Skip to main content

Construction Engineering

Achieving Project Success Through Research

The Construction Engineering (CON) group seeks to develop and apply advanced and innovative principles and practices to enhance the sustainability and resiliency of the built infrastructure.  We develop and apply engineering knowledge and technologies to construct a wide variety of infrastructure projects by selecting and organizing resources efficiently and economically to build projects on time, within budget, with required quality, and with reduced risk.

Focus Areas

Automation in Construction Management:

The construction industry has become a better planner with advances in Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Information Technology (IT) but we still hear about megaprojects suffering from cost overruns and delays. The focus of this research is to automate construction project controls through advances in cognitive computing (robotics, computer vision, and machine learning) and BIM. Current research topics include:

  • Autonomous indoor and outdoor navigation of ground and aerial robots (UGVs and UAVs) for construction performance (progress, quality, and safety) monitoring.
  • Visual data analytics for automating performance inference.
  • Improving on- and off-site communication via Augmented Reality (simultaneous visualization of as-built and as-planned conditions)
  • Automating and scaling personalized safety training (see also Construction Safety below)
CCEE and ECE graduate students and faculty members test an autonomous ground robot on a construction site.

Construction Safety:

Unacceptable injury rates continue to be a global challenge in the construction industry. Construction workplaces around the world report over 60,000 fatal and many more non-fatal injuries every year. Our research focuses on developing and testing life-saving interventions targeted at improving worker safety. Current research efforts include:

  • Measuring and Improving Hazard Recognition
  • Construction Hazard Prevention Through Design
  • Technology Driven Safety Monitoring and Management
  • Personalized Safety Training Interventions
  • Safety Skill development

Lean Construction:

The CON group has worked to bring Lean principles to the construction industry.
Current research topics include:

  • Methods to improve workflow plan reliability
  • Causes for task starting time and duration variation
  • Quantity of time buffer added in task duration estimation at different management levels
  • Identifying the underlying social networks for construction specialty trades
  • Cost/Benefit analysis for varying levels of planning detail
  • Informal and formal decision-making in collaborative scheduling

The CON group works closely with member companies in the Lean Construction Institute – Carolina Community of Practice, a research-centered organization that helps owners, designers, contractors, and suppliers understand their way of learning and applying Lean Construction principles and strategies.

Asset Management:

Asset management is a relatively new concept in construction engineering. In general, the nature of construction equipment and materials renders the concept of asset management a valuable tool for operation efficiency and cost control. Asset management includes a database of assets, tools to manage the database, asset condition assessment models, and strategies for assessment, mitigation, rehabilitation, and replacement including likelihood (condition), consequence (criticality), and risk of failure.

At present, there is no systematic tool to provide electronic documentation and analysis of construction assets. The objective of this research is to design and develop an information management system for electronic documentation, management, qualitative analysis, and display of construction asset data. The development of a systematic means for cataloging and condition assessment of these assets will represent a major contribution to the ability to establish effective and sustainable, construction, maintenance, and replacement priorities. The system will assist engineers and contractors in evaluating the need for maintenance and replacement as well as capture often-lost assets for effective master planning, engineering, design, maintenance, and management.

Virtual Design and Construction:

The focus of this area includes the use of Building Information Management (BIM) systems, technology and modeling, tele-engineering and telepresence, and laser scanning.

Sustainable Concrete Materials:

The CON group has been working on several different aspects of sustainable concrete materials here at NC State in recent years. We have found ways to quantify crack densities of concrete subjected to high temperatures to determine if new, improved sustainability mixtures respond the same as conventional mixtures to aggressive exposures. The CON group also developed the software tools now sold by PCA to provide hydrologic design of pervious concrete pavements used as a “parking pond.” This software is used nationwide by designers to mitigate the deleterious effects of urbanization on stormwater runoff and receiving water quality. We have recently added a “sedimentation app” to address issues of accumulating sediment over the life of the previous pavement. The CON group has also examined non-portland cement-based mixtures to help reduce CO2 emissions.

Pollutant Emission Reduction:

At NC State, we have conducted several studies examining the air pollution emissions associated with construction projects. Our research has established that typical differences in operational efficiency arising from commonly used construction contracts have little practical effect on the amount of air pollution created. We continue to work on a better understanding of how to develop contract specifications to minimize air pollution during construction, which requires an understanding of air pollution (CE 576), contract law (CE 564), highway design, operational efficiency, and construction methodology (CE 765) and construction project management (CE 561).


Preparing for a Successful Career

The Construction Engineering (CON) program offers one of the largest course selections in the U.S. that will prepare our students for successful careers. We are situated in the greater Raleigh area which is one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation. We have a track record of maintaining a strong alumni network and a strong tie to industry partners from which the CON program and its graduates benefit. The ever-growing number of construction projects in greater Raleigh, including the Research Triangle Park, can only mean opportunities for internships, co-ops, and full-time positions. Our program also serves the construction industry throughout the nation, especially New York City and Washington DC.

Former Ph.D. students of the CON program are tenure-track/tenured faculty in the US (i.e., Purdue University, Texas A&M, Oregon/Penn State Universities, etc.) and around the globe (i.e., South Korea, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, etc.).


CourseCourse NumberCreditsCurrent and Planned Offerings*
Spring 2024Fall 2024Spring 2025Fall 2025Spring 2026
Construction Project ManagementCE 5613L & D
Legal Aspects of ContractingCE 5643L & DL & DL & D
Construction Safety ManagementCE 5653LLL
Risk and Financial ManagementCE 5673L & D
Intro to Facility EngineeringEGR 5173L & DL & D
Environmental Compliance for Facilities EngineersEGR 5183L & DL & DL & D
Building Information Modeling in ConstructionCE 592**3LL
CII Best PracticesCE 592**3L & D
International ConstructionCE 592**3L & D
Materials Management in ConstructionCE 7633L & DL & DL & D
D = Distance courses offered through Engineering Online. L= Traditional live in-class courses. *Note: Course offerings are subject to change.**Note: New courses are offered as CE 592 (“Special Topics”) until they become permanent courses, at which point the course number will change. Students may register by selecting the appropriate section of CE 592.

Graduate Course Requirements

The Master of Science (MS) degree requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate study including up to 6 credit hours for a thesis and a final oral examination. The Master of Civil Engineering (MCE) degree requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate study without a thesis. This degree is also available by distance education through Engineering Online.  Both degrees require 18 credit hours in civil engineering, of which 12 hours must be taken from a set of core courses in construction engineering and management.

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree normally includes one academic year of full-time coursework beyond the master’s degree. The major component of the Ph.D. program is the preparation of a dissertation reporting the results of an original investigation that represents a significant contribution to knowledge.

Click here to view the presentation slides from the Fall 2023 Orientation. There, you can see the degree requirements.

Facilities and Centers

The Construction Engineering (CON) group seeks to develop and apply advanced materials and structural systems to enhance the sustainability and resiliency of the built infrastructure through experimental, theoretical, and computational research at scales ranging from nanometers to large structures. We develop and apply engineering knowledge and technologies to construct a wide variety of infrastructure projects by selecting and organizing resources efficiently and economically to deliver projects on time, within budget, with required quality and reduced risk.