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OL 101: My Course Help offers Quick Start Guides, an FAQ, and other information to help you navigate this site.

For quick resolution to technical or administrative issues, please Contact Our Support Staff rather than your instructor.

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Required Textbooks

  1. M. K. Hurd, Formwork for Concrete, 7th ed. (Farmington Hills, MI: American Concrete Institute, 2005).
    ISBN: 0870311778 (You can purchase this book online from ACI, the American Concrete Institute.)

    Robert T. Ratay, ed., Handbook of Temporary Structures in Construction: Engineering Standards, Designs, Practices, and Procedures, 3rd ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012).
    ISBN: 0071753079

This course preview outlines the details of this online course. For more information on taking this course, please send an e-mail message to our support staff at UW offices are closed on these holidays.

Welcome to Construction Management 580. This is a required course for the Certificate Program in Heavy Construction Project Management and for the distance learning Master of Science in Construction Management or Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering. The class provides an overview of the materials, methods, and techniques associated with the temporary structures utilized in various construction operations.

This is a group start class; that is, all students begin the class at the same time and progress through the lessons together. This structure will enable you to build a learning community in which you can share and learn from each other.

Is This Course for You?

A background in either civil and environmental engineering or construction management is recommended for this course.


The objective of the course is to familiarize you with the materials, methods, and techniques associated with the temporary structures utilized in various construction operations, such as

  • concrete formwork;
  • scaffolding;
  • shoring;
  • underpinning;
  • cofferdams;
  • and slurry walls;
  • earth-retaining structures; and
  • construction dewatering.

Major emphasis will be placed on concrete formwork construction, covering detailed design analysis of both vertical and horizontal timber formwork systems.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to

  • design concrete vertical and horizontal formwork;
  • describe the maturity concept and the use of maturity meters for stripping the forms;
  • understand shoring and different types and application of scaffolding;
  • define underpinning and its applications;
  • analyze the forces and understand the steps in designing cofferdams;
  • describe diaphragm/slurry walls and earth-retaining structures;
  • and
  • describe different methods used in construction dewatering.

Required and Recommended Materials



M. K. Hurd, Formwork for Concrete, 7th ed. (Farmington Hills, MI: American Concrete Institute, 2005).
ISBN: 0870311778


Robert T. Ratay, Handbook of Temporary Structures in Construction, 2nd ed. (New York: McGraw Hill, 1996).
ISBN: 0070512612

Course Components

The course consists of eight lessons; each lesson includes two reading assignments—an online lesson commentary and a reading assignment from the text. Self-study questions, discussion questions, and a written assignment are also part of each lesson. Following are descriptions of each of these components.

Reading Assignments

Reading assignments provide general discussion of major teaching points in each lesson. You should read the online lesson commentary first, and then read the textbook assignment. Once you complete the readings, you should be able to answer the self-study and forum questions and complete the lesson assignment.

Self-study Questions

Self-study questions appear in a sidebar at the end of each lesson. These ungraded questions are for your personal review of the material presented in that lesson. Use them to make sure you understand and can apply key concepts. If you find you cannot answer a question to your satisfaction, review the related reading and lesson parts, or post your question in the lesson forum.

Forum Questions

An online forum will be conducted each week to discuss questions posted in the assignment for each lesson, and to address any of your questions. Your participation in the forums, where you are encouraged to interact with other students, is an important part of contributing to the learning community. Your postings in the forum will count toward your final grade.

Information about how to post, reply to, and sort messages in the online forum is contained within the forum in the EPost Participation Guide.


There will be ten written assignments during the quarter—one for each week of the course. Assignments are based on application of course concepts and demonstration of the knowledge gained in the lessons. Please see the "About Your Instructor" page on your syllabus for assignment submission guidelines and the policy for late assignments.

Lesson Topics

Following are summaries of the topics covered in each lesson. The duration of the first and second lessons is two weeks each; the duration of the remaining six lessons is one week each.

Lesson Number Topic
Lesson One: Materials, and Accessories (two weeks) Details of vertical formwork design.
Lesson Two: Slab Form Design and Formwork Design Table (two weeks) Design of horizontal concrete formwork, as well as formwork design tables used by formwork designers to determine safe spans for timber and plywood formwork components.
Lesson Three: The Maturity Concept and Tremie Concrete (one week) The maturity method for predicting concrete strength; details of tremie concrete.
Lesson Four—Shoring, Scaffolding, and Underpinning (one week) Design, hardware, installation, and underpinning of shoring and scaffolding.
Lesson Five: Cofferdams (one week) Structural cofferdams as temporary installations, details of proper and safe installation methods, materials used.
Lesson Six: Diaphragm and Slurry Walls One Week (one week) Types, materials, uses, and methods of construction of diaphragm walls and their bracing systems built by the slurry trench method, as well as various procedures of their design and analysis.
Lesson Seven: Earth-Retaining Structures (one week) Methods for determining lateral earth pressures, including use of tables and charts. It also describes various kinds of earth-retaining systems.
Lesson Eight: Construction Dewatering (one week) Dewatering as a temporary procedure, with emphasis on how to choose the right system.

Term Project

You will complete term project, a written analysis of a temporary structure(s). Your project report is not to exceed 12 pages. You have two options for completing this report:

Option 1: Select a temporary structure system and write and in-depth paper analyzing that structure, using resources in an engineering or technical library. This analysis can be on a system covered during the course, or on a temporary structure not covered.

Option 2: Complete a detailed analysis and evaluation of the temporary structures used on a construction project. This may entail interviews with the responsible parties and project manager. This option may be best if you do not have access to an engineering or technical library.

For detailed information on expectations for the content of your report, visit the "Term Project" link on your syllabus.

Final Exam

The final examination will contain a set of problems and questions similar to those asked in the discussion forum and homework assignments in the course. The exam will be closed book. However, you will be allowed to take one sheet of personal notes to the exam. All the formulas and tables will be provided. The exam time will be two and a half hours.

You will take the final examination in person during the final week of the quarter. For information on scheduling your exam, see the "Examinations" section of the Online Student Handbook.


Your final grade in the course will be calculated based on the following:

  • 35% for assignments;
  • 05% for forum postings;
  • 20% for the term project; and
  • 40% for the final exam.

The final grade will be determined by converting the final percentage grade to a 4.0 basis using the following conversion scale:

Percentage Grade Letter Grade
57.4 and below

Note: A grade of 2.7 or above must be earned if the course is to count towards a Master of Science degree.

Starting Out

Before you begin your work in this course, please post a short biography to the General Forum. Tell us a bit about yourself, including your professional background, why you are interested in this course, and, if you wish, a few details about your family or hobbies. Your biography will contribute to building a learning community for this course.

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