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Multidiscipline Engineering Basics (and Related Specialties) for Project Managers and Others

Timothy D. Blackburn, MBA, P.E.

Course Outline

This course examines the major engineering disciplines and other specialties needed for many projects as follows:

1. Project Manager - fundamental roles and responsibilities

2. The Big Three - Civil, Mechanical, and Electrical Engineering

3. Other Essential Disciplines are also briefly discussed, including Industrial Engineering, Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Environmental and Safety Engineering, Packaging Engineering, Process Engineering, and Systems or Computer Engineering

This course includes a multiple choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

1. Understand the role of a Project Manager

2. Civil Engineering

a. Understand traditional specialties in Civil Engineering
b. Do basic stormwater runoff calculation
c. Learn which consultants are best hired locally
d. Understand basic structural engineering concepts
e. Know two types of structural loads
f. Learn about moment
g. Know what is a kip
h. Learn how beams fail and basic design concepts
i. Basic statics
j. Basic footing sizing
k. Understand concrete concepts and why reinforcing is added
l. Learn about typical construction agreements/contracts
m. Understand typical construction delivery methods
n. Understand when soil borings should be taken at a project site
o. Learn what is a Proctor and why it is needed

3. Mechanical Engineering

a. Review Bernoulli's theorem
b. Review typical piping materials for different applications
c. Calculate chiller size requirements give water flow and delta T
d. Understand the core issues/parameters with HVAC Design
e. Learn about the two primary types of HVAC cooling airhandlers
f. Understand sensible and latent loads
g. Translate BTU to Tons
h. Calculate Air Changes per Hour (ACPH)
i. Do basic duct sizing
j. Perform basic heat loss calculations
k. Understand sources of heat gain and loss
l. Calculate cfm needed for HVAC
m. Convert pressure to flow or flow to pressure
n. Learn about fan laws
o. Exhaust fundamentals
p. Learn about fire protection fundamentals

4. Electrical Engineering

a. Learn Ohm's Law
b. Calculate Power
c. Wire sizing fundamentals
d. Lighting fundamentals

5. Review other essential disciplines

Intended Audience

The primary audience is the Project Manager involved in a building design project. However, Architects, Construction Managers, Contractors, Estimators and others needing a fundamental multidiscipline understanding will benefit. As well, other engineers (mechanical, electrical, civil) and other specialties (or those with an intellectual curiosity) will benefit and will be better enabled to collaborate with others.

Benefit to Attendees

The intent is not to develop the learner in a short course to do multidiscipline design per se (a violation of the law), but to better understand other disciplines which can result in better relations, scoping, coordination, and project management. As well, knowing what disciplines do and their fundamentals will enable the Project Manager to better anticipate resource needs, write effective Requests for Proposals or Proposals to the client, perform quality reviews, troubleshoot problems, and better coordinate between disciplines. Finally, the course may satisfy intellectual curiosity as to what other disciplines do.

Course Introduction

The course provides a general overview of the tasks associated with the various disciplines, along with examples and some basic formulas or applications. Practical experience from the Instructor is included. Some typical examples, formulas, and engineering fundamentals are provided to give better understanding.

Course Content

The course content is in a PDF file (295 KB) Multidiscipline Engineering Basics (and Related Specialties) for Project Managers and Others. You need to open or download this document to study this course.

Course Summary

In this course we review the primary deliverables/concepts for the various disciplines as it primarily relates to buildings. As well, examples and basic formulas are presented. It is important for the Project Manager to understand the disciplines he or she manages or coordinates with if success is to be expected.


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.