Construction Education

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Construction Education


higher, secondary, and vocational-technical education for the training of specialists in the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of buildings and structures.

Construction as a discipline originated in antiquity. At first, builders were trained by master builders in the course of constructing various edifices. Special schools were established in ancient Greece and Rome (seeARCHITECTURAL EDUCATION).

The origins of construction education in Russia date from the tenth century. Master builders were trained firsthand on the job. In 1724, by order of Peter I, several architectural apprentice teams were formed in Moscow to study arithmetic, drafting, and drawing and acquire practical experience in the architecture, repair, and reconstruction of buildings. As their craftsmanship improved, apprentices were promoted to “sergeant,” which post gave them the right to design and build, and from sergeant to journeyman (work superintendent).

The architectural team formed by M. F. Kazakov in Moscow was reorganized in 1788 and 1789 as the First Architectural School; in 1814 it became the Moscow Court Architectural School.

A mining school (now the Leningrad Institute of Mines) was founded in St. Petersburg in 1773. Students studied the design and construction of stone and wood dams, sluices, foundations, and similar structures. During the early 1800’s, 1.1. Sviiazev, author of the first Russian textbook on architecture, including the principles of the art of construction, taught at the school.

At the metallurgical schools of the Urals, particularly at Ekaterinburg, mechanics, architecture, fortification, and other construction subjects were studied in addition to mining production.

In order to train engineers for the construction of roads and various structures, the Communications Institute of the Corps of Engineers (now the Leningrad Institute of Railroad Transport Engineering) was founded in 1809 in St. Petersburg. Mathematics, geodesy, drawing, architecture, the organization of construction work, the fundamentals of mechanics and hydraulics, and the preparation of plans and estimates were studied at the institute; practical training in construction was also offered. Graduates of the institute subsequently became famous scientists and engineers, builders of important structures and founders of scientific and educational institutions. They included M. S. Volkov (the art of construction), S. V. Kerbedz and N. F. Iastrzhembskii (organizers of mechanical material-testing laboratories), F. S. Ia-sinskii (theory of elasticity), P. P. Mel’nikov (applied mechanics), and P. I. Sobko, D. I. Zhuravskii, and N. A. Beleliubskii (structural mechanics).

The first specialized higher educational institution for the training of personnel to build civil-engineering structures was the School of Civil Engineering, founded in 1832 in St. Petersburg, which became the Institute for Civil Engineers in 1882 and is now the Leningrad Construction Engineering Institute. Theoretical courses were combined with practical and laboratory work, courses in engineering design, and practical work in construction. Scientific pedagogical schools were established at the institute for the design and construction of residential, public, and industrial buildings and sanitary-engineering installations; faculty members included V. V. Eval’d, S. B. Lukashevich, V. A. Kosiakov, I. A. Evnevich, and A. K. Pavlovskii. In the early 1900’s specialized training was begun for construction engineers, and in 1905 the institute began graduating architectural, sanitary, and highway engineers.

In 1907 a construction-engineering department with hydraulic-engineering and highway subdepartments was established at the St. Petersburg Polytechnic Institute. Here, scientific and educational institutions were formed in the fields of the mechanics of free-flowing bodies, hydraulics, and hydraulic engineering. Faculty members included S. P. Belzetskii, V. L. Kirpichev, B. G. Galerkin, K. G. Rizenkampf, B. A. Bakhmetev, and N. N. Pavlovskii.

In 1902, Academician I. A. Fomin organized the first women’s course of study for construction in Moscow, and in 1905, Professor N. V. Markovnikov established construction-engineering courses for women. These programs were combined in 1909, and in 1916 a women’s polytechnic institute with architectural and construction-engineering departments was founded on the basis of the programs. After the October Revolution of 1917, the institute became the Moscow Polytechnic Institute and later the Moscow Institute for Civil Engineers. Graduates of the institute were granted the title of architectural engineer or construction engineer.

Of great importance to the growth of construction education were the founding in 1905 of a secondary construction school in Moscow and the establishment there in 1°07 of a secondary construction school of the Society of Engineers and Teachers. The society’s members included V. N. Obraztsov, E. R. Brilling, I. V. Ryl’skii, and A. E. Il’in. In 1921 the schools were reorganized as the Moscow Practical Construction Institute, which was later combined with the Moscow Institute for Civil Engineers.

In 1907 a course of study in architecture, encompassing the planning, design, and construction of buildings and civil-engineering structures, was established at the Moscow Higher Technical School. In 1918 a construction-engineering department was formed with an architectural division. In 1924 the Moscow Institute for Civil Engineers was absorbed by the department, which became a training center for construction engineers. The founding of the Moscow Institute of Railroad Transportation in 1896 contributed substantially to the development of construction education.

In the 1930’s independent construction engineering institutes were created, and construction departments were established in many polytechnic institutes. The training of construction engineers was begun in evening and correspondence divisions. Fields of concentration established in the 1930’s and currently offered in construction-engineering institutes include industrial and civil construction; hydraulic-engineering construction of river facilities, hydroelectric power plants, ports, and waterways; heating, gas supply, and ventilation; water supply and sewer systems; construction of railroad tracks and track maintenance; roads, bridges, and tunnels; and production of structural components and structures. Curricula for these specialties include the humanities and sciences, engineering disciplines, and specialized disciplines. The humanities and sciences include the social sciences, such as the history of the CPSU, Marxist-Leninist philosophy, political economy, and scientific communism, the principles of Soviet law, foreign languages, higher mathematics, physics, chemistry, and theoretical mechanics. General engineering disciplines include engineering geodesy, strength of materials, structural mechanics, electrical engineering, heat engineering, and hydraulics. Specialized disciplines include architecture, structural design, water supply, sewer systems, heating and gas supply, ventilation, the technology of the construction industry, the organization, planning, and economics of construction, automation and automatic control systems, and computer technology. During training, students complete 15 to 20 course projects and assignments, depending on the specialization, and up to 25 weeks of educational and practical work. The training of five to six years is completed by presenting a diploma project or diploma thesis. Graduates of higher educational institutions then hold a job as an apprentice for a period of up to one year.

