- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 25 Jan 2019
In construction, a commercial manager is responsible for overseeing and managing the finances of a project as it progresses. They should also be capable of maintaining a long-term view in terms of business opportunities that will enable their organisation to develop and grow, being responsible for exploring new avenues of business, delivering bids and negotiating contracts.
The commercial manager is typically the head of a commercial team, overseeing the work of quantity surveyors, estimators and planners. While the exact job specification of a commercial manager will vary according to organisation and project, their general duties and responsibilities might include:
- Strategically expanding, preserving or improving procedures and standards.
- Resolving contractual and commercial problems.
- Overseeing financial key performance indicators (KPIs) of a project.
- Offering financial direction and instruction to the project team, ensuring they understand key aspects of the contract.
- Reporting on financial performance to the project manager and other senior staff members.
- Assessing risk.
- Managing and mentoring the quantity surveying team.
Working for a smaller company may provide the commercial manager with greater responsibility in a shorter space of time, albeit, typically on smaller projects. Larger companies may offer a commercial manager the chance to work on higher profile, larger and often more challenging projects, usually as part of a larger team.
Commercial managers will often have a quantity surveying background with several years of construction industry experience. Some commercial managers can progress into the role from an engineering background.
The skills that are required include:
- Strong commercial awareness.
- Excellent client liaison and people management skills.
- Good negotiating skills.
- Extensive understanding of the construction industry.
- Good analytical, financial and numeracy skills.
- Attention to detail.
- Sound knowledge of contracts and the legal framework.
- Good leadership skills.
For more information, see Commercial Management and Quantity Surveying course essentials.
Many commercial managers become chartered through a relevant professional body, such as the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or the Institute of Commercial Management (ICM).
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki:
- Bid writer.
- Business administration.
- Client's representative.
- Commercial management.
- Construction contractor.
- Construction manager.
- Construction team.
- Consultant team for design and construction.
- Cost consultant.
- Design manager.
- Development manager.
- Estate agent.
- Health and safety inspector.
- Interview with Liam Huntley - Commercial Manager.
- Leadership styles.
- Lead consultant.
- Management consultant.
- Project manager.
- Project team for building design and construction.
- Quantity surveyor.
- Site foreman.
- Team management for building design and construction projects.
- Who can be the Principal Designer?
Featured articles and news
Avoiding 'winner's curse' and other useful info.
Interfacing with facilities management.
Developing test methods for video flame/smoke detectors
Waiting for a new deal ...but will funding materialise?
Our servers have reached another milestone. Why not write an article and be seen by our 6.5 million users.
RSHP celebrates competition win in Paris.
All about approved inspectors.
Whilst apparently confusing, German conservation is actually not that different.
The rise and fall of council housing. Book review.
Drivers of change in global heating markets.
11 interesting facts about the use and nature of the material.