CEM204-International Construction

Module Provider: School of Construction Management and Engineering, School of Built Environment
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Prof Roger Flanagan

Email: r.flanagan@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

The module gives an overview of the scale and scope of design, engineering, and construction work in the global construction market. Consideration is given to the structure of the different construction markets and the influence of culture, climate, geology, the regulatory framework of codes and standards, compliance and ethical behaviour. Different approaches are considered to the procurement of professional services and construction work. Examining how international construction companies operate in the global construction market and how they manage risks in project delivery.


Having an understanding of the size and characteristics of the global construction market, and the drivers and issues shaping the market. Awareness of the organisational structure and strategy of the construction and consulting companies operating internationally. Understanding the importance of global standards, governance, and codes of practice used on international projects. Appreciation of the role of the Multilateral Development Banks in financing and procuring construction work in developing countries.

Assessable learning outcomes:

At the completion of this module, the student will have a knowledge and understanding of the economics and management of the global market in design and construction services, their operation and practice, and an appreciation of the strategies of some of the world’s leading market operators in this sphere.

Additional outcomes:

Awareness of the inter-connectivity of many of the drivers and issues shaping international construction, and the interconnection with other modules.

Outline content:

  • Global drivers and issues: The main drivers and issues influencing construction in developing, emerging, transition and developed countries.

  • Historical perspective: Consideration of the reasons for the way that international construction has evolved since 1960.

  • Size and shape of the markets: Size, distribution and type of work undertaken in different countries, the geopolitical influences and the impact of climate on construction in different count ries.

  • Economic Cycles: The causes of the cyclical nature of construction and how governments control workload.

  • The key differences in approach to buying design and construction around the world: The fundamental differences in approach to buying design and construction work in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia and the USA.

  • Emerging markets; Consideration of how the emerging markets of China, India, Brazil, Russia and Indonesia are different and comp lex.

  • Developed markets; Consideration of the USA, Japan, and the European markets and how they are changing.

  • The large Construction and Consultant: The world’s major consulting and construction companies, how they have grown and diversified. The strategies for market entry, growth, winning work, profitability, and survival. Mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and strategic alliances.

  • Governments and Regulatory Bodies: Their roles, activ ities and influences in registration, governance, codes and standards, health and safety, environmental protection, and ethical behaviour.

  • Bribery and corruption: The legislative and corporate requirements.

  • Insurances and bonds: The main requirements on international projects.

  • Labour issues: The role of the International Labour Organisation. The role of the labour unions, wage negotiations, and the use of foreign labour on job sites.

  • Project finance: The role of the World Bank and the Multilateral Development Banks in financing and procuring construction work.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module will be taught by lectures, tutorial discussions and seminars, some of which will involve specialist experts in aspects of international construction.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 24
Seminars 6
Project Supervision 10
Guided independent study: 60
Total hours by term 100
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 90
Oral assessment and presentation 10

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Formative assessment methods:

Active participation of students who have work experience internationally is encouraged to share experiences and knowledge. There will be discussion of the course content for the group assignment, with feedback in class groups, relevant to the assessed assignments.

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 50% overall

Reassessment arrangements:
Students are required to contact the School to confirm reassessment arrangements.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

  1. Required text books:

  2. Specialist equipment or materials:

  3. Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:

  4. Printing and binding:

  5. Computers and devices with a particular specification:

  6. Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 28 April 2020


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