The current economic crisis has specially affected the Spanish construction industry, causing the loss of 1.2 million jobs in the last four years. The increase in the unemployment rate is particularly worrisome for recent graduates in the construction industry. This fact leads to changes in the university degrees related to construction: undergraduate students should be prepared for a new professional environment and recent graduate find it hard to enter the labor market. Low employment opportunities entail a lack of motivation that can cause a significant decrease in the achievement of learning outcomes. This paper seeks to analyze the impact of the crisis in the construction industry from the point of view of the students of a M.Sc. in Construction Management, analyzing the evolution of student’s perception on unemployment and their motivations to enroll in the master degree. For this purpose, a questionnaire was handed out to students of three consecutive classes of the M.Sc. in Construction Management at the Universitat Politècnica de València (Spain) from 2010 to 2012. A statistical analysis of the survey was developed. This way, some interesting points can be highlighted on the impact of crisis on young construction professionals.
TORRES-MACHÍ, C.; PELLICER, E.; YEPES, V.; PICORNELL, M. (2013). Impact of the economic crisis in construction: a perspective from graduate students. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 89:640-645.
Appraisal of infrastructure sustainability by graduate students using an active-learning method
Currently many university programs in the construction field do not take sustainability into account from a holistic viewpoint. This may cause a lack of sensitivity from future professionals concerning sustainability. Academics in construction must endeavor to instill a culture of sustainability in the curricula of their students. Therefore, this study proposes an active-learning method that allows graduate students in the construction field to take into consideration infrastructure sustainability from a variety of perspectives in a participatory process. The students applied an analytical hierarchical process to determine the appraisal degree of each criterion. A cluster statistical analysis was carried out, aiming to identify the profiles that influence decision-making. This method was applied to two classes of graduate students enrolled in the Master of Planning and Management in Civil Engineering at the Universitat Politècnica de València. This method identified a correlation between the profiles toward sustainability and the characteristics of the chosen infrastructure. It was also found that the method fulfills educational purposes: most of the students obtained more than 65% of the target learning outcomes. This approach promotes awareness and sensitivity to different points of view of the sustainability in a participatory context. It can be replicated in other contexts so as to obtain appraisals regarding various criteria that help enhance decision-making.
Proposal of a method that allows students to consider infrastructure sustainability.
Participatory learning method that promotes integral sustainability.
Students profiles’ identification influencing decision making toward sustainability.
The profiles of evaluators influence the prioritization among alternatives.
PELLICER, E.; SIERRA, L.A.; YEPES, V. (2016). Appraisal of infrastructure sustainability by graduate students using an active-learning method.Journal of Cleaner Production, 113:884-896. DOI:10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.11.010
There is a need for supplementary learning and training in management applied to the construction industry, as many authors, professionals and organisations have already recognised. The assessment and up-keeping of management competencies are essential for the performance of individuals and organisations that work in the construction sector. Most of the universities syllabuses focus in traditional construction courses that do not deal with the most relevant features of management for engineers and architects in the construction industry; these graduate courses mainly cover an assortment of design-oriented issues, leaving no room for managerial topics. Thus, management is a crucial issue for professionals in the construction sector; currently, an engineer or an architect must have some knowledge of every managerial issue valuable in construction. Taking the complete life cycle of the infrastructure as a reference, a holistic attitude must be pursued. Therefore, a model for management and administration in construction is proposed in this paper. This model displays two dimensions: life cycle (per phase) and organisational level. The former is linked to time through the four well-known phases of the construction process: feasibility, design, construction and operation. The latter considers four organisational levels that can be found in the construction sector: life cycle, company, project (or team) and individual. In order to test the appropriateness and usefulness of the model, two applications are implemented. The first one is the analysis of the outputs of a European project which goal was to produce seven basic books for construction managers; this project was developed by several universities and professional associations of the European Union. The second one is the design of a new syllabus in civil engineering (M.Sc. degree) with a specialisation of 30 ECTS; right now, this proposal is being discussed in the School of Civil Engineering at the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (Spain) to get it implemented in 2010 due to the new academic scenario according to the Bologna process. The model presented in this paper offers an innovative framework for orientation to organisations, professionals and academicians in order to improve the knowledge of management and administration in the construction industry.
PELLICER, E.; YEPES, V.; TEIXEIRA, J.C.; CATALÁ; J. (2009). Developing learning manuals for European construction project managers, in Gómez, L.; Martí, D; Candel I. (eds.): Proceedings of International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies, EDULEARN 09, pp. 2374-2384. 6-8 July, Barcelona, Spain. ISBN: 978-84-612-9802-0. (link)
In recent decades, with the objective of reaching a more sustainable development, worldwide society has increased its concern about environmental protection. Nevertheless, there are still economic sectors, such as the construction industry, which produce significant environmental impacts. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool that enables identifying environmental issues related to both finished products and services, and allows focusing efforts to resolve them. The main objective of this paper is to asses LCA applicability on concrete structures so that construction’s environmental performance can be improved. For this purpose, an attempt is made to provide a decision-making tool for construction-sector stakeholders with reliable and accurate environmental data. The research methodologies used in this paper are based on a literature review and are applied to a case study. This review was performed to collect information on LCA methodologies currently in use and their practical application. The case study subsequently described in this paper involved identification of the most sustainable type of slab for a reinforced concrete structure in a residential building, using two different databases. It was observed that, depending on the database selected and inherent assumptions, results varied. Therefore it was concluded that in order to avoid producing incorrect results when applying LCA, it is highly recommended to develop a more constrained methodology and grant access to reliable construction-sector data. (link)