David Carmichael

Sch-Civil & Environmental Engi
Contact details:
(+61 2) 9385 6140
(+61 2) 9385 6139

Civil Engineering Building (H20)
Level 2, Room CE213
Kensington Campus

Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering

David Carmichael is Professor of Civil Engineering in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, former Head of the Department of Engineering Construction and Management, team leader of the Construction Innovation and Research Initiative (CIRI), and a member of the Centre for Infrastructure, Engineering and Safety (CIES) at UNSW.  He is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia, Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and a trained arbitrator and mediator.

Professor Carmichael publishes, teaches, and consults widely in most aspects of project management, construction management, systems engineering, and problem solving.  He is the author and editor of twenty-three books and over two hundred papers in structural and construction engineering and construction and project management and has provided expert reports and expert witness in cases involving structural failures, construction accidents and safety, and contractual and liability matters. His major consultancy work has included the structural design and analysis of civil and building structures; the planning and programming of engineering projects; the administration and control/replanning of civil engineering projects and contracts; and various construction and building related work.  

With an international reputation for excellence, Professor Carmichael is known for his adeptness at balancing big picture thinking with a keen eye for detail, producing landmark, seminal texts on project and risk management (Project Management Framework, A. A. Balkema, Rotterdam, 2004), project planning (Project Planning and Control, Taylor and Francis, London, 2006), problem solving (Problem Solving for Engineers, CRC Press, Taylor and Francis, London, 2013), and infrastructure investment (Infrastructure Investment: An Engineering Perspective, CRC Press, Taylor and Francis, London, 2014). With risk management and problem solving among his expertise, it should come as no surprise that in the classroom Professor Carmichael is constantly challenging his students to apply their learning, weigh up their options, test their limits and when necessary shift the goal posts in an effort to create industry leaders who are innovative thinkers.


PhD, University of Canterbury
MEngSc, University of Sydney
BE(Hons), University of Sydney


CVEN4101 Problem Solving and Decision Making

CVEN4106 Construction Practicum

CVEN2101 Engineering Construction
CVEN4103 Engineering Contracts

Research Interests

Professor Carmichael's expertise and research interests include:

  • Problem solving, decision making, systems
  • Contracts and disputes
  • Project delivery
  • Construction operations, management
  • Project management and management functional areas including risk, economics, finances, and planning

Projects he is currently undertaking with his students and looking to continue include:

  • Project and investment feasibility, investment
  • Systems, problem solving
  • Contracts, contracting and project delivery
  • Sustainability in construction
  • Climate change and carbon impact on projects
  • Engineering operations

Professor Carmichael has received research grants exceeding $250,000 and published more than 20 articles in international peer-reviewed journals in the last 2 years.


CRC Low Carbon Living Grant – Carbon Value Engineering

ANZ Bank and CISCO - Agricultural Automation

Shanghai Jiao Tong University - UNSW Collaborative Research - Smart Cities


  • Vice Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence, UNSW Australia, 2014
  • Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence, Highly Commended Paper Award, 2015
  • Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence, Outstanding Journal Paper Award, 2014
  • Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence, Highly Commended Paper Award, 2013
  • Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence, Highly Commended Paper Award, 2012


Professional Affiliations/Organisations

  • Royal Society of New South Wales, Fellow
  • The Institution of Engineers, Australia, Fellow
  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Member
  • Institute of Arbitrators and Mediators, Australia, former graded arbitrator/mediator
  • Editorial Boards/Reviewer – numerous journals