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How a master’s in construction management can prepare you for emerging industry trends

January 08, 2019 · 7 min read · By ASU Online

The professional landscape in construction is continually evolving. Changes to available technology and a focus on sustainability, along with a growing population shift to urban centers, are affecting building project management. According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the percentage of the population living in cities will increase 13 points by 2050. That equates to more than half of the people in the world calling cities home.

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A master’s degree in construction management

This shift may not only impact the number of construction projects necessary to accommodate the demographic change, but it has also compelled the industry to consider ways to innovate, creating structures that are more environmentally friendly and economical to build. This strategic thinking and planning begins at the management level, where individuals with the advanced technical acumen and competencies in leadership and applied research related to construction are in growing demand.

A master’s degree in construction management can help you expand your knowledge related to three primary areas currently shaping the construction industry: alternative project delivery methods, sustainability and technology. With courses covering subjects such as leadership principles, construction productivity and information technology in construction, a construction management degree can enhance the professional experience you’ve already gained in the field, increasing your qualifications for supervisory positions.

 

Accommodating key trends in construction

Change in the construction field is resulting from the overarching need to lessen project costs and enhance opportunities for collaboration. The popular model of design-bid-build is giving way to alternate delivery methods to align with the reality that construction is not a one-size-fits-all industry. For instance, the traditional approach emphasizes cost competition, but some projects require the right technical expertise more than the most affordable plan. The focus is shifting toward greener building designs and the integration of more technology at all stages, allowing firms to showcase innovative designs and methods. Individuals at the management level must know and adapt to new trends, exhibiting proficiencies that integrate different strategies for an organization’s continued success. A master’s degree in construction management can help you gain expertise to handle industrywide developments, including:

Alternative delivery methods

Sustainability and green construction

The digital shift’s impact on construction design

A construction manager looks at plans with an engineer.
A construction manager looks at plans with an engineer.

Preparing for management-level career options in construction

With such impactful trends altering the construction industry, managers will most likely need a combination of proficiencies to keep up with changes and ensure projects move through to completion in a timely manner. With an advanced degree in construction management, you can build the managerial and technical expertise required to stay on top of these key industry developments.

Abilities that can make you a capable leader in light of the aforementioned trends include:

  • Knowledge of regulatory requirements and sustainability standards: Green building guidelines include a combination of regulations, certification guidelines and industry norms. Construction managers often need to understand how to account for each consideration at every stage.

  • Expertise in contracting strategies and risk management: The optimal delivery method varies from project to project. If you understand the principles that underpin this decision-making to maximize profit while reducing costs and risks, you can determine which delivery strategy works best for each job.

  • Command of emerging technologies: These tools include 4-D, 5-D and 6-D building information modeling as well as augmented reality and virtual construction. You can differentiate yourself in the field by learning how to use these solutions and others.


This suite of competencies can help prepare you for management-level positions in construction, such as construction manager, construction and building inspector and first-line supervisor of construction trades.

Three ASU construction management students reviewing blueprints.
Three ASU construction management students reviewing blueprints.

Advance your competencies with a construction management degree from ASU Online

With so many potential opportunities arising as the construction industry evolves, professionals in this field can gain the technical knowledge to capitalize on leadership positions and adapt to changes. A Master of Science in Construction Management from ASU Online can help you address these demands through improved competency in project, program and company management.

Core courses are broken up into three areas: project management, project controls and construction technology. Within each, students work with faculty and industry leaders to learn, apply and discover solutions and new approaches to actual construction challenges and real-time problems. The hands-on education in construction and facility management you receive while earning your master’s degree in construction management can equip you with the technical, managerial and applied research skills to advance in the construction industry.

Sources:
68% of the world population projected to live in urban areas by 2050, says UN by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Trends in Construction: Alternative Project Delivery Methods on the Rise by e-Builder
What is Design-Build? by Design-Build Institute of America
What’s the key to sustainable construction by the World Economic Forum
Propelling Green Construction into the Mainstream by ASTM International
What is green building? by the U.S. Green Building Council
Technology disruption: Digitizing E&C by Deloitte
Occupational Outlook Handbook - Construction Managers by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Summary Report for Construction and Building Inspectors by O*Net OnLine
Occupational Employment Statistics for First-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
ASU Online – Online Master of Science in Construction Management


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