Integrated Programme for Civil Engineering and Construction Management; A solution to the academia-industry disconnect
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to report on the establishment of the new integrated programme for Civil Engineering and Construction Management within the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering, College of Architecture, and Engineering (CAE) at the University of Nairobi. The five-year programme will be implemented through the Public-Private sector partnership (PPP) model and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed to this effect. The objectives are: i. To provide opportunities for structured training and experience for final year students through ‘real life’/practical tasks in a project environment; ii. Collaboration in conducting research and publishing findings in peer-reviewed conferences and/or journals, thus contributing to new knowledge in the field; iii. Facilitating the development and implementation of short courses, iv. Promoting sound civil and construction management practices, as well as collaboration in other areas of common interest. A dedicated integrated design and construction project management office has been set up to coordinate and manage the programme over the period. Initially the programme will be implemented on a pilot basis, targeting the top 20-25 final year students in civil and construction engineering. The department and Lead Project Manager have jointly developed all manuals and necessary documentation. The first batch of students benefiting from this programme is expected by end of April, 2018. Key stakeholders within the built environment will be involved in the overall delivery through other project specific and or supply agreements over the entire period. Leading Computer Aided and Drafting (CADD) software entities such as Prokon Software Consultants, Knowledge Base Sales (Pty) Ltd, among others have already committed to supporting the programme, through licensing of use of the ‘student version’ of the relevant software. A fully equipped state-of-the-art Multi-Media Computer Design Studio and Programme Management Office is in the process of being established. The PMO will be managed by Mandaso (Pty) Ltd, a South African based Engineering, Project Management, and PPP Advisory firm with a local office in Nairobi. Anticipated benefits include: improved access to work related training for final year students before graduation; contribution to body of knowledge in the civil and construction engineering; promotion of sound engineering and construction project management practices, and bridging the gap between academia and industry through the targeted partnerships in training and consulting. Keywords: Partnerships, Engineering & Construction Project Management, Training and Research
Introduction: The Department of Civil and Construction Engineering at the University of Nairobi is one of the oldest in East Africa and the African Continent in general. Since its inception in the 1960s, the department has produced some of the leading scholars and engineering practitioners who are based locally and in the diaspora. The department is committed to providing high caliber engineers and supporting them throughout their career lives. Despite being one of the leading producers of academicians and practitioners of high caliber since its inception, the department still faces serious challenges due to: poor networking; contacts for graduates, lack of opportunities and poor marketing of the graduates and practitioners. One of the envisaged solutions is to collaborate with the State-Owned Entities (SoEs), government, civil society, business, industry, citizens, and other stakeholders, to finance and support the delivery of the proposed programme and courses.
The immediate output of the collaboration will be: • Practical (industrial) experiential training for undergraduates; • Promotion of research and publications thereof; • Improve expertise for the management of infrastructure and construction projects procured through the Public Private Partnerships (PPP) model.
A framework has been developed to facilitate collaboration between an academic division and industry players. The model consists of entering into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between (i) Department of Civil and Construction Engineering at the University of Nairobi and (ii) a Private engineering consultancy firm: Mandaso (Pty) Ltd. The consultancy firm is based in Port Elizabeth in South Africa and, as part of MoU, there are plans to set up a coordination office in Nairobi where final year students will be given opportunities for a structured training and experience through ‘real life’ / practical tasks in a project environment.
The two entities will collaborate in the provision of: experiential learning services to undergraduate and graduate students; conducting of research and publications, as well as accredited short learning courses in civil engineering and construction project management to built environment professionals. The department of Civil and Construction Engineering will own the programme and ensure quality control. The department will monitor the performance of the graduate students through feed-back mechanisms. Mandaso (Pty) Ltd. will accommodate the students while on experiential learning, manage their activities and coordinate the industry players.
The main objectives of the above programme are: • To provide opportunities for a structured training and experience for final year students through ‘real life’ / practical tasks in a project environment. • To contribute to the body of knowledge of the civil and construction Management Profession through research and publications. • To develop and run short courses for industry on modular basis. • To promote sound management and ethical implementation of PPP Projects.
