Most employers require their roofing project managers to have a college degree and some experience. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2010 that more than 100 colleges and universities offered degrees in building science, construction engineering and construction science. You’ll study everything from project cost estimation to construction methods and materials. The job paid a median income of $83,860 in 2010.
You’ll be in charge of the entire roofing project from the initial cost estimation and timetables to overseeing the roofers on the job and choosing the materials. As the manager, you have complete control over the project from start to finish. That’s why you need to have sufficient experience in measuring the slope of roofs and determining which type of shingles work best for various situations. Once the company lands the job, you step in and take over. You’ll decide the pace, the construction strategy and the number of workers you’ll need.
The project manager must be able to read a contract as well as construction blueprints. You’ll have to know how to introduce and charge for change orders when unexpected complications occur or the customer makes additional requests. You’ll be the one workers look to for interpretation of the contracts and to decide how to proceed at every turn. You’ll be expected to be proficient in reading computer aided design documents and operating other computer software programs to keep your contracts and orders organized.
As the project manager of one piece of the entire construction process, you’ll often collaborate with other subcontractors. Your work can’t start until the builders have completed the tresses on the roof, for example. You’ll have to work closely with architects to make sure they stay on track with their original designs. A change in the building structure affects the steps you take to complete the roof. Accountants, salespeople, clients, engineers, building inspectors and other building specialists all may have their hands in your jobs. Even when the project is a simple roof replacement on an existing structure, you’ll interface with other professionals, so your communication skills must be sharp to maintain that control you need to run the job effectively.
While you’ll only interface with outside contractors and building specialists occasionally, you’ll have direct contact with your roofing crew daily. You need to be on the job first thing in the morning to make sure workers show up, ready to work. When the weather interferes, you'll determine whether to call off work for the day or just take a break. Since you placed the materials orders, you need to make sure it’s all been delivered promptly and in good shape, order additional materials if needed and provide workers with the tools they need for the job when they’re unprepared. You may have a job supervisor who oversees the hourly workers, but you still need to be available by phone at all times during the duration of the job.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."