Faculty in the BCT program currently offer the courses listed below. Where applicable, syllabi and website links have been added.

Go to: Schedules | Undergrad Courses (100-500) | Independent Study & Practica | Honors Courses | Grad Courses (600-700)

Course Overview Schedules

These are generic overview schedules for all of our courses.

Undergraduate Course List

All courses below are three credit courses unless mentioned otherwise.

BCT 150 – The Built Environment (4 cr.)

Fall – Prof. Weil – On Moodle – Syllabus

This course explores the issues of sustainability from the perspective of the built environment, our history of construction and expansion, and buildings and how they interact with the natural environment. Students will be exposed to issues of human impacts on natural systems through the built environment and the variety of disciplines that are working to create a more sustainable future.

BCT 192A – Careers in BCT (1 cr.)

Fall – Prof. Kim

Required for all new majors. This seminar is designed to help freshmen and new transfer students to make a successful start within the Building and Construction Technology (BCT) program. Various resources and opportunities around the major and the university will be reviewed. This seminar also gives students an opportunity to ask lots of questions and will help them integrate into the campus life.

BCT 204 – Construction Materials and Methods

Spring – Prof. Schreyer – On Moodle – Syllabus

This course provides an introductory overview of the various construction materials used in common (and uncommon) structures. After receiving an introduction into fundamental principles of structural, physical and long-term performance, students learn about material and product manufacturing techniques and how they relate to mechanical and nonmechanical properties of the various materials. Students have the opportunity to experience material capacity and behavior in demonstrations and lab experiments. Furthermore, material applications and detailing in structural and non-structural building components are explored. Resulting from this course, students gain a comparative knowledge of material properties and possible applications in construction and architecture.

BCT 211 – Energy Efficient Housing

Fall – Prof. Weil – On Moodle

Introduction to energy conservation, as the most cost-effective, environmentally safe method for lowering energy costs and dependence on a finite supply of fossil fuels. Primary discussions involve technical issues, dealing with building methods and materials used to save energy. Political, economical and environmental issues are inextricably connected to conservation, and will factor heavily on classroom dialogue. Lectures will focus on fundamentals of residential energy use involving energy-saving materials and products, energy-efficient design, energy storage, affordable housing, political impact, and regulatory developments.

BCT 304 – Properties of Wood

Fall – Prof. Schreyer – On Moodle – Syllabus

Wood is an amazing building material: It is beautiful and warm to the touch. It is easy to machine and abundantly available. It is light, yet strong and stiff. And best of all: It comes from a renewable source. To build with wood, however, requires understanding its peculiarities: the variability of its properties, its interaction with water and the possibility of biodeterioration.
This course introduces students to the physical and mechanical properties of wood. It provides an overview of wood-based products and exposes students to structural systems in wood. Basic techniques for physical measurement and mechanical testing are introduced by conducting and analyzing several laboratory experiments.

BCT 311 – Sustainable Indoor Environmental Systems

Spring – Prof. Fiocchi – On Moodle

Our built environment accounts for approximately 50% of all energy consumed in the United States. Reducing the operational loads and integrating high performance mechanical systems into our buildings provide the requisite solutions towards achieving a sustainable and secure energy and climate future. Energy efficiency and load management are among the first steps in setting the stage for this sustainable future. The focus of this course is to understand the fundamental principles behind the design and regulation of occupant comfort, mechanical (heating, cooling, ventilation) plumbing, and lighting systems in both residential and light commercial buildings. This is a seminar course that will rely on a combination of instructor based presentations, reading assignments, and guest lectures to inform the participants.

BCT 313 – Light-Frame Structure Technology

Fall – Prof. Fiocchi – On Moodle

Provides an understanding of the use of building materials in contemporary light-frame construction applications. Close attention paid to the sequence of events that occur on most construction sites. Review of the entire residential construction process, site preparation through roof shingling. Leading-edge products and technologies and analyzed and compared to conventional ones. Course work is tied closely to the arrival of new products, technologies, and political issues affecting the construction industry.

BCT 314 – Construction Estimating

Spring – Prof. Kim – On Moodle

Any successful building construction project relies on accurate and consistent cost estimates. This course provides students with the skills and background to perform construction estimating, bidding, and cost management. Lectures will cover quantity take-off from residential and commercial construction documents and then estimating costs for material, labor, equipment, overhead, and profit. Students are required to prepare and submit a formal bid which details an estimate for a building construction project. Furthermore, students will also be introduced to leading construction estimating software utilized in the construction industry.

