Construction Management (CNST) is a complete undergraduate degree program available to students within The Charles W. Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction located at Nebraska Hall on the Lincoln City Campus and at the Peter Kiewit Institute (PKI) in Omaha. Construction is one of the largest and most diversified industries in the country, accounting for approximately 4 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). The key professional in this vast enterprise is the “constructor,” a term given to leaders and managers in the construction industry who are responsible 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, infrastructure, and environmental controls that are of high quality, and are cost effective, efficient, and sustainable.
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 role as a design/build firm. Collectively, constructors manufacture our entire built environment – buildings for housing, commerce and industry, highways, railroads, waterways, airports, power plants, energy distribution systems, military bases and space center complexes. Thus, the construction management field is broad, 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, as well as an understanding of the fundamentals of architecture and engineering as they relate to project design and 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, methods and materials, soil mechanics, 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 humanities electives provide a well-rounded education that leads to a rewarding career in the construction industry.
The long-term program educational objectives are to produce graduates who, as leaders in the field:
• Specify project objectives and plans including delineation of scope, budget, and schedule;
• Select project participants and set performance requirements;
• Maximize resource efficiency through judicious procurement of labor, materials and equipment;
• Implement and complete construction activities through coordination and control of scheduling, contracting, estimating and cost;
• Develop effective communication protocols and mechanisms for resolving conflicts associated with the construction process;
• Ensure quality through design, measurement, analysis, and control.
• Engage in lifelong learning which fosters growth in technical, communication, teamwork and leadership skills.
Educational standards and criteria for construction education are established by the American Council for Construction Education (ACCE) which is the accrediting agency for construction education programs at all levels. The program at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, having met these standards and criteria, is currently fully accredited by ACCE.