. Learn about some of the orders of operations within a team, like documentation prep, organizing change orders for materials, and closing out the project according to the contract’s terms.

Sample Construction Management Org Chart – Ken designs and walks you through an organizational chart on a project management team, demonstrating how the team is structured from top to bottom, and how each role relates to the others.

A Day in the Life of a Construction Project Manager – Learn what a typical day might look like for a construction project manager: from going onsite to manage logistics, to communicating with the various subcontractors and organizing material needs, to submitting documentation for RFIs: requests for information.

Managing Risk – There are a number of elements a construction project manager’s team needs to control for on a project, like risk, schedule, quality of work, and budget. Learn about how a team would prepare for each of these controls, especially in the contractual and planning phase before construction begins.

Project Manual – The project manual acts as the guide for understanding what needs to be achieved throughout the entire construction process. Ken explains the various formats project manuals can come in and emphasizes the importance of knowing your project manual back to front as a project manager.

 Example RFI – Ken gives a tutorial on how to prepare an RFI, a construction document that requests information, usually from the architect or engineer who created the site plan. He also gives a deep dive into the process of creating RFIs and what information must be included.

Example Submittals – Ken demonstrates how to handle submittals, in this case for design mixtures. Learn how to create a submittal, what information is needed, and how to set up a submittal workflow to ensure proper communication between parties.

A Career in Construction Project Management – Ken emphasizes the key elements that are essential for pursuing a career in project management, including an understanding of who does what on a project management team, and a genuine curiosity in construction project management’s wide scope.

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