Scholarly Works, Myers-Lawson School of Construction

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  • Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Green Infrastructure: A Systematic Exploration of Definitions and Their Origins
    Adesoji, Tolulope; Pearce, Annie R. (MDPI, 2024-01-02)
    Green Infrastructure (GI) is rooted in ecology and cuts across multiple disciplines, including landscape architecture, environmental sciences, planning, policy, and engineering. Likewise, the definition of this concept also cuts across disciplines, which creates ambiguity around what GI is and what makes up GI in practice—for example, mistaking bioswales for regular tree planters or green space within communities in which they are installed. We undertook a systematic literature review of 38 peer-reviewed articles for this study using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) method to identify and synthesize the different disciplinary definitions of GI in the literature. This study also presents the types of GI systems mentioned in the peer-reviewed articles while identifying other benefits apart from the primary benefit of GI installation, which is stormwater management. The analysis revealed three clusters of GI definitions: (I) Interconnected natural areas and other open spaces, (II) Strategically planned natural and semi-natural areas, and (III) Decentralized systems and techniques. However, we got rid of the third cluster during the analysis because GI is known to be a decentralized system, and the definition region could not be tracked. These clusters represent a spectrum, one of which employs the structure of natural systems already in place to support human goals (bio-inclusivity). The other includes living systems as components within engineered solutions to achieve objectives (bio-integration). This review points to the need for an encompassing definition that cuts across disciplines with a consensus on the adoption and concise categorization of GI types and the multiple benefits they provide to humans and ecosystems. A consensus definition helps clear misconceptions and improve the understanding of GI, potentially improving receptivity towards these solutions within communities from a community member perspective.
  • Construction inspection & monitoring with quadruped robots in future human-robot teaming: A preliminary study
    Halder, Srijeet; Afsari, Kereshmeh; Chiou, Erin; Patrick, Rafael; Hamed, Kaveh Akbari (Elsevier, 2023-04-15)
    Construction inspection and monitoring are key activities in construction projects. Automation of inspection tasks can address existing limitations and inefficiencies of the manual process to enable systematic and consistent construction inspection. However, there is a lack of an in-depth understanding of the process of construction inspection and monitoring and the tasks and sequences involved to provide the basis for task delegation in a human-technology partnership. The purpose of this research is to study the conventional process of inspection and monitoring of construction work currently implemented in construction projects and to develop an alternative process using a quadruped robot as an inspector assistant to overcome the limitations of the conventional process. This paper explores the use of quadruped robots for construction inspection and monitoring with an emphasis on a human-robot teaming approach. Technical development and testing of the robotic technology are not in the scope of this study. The results indicate how inspector assistant quadruped robots can enable a human-technology partnership in future construction inspection and monitoring tasks. The research was conducted through on-site experiments and observations of inspectors during construction inspection and monitoring followed by a semi-structured interview to develop a process map of the conventional construction inspection and monitoring process. The study also includes on-site robot training and experiments with the inspectors to develop an alternative process map to depict future construction inspection and monitoring work with the use of an inspector assistant quadruped robot. Both the conventional and alternative process maps were validated through interview surveys with industry experts against four criteria including, completeness, accuracy, generalizability, and comprehensibility. The findings suggest that the developed process maps reflect existing and future construction inspection and monitoring work.
  • Perceived benefits, barriers, perceptions, and readiness to use exoskeletons in the construction industry: Differences by demographic characteristics
    Gutierrez, Nancy; Ojelade, Aanuoluwapo; Kim, Sunwook; Barr, Alan; Akanmu, Abiola; Nussbaum, Maury A.; Harris-Adamson, Carisa (Elsevier, 2023-12-21)
    Exoskeletons (EXOs) are a promising wearable intervention to reduce work-related musculoskeletal disorder risks among construction workers. However, the adoption of EXOs may differ with demographic characteristics. Survey data (n = 361) were collected from construction industry stakeholders and a summation score method was used to summarize respondent's benefits and barriers to EXO use, along with perceptions and readiness to use. Responses were stratified by race (White vs. non-White), sex (male vs. female), and age (<47 years vs. ≥47 years). Both a higher Benefits score and a higher Perceptions score were significantly and positively associated with a higher Readiness to Use score. There were also significant differences in perceived barriers to EXO use by race and sex. These results demonstrate substantial interest in EXO use but also emphasize the need to ensure proportionate access to the potential benefits of EXO technology.
  • Immersive Cross-platform X3D Training: Elevating Construction Safety Education
    Roofigari-Esfahan, Nazila; Polys, Nicholas F.; Johnson, Ashley; Ogle, J. Todd; Sandbrook, Ben (ACM, 2023-10-09)
    A multi-platform Virtual Reality (VR) approach is proposed to complement the traditional approaches for construction safety training. Visual simulations of a highway construction project were developed and presented through the developed platforms, aiming at giving students immersive experience of actual construction environments. The simulated worksite scenarios included active traffic, multiple worker roles and heavy equipment, and was rendered at different times of day and weather conditions. We used this material in an undergraduate class activity with 50 students. During a session in our visualization lab, students experienced the scenarios presenting day shift, afternoon shift with adverse weather and night shift and were asked to develop daily report of their job site observation. The scenrios were presented via the following platforms: TV projection, Mobile Phone, Head-Mounted Display (HMD), and CAVE projection room. The results demonstrates that the multi-platform immersive experience has the potential to significantly improve hazard recognition skill of construction students.
  • Developing Supplemental Instructional Videos for Construction Management Education
    Barnes, Andrew F.; McCoy, Andrew P.; Warnick, Quinn (MDPI, 2023-09-28)
    Technological advancements and lower production costs since the mid-1990s have dramatically improved opportunities for instructors to tailor self-made instructional videos for their students. However, video production technology has outpaced the development of educational theory, causing instructional videos to consistently fall short of their pedagogical potential. Responding to these shortcomings, scholars from various backgrounds have started publishing guidelines to help practitioners as they develop instructional videos for their respective fields. Using a rapid literature review, this article contributes to this ongoing effort by synthesizing theory-based, best-practice guidelines for a specific subcategory of educational videos called supplemental instructional videos (SIVs). SIVs are different from other types of instructional videos in that they are used to support and magnify other learning methods, mediums, and materials rather than substitute for them. Bringing the best-practice guidelines synthesized in this paper immediately into application, they were used to inform the production of SIVs for an undergraduate course that was held in the Building Construction Department of a major public university in the United States during the Spring 2020 semester. The methods