Columbia, Maryland (PRWEB) November 11, 2010
KBE Building Corporation (KBE) (http://www.kbebuilding.com) announces the formation of its new SPECS initiative to support university students pursuing construction management, engineering, architectural, and related degrees. SPECS, which stands for Student Participation and Experience at Construction Sites, allows undergraduate students to gain invaluable, hands-on experience at actual job sites.
KBE has long encouraged student participation on its university projects. For example, while expanding a dormitory building at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), an honors university, students worked closely with KBE and the architectural team from Newman Architects. They collaborated on aspects of the “green” roof and several other design options during the pre-construction phase. The same students will be afforded access to the construction site to see the implementation of their design assistance.
The SPECS initiative is not limited to engineering students, however. Construction Management students at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland are logging time at the job site of a new Harris Teeter store in nearby Olney, MD. Professor Joe Smith, a retired 30-year veteran of Clark Construction Group, LLC, who teaches a Field Operations course, said he’s never seen a company do this much for our students. They’ve really laid out the red carpet for our students and included them in all aspects of the construction management process, even bringing them out of the field to teach them the behind-the-scenes processes that occur back at the office,” said Smith.
Indeed, KBE employees recently hosted five students from the Harris Teeter job for a half-day session at the Columbia, MD office where they heard presentations from management on:
- The business-development process;
- Assembly of a submittal package;
- Operations Department activities following the awarding of projects;
- Project Manager techniques to make projects successful.
Jim Powell, Site Superintendent on the Harris Teeter project, has been very accommodating, helping the students learn about masonry, grouting, plumbing, concrete pumping, and overall site work. They’ve even been involved in quality assurance inspections.
The students also review drawings and learn about the various tools available to facilitate site management, including: KBE’s intranet site, daily reports, safety briefings, etc. The students then give monthly updates to their classmates, including multimedia presentations.
KBE company president Mike Kolakowski acknowledged the costs involved in the SPECS program: “We easily spend a week or two of man hours per semester for each class we do this with by giving the students this level of access and attention,” he said. But he wouldn’t have it any other way. “It helps improve the level of competence and professionalism in the industry, it’s the right thing to do, and best of all, we might find a great new hire throughout the process.”
“Every day in the field is a learning experience and something we may or may not cover in class. For example, just last week a student assumed that he shouldn’t go to the job site, because it was raining. I told him to go! Find out what the problems are today, and learn what types of things they do when site work is slowed down by bad weather,” said Smith.
This group of Montgomery College students will end their onsite experience on December 13, 2010, so they will have been exposed to only the initial work, not the completion. The spring semester enrollees will get to see the completion, but will have missed the early site work. Either way, it’s invaluable experience. According to Smith: “They can put it on their resume and instantly differentiate themselves from other job applicants who have never even stepped foot on a job site. They also have a much higher level of confidence than their counterparts who have not had the opportunity for such experience.”
“We plan to aggressively implement this program wherever feasible and give these kids this opportunity. We do a great deal of work on university campuses, so it will be a very natural fit in those cases, but any other projects that are near an appropriate academic program will also be strong possibilities for implementation of SPECS,” said Kolakowski.
About KBE Building Corporation
Regionally located in Columbia, Maryland and Farmington, Connecticut, KBE Building Corporation is a $300 million full-service, single-source commercial construction company strategically positioned to serve the Eastern and Mid-Atlantic U.S. Founded in 1959 and incorporated in 1966, the firm provides preconstruction, construction management, design-build, and general contracting services to clients in the corporate, educational, seniors, hospitality, health care, institutional, and retail markets. The firm is ranked among Engineering News-Record magazine’s top 400 construction companies nationally. Visit the company’s Web site at http://www.kbebuilding.com.