Read Time: Less than 7 Mins
Last Modified: May 13, 2024

Construction management and project management each have an important role in overseeing the execution of projects. But they aren’t one in the same, and understanding their differences can help companies streamline workflow.

Each position has its own set of unique skills, tasks and responsibilities which — to maximize performance — requires the appropriate resources and software. If either position is working with tools that don’t correlate with their duties, their ability to provide effective leadership is impeded.

Now, not every company has the need to create both roles. But, by learning about each position, you can establish best practices to create an environment of support and success for your administrative department.

In this article, we’re going to outline the distinctions between these two positions — including scope of work and optimal software. This way, you can review the roles and responsibilities of your company’s manager(s) to make sure they have access to the proper resources.

Article Highlights

  • Learn about the roles a construction manager and project manager have on a project.
  • Discusses the difference between construction management and project management.
  • Explain how construction management and project management work together to ensure a successful outcome.
  • Learn about software that can help streamline construction management and project management.

What is Construction Management and Who is a Construction Manager?

Construction management is the process of supervising the building portions of a project — any and all project tasks that involve physical construction fall into this territory. The construction manager oversees the day-to-day operations at the jobsite, including labor, equipment and materials.

Construction Manager Responsibilities

Some of the typical responsibilities of a construction manager include:

  • Overseeing the building process
  • Supervising the labor force
  • Managing equipment and material inventory
  • Tracking equipment
  • Enforcing safety regulations
  • Generating cost estimates and reports

What is Project Management and Who is a Project Manager?

Project management is the process of supervising the entire lifecycle of a project. Project managers operate on a broad scale because their duties are diverse and all-encompassing.

From initial brainstorming to project completion, project managers are responsible for tracking milestones, monitoring budget numbers, updating stakeholders and communicating with clients. They’re aware of specific details, but from a bird’s eye view — a project manager’s direct reports gather data, such as cost estimates and task completions, so the PM can check this information against the budget or timeline.

Project Manager Responsibilities

Some of the typical responsibilities assigned to a project manager include:

  • Meeting with clients to set project goals
  • Site analysis and work site procurement
  • Developing budget, project plan and timeline
  • Communicating priorities to the team
  • Acting liaison between team and clients/stakeholders
  • Total cost tracking

What Are the Key Differences Between Construction Management and Project Management?

A few key differences between construction management and project management are:

Scope of Work

Project managers oversee the project throughout the entire lifecycle, whereas construction managers supervise a portion of the project specifically related to construction.

Client Communication

Project managers are responsible for communicating with clients on a regular basis. Construction managers may occasionally speak with clients, but it’s not a major focus of their daily responsibilities.

Building Codes and Safety Regulations

Project managers understand these codes and regulations, but the construction manager, alongside the safety director, is responsible for their enforcement.

How do Construction Managers and Project Managers Interact?

While there are differences, there is still plenty of coordination between the two positions — for example, construction managers submit proposals to project managers and project managers keep construction managers up to date with certain priorities — but, ultimately, a construction manager is a direct report to a project manager.

Software Solutions for Construction Managers and Project Managers

Project managers and construction managers leverage software to streamline their operations. This software — commonly referred to as construction management software, project management software or scheduling software — tracks, schedules and provides updates for every aspect of a project. Oftentimes, project managers and construction managers use different features within the same software to complete their responsibilities.

Construction Managers

Since construction managers oversee the jobsite, they’ll need tools that have the capabilities to handle minute details, such as cost tracking, equipment management, workforce management, material tracking and managing subcontractors.

CMs also require some type of document management because change orders, proposals and RFIs are heavily used in the building process.

Some of the most common software features used by a construction manager include:

  • Assignment scheduling
  • Photo logs to track construction progress
  • Document editing and management
  • Material & equipment management

Project Managers

Project managers have a wide range of needs because they must track different types of progress throughout the project’s duration. First, they require tools that can collect and analyze data from the field, such as labor hours and material usage. Then, the software needs to be able to compare that data against the project budget and estimated timeline.

In addition, centralized communication is important to PMs so they can always stay up to date with the requests of their direct reports and client inquiries.

Finally, a robust risk management feature is key so that PMs can run reports that will detect any red flags — which can then be addressed in a timely manner.

Some of the most common software features used by a project manager include:

  • Budgeting, billing and invoicing
  • Project planning
  • Risk management
  • Communication management

When choosing your best option for web-based project management software, keep in mind which role will be using the product and what their needs are. If your company employs some type of construction manager, then find software that can handle detailed tracking. If your company employs some type of project manager, then use software with a broader scope that can handle both business operations and project planning. If you’ve got both positions, then use an all-in-one solution that’s as robust with its scheduling capabilities as it is with its budget management.

Foundation Software Provides Efficient Project and Construction Management Software

Foundation Software offers software that can be universally used by both construction managers and project managers, including:


WorkMax is a mobile time tracking application that allows construction managers to easily view their crew’s schedule days, weeks or even months in advance. Construction managers can also track materials and equipment to know their current location and avoid overallocation of resources. Project managers can use WorkMax to receive real-time visibility into project progress and productivity, project costs and manage risks.


CrewHQ helps construction managers see their crew’s availability, current location and assignment(s). It also helps them manage their tasks and equipment availability. Project managers can use CrewHQ to view worker and equipment availability and adjust their larger project plans accordingly.


While safety may not be a direct responsibility of project or construction managers, the health of a jobsite impacts budgets, timelines and labor availability. SafetyHQ® is a construction safety app that helps keep workers trained and safe with Toolbox Talks, JHAs, Safety Datasheets and certification tracking.


ProjectHQ helps project managers manage, edit and store important documents and address change orders. If project managers use FOUNDATION® accounting software, their change orders can be uploaded directly into their accounting system to update their project budget automatically. This also helps them streamline their total cost tracking.

Construction managers could also have access to ProjectHQ to receive notifications from the project manager regarding specific project details. Additionally, the construction manager can share and update documents and other important information, such as change orders and photo logs, using ProjectHQ.

Collaboration is Key to Project Success

Ultimately, a construction manager and a project manager have the same end-goal: to provide high-quality finished products that were completed on time and within budget. But understanding the difference between the two and selecting the right software can help you and your team improve workflow.

To see how our software can help you with your construction management and project management speak with one of our experts today! Click here to schedule a demo.

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