How Stressful is It to Manage Construction Projects?

According to Indeed, construction project managers have an average annual salary of $86,094. However, the position comes with various stressful tasks that significantly lower job satisfaction.

If you’re planning to join the construction profession, certain factors will help you determine your future happiness with this job. First, as you’ll be responsible for scheduling and approving every phase in the project, you may be subject to a huge amount of pressure.

Here is a detailed article on how to become a project manager in construction. Also listed below are some of the daily assignments of a construction manager to help you determine how stressful it is to manage such projects.

Construction Project Manager

How stressful is construction management?

Various reasons make construction management a stressful job, including the following daily responsibilities.

Dynamic landscape

The architectural industry is ever-changing and fast-paced. As a construction project manager, you must keep up with the latest trends to meet every client’s needs.

This doesn’t just include the exterior or interior design but the technology embedded within the building. For example, a client may demand a historic home. But, the construction manager must include the latest climate-proof and energy-efficient structures to maintain the home’s livability.

Some projects are also open-ended, with the client having few requirements about the architecture. In such cases, the result is up to the construction manager. But, first, they must ensure the building meets the modern requirements of today’s architecture.

Educational requirements

Some construction managers may land certain projects with the help of an associate’s degree or accumulated experience. However, most employers demand a bachelor’s degree, especially for bigger projects.

Most projects require a bachelor’s degree in construction management or engineering. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) must accredit this degree. In addition, such schools require you to be well versed in math, physics, finance, and similar subjects.

Lengthy work hours

Construction management is a demanding and time-consuming job. As a construction manager, you may even have to work more than 40 hours a week due to the strict routine of most construction sites.

A construction project manager must be on the worksite very early in the morning. So by the time the engineers and architects have finished their day’s job, it may be late into the evening.

The construction manager has to ensure every team member has finished their daily tasks before they leave the worksite. As a result, they may even end up working over 50 hours a week.

Financial risk

Most construction projects involve thousands, if not millions, of dollars worth of investment into the building. So naturally, this causes a lot of mental strain on the construction manager, who must ensure everything goes smoothly and no investment is wasted.

When overseeing a “cost-plus project,” the project manager may only spend the amount pre-assigned by the client. The profit is only a percentage of this strict cost. Following such a budget may seem easy enough, but it’s a risky task that often results in unhappy clients.

Unpredictable routine

Unlike office jobs, construction management does not have a strict and predictable routine for you to rely on. The routine for such a job is ever-changing, according to the client or project. For example, you may handle legal contracts one day and contact the client the other.

However, certain aspects, such as finances, may bring a sense of routine to this job. For example, construction managers typically need to conduct a bi-weekly financial analysis. In addition, they must handle legal contracts and create documents at the start of every project.

Frequent conflicts

The work site has conflicts like any other job, and it’s the construction manager’s responsibility to handle them. Unfortunately, these conflicts can lead to losing a project or client.

Conflicts may arise due to lien placement, material delivery, contract disputes, bankruptcy, or strike action. In such cases, construction managers must utilize conflict resolution skills to maintain a peaceful work environment.

Risky environment

There’s no doubt that construction is one of the riskiest industries to work in. 1 in 5 work-related deaths is on the worksite. This industry’s injury rates are 71% higher than other industries.

Overall, the work environment for construction managers is riskier than most other jobs. Undoubtedly, this can cause mental strain for project managers constantly ensuring their team’s safety.

Job satisfaction rate

Construction managers are subject to a lot of responsibilities and stress daily. As a result, the job satisfaction rate is low. Most project managers say they wouldn’t quit their job but would switch to another role for the same pay.

Health concerns

As we mentioned, the construction industry has a risky work environment. However, physical accidents aren’t the only way to get hurt as a construction project manager. For example, they may be exposed to harmful substances on the worksite.

Also, skin problems, insomnia, and hypertension are a few other issues faced by construction project managers.

Industry pressure

Aside from being risky, the construction industry is also relentlessly unforgiving. Any small mistake can result in a significant impact on the project or client relationship. For example, ordering incomplete or incorrect materials can delay a project for weeks.

Contrastingly, ordering excessive materials can result in a loss of profit, as most clients aren’t willing to cover such mistakes. An inspection failure can result in a heavy financial loss for the corrective approaches.

Similarly, a small safety check mistake can cause a worker’s death or injury on site. Accounting mistakes can damage the company’s reputation. Considering the significant impact of small mistakes in this industry, it makes sense that only experienced personnel are given this position.


There are certain things you must know before learning how to become a project manager in construction. Construction management can be stressful, but diligence and experience can help avoid such strain.

Planning at every level can help keep things in perspective. Also, maintaining constant communication with your client and team is essential to avoid conflicts and errors.

Most importantly, a good construction manager knows when to take a break and avoid risking quality decline due to stress.

Lana Martinez is a freelance technical writer living in the Santa Clara. She's a gadget and tech geek who loves to write how-to articles about a wide range of topics. When she's not writing about technology, Lana loves watching and reading mysteries, cross stitching, and attending musical theatre. She's also an avid Doctor Who fan.