Construction management (CNST) is a program of the Charles W. Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction. The academic units of Construction Management and Construction Systems offers a complete undergraduate construction management degree program to students within the Charles W. Durham School of Architectural Engineering located on the Lincoln City Campus and the Peter Kiewit Institute in Omaha. Construction is the largest and most diversified industry in the country, accounting for approximately 10 percent of the gross national product. The key professional in this vast enterprise is the “constructor”, a term given to the leaders and managers in the construction industry, having the responsibility for planning, scheduling, and building the projects designed by architects and engineers. These highly specialized efforts are indispensable in meeting the country’s growing need for new structures and environmental control projects.
Construction firms vary in size from large corporations to small proprietorships and partnerships. These are often classified according to the kind of construction work they do: general contractors, heavy and highway contractors, specialty contractors including mechanical and electrical, and residential builders and developers. Many firms engage in more than one category of work. Some larger companies incorporate the architectural and engineering design functions as part of their activity as a design/build firm. Collectively, constructors build our entire man-made environment – buildings for housing, commerce, industry, and government; transportation services including highways, railroads, waterways, and airports; municipal service facilities and utilities, such as power plants and energy distribution systems; military bases and space center complexes. Thus the construction management field is broad and challenging, requiring a unique educational background for its professional practitioners.
Although the range of construction activities appears wide and diverse, the general educational requirements for construction management are universal regardless of a particular firm’s area of specialization. Since construction is primarily a business enterprise, the graduate must have a sound background in business management and administration areas, as well as an understanding of the fundamentals of architecture and engineering as they relate to the project design itself as well as to the actual construction process in the field. Professional expertise lies in the fields of construction science, methods, and management. A working knowledge of structural design, mechanical and electrical systems, soil mass behavior, and construction equipment is also essential.
The construction management curriculum embraces a course of study in specifications, contractual agreements, labor relations, personnel management, materials, methods, and work analysis techniques. Technical and humanity electives provide for a well-rounded education that leads to a challenging career in the construction industry.