Austin Community College - Start Here. Get There.Welcome to ACC's Building Construction Technology
Austin Community College
5930 Middle Fiskville Rd.
Austin, Texas 78752-4390
512.223.4ACC (4222)
Advisory Board Minutes June, 2010

June 4, 2010 Meeting

David Gray, Jim Stricklan, Peter Pfeiffer, Juan Oyervides (for Tom Cisneros), and BCT faculty/staff: Department chair Warren Heatwole, Joey Case, Brad Boelter, Domingo Alba, Pam Powell, Duane Lardon, John Pfannkuche, Elizabeth Dowdy, Donna Blumberg.

Warren Heatwole opened the meeting with a video from the faculty’s recent tour of the Round Rock campus. The campus opens for the Fall 2010 semester. Building Construction will be located there as well as at the Riverside campus. The meeting continued with updates on the Round Rock campus (Round Rock updates on ACC web site).

Round Rock Campus
Fall registration is open and students are registering for classes at Round Rock as well as at other campuses. The other Applied Technology departments Welding and Automotive will also be at Round Rock when it opens. HART (Heating, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Technology) will be there at a later date, in a planned phase II expansion.

Currently the Round Rock campus is 600,000 square feet, making it the largest ACC campus. When built, Phase II will add an additional 400,000 sq. ft. and at that time Building Construction will have its own building. We will also remain at Riverside.

College enrollment continues to grow
College-wide the enrollment numbers continue to grow. This summer there are approximately 30% more students enrolled than last summer. If the number of students continues to grow at the current rate, the Round Rock campus will soon be full and need Phase II to accommodate the demand for classes.

Round Rock Building Construction facility
The Round Rock facility is great, partly since we had some input into the design. There are two large labs that are well designed, except for the lack of soundproofing, which creates echoes. There are two classrooms (one less than at Riverside), which somewhat limits the number of concurrent classes. Lecture classes require a classroom, some courses use both classroom and lab and others only need lab space. For example, Introduction to Woodworking and Intermediate Woodworking use the lab as their classroom. So we will use some creative course scheduling, as sometimes has to happen at Riverside.

Building Construction students have been asked which campus they would prefer; about 1/3 have stated Round Rock. We’ll probably also get some students from as far north as Waco. Currently some students at Riverside drive from Burnet.

Initially Gateway will only be at Riverside. It may eventually expand to Round Rock but Building Construction faculty and staff are focused on getting ready for the traditional students before adding Gateway.

Summer Registration and Classes
There are about 180-200 Building Construction students this summer, which is typical; all faculty are teaching this summer. We combined some sections of the same classes with low enrollment to prevent a course from being totally dropped. The goal is to keep at least one instance of a class so that students who registered can take the course. 

WECM - Prior and possible future changes to construction courses
Every 2-3 years the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board schedules a conference with sessions to discuss all the courses in WECM, the Workforce Education Course Manual. Warren Heatwole and Brad Boelter are attending these meetings this summer.  All of the Texas community colleges meet and also discuss the Special Topics and Local Needs courses they have created and offer, which are not in the WECM manual.

At the last conference our Green Building course became a state wide course because every community college with a Building Construction program wanted a green building course. Ours was adopted, so it now has a “real” course number and is a statewide course.

Another example: blueprint reading courses were all taught by engineering design and graphics departments. All construction department faculty and students felt blueprint reading should be taught by a builder instead of an architect, so that was changed.

Definitions of clock and credit hours
Clock hour is 60 minutes
Credit hour is 50 minutes.
6 contact hours = 5 clock hours

OSHA and Competent Person training
OSHA is a general safety overview for the construction industry and there is a huge demand for it. Since 1992 there have been 20,000 cards issued; in 2009, 542,000 cards were issued.

Changes to OSHA course
The OSHA 1405 class has been changed to 1305, from 4 credit hours / 80 contact hours to 3 credit hours / 40 contact hours. This allows it to be offered multiple times per semester and 8 times per year instead of 3 times per year. We’re scheduling OSHA at both Riverside and Round Rock. Students still get the 30 hour card and the CPR/First Aid/AED – that hasn’t changed. The State regulates the 30-hour training, so it must meet their requirements.

