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Construction Management Degree Receives National Accreditation

June 1, 2012

(From left): Michael Bernier, Director of Education – CIQS Prairies and NWT; Mark Gardin, CIQS 2nd Vice-President; Nancy Wheatley, Dean of RRC's School of Construction & Engineering Technologies; Dave Burns, President – CIQS Prairies and NWT; Jerry Johnstone, Chair of RRC's Civil Engineering Technology program; Dave Lai, CIQS Education Administrator; and Roger Ward, CIQS Director (at large).

Red River College’s Bachelor of Technology in Construction Management degree program has received its first national accreditation from the Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (CIQS), a self-regulatory body that sets the highest standard for construction economics on Canada.

The Institute represents an estimated 3,000 cost consultants, project managers and construction estimators across the country, and offers two professional designations: Professional Quantity Surveyor (PQS) and Construction Estimator Certified (CEC).

Representatives from CIQS — from Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto and Halifax — joined RRC staff and students Wednesday for a short ceremony marking the new accreditation.

“This program came out of industry consultations that told us industry needs construction managers with technical knowledge and managerial expertise, and that graduates from a program such as this would find jobs,” said Nancy Wheatley, Interim Dean of RRC’s School of Construction & Engineering Technologies. “But they also told us the program must have solid credentials for our graduates.”

Serving as both a bridge to additional post-secondary options for those in skilled trades, engineering, or engineering technologies — and as a comprehensive introduction for those entering the industry for the first time — RRC’s four-year Construction Management degree program provides management and technical training in the areas of heavy, residential, and industrial and commercial construction.

As with all RRC offerings, the new program is a response to needs identified by local industry — in particular, for graduates with enhanced management skills to complement existing backgrounds in science and modern building technologies.

“It is only through partnerships that the development of programs such as this are possible,” said Mark Gardin, CIQS 2nd Vice-President. “In this case, there were three partners: Red River College, CIQS and industry.”

RRC’s Construction Management degree was launched in September 2010 — the first in Manitoba to be approved by the provincial government after colleges were given authority to grant degrees in 2009. It’s one of only three Construction Management degrees offered to address existing and pending industry shortages by post-secondary institutions from Vancouver to Toronto. (Similar degrees are available at the British Columbia Institute of Technology and George Brown College.)

Structured around the industry’s on- and off-seasons, the RRC program combines 26 months of academic study with 18 months of co-operative work placements, alternating classroom and co-op time every six months (during the second, third and fourth years of the program). The schedule allows students to gain valuable practical experience during the industry’s busy spring and summer months, leaving them free to continue with degree programming when things quiet down in the fall.

In addition to the relevant work experience, the program also encompasses foundation fundamentals, cutting-edge construction innovations, and assistance with preparations for such industry credentials as the Canadian Construction Association Gold Seal certificate and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) exam. The degree itself is tailored to ensure graduates enter the workforce equipped with both the management savvy and technological know-how required to succeed at all levels of industry.

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