chicostate.jpgBuilding Information Modeling, or BIM, has become a hot topic in the construction industry. At the ASC Student Competition in Reno, NV the BIM National Problem was one of the more popular student problems judging by the “standing room only” audience that watched the student presentations.

The following two articles highlight what Chico State is doing with BIM technology:

Outline for a BIM Curriculum at Chico State

Construction Management Faculty Seen as Leaders in Building Information Modeling


ISUThe following information was send to me by the Iowa State Construction, Civil, and Engineering Department:

CCEE Graduate Programs Now Online!

The Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering now offers two of its graduate programs – Construction Engineering and Management and Environmental Engineering completely online through Engineering Distance Education. The new online programs make it more convenient and cost-efficient than ever for professionals to attain a master’s degree or certificate. Distance education students learn from the same respected professors and in the same classes as our resident graduate students do – but from anywhere in the world. Visit the EDE website or look for our article in the upcoming the CCEE Alumni Newsletter for more information.

Below you will find a draft article that I am writing for Construction Management Association of America’s (CMAA) Northern California Chapter Newsletter. I wanted to share it here and request any feedback that the readers of this blog might want to offer up. The article is a little lengthy when compared to the other posts; but, I hope you can give it a read:

Where Will We Find The Next Generation of Construction Managers?

By Michael J. Nelson

In all areas of construction, the problem is the same – There are not enough construction professionals to support the future demands of the California construction market. With numerous experienced construction professionals reaching retirement age coupled with the fact that not enough new candidates are entering the field, the upcoming staffing challenges can be daunting.

The February 5, 2007 edition of Calfornia Building & Engineer Magazine confirms something that we all already know – “Shortage of skilled and educated employees is an enormous issue for the industry, and one that will continue to grow. According to FMI Research Services Group, labor shortages within the industry exist in most occupational areas, including management. California and Nevada are anticipated to undergo severe labor shortages across all occupational fields. FMI warns that the scarcity of highly educated construction managers and qualified engineers is likely to present an escalating problem for the industry

How about your own firm? Are you experiencing difficulty finding enough entry-level construction professionals to support your growth? If you are, you are not alone.

What can you do to address this problem? The balance of this article will suggest grass-root ideas that you and your firm can implement to support the next generation of construction professionals. Many of the organizations listed in this article need assistance from the construction industry. This assistance can be in the form of donations of time, resources, and funding. Each of the following organizations can benefit from industry support to generate excitement about the field of construction and to mentor the next generation of construction professionals

The ACE stands for:

This mentoring program couples high school student groups with construction industry professionals to learn more about career paths in the fields of architecture, construction, and engineering. Your firm can support this organization by providing mentors to one of the California ACE Mentor Chapters. Currently, you can find several ACE Mentor Chapters in the Bay Area with groups in Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose, and the Peninsula.

Your firm could also partner with the ACE to offer tours of your home office, provide speakers for a “Day in the Life” point of view for the students, or conduct tours of your active jobsites. If you are a golfer, you can lend your support by grabbing your golf clubs and sponsoring a team for the Annual ACE Bay Area Golf Fundraising Tournament the proceeds of which provide scholarship funds for high school students that are pursuing higher education in design or construction industries.

Refer to the ACE Mentor website at: for additional information. Click on the “Chapters” links for more specific information on Bay Area opportunities.

California has several universities with outstanding construction management and engineering programs. Some of these schools in the northern part of the state include:

– California Polytechnic State (Cal Poly) University in San Luis Obispo

– California State University at Fresno

– California State University at Sacramento

– California State University at Chico

Each of these universities produces top entry-level construction management professional. There are also several architectural and civil engineering programs in the state that yield students interested in construction management.

Each of these schools does a great job preparing there students for entry-level positions in the construction industry but each can use more industry support. In order to partner with the construction colleges, contact the department heads and see how your firm can help provide the students with more “real-world” construction exposure. Some of the traditional methods include:

– Have one of your managers or superintendents teach a class or speak at the student construction organizations.

– Conduct a tour for the students and faculty of one of your projects. For example, my firm is working with a professor at Cal Poly, to schedule a jobsite tour for 50 construction management students at one of my firm’s jobsites in Prague in the Czech Republic for this upcoming summer term.

– Sponsor scholarships for students in the construction program or donate money directly for new supplies or equipment.

At the college level, you will also find extracurricular opportunities to support the future generation of construction managers. For example, your firm can help to sponsor the annual student construction competitions conducted by the Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) where students from construction management programs have approximately one day to develop a written proposal and oral presentation in response to a construction problem statement. The student teams compete on regional and national levels in several different problem categories including: commercial, heavy/highway, residential, design-build, mechanical and even more specialized topics such as LEED, BIM, and marine construction.

