Asee peer logo

Board # 23 : Unique Approach to Teaching Heavy Civil Estimating

Download Paper |


2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Civil Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Okere O. George Washington State University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

George is an assistant professor in the construction management program in the School of Design and Construction at Washington State University (WSU). Before joining WSU he worked for Kiewit Corporation on various heavy civil projects. He received his PhD in Technology Management from Indiana State University with specialization in Construction Management. His research focus is in the area of contract administration on state DOT projects.

visit author page


W. Max Kirk Washington State University

visit author page

Max is currently an Associate Professor in Construction Management in the School of Design and Construction at Washington State University. Max received a B.S., Washington State University, 1977; B.A., Eastern Washington University, June 1985; M.S. Arizona State University, May 1990; Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln, May 2000.

After stepping down from administrative duties as Interim Director School of Design and Construction in 2014, Assistant Director School of Design and Construction (2006-2013) and coordinator of Construction Management (2001-2013), Max is now focusing on his teaching and research duties and also been appointed as the University Ombudsman in July 2015.

This past spring of 2014 working as a Co-PI a team of researchers received a research grant to study Climate Change Impacts on Indoor Air Quality. Grant Funded $996,588.00
Max also holds a patent No. 6,213,117 (2000) for a Motorized, Insulated Damper Assembly for Indoor Air Quality.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Construction performance and efforts have always been measured in terms of time and budget, and a good understanding of the basis for generating time and cost estimate is required of construction management (CM) students and construction engineering (ConE) students. This is important because they need such knowledge in order to conceptualize, design, and construct projects. The need to create time and cost estimate at some point in a project’s lifecycle is a certainty. Students must be taught how to create an accurate cost estimate, which in part depends on the quality of knowledge transferred to the students. How can educators evaluate the quality of the knowledge transferred to students in the area of cost estimating, if they do not have a real world method to test out the quality of knowledge transferred? The purpose of this paper is to present a unique approach to teaching heavy civil cost estimating, one that allows students to prepare bids on state or local transportation projects. This method also provides the basis for students and educators to assess the quality of the teaching technique in the area of heavy civil cost estimating. With this in mind, the authors have developed a unique instructional method for teaching heavy civil cost estimating. The course is taught in such a way that students bid projects alongside licensed contractors or bid on recently bid projects. This method provides students with an in-depth knowledge of cost estimating and all the steps that are akin to the real world cost estimating practice. The data collected within the last two years from projects that the students have bid on, show how close students’ bids are to those submitted by licensed contractors. While the approach of bidding alongside other contractors in a real world scenario has its challenges, the option of bidding recently bid projects is the recommended method, because it allows for a wide range of projects to select from, and there is no need try to align with whatever project is bidding at that time. The significance of these methods is three-fold. First, it offers students the kinds of exposures that are typically open to professionals in the construction industry, and as such, the students become practice-ready graduates. Secondly, this method provides a strong basis for students to evaluate the quality of education that they are receiving. Thirdly, educators can assess how well they are performing by looking at how closely the students’ bids fall within those of experienced contractors.

George, O. O., & Kirk, W. M. (2017, June), Board # 23 : Unique Approach to Teaching Heavy Civil Estimating Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27811

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2017 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015