The Passion Project: Construction Project Management | Helen Xie


It was Monday night. I was getting ready for bed when my phone ran.

“Hello, Helen speaking.”

It was a call from a site supervisor (let’s call him Eric) who had worked all weekend on an elevator renovation project I am responsible for. Eric is calling me for directions to move forward.

As per the construction schedule, tiling work was to be completed before Monday morning. We had encountered a site condition, risking a possible delay.

As a project manager, I encounter situations like this one quite often. A construction project has countless moving pieces, accompanied with degrees of uncertainty. Who is to know 100% what is behind that piece of drywall until it has been removed? Risks and delays are to be expected. It is up to the project manager to account for these conditions in the construction schedule. Since every project is different, this particular site condition was not accounted for.

Precious time was passing by. The project was on hold. Pressure was on.

I was on a mission against time to collect enough pieces of the puzzle to make an informed decision. These are challenging moments for me. Sometimes I needed a little bit of luck to reach certain individuals. Sometimes I needed to depend on my past knowledge and make the best decision possible with the limited information I could gather. Despite the difficulties, I love my projects. They keep me out of my comfort zone. I learn something new with every project and that it helps me grow as a project manager.

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Facts about the Construction Industry:

Construction is one of Canada’s largest sectors. With over 1.37 million Canadians employed in the field, that is approximately 7% of Canada’s total work force. Construction has become a cornerstone of the Canadian Economy. In the next 10 years, the Canadian construction market is expected to become one of the top 10 largest in the world. A career in construction is really worth considering if you are just starting out or considering a career change.


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