Refer to the ASC Competition website for the Far West and Rocky Mountain Regions at: for additional information.

If this article piqued your interest in the next generation of construction managers, you can find more information on the author’s weblog entitled, “C-School Blog” ( which reports on current events / trends in construction management education, student construction competitions, and student outreach to encourage pursuit of construction related careers.

Michael J. Nelson is a project manager for Skanska USA Building working out of the Oakland Division Office. Mr. Nelson holds a B.S. in Construction Engineering from Iowa State University and a M.B.A. from the University of Florida.

ISUAccording to Iowa State’s Engineering Distance Education Website:

“Iowa State University’s 100% online Construction Engineering and Management Masters Degree provides a unique blend of technical and managerial education that will help you solve problems and compete in the ever-changing construction environment.  Iowa State’s Construction Engineering and Management program has been recognized by The Associated General Contractors of America; one of only four schools in the U.S. to receive such an honor and be promoted by the AGC.

The program focuses on three components that represent the three functional areas of construction engineering and management:

  • Management Techniques
  • Construction Operations
  • Construction Methods

Students may join the program at the beginning of any semester and may take graduate courses in any order at a pace that suits their needs.  Classes are delivered online by digital video streaming.  Students may choose the day, time and location to observe the class lectures allowing for maximum flexibility.”

According to the article entitled, USM challenges MSU’s proposal for new degree:

Mississippi State University wants to establish an undergraduate building construction science degree – but some in Hattiesburg think their plans too closely mirror a decades-old University of Southern Mississippi program that’s now available online.

The MSU proposal is one of three new program requests the state College Board could approve or deny at its monthly meeting this week.”

BYU Judging by the comments submitted to this blog, most of the readers are construction management students (with one noted exception where a construction industry professional was looking for more information on opportunities in academia).

So in order to cater to the target audience for this blog, you will find information below from the BYU Website that lists several of the goals of their construction management program. This list can give students or potential students a better idea of the topics covered in a construction management program. I especially liked this list because it provides specific details for the activities, rather than just a course listing. So you get a goal like, “Have the knowledge and ability to schedule using Critical Path Method and computers” rather than “Scheduling 423”.

The list can be found below and at the following link to the BYU Website:

“To be able to accurately estimate construction projects with the use of computerized estimating systems.

Have the knowledge and ability to schedule using Critical Path Method and computers.

Have the ability to set up cost accounts and variance reports.

Have the knowledge and ability to manage the safety operations of a company.

To be knowledgeable of the major issues concerning contract law.

Have the ability to schedule, obtain quality from, and effectively work with carpenters.

Have the ability to schedule, obtain quality from, and effectively work with electricians.

Have the ability to schedule, obtain quality from, and effectively work with HVAC subcontractors.

Have the ability to schedule, obtain quality from, and effectively work with the concrete and masonry subcontractors.

Be able to read and interpret contract plans, specifications and documents.

Be capable of successfully working on a survey or layout crew.

To be able to communicate effectively with engineers concerning main engineering principles and practices.

To understand and apply the basic principles of real estate finance and development.

To have the student feel good enough about their education from the BYU Construction Management Program to advise a friend with similar interests to select CM as their major.

To have alumni that are satisfied with their decision to major in construction management.”

washingtonhusky.JPGThe University of Washington is offering an online masters degree program. The classes are listed in the matrix below from the website and you can also find more information at Washington’s website for Online Graduate Program in Construction Engineering



Certificate Program* Spring 2006 Summer 2006 Autumn 2006 Winter 2007
Heavy Construction Project Management Design and Construction Law (CM 500)Environmental Regulations (CEE 599) Heavy Construction Estimating (CM 582) Construction Procurement (CM 520)Construction Operations and Productivity (CM 588) Temporary Structures (CM 580)
Infrastructure Construction Pavement Construction (CEE 596) Marine Construction (CM 584) Construction Materials (CEE 595)Utility System Construction (CM 586)
Quantitative Construction Management Statistical Fundamentals for Construction and Materials Applications (CEE 592) Computer-Aided Construction (CEE 594) Quality Control in Manufacturing (IND E 521)
Research Courses Graduate Research Report (CM/CEE 600)Research Methods in Construction (CM 598) Graduate Research Report (CM/CEE 600) Graduate Research Report (CM/CEE 600) Graduate Research Report (CM/CEE 600)

All program courses follow the UW’s academic calendar and are available for single-course enrollment (details are available on the UW Extension web site).