March 09, 2011

Construction management program proves popular

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A specialization within Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Technical Resource Management program is going strong in its first full semester.

The Professional Construction Management (PCM) specialization, which offers courses in the late afternoon and evenings to meet the needs of working adults, has 17 students enrolled this semester.

J. Kevin Roth, an assistant professor in the Technical Resource Management (TRM) program, said he is pleased with the initial response. He continues to receive inquiries, including from community college students wanting to participate in the “2+2 program” where individuals with occupational associate degrees come into the TRM program and ultimately earn a bachelor’s degree.

“I’m very excited,” Roth said. “I can’t wait to get to work every day. It can change a lot of lives and help people take that next level.”

The Technical Resource Management program is in the School of Information Systems and Applied Technologies within the College of Applied Sciences and Arts.

“This is an exciting new specialization and Kevin Roth has done a great job in developing the curriculum, starting a registered student organization and involving our students in cutting-edge best practices in construction management,” said Will Devenport, acting associate dean.

Devenport notes the curriculum includes topics that involve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Building Information Modeling (BIM), which focus on cost-effective, energy-efficient construction technology.

The specialization complements and expands on prior experience, education and training people have so that when they graduate from the program they are ready to manage all facets of the construction process, from the initial idea through to the disposal of the structure when its useful life is over. The curriculum prepares students for competences required by the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) for certification.

The program recently formed its registered student organization. On March 14, the group will observe the “International Construction Management Day,” which is the second Monday in March.

“What is unique about our program is we’ve set it up to give our guys the best shot at being a certified construction manager,” Roth said.

Professional construction managers assist in defining the construction project, project needs, budget and schedule, Roth said. Many federal government agencies now require project managers to have construction management certification, he said.

To earn the internationally recognized Certified Construction Manager certification, one must complete various education requirements, which include earning a bachelor’s degree along with obtaining specific, documented work experience. The minimum four-year work experience involves being the responsible person in charge in categories that include pre-design, design, procurement, construction, post-construction and post-occupancy, Roth said.

Roth said the program is also good for individuals in construction who are getting older and looking to expand their expertise.

“I’ve seen guys who are very good at doing all of this and who could do construction management very well, but who don’t have the credentials,” Roth said. One student works 40 hours per week for a local construction firm and attends evening classes.

The program places an emphasis on students developing LEED expertise. LEED is a rating system that evaluates a construction project’s environmental sustainability, Roth said.

Fifty-percent of the nation’s energy use relates to buildings, he said. Tightening up each building’s exterior could reduce energy costs as much as 60 percent, he said.

“That is the important part of what professional construction managers can do -- they can identify the right path for a project in the beginning,” he said.

Students in the PCM specialization have taken recent field trips to LEED-certified buildings in the St. Louis area, as well as the new Carbondale Police Department construction site. In late January, the group visited the St. Louis-based Alberici Corp. construction firm, and Vertegy, the company’s sustainability consulting unit. Completed in 2004, Alberici’s 110,000-square-foot office space is LEED Platinum-certified by the United States Green Building Council.

Students also visited Erin’s Pavilion in Springfield to see the closest LEED Platinum-certified and Net Zero Energy building in Illinois. The “unique project” built for the Springfield Park District as the park’s welcome and visitor center utilizes PCM principles to “effectively provide all of the owner’s needs and control cost,” Roth said.

To learn more about the PCM specialization or the Technical Resource Management Bachelor of Science program, contact Roth at 618/453-7219 or by email at