What does a construction planner do? (Job info and skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 29 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you're interested in a career in construction, you could work your way up to becoming a construction planner with the right skills and qualifications. Construction planners oversee construction and take responsibility for many different aspects of the construction process. As a construction planner, you can earn a generous salary while you put your construction experience to good use. In this article, we explore the role of a construction planner, answer 'What does a construction planner do?', outline routes to becoming one and list their skills.

What does a construction planner do?

If you're wondering 'What does a construction planner do?', they plan large construction projects and make decisions relating to logistics, inventory, scheduling, staffing and other aspects of the projects. Construction planners are senior construction professionals with years of experience working in construction roles. They work closely with other members of the construction team including labourers, estimators, engineers and surveyors to ensure that a project is progressing on plan and identify any potential challenges before they occur.

Construction planners can work for government agencies, private companies and public service organisations. Construction planners can also find employment in the construction and mining industries, the infrastructure building and maintenance sectors and at engineering firms. A construction planner could be responsible for the entire project design process from start to finish or their role may include planning only one stage or small elements of a project. Construction planners also play an important part in coordinating projects that involve multiple stakeholders such as different departments within a company that's contracting to provide services on behalf of another organisation.

Related: What is project management for construction? (Plus types)

Construction planner responsibilities

Construction planners are responsible for carrying out a huge number of project planning and management responsibilities both on and off the construction site. They work with colleagues in construction, engineering and design to ensure that large and complex construction projects go to plan. Some of the typical responsibilities of a construction planner include:

  • planning and scheduling, including determining how to get a project built as efficiently as possible

  • estimating the costs of materials, labour and equipment for a project

  • quality control and quality assurance including regular site inspections

  • coordinating the creation of documents including sketches and drafts

  • monitoring the project budget and spending

  • coordinating with other team members including engineers and architects

  • managing staff members and work schedules

  • overseeing logistics and transportation of materials

  • communicating with clients and colleagues

  • carrying out risk assessments to ensure safety on site

What is being a construction planner like?

Construction planners work in both the public and private sectors, attending meetings and collaborating with architects, engineers, surveyors and contractors. They also work closely with builders and developers, depending on the project they're working on. Construction planners divide their time working between an office and construction sites. Alongside being comfortable working at a desk for long periods, you're comfortable visiting construction sites, wearing protective equipment and travelling to attend meetings with clients and stakeholders.

The role of a construction planner involves working outdoors in a variety of weather conditions including wind and rain. You feel comfortable working closely with other professionals within your industry and you're accustomed to working to a busy schedule involving multiple meetings in different locations every day. Construction planning rarely requires spending time away from home for extended periods, but you may occasionally stay away from home overnight if you're visiting a site further away. Most construction planners have a valid driving license so they can travel between sites quickly.

Related: 11 common construction job titles (and what they mean)

Routes to becoming a construction planner

There are many ways to become a construction planner. Before you can secure construction planning jobs, you require years of experience working in the construction industry, and it might also help you to gain qualifications such as an undergraduate degree in construction management or civil engineering. Construction planners possess a wide range of skills and expertise in all aspects of the construction process, from budgeting and design to assembly and safety. It's possible to become a construction planner via the following routes:

Study

Many construction planners have at least an undergraduate degree in construction management, project management, civil engineering or building engineering. You could also study further for a Master's degree in an engineering or management course. If you choose to follow this route into construction planner jobs, ensure you also gain work experience in construction before you apply for a role in construction planning. You can do this by working in construction part-time while you study or applying for entry-level roles in construction management when you graduate from university.

Work

If you would like to work your way up to becoming a construction planner without going to university, you can also earn qualifications while you work. One way to become a construction planner through work is to apply for apprenticeships in construction or an advanced apprenticeship in construction management. You require at least two or more GCSEs in grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for an intermediate apprenticeship or three GCSEs in grades 9 to 4 for an advanced apprenticeship. An apprenticeship allows you to develop your skills in construction management while you work and earn a salary.

You can also apply for entry-level roles in construction and study towards qualifications in construction planning and management while you work. If you already work in construction and would like to add new skills and qualifications to your CV, the Institute for Construction Education (ICE) offers the ICE Level 3 Certificate in Construction Planning and Management, which takes six months of full-time study (or eight months of part-time study). Alternatively, you could study for the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) Housing Project Management Professional accreditation.

Related: How to become an apprentice in 3 simple steps

Construction planner skills

Construction planners use a variety of skills every day to ensure that construction projects run smoothly from start to finish. Alongside having the technical skills necessary to excel in construction, construction planners also have a variety of soft skills that allow them to work well with colleagues and clients from different backgrounds. Below are some of the most valuable skills for construction planners working in the industry:

Communication skills

Construction planners have strong communication skills including both verbal skills and written skills. As a construction planner, you work with a wide range of people including architects, builders, designers, councillors, developers and citizens. It's important to communicate sensitively with these people even when they feel strongly about a project. Construction planners can understand and empathise with different viewpoints while remaining firm and confident in their own goals.

Related: Nonverbal communication skills: definitions and examples

IT literacy

Construction planners use a variety of software tools, such as project management software, scheduling software and cost estimating software. This requires good IT literacy and an ability to learn how to use new software quickly and efficiently. Construction planners know how to use a variety of software and digital tools to make their work more accurate and efficient, and they're always seeking new tools to adopt at work to stay ahead of their competitors at other organisations.

Analysis

Construction planners require analytical skills to complete their daily duties including calculating budgets, scheduling work and identifying solutions to potential problems as they arise. This requires an ability to think analytically, considering a problem from all angles before arriving at the solution that's most efficient. Construction planners also require excellent organisation skills, which can help them to prioritise their many tasks effectively and ensure that they meet all deadlines on time.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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