As of 1975, construction technicians were being trained by day, evening, and correspondence instruction in 22 narrow specialties other than those offered at higher educational institutions. The training was conducted at 221 construction technicums and 252 technicums for other trades.

The sharp increase in the size and pace of construction has been responsible for the further improvement in construction education and an increase in the number of specialists graduated. In 1950, 37,100 students were studying construction specialties at higher educational institutions and 4,900 were graduated; in 1955 the corresponding figures were 232,800 and 14,600, and in 1974, 340,100 and 21,300. In 1950, 79,600 students were studying at technicums and 36,200 were graduated; in 1965 the corresponding figures were 247,700 and 38,700, and in 1974, 424,400 and 87,900. In 1975 higher educational institutions enrolled 71,900 students, and technicums enrolled 76,200.

Russian scientific and educational institutions are widely known both in the USSR and abroad. Faculty members of schools of structural mechanics and structural design have included N. S. Streletskii, A. F. Loleit, A. A. Gvozdev, V. Z. Vla-sov, N. M. Beliaev, A. F. Smirnov, I. P. Prokofev, I. M. Rabi-novich, E. O. Patón, L. I. Onishchik, G. G. Karlsen, and K. V. Sakhnovskii. Faculty members of schools of hydraulic-engineering construction and hydraulics have included B. E. Vedeneev, V. E. Liakhnitskii, M. M. Grishin, and R. R. Chugaev. Schools of soil mechanics have had N. M. Gersevanov, V. A. Florin, N. Ia. Denisov, N. A. Tsytovich, and N. N. Maslov as faculty members.

Vocational-technical education in construction is provided for more than 150 trades and specialties, including that of electric welder and reinforcement fitter, mason and assembler, crane operator, painter, carpenter, and plasterer-facing worker-tiler. In 1974 more than 1,500 vocational-technical educational institutions, with approximately 650,000 students, trained qualified workers for the construction and building-materials industries. In 1975 construction schools graduated more than 370,000 students and enrolled 405,000. Scientific and scientific-teaching personnel are trained in construction-engineering specialties in graduate schools, higher educational institutions, and scientific-research institutes.

Construction-education systems in other socialist countries are similar to the Soviet system in many ways, but the type of training for specialists is somewhat broader than in the USSR. For example, in the Polish People’s Republic construction engineers are trained in the specialties of land-based construction, hydraulic engineering, and sanitary-engineering installation. In the German Democratic Republic construction engineers are trained in construction engineering, the technology of the construction industry, hydraulic engineering, and water-use management. Construction engineers are trained in special departments of polytechnic institutes and universities. For example, in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic there are construction-engineering departments in polytechnic institutes in Prague, Brno, and other cities. In the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia the universities of Belgrade, Zagreb, Ljubljana, and Sarajevo have construction-engineering departments. Some countries have special higher educational institutions for construction, for instance, in the German Democratic Republic in Leipzig and Weimar.

In the capitalist countries construction engineers are trained at specialized higher educational institutions and in university departments. The most important center of construction-engineering education in France is the National School of Bridges and Roads in Paris. Founded in 1747, the school also trains engineers in civil engineering, structural design, and urban public services. The period of study at French higher educational institutions is generally divided into three cycles. After the second cycle, that is, after four years of instruction, a degree in engineering is awarded; after the third cycle, a doctoral degree or a doctorate of engineering is awarded, depending on the examinations taken and the diploma thesis. The total period of study is approximately six years. In Japan construction engineers receive instruction for four years, usually in the engineering departments of universities and colleges offering the specialty. In Great Britain students study three years at universities, higher technical colleges, and many polytechnic colleges. In the USA in 1974, construction engineers were trained at more than 200 universities and colleges in four-year courses of study.

After defending a thesis, the graduates of the higher educational institutions of Great Britain, the USA, Japan, and several other countries receive a bachelor’s degree in architecture, engineering sciences, or engineering. Graduates may then take additional examinations and defend a second diploma thesis to obtain a master’s degree in science after one to one and one-half years of study. After an additional two to three years of study, the degree of doctor of philosophy, doctor of engineering sciences, or doctor of sciences may be awarded. However, these degrees do not give graduates the right to design structures and carry out construction work independently; graduates acquire such rights after two to five years of work in the industry in an engineering or technical capacity and after passing complicated examinations in general and specialized disciplines. After receiving a bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA), graduates may be granted an academic engineering degree after two years of additional study.

In the Federal Republic of Germany construction engineers are trained at state construction schools, construction-engineering schools, and higher technical schools, such as those in Braunschweig, Darmstadt, Karlsruhe, Munich, and Stuttgart. The course of study at engineering schools has a practical bias closely related to the production process. The three-year course of study is completed by passing government examinations for the title of engineer. A period of practical work in the given specialty is required for entrance to these schools. The term of study, including the completion of examinations for an engineering degree, is four to five years. In practice, students complete the entire plan of study in five to six years. This education permits graduates to work independently both on construction and design and in scientific research organizations. After having completed and defended a dissertation, graduates are awarded the degree of doctor of engineering, which is equivalent to the qualification of an engineer from Soviet higher educational institutions.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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