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The Emergent Necessity For Demolition And Reconstruction Content In The Construction Technology Curriculum

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Sustainable Construction Practice

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Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1227.1 - 15.1227.12



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Paper Authors

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Mark Shaurette College of Technology, Purdue University

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

The Emergent Necessity for Demolition and Reconstruction Content in the Construction Technology Curriculum


The construction industry has begun to encounter with increasing frequency projects that involve existing built environments. These activities require sensitivity to existing conditions and entail a greater probability of unforeseen project characteristics than might be encountered in new construction on vacant land. Many of these projects receive limited guidance from design professionals. Consequently, when executing demolition and reconstruction projects, the construction practitioner is required to have a greater understanding of the regulatory environment of codes and standards. In addition, they must become a more creative participant in the project as they respond to existing conditions as opposed to following the detail provided by plan and specification documents. To help prepare construction technology students for the management of projects that do not begin with a blank sheet of paper, construction education programs have an increasing need to include demolition and reconstruction content in their curriculum.

Creating undergraduate course content that presents knowledge not previously provided at the university level has many challenges, not the least of which are anticipation of the career aspirations of the students enrolled and the expected educational outcomes required by the industry. This paper examines the basis for advancement of demolition and reconstruction in construction education, the development and administration of course content in the construction curriculum to support this growing need, and available resources to support future course evolution.


Post-secondary construction education in the United States during the twentieth century was fundamentally concerned with new construction work. As the built environment within the United States ages, it is anticipated that opportunities in demolition and reconstruction will continue to expand. In a recent survey of owners responsible for facility construction and maintenance, FMI, a management consulting and investment banking firm to the building and construction industry, and the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) outlined a set of seven challenges they believe will cause construction markets to change direction in the near future. The first challenge outlined indicated that “Aging infrastructure in nearly every market segment is at or beyond its current useful life…represent(ing) trillions of dollars in necessary spending over the next 10 to 20 years to upgrade and replace these assets”1.

The demolition industry through the National Demolition Association (NDA) has also expressed a desire to attract a college educated workforce and to advance professionalism within the demolition industry. It is believed that many misconceptions about the activities of demolition contractors are held by the general public, general contractors, and young construction professionals. The most frequently cited misconceptions include the belief that demolition contractors primarily “blow-up” buildings, recycle very little, operate unsophisticated businesses,

Shaurette, M. (2010, June), The Emergent Necessity For Demolition And Reconstruction Content In The Construction Technology Curriculum Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16038

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