Construction Management includes multiple related areas of study. Your CM program includes exposure to all of these subdisciplines. As a working professional you may be a generalist, or you may specialize in one of the areas. Subdisciplines include:
Scheduling a project involves creating a logical work breakdown structure (WBS) that divides the project into manageable elements such as concrete work, steel erection and interior finishes. Once the WBS is created, the scheduler works with an estimator to determine the duration, materials, labor, and equipment required for each element. The next step is to define logical relationships between the elements to create an overall project schedule in several possible formats. The schedule is used by the project manager to track progress and budget expenditures.
Cost estimating is closely related to scheduling in that both start with a work breakdown structure as a way of dividing the project into its logical components. The estimator consults cost and productivity references to determine how long tasks will take and resources required to complete them. The estimator plays a key role in preparing project bids when pursuing new work
Construction methods includes selection of appropriate equipment and materials to accomplish a task. For example selecting the best combination of excavating and hauling equipment to build a stormwater retention pond.
Project management includes planning, scheduling, bidding, contract administration, cost estimation, management of the construction crews, procuring materials, managing the budget, making changes, settling claims, and finally turning the project over to the client. In addition, project management in construction involves oversight of the quality and safety plans for all operations. These diverse functions must be monitored throughout the construction phase to ensure that actual operations and costs align with what was planned. Finally, where there are errors, delays or issues, the project manager must make changes in a timely fashion to keep the project on track.
Sustainable construction includes selection of materials and work practices to construct buildings that have a low impact on non-renewable resources. From the production of materials to the building process, the construction industry is responsible for 40 percent of the energy consumption in the United States (or 19 percent worldwide), according to a study by the U.S. Department of Energy.