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Thread: Construction, project management with a planning degree?

  1. #1

    Construction, project management with a planning degree?

    Ok so I have strong family connections in the construction biz and I could easily land a job at either my father in law's firm or one if his associates.

    This might sound silly but can you do project management with a planning degree? Do planners do that type of stuff at all for construction firms? I'm also earning a certificate in arch which is helping me learn autocad, drafting, arch drawing and rendering etc. the rest I'll learn on my own. I plan on specializing in urban design once I get to grad school.

    Any thoughts? It's just to cut my teeth until I'm able to land a good planning job. I just don't want to end up without prospects my first time out of school and I gave a bit of a fall back career.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Umm no. Do you have experience in construction trades? Can you manage the workers and ensure that the work is completed per plans? Do you know how to read blue prints? Can you perform site inspections prior to a building inspector comes for inspection? Do you know when to request RFI's and how to push your labor to meet deadlines? Can you ensure deliverables of materials, weather delays, and when to make calls in the field that will save your client money and continue to be consistent with project approvals?

    If you have no clue what any of this means than you have no business managing construction projects or sites. Sorry just throwing this out there.


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  3. #3
    Well of course I didn't mean actually starting off doing this but I could be trained and intern for my FILs company or a friend he knows. That's all I meant. That it would be easier to do cut my teeth doing something like that in case I don't find a planning job right away. I'm sure it would require extensive experience.

    I was just wondering if planners do project management at all.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    What do you mean by project management? In sense yes.. We do


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  5. #5
    Let's start with what does project management mean to planners? Same with construction management.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Project management is a generic term than means managing projects, hence the term. It can be in any industry in any company. Construction management is not just overseeing a "project" in terms of completing tasks. As Raf mentioned, it is logistics, managing PEOPLE (which is a whole different topic), and ensuring the project is actually BUILT, LITERALLY on time, within budget, while taking unexpected delays into consideration. I know I am leaving a ton of other things out. I do not consider project management and construction management equally.

    If you want to work as a planner AND do construction management, I would recommend you get a specialized graduate real estate degree focusing in land management than planning and focus working for a design-build firm, a home builder, or a developer. These degrees are not found throughout the country, I have noticed a few more programs like this here in Texas and the South but not in other parts of the country (probably due to stronger connections with oil and gas than anything else). Most architects and engineers spend a far greater amount of their jobs in an office-like setting, with some site visits. Some might have far more construction observation roles, but they are not foremen. The overseers are people with construction management backgrounds.
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  7. #7
    If you want to work as a planner AND do construction management, I would recommend you get a specialized graduate real estate degree focusing in land management than planning and focus working for a design-build firm, a home builder, or a developer.
    But what kind of project management do planners usually do? And do they get hired by construction companies at all?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian chupacabra's avatar
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    Planners often manage planning projects. They could be hired by construction companies, but that would likely be for the demonstrated ability to do stuff directed related to the work rather than because they have a planning degree.

    A friend of mine manages large construction projects and he has a history degree. He started off working in the trades when he was earning his degree, then shifted into site mitigation (monitoring stormwater runoff) and QA/QC because he knew how things work and those jobs require people who can write, use computers, and interpret regulations.
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  9. #9
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Planning project management depends on what sector you work in. In the private sector it typically involves managing in-house staff to ensure deliverables are made for a task, ensure that the task is completed on time and within budget, review of work and managing sub-consultants for deliverable timeliness and ensure budgets are not busted and ensuring the client remains in the loop either through email, meetings, or project updates. You may also be called on to revise scopes of work if additional work is required or you are out of budget.

    Pretty much the same in the public sector minus the budget aspect unless you are working on a grant or keeping to ensure your consultant stays on-task and on scope based on the contract.

    This has nothing to do with construction and rarely ever does unless you are a specialist in capital projects or in the private side are the architect of record and are required to do substantial site observations.


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  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    I'm a development review planner, but I also currently manage two construction projects--even though it's not really in the job description. One is a brownfield remediation project that is based on a grant that we applied for. Since we wrote the grant, we manage the project.

    The other is a masonry project, originally supposed to the grant-funded, but the application was rejected. We get to manage the project anyway.

    Most of the city's construction projects are handled by the engineering department, though.

    I have degrees in both planning and architecture FWIW.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    I am a project manager. I am not a construction manager. There is a difference. I have an MCRP.

    I work for a non profit CDC that develops for-sale affordable housing. I write grant applications, funding requests, obtain project financing, manage grant compliance, work with the architects on design, obtain planning and zoning approvals, utility permits, and put together the development budgets. I work with the construction manager to ensure that project stay on time and on budget as well as work together to problem solve issues. I also assist the buyers through the closing process and work closely with our attorney on the closings as well as municipal contract negotiations.

    So yes, you can be a PM with a planning degree. Skills needed: how to get along with big egos and make them play nice with each other, manage many tasks at the same time, understand development budgets and financing, run a spreadsheet, and be very organized and detailed when it comes to contract and grant management requirements. Also, a good working knowledge of the construction process-you don't know how to build a house but you should know how to read a set of plans and have basic knowledge of how a home is built.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

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