BCT 320 – Introduction to CAD & BIM for Construction and Architecture

Fall/Spring – Staff (faculty contact: Prof. Schreyer) – On Moodle – Syllabus

This course provides students with a broad introduction into Computer-Aided-Design (CAD) and Building Information Modeling (BIM) with a focus on construction- and architecture-specific applications. By using industry-standard AEC software (such as Autodesk AutoCAD, Trimble SketchUp, and Autodesk Revit) in hands-on exercises, assignments and projects, students gain the capability to model construction projects and create and distribute industry-standard architectural drawings.

BCT 353 – The Business of Building

Fall – Prof. Fitch

Introduces business concepts to students interested in design and fabrication of structures. Managing a project, contracts, marketing scheduling, personnel, leadership, interpersonal communication, human behavior, finance, budgeting, ethical and legal considerations.

BCT 397R Residential Construction Management Competition (2 cr.)

Fall – Prof. Kim

The NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) Student Chapters Residential Construction Management Competition (RCMC) is one of the highlights of the annual International Builders’ Show. The competition gives students the opportunity to apply skills learned in the classroom to a real construction company by completing a management project/proposal. Proposals are submitted to a group of construction company executives who act as judges. During the convention, students defend their proposals to the judges in front of an audience

Note: This course can be taken twice for credit without it counting as a re-take.

BCT 420 – Designing with 3D CAD & BIM

Spring – Prof. Schreyer – On Moodle – Syllabus – Student Work

Building upon skills acquired in the “Introduction to CAD for Construction and Architecture” course, this course presents advanced topics in architectural CAD software. Centered around problem-based tasks, topics such as parametric building design, building information models (BIMs), material takeoff, energy-efficient planning, visualization and others will be explored. Industry standard CAD tools such as Autodesk Revit, AutoCAD and Google SketchUp will be used to accomplish this.

Pre-requisite: BCT 320 or similar CAD experience

BCT 494BI – BCT Senior Seminar (Integrative Experience)

Spring – Prof. Fitch – Syllabus

Students learn to write cover letters, create resumes, develop relevant interviewing skills and meet industry leaders. Each week a different business professional meets with students in this class to discuss careers in the industry. Often, the speakers are potential employers who are accepting resumes. Some speakers will schedule interviews for internships and full-time job placement.

BCT 520 – Energy and Buildings

Fall – Prof. Fiocchi – On Moodle

An introduction to building energy use focusing on the minimization of energy costs and dependence on non-renewable fossil fuel sources through the implementation both time honored passive design strategies and effective building envelope construction practices. The course also introduces students to the fundamentals of building system loads and building annual energy consumption calculations providing the necessary metricized evaluation of a building’s energy and associated climate impacts in relation to other buildings of similar types and program in similar climates.

This is a seminar course that will rely on a combination of lecture, reading materials, and a field trip exploring the methods and materials necessary to reduce a building’s environmental impact.

Prerequisite: Undergraduate students who have taken BCT 211, BCT 311, or similar are eligible to enroll. Open to all graduate students.

BCT 521 – Environmental Control Systems and Lab (4 cr.)

Spring – Prof. Fiocchi – On Moodle

This course is intended for those who wish to learn about building energy and environmental systems from a both a traditional and a sustainable design perspective. Students will be introduced to the basics of HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems. Through a combination of lecture, reading materials, guest lectures, and field trips they will analyze the heating and cooling loads of commercial buildings and learn how to introduce these systems into existing buildings and design these systems for high performance building.

The lab component for this class introduces students to technical and non-technical aspects of whole building energy simulation during building design, retrofitting and maintenance. Students will learn to use a state-of-the-art building energy modeling tool, eQUEST (available for free from Department of Energy) to calculate and optimize whole building energy loads. The goal is to explore key design decisions such as building orientation and form along with system choices to calculate heating and cooling loads through modeling and simulation.

You must have access to a laptop for the lab.

Prerequisites: Graduate Students BCT 520; Undergraduate Students. BCT 211, BCT 311 or instructor permission.

BCT 525 – Solar Energy Systems & Building Design

Fall – Prof. Kim

Introduces the fundamental concepts of solar building design and energy systems. Through project-based study and occasional field visits, students will explore the theory, technologies, applications, and benefits of solar design of buildings and discover how to utilize solar energy systems for residential and commercial buildings.

Students will be required to research and document technology and complete a semester case study project in which they will examine various energy conservation aspects and economics underlying solar energy systems.

BCT 530 – Mechanics of Building Materials for Construction +
BCT 597BM – Problem Solving in Building Mechanics (1 cr.)

Spring – Prof. Clouston – On Moodle – Website

Introduces students to the mechanical behavior of engineered wood products and wood composites as contemporary structural building mateirals. Basic structural concepts including statics and strength of materials are addressed in a practical, hands-on manner. An overview of the relative merits of common structural wood products is provided. Practical applications of wood-based materials are highlighted throughout the course through in-class examples and illustrations, homework assingments and lab tutorials.

BCT 540 – Design of Wood Structures

Fall – Prof. Clouston – Website

Provides students with a fundamental understanding of structural engineering wood design principles. Focus is placed on design procedures – as well as underlying assumptions therefor – for wood members in residential, commercial and industrial applications. Through class examples and assignments, students will learn design techniques for individual wood components including: beams, columns, trusses, wood/steel connections, and diaphragms using both conventional lumber products and state-of-the-art engineered wood products.

Pre-requisite: BCT 530

BCT 550 – Construction Project Management

Fall / Spring – Prof. Fitch – On Moodle

This class introduces the fundamental concepts of project management for sustainable design and construction and is suitable for students in various disciplines, particularly architecture, engineering, construction, information technology and management.   Topics to be discussed include project initiation, integrative planning, implementation, monitoring, control and closeout; effective goal setting, documentation, scope/quality, budget and schedule definition; team organization, contracts and negotiation, risk management, legal, environmental and other issues throughout the project life cycle.

BCT 590S – Topics in Sustainable Building Systems and Construction Technology (1 cr.)

Fall / Spring – Prof. Fiocchi / Prof. Fitch

The course serves as a dynamic sampling of the multiple disciplines necessary to create or modify the Built Environment. Lectures presented by various educators, researchers, and practitioners; experts in their fields will provide students with a broadened perspective, which will help foster critical thinking and provide a more expansive view of the Built Environment.

Note: This course can be taken twice for credit without it counting as a re-take.

BCT 597D – Sustainable Building & LEED Certification

Spring / Summer (online) – Prof. Kim

The LEED Professional Credentials indicate professional excellence and a strong depth of knowledge as well as practical understanding of the LEED Rating Systems and how they apply to the high-performance design and construction of the built environment. Preparing to take the LEED Green Associate and AP exams requires more than taking one course; it is a process that involves acquisition of disciplinary knowledge and understanding of complex building and environmental systems. This course introduces core concepts of the USGBC LEED Rating Systems and assists students in study and preparation for the LEED Green Associate exam.

Graduate students: Register for ECO 697DL (see below) instead.

BCT 597F – Wood Design Studio (1 cr.)

Spring – Prof. Clouston

Wood Design Studio provides an opportunity for students to create, design, build and structurally test wood structures. Classes will entail some instruction (around 4 or 5 lectures) and will depend largely on student participation: making and breaking components in the lab and participating in the construction of a timber grid shell while working together as an interdisciplinary team. Grades will be based largely on participation as well as a poster to be submitted at the end. While learning about exciting and new natural composite materials like Cross Laminated Timber, this course is a great resume builder!

BCT 597R – Clean Energy Corps

Spring / Alternate Years – Prof. Weil

Students in the UMass Clean Energy Corps will work in teams with energy engineers and other staff of the UMass Clean Energy Extension to provide energy analysis and high-level energy audits to Massachusetts cities and towns. We will collect and analyze municipal energy data, conduct walk through and instrumented energy audits on site for some facilities, and provide guidance to help municipalities cut their energy consumption by at least 20%. Students will learn a variety of data analysis and building diagnostic techniques as well as gain experience working with municipal clients.

BCT 597SBuilding a Formalized Plan for your “Green” Positioning (1 cr.)

Spring – Prof. Bean

This class builds upon the student’s current technical and/or market knowledge of the “green” space by introducing and demonstrating simple concepts in strategic and tactical planning that can transform their concepts and ideas for “green” business initiatives into definitive actions and results. The techniques presented will help the student develop, articulate and execute a “green” strategy and a transition to “green” both internally, through a change in culture, and externally through a change in market positioning. The course would also benefit those who want to learn the basics of formalized planning for any application as a keystone for future career development or for application in a future “green” business transition.