The anticipated long-term outputs include: • Increase in number of students graduating with exposure to practical work related projects and or environment, • The publication of technical papers in journals and or conference proceedings, thus contributing to new knowledge in the field. • Improved delivery of high quality infrastructure and construction projects – devoid of disasters of collapse and abandoned projects. Methodology The programme will be implemented over a five-year cycle. The project will focus on content design and delivery of the programme on consultancy basis. The experiential training programme will be aligned to key competencies recognized for registration by the Engineers Board of Kenya and membership of the Institution of Engineers of Kenya. The training activities broadly will cover the following categories: i. Design office and site administration; ii. Engineering surveying; iii. Engineering planning, analysis, design, and drawing; iv. Preparation of Technical Reports and tendering; v. Contracts, construction and project management; vi. Material Testing; vii. Operations and Maintenance, and viii. Engineering and Construction Regulation and Ethics. The courses will be offered through a hybrid mix of the following methods: • Onsite / industry sessions; • Online and web-based; • One-On-One Interactive sessions • Block release study sessions • Lectures A state-of-the-art integrated design (CADD) and Project Management Studio / Laboratory / Resource Centre will be setup for use by the trainees and engineering staff of Mandaso (Pty) Ltd, Nairobi office. The CaDD studio will be fully resourced (software & hardware). Project management includes monitoring and evaluation. The project will be managed by Dr Josiah Nyagwachi as the lead project manager / consultant and Adjunct Professor over a five-year period. The Head of the department of Civil and Construction Engineering will be in charge of tasks such as financial management, quality control, monitoring and evaluation, through existing mechanisms at the university. The following frequency of feed-back for evaluation purposes has been suggested: i. Experiential Learning – Quarterly ii. Research and Publications – Yearly iii. Project Management of PPPs – Quarterly Research and publications will involve identification of key engineering and construction management related problems, preparing proposals, collecting data, and analyzing, writing up reports and disseminating at appropriate forum, including publishing in the proposed journal of Civil and Construction Engineering and Project Management. There will be short learning courses on Project Management & PPP Advisory. This component will be delivered by organizing quarterly workshops and seminars at suitable venues, including but not limited to the University of Nairobi main campus. Beneficiaries and impacts The expected benefits, include an increase in number of students with industry related exposure, technical publications and more trained engineering and construction project managers, within the university and built environment in general. The impact of above increases will be improved delivery of much desired infrastructure and services to the communities. Financing of the programme The University of Nairobi presently funds the non-structured experiential learning programme, through its operational budget. The other two components, namely research and short-learning courses are inadequately resourced. The strategy is to enable the organisation to identify new sources of funding to enable the department of civil and construction engineering deliver on its mandate.
The plan is to expand and streamline the delivery of the existing experiential training programme and seek partnerships with various stakeholders the number which the organisation seeks funding and seek to generate money to pay for implementation of the integrated programme.
The strategy has three parts • Funding sources • Developing funding sources • Action plan The proposal identifies the existing sources of funding of the organisation and what future funding sources will be used to pay for activities in the proposed programme. A list of methods that the organisation is going to consider in its future funding. Included here are actions that are related to fundraising and partial cost recovery. Such as Budgeting,
There will be a comprehensive five-year budget which covers the various elements such as: people, travel costs (air & local), vehicles, equipment, supplies, services, works, facilities and overheads.
Conclusion This paper has come up with a model that attempts in a very practical way to bridge the disconnect between academia and construction industry in Kenya. It has illustrated the way the department of Civil and Construction Engineering at the University of Nairobi has optimized on its resources in order to deliver on its mandate. An Integrated Programme for Civil Engineering and Construction Project Management has been described.
References Government of Kenya (2013) Public Private Partnerships Act No.15, 2013: Government Press, 2013, Nairobi, Kenya. Nyagwachi, J.N. and Smallwood, J.J. (2009, Experiential Learning Programme at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU): Students’ Persceptions. TG 59 People in Construction Conference, 12- 14 July, 2009. Port Elizabeth, South Africa Zang, X.Q. (2009), Developing a Decision Support System for Concession Period Determination: Symposium Proceedings on “Revamping PPPs Symposium at the University of Hong Kong, 28 February, 2009.”
Eng. Dr. Siphila W. Mumenya Department of Civil and Construction Engineering, University of Nairobi, Kenya
Eng. Dr. Josiah Nyagwachi Mandaso (Pty) Ltd , Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Integrated Programme for Civil Engineering and Construction Management
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