American Society of Engineering Education - North Central Section Spring Conference 2018

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Creating an Advanced Residential Construction Course

Creating an Advanced Residential Construction Course

After five years of teaching residential construction courses it became apparent that there was insufficient coverage of several major topics that are crucial to success in residential and light commercial construction management and operations. This paper discusses the process of creating a new class designed to build on topics already covered in other classes and take them to the next level and also to fill in the identified gaps in existing courses.

Many smaller companies require both high-level and front-line managers to have a broad range of knowledge to enable them to properly manage a number of unrelated tasks. Site superintendents need a wide range of knowledge and skills to manage subcontractors and solve problems that arise. Owners and executives may need to be sales managers, human resource managers, accountants, and attorneys all at once.

To address this need a special topics class titled “Advanced Residential Construction” was created to collect under one course a number of these unrelated but significant topics. It is targeted at juniors or seniors who have already completed the junior-level Residential Building Construction course. These topics focused on residential building construction but have a wide application in other areas, specifically light commercial construction utilizing wood light frame construction methods. Some of the topics addressed were: use of cutting edge technology in the area of building science such as water and vapor management, complex wood framing methods, building codes, customer warranties, managerial accounting and corporate and payroll taxes.

For a class that was in its initial stages it was well received even though it was offered as a technical elective. Without any prior basis it is difficult to judge its impact, but the intent is to try and assess how the course can be improved give students a useful background in both first- and middle-level management skills to allow them to move up through management. The industry itself is aggressively addressing to these issues and education needs to be on the forefront of equipping graduates with all the necessary means for success.

Paul Rawlings
The University of Akron
United States

Craig Wise
The University of Akron
United States


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