The most fundamental goal of the Construction Management program at Florida Tech is to prepare a student to enter the workforce immediately upon graduation as a fully functional construction manager. To accomplish this, students at Florida Tech are skilled in a broad range of the most basic skills needed to understand and direct the construction process. This involves a complete working knowledge of the primary skills in construction methods in order to bring the project in on time, under budget and with good quality including:
- Plan reading
- project planning
- making change orders
- negotiating costs
- processing claims
- closing out the project
- turning over the completed project to the client
Florida Tech provides students with a realistic vs. theoretical education in construction methods. Classroom learning incorporates homework and classroom exercises that mimic real world situations as closely as possible, but also involves frequent tours to project sites for valuable and realistic perspective to classroom learning.
Of primary importance for students is graduating with a “macro” vs a “micro” view of the engineering and construction methods to understand how each part fits into the whole for a “systems view” of the project. This includes not only the project itself, but the environment of business, politics, laws, codes and the natural environment which influence the final outcome.
Unique about the Florida Tech program is the inclusion of business administration skills along with technical skills. This combination provides instruction not only in construction methods, but in essential business subjects such as accounting, statistics, management principles, running a small business, law and leadership. These non-technical skills round out the students’ knowledge of the entire process and provide a basis to work hand in hand with the bankers, investors, developers, lawyers and other professionals who play a major role in the construction process. Because construction management is a “team sport,” a successful manager must be skilled in leadership, management and communication skills.
The importance of these interpersonal skills cannot be overemphasized given that (a) the construction process accounts for 90% of the total cost of a project, and (b) the recent dominance of “design-build” processes require the prime contractor to be responsible for building and leading the entire construction team, including the architect, engineers and construction crews.
Looking to the future, the Florida Tech construction management program seeks to conduct research into new materials and construction methods that speed construction, increase quality and conserve energy and other resources. This includes such areas as energy conservation and recovery, renewable energy, robotics, modular and/or manufactured components, solar components, super insulation, just to name a few. In this vein, many Florida Tech students also pursue a minor degree in sustainability, a program which emphasizes green construction methods, and is extremely popular with most construction firms in today’s market.
Finally, the Florida Tech program is supported and advised by a Construction Industry Advisory Board (CIAB), a group of industry executives who meet periodically to review Florida Tech’s program and advise on current industry trends. This group provides invaluable suggestions on curriculum changes and additionally provides local internships, scholarships and support for student projects.