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A Simulation Approach To Construction Management Education

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Instructional Strategies in AEC Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

14.105.1 - 14.105.16

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Paper Authors


Muhammad Ghatala Gulf States Inc.

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Muhammad Imran Ghatala is a project controls engineer at Gulf States Inc., a general contractor in heavy industrial construction arena. He is involved in the lean construction and six-sigma based strategic planning efforts and is a continuous improvement leader at Gulf States Inc. He was a graduate assistant at University of Houston where he assisted in teaching Construction Estimation, Construction Planning and Scheduling and Reinforced Concrete Construction courses offered at under-graduate level. He was a Student Ambassador at College of Technology, University of Houston and a recipient of the National Association of Home Builders scholarship.

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Sang-Hoon Lee University of Houston


Lingguang Song University of Houston

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Dr. Lingguang Song is an Assistant Professor of Construction Management at the University of Houston. He teaches construction management, scheduling, reinforced concrete, quality management, and computer applications at undergraduate and graduate level. His primary research interests include process simulation and visualization, productivity measurement and improvement, and IT applications in construction. For more than ten years, he has been involved in research funded by various grants and has published more than 25 journal and conference papers on his research.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A simulation approach to Construction management education


Construction management requires decision-making skills. Main approaches to teach decision- making skills to construction management major students are: (1) analyzing sample situations involving decision-making; and (2) teaching logical decision-making procedures. The absence of ‘pressure’ factors in these approaches has significant negative impacts on the success of the education. The approaches also lack ‘dynamic’ effects that help create a spontaneous plan for construction projects where unforeseen changes and interruptions may occur. To minimize the adverse effects of the existing approaches, this paper proposes a framework for developing a web-based training system. The application is delivered as a game involving decision-making on the student’s part in response to developments at the job-site, and where one student competes against another in an attempt to simulate a real-world scenario.

Key words

Construction education, decision-making, process simulation, web-based system.


In the real world, one of the most natural ways of acquiring knowledge and experience is to be immersed in relevant situations and to practice. However, construction students often have few opportunities for direct exposure to practical issues involved with real-world construction management scenarios. Case studies in a class-room setting and construction site tours are less interactive and efficient than the mode of learning-by-doing. Simulation gaming has been successfully introduced to construction education by many researchers since the late 1960s. These games have been shown to provide practical decision-making and management experiences to students8. They immerse students in a simulated environment where student can collaborate, compete, and create synthetic solutions for various situations utilizing techniques they learned in the classroom.

A number of simulation games have been developed to address various aspects of construction management that a project manager will face with, such as bidding and cost analysis, contract negotiation, trade coordination, and operation design and analysis. In the area of bidding and cost analysis, there are Construction Management Game3, CONSTRUCTO5, Superbid1, and VIRCON6. For contract negotiation, Dubziak and Hendrickson4 developed a game that involves role-playing by the participants in negotiating various contract issues. Tommelein et al. 12 presents a game, Parade of Trades, for the learning of crew coordination and effect of variability. Nassar8 and Sawhney et al. 11 developed games for construction equipment and material processes. Virtual Coach10 was developed to enable “what if” analyses by the participants.

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