Management degree answers call from industry


A new Master of Construction Management degree being offered by AUT University answers a direct call from Fletcher Construction, Beca and the New Zealand Institute of Building for industry-specific management training.


The degree, which will be offered from next year, focuses on management, economic, legal and engineering skills.


Fletcher Construction and Beca say they approached the university because increasingly complex projects had made a postgraduate degree in construction management an essential offering.


Beca consulting engineer and former board member Rod Barker says along with many key industry contractors, Beca is welcoming the degree because, until now, there has been a gap in the tertiary education market.


“Many of today’s senior construction managers have taken on their responsibilities based directly on a tertiary academic grounding in either engineering or quantity surveying, or a technician qualification in construction,” he says.


“While those qualifications and applied experience provide a great background, it has meant that today’s senior construction managers have had to learn their management of construction skills without the additional advantage of a solid tertiary academic grounding aimed directly at their construction role.”


Fletcher Construction chief quantity surveyor Daniel Cooper says the new degree will reduce the trend toward importing qualified talent to manage large projects.


“The market is changing. It is becoming tougher, more paper work oriented, there are more laws and statutes to contend with and, subsequently, higher risks of disputes. And this is combined with higher expectations from clients,” Mr Cooper says.


AUT School of Engineering head Professor Thomas Neitzert says the university worked closely with industry to develop a qualification that would meet the market’s needs.


“Managing building development is unique because of the role that technical knowledge is expected to play in the decision-making process.


“But the best technical knowledge on its own isn’t enough to succeed in today’s complex operating environments, and the degree addresses the shortfall in complementary management skills.”