Architectural Engineering & Construction Management students get hands-on experience in California Polytechnic State University Emerging Trends course.  This 10 week senior course spans multiple topics immersing students in industry trends like BIM and Integrated Project Delivery.  

  • "Students are learning about the constructability on projects", says Professor Elbert Speidel.  Prof. Speidel began his career as an architect more than 30 years ago, later moved into contracting which spanned 12 years, but has continued practicing and maintaining his architecture license.  He wanted to share his experience and knowledge back with the school that gave him his degree more than 50 years ago and has been teaching at CalPoly now for 11 years.  
  • "As Architecture students, they are taught modeling techniques and use familiar architectural tools like Revit, ArchiCAD & SketchUp. However, the Emerging Trends course takes them further.  Within the class we introduce them to Tekla Structures.  Students quickly recognize the shortcomings of the architectural model," continues Professor Speidel.

The school engages with many industry professionals within this course and students get a true understanding of the challenges the industry faces, as well as about how some of the newer technology benefits them. After receiving a brief introduction, and guided through online learning materials via Tekla Campus, students dive into a hands-on project of a 4-story parking garage. They are provided with a Revit model and are asked to convert it to an IFC and import into Tekla Structures.  Tekla Structures, the BIM software solution, is simple enough for students to quickly understand how to add the structural components and detail required to build.  They must model using Cast-In-Place concrete as the material, then detail and determine the constructability.  The final output includes the model, schedule, pour sequence, and QTO’s of beams, slabs, rebar & columns.  


  • “We have seen the benefit of offering this course to our students.  They take a different approach to modeling as they are thinking through the project from a construction standpoint,” say Professor Speidel.  
  •  “As a department, we have decided to make this a standard course and this year will begin offering it to the sophomore class as CM280 BIM. We are also looking to increase the project to include multiple materials. The idea is to add a commercial mixed use facility to the 4-story parking garage and include steel,” continues Professor Speidel.    

 CalPoly’s mission statement says it all: “We provide innovative educational challenges focused on preparing construction professionals committed to excellence.”  Professor Speidel continues: “Our goal is to provide students with the tools and understanding needed to prepare them for life after graduation.  Many of our students go on to work with some of the top construction and engineering firms. “

To learn more about California PolyTechnic State University’s Construction Management Dept. visit their website 

Tekla Campus is an online academy for learning the basics of Tekla Structures.  Students can download this free BIM software and start learning today.  Visit