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Continuing Education for Construction Professionals: Summary of a Symposium (1994)

Chapter: CONTINUING EDUCATION FOR CONSTRUCTION PERSONNEL IN THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

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Suggested Citation:"CONTINUING EDUCATION FOR CONSTRUCTION PERSONNEL IN THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS." National Research Council. 1994. Continuing Education for Construction Professionals: Summary of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9138.
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CONTINUING EDUCATION FOR CONSTRUCTION PERSONNEL IN THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

James O. Wear, Ph.D

Department of Veterans Affairs

The Veterans Affairs’ construction program is divided into four different size projects. The Major Construction program includes projects over $3 million. These projects are generally handled by the Office of Construction Management in the Central Office where there is a staff of architects and engineers. The actual construction project is managed by resident engineers at the construction location. A few of these projects are delegated to the local medical center; and, there the project is managed by the chief engineer and his staff with support from regional offices and the Office of Construction Management in Central Office.

At the next level is the Minor Construction program which includes projects from $750,000 to $3 million. These are “design one year/construct next year” projects and are managed by the chief engineers and their staff at the medical centers with the support from the four regional offices.

At the third level is the Minor Miscellaneous Construction program where the minor improvement part of the construction project is over $150,000 and the project is in the $150,000 to $750,000 range. Again, these projects are managed by the chief engineers and their staff at the medical centers with the support from the regional offices.

At the last level is the Non-recurring Maintenance program which includes projects with minor improvements of less than $150,000. These projects are also accomplished by the chief engineers and their staff. Frequently this type of project is done with purchase and hire labor so it is an in-house construction activity.

At all levels of the Construction Program, people in the Central Office, in the regional offices, and at the local medical centers are involved in the construction projects. They are involved in the planning stage through the contracting stage and they are involved in either management of the construction or actual construction.

Suggested Citation:"CONTINUING EDUCATION FOR CONSTRUCTION PERSONNEL IN THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS." National Research Council. 1994. Continuing Education for Construction Professionals: Summary of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9138.
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Sources of continuing education

Most of the continuing education of VA construction professionals is probably through universities, companies and professional societies. These activities are not controlled centrally and the attendance is by individuals not by groups. For any training, special funding is required and frequently this is difficult to obtain at the level required. These continuing education courses are the only source for special topic education.

The Education and Training Center for Engineering and Construction Management (ETCECM) located at the medical center in North Little Rock, Arkansas is the source for engineering continuing education in the agency. The ETCECM provides and coordinates most of the agency in-house engineering training. All of this training is funded centrally from a variety of sources within the agency.

Continuing education for construction professionals

The agency does not have a formal policy on continuing education except for procedures and the types of funding. Restrictions on funding are frequently a problem and a limitation on the resources available for continuing education.

The mission of the Education and Training Center for Engineering and Construction Management is to provided and coordinate continuing education for all engineering and construction management personnel in the system. Funds are received from a variety of sources within the agency.

In the past year, there has been a reorganization of the construction management process. As part of this reorganization, continuing education was a major issue and funding has been provided to train most of the people in the agency who are involved in the construction management process. This target audience for training also includes medical center directors, chiefs of staff, and other consumers of the construction at the local medical center.

ETCECM courses for construction professionals

The ETCECM offers a variety of training courses. Training is provided at national and regional conferences for the resident engineers and the chief engineers from the local medical centers. These are typically week-long programs with a variety of topics, many of which relate to the construction program.

Short courses of three days to two weeks are offered at the ETCECM in North Little Rock or at regional sites. Examples of these are:

Codes and Standards

Estimated Construction Costs

Suggested Citation:"CONTINUING EDUCATION FOR CONSTRUCTION PERSONNEL IN THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS." National Research Council. 1994. Continuing Education for Construction Professionals: Summary of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9138.
×

Construction Project Quality Improvement

Construction Contract Administration, and Autocad

The number of participants in these courses range from 10 to 40. Autocad course are taken on the road and offered at sites around the country using Laptop computers loaded with Autocad 11 and 12.

Train-the-Trainer programs are used thereby getting a cascade effect on training. This is a modality now being used in the construction management program. Currently trainers are being trained from the regional offices. They will go to the local medical centers and provide the construction professionals and the consumer staff with training on program overview, design program, funding process, and reporting required for the construction program.

The ETCECM also has a sizable correspondence course program, but most of it is oriented toward operations and maintenance of medical centers. However, some continuing education for engineering professionals who are construction professionals is being provided. Some self-study programs are provided for people to study for the EIT examinations and also management topics such as The Deming Principles.

Audio-teleconference is probably the most cost-effective training. The ETCECM provides continuing education to approximately 40 medical centers in a region in two to four-hour blocks at a time. Typically, there are 250 to 500 people in one of these regional training audio-teleconferences. Very effective training has been provided on Codes and Standards for the construction professionals. Some construction professionals have also participated in systems, training which is primarily for operation and maintenance people. This training involves energy management systems, maintenance of sprinkler systems and the uses of our computer system.

All in all, the Department of Veteran Affairs does not have a formalized policy for continuing education of construction professionals. The agency does depend on the Education and Training Center for Engineering and Construction Management to provide continuing education where several individuals need the same training. For specific training of individuals, universities, companies, and professional societies are used and the local office obtains the funding for this training from their education offices.

Suggested Citation:"CONTINUING EDUCATION FOR CONSTRUCTION PERSONNEL IN THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS." National Research Council. 1994. Continuing Education for Construction Professionals: Summary of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9138.
×
Page 17
Suggested Citation:"CONTINUING EDUCATION FOR CONSTRUCTION PERSONNEL IN THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS." National Research Council. 1994. Continuing Education for Construction Professionals: Summary of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9138.
×
Page 18
Suggested Citation:"CONTINUING EDUCATION FOR CONSTRUCTION PERSONNEL IN THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS." National Research Council. 1994. Continuing Education for Construction Professionals: Summary of a Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9138.
×
Page 19
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