OSHA 1305 is scheduled just like other classes, once or twice weekly for 8 weeks. This differs from the schedule of OSHA classes taught by construction associations, which are designed for people already working in the industry. While their classes are still 30 hours, they meet more often each week so the training is completed in a shorter time frame.

OSHA requires only classroom training to get their card. The intent for ACC’s OSHA training is to include both classroom and lab time.  It will meet WECM as well as DOL (Department of Labor, which oversees OSHA) requirements so the certification is valid. After the video/lecture part of the class, students will then get hands-on practice in their competency area, such as erecting a scaffold.

Changes to City OSHA requirements
Effective October 2010, every City of Austin construction project is required to have a safety plan and an OSHA tent set up before work begins. Supervisors need OSHA training. They also require additional safety training for all of their construction projects. Example: masons must have scaffolding certification. There is a huge need for scaffolding and fall protection certification.  

Building Construction Competent Person classes being developed
Building Construction is developing materials for Competent Person classes for scaffolding, fall protection and other areas that related to specific trades such as electricians and plumbing. Faculty developing the classes will talk to local construction companies to learn what they want for the competencies. The plan is to offer lab time as well as lectures.

Although Competent Person training is offered by multiple companies, none issue Competent Person certifications, mainly due to liability issues. For example, when is a person considered competent to use a table saw?

Stephen F Austin State University articulation agreement
Today ACC signed the articulation agreement with Stephen F. Austin State University (SFASU). They accept up to 66 hours of ACC classes, including 40 hours of Construction Management courses, towards their Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science Sustainable Building degree. This BAAS degree is 123 hours, so half of the courses can be taken at ACC. Although SFASU is in Nacogdoches, ACC students will not have to travel there. Many of their courses are offered online, and their instructors may travel to Austin periodically; details are still being finalized.

SFASU contacted us, we did not solicit them. Some of the reasons that SFASU chose us are because we have the hands-on component, and they recognize the quality of our program, faculty and staff. We teach the technical skills, so that when students reach SFASU they learn the intricacies of theory – why we do the things we do in sustainable building. See the Building Construction Department Chair Corner’s blog for details.

Pre-college construction education track
We have already discussed with Jim Strickland, Crockett High School  construction teacher, about talking with SFASU to create a “3+2+2” track – 3 years of construction classes in high school, 2 years at ACC and 2 years at SFASU. We’ve also spoken to the woodshop teacher at the middle school that tracks to Crockett. And we are working on an agreement with San Marcos High School.

Tuition and books costs, internship opportunities
The cost of tuition and books at both colleges was discussed. Currently ACC’s tuition, including lab fees, insurance and other costs, is roughly $100 per credit hour. SFASU’s tuition is probably higher. Thus, for students who want this type of bachelor’s degree, taking all possible classes at ACC is the least costly way. The internship can be at the sustainable community the Hines Development Corp. is building on the north shore of Lake Travis. They are ready for interns.

Construction Management books - new version, much higher cost
The Construction Management textbooks – which are excellent – have quadrupled in price from $25 to $100 and no one knows why. Need to make a decision soon about whether to switch to the new version or not in time for the fall semester. There are wording changes - the old version refers to the "up and coming internet."

One class requires two books, so students would have to pay $200 for books for one class.  As a comparison, the Estimating book is $100 and the Blueprint Reading book is $60. As a comparison, other departments require books that cost more than $100 for most or all of their classes, so our books (when required, many lab classes don't use textbooks) are relatively inexpensive.

This year there Grainger offered 3 new scholarships only for Building Construction students, plus there are many other ACC scholarships. We need to do a better job of advertising and marketing to our students. The scholarships page has details.


The meeting was adjourned as the SFASU representatives arrived to give a presentation and answer questions about the new BAAS degree.



Future StudentsCurrent StudentsFaculty and StaffCommunity and BusinessNewsroomA-Z Index