Each student (or group of students) will be asked to identify a “green” initiative where a formalized business plan would help drive successful execution. The deliverable of the course is a written plan framework to achieve the vision for that initiative. The plan will include a Vision, Mission, 3-5 Objectives, Strategies for each Objective, a sample Action Plan and Metrics to measure progress toward results. The student will also learn a simple proven approach to communicating their plan to achieve the stated vision in a team environment.

BCT 597U – Fundamental Construction Scheduling

Spring – Prof. Fitch

This class aims to provide students fundamental knowledge for construction planning and scheduling. In the class, students learn to identify work item by using Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), study work logistic sequence, and learn to apply the Critical Path Method (CPM) to construction projects, using precedence diagram networks. To practice the planning and scheduling knowledge, students direct an entire project from planning through scheduling and control, both manually and through software.

BCT 597V – Safety in Construction

Spring – Prof. Steele / Prof. Kauffman

With construction being one of the most dangerous occupations, workplace safety is crucial for every successful building project. This course teaches basic safety concepts through guest lectures and the self-guided study of OSHA principles. Students acquire the 10-hour OSHA safety training (and card) as part of this course (at a small, additional cost), which is the basic requirement for any work on construction sites.

Independent Study and Practicum Courses

Independent Studies in BCT (BCT 396 / 496 / 596)

On demand – Any faculty – Up to 6 credits

Independent studies are faculty-guided academic projects. They can be initiated either by faculty or a student and can comprise of research or other academic work. Contact a faculty advisor if you are interested in pursuing this.

Practica in BCT (BCT 398 / 498 / 498Y)

On demand – Any faculty – Up to 15 credits

Practica are work-related placements. Contact a faculty advisor if you are interested in pursuing this.

Honors Courses and Colloquia

HONORS 391A – Adventures in 3D Printing (1 cr.)

Fall/Spring – Prof. Schreyer – Website – currently not offered

3D printing is often referred to as the “next industrial revolution”. While the idea of printing your own consumer goods on-demand is certainly exciting, there are many questions that relate to this technology: ownership & copyright, accessibility, technical issues, cost. This seminar will evaluate this technology from the perspectives of students with varied backgrounds. Students also have an opportunity to learn 3D modeling and make their own 3D prints.

Graduate (600+ level) Course List

All courses below are three credit courses unless mentioned otherwise.

ARCH 653 – Tectonics 3

Fall – Prof. Schreyer – Website – Syllabus

This course explores the interrelations between building functions, loads, structural system, materials and construction methods. Topics addressed are structural building layout, design, structural detailing, and documentation of predominantly large-scale buildings and other structures made of steel, concrete, engineered wood and masonry.

Students will be exposed to a wide range of topics centered around structural systems and will be encouraged to develop an integrated approach to planning that considers efficient and appropriate structural solutions. Concept-based design projects and assignments will provide an opportunity to practice this approach.

Emphasis is placed in this course on development of efficient structural form, conceptual and preliminary structural design (using software and approximate calculation methods), integrated design and structural detailing.

ECO 697DL – Sustainable Building & LEED Certification

Spring – Prof. Kim

The LEED Professional Credentials indicate professional excellence and a strong depth of knowledge as well as practical understanding of the LEED Rating Systems and how they apply to the high-performance design and construction of the built environment. Preparing to take the LEED Green Associate and AP exams requires more than taking one course; it is a process that involves acquisition of disciplinary knowledge and understanding of complex building and environmental systems. This course introduces core concepts of the USGBC LEED Rating Systems and assists students in study and preparation for the LEED Green Associate exam.

ECO 620 – Studies in Building Information Modeling

Spring – Prof. Schreyer – Website – Syllabus – Student Work

This course provides graduate students with an opportunity to deepen their studies in Building Information Modeling (BIM). In addition to learning about concepts from BCT 420 (enhanced 3D modeling skills and an introduction into Autodesk Revit), students in ECO 697SB must independently research various BIM-related topics, present and implement them. Students are required to complete an in-depth final project in which they explore advanced BIM topics like building energy modeling, estimating and scheduling, parametric modeling and the like.

Pre-requisite: Basic CAD experience (e.g. from BCT 320).