College - Author 1

College of Architecture and Environmental Design

Department - Author 1

Construction Management Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Construction Management



Primary Advisor/Subject Matter Expert (SME)

Philip Barlow, College of Architecture and Environmental Design, Construction Management Department


The Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Construction Management (CM) curriculum requires its students to enroll in BRAE 239, a course that educates students on field surveying using equipment such as a total station and an automatic optical level (builder’s level). The class focuses on how to use the specified equipment to calculate distances, heights, and angles over fixed benchmarks to create labeled contour maps and land plot diagrams. The information and methods of calculation are taught in a classroom, and the physical surveying with the provided equipment is done in the agricultural field on campus. The course does touch on procedures and tips to minimize error, however it does not spend a great deal of time explaining how to correct errors already made, let alone identify errors during the process. The course is also limited to calculating data resulting from preset benchmarks, whereas CM students need experience creating points, lines, and benchmarks. Large commercial construction companies, like the one I interned for this past summer, complete a sizable amount of self-perform work, and their field engineers, or recent college graduates, prepare the layout. The Cal Poly CM curriculum would significantly benefit from a course that focused on jobsite surveying utilizing updated equipment, with a section dedicated to identifying errors and correcting them during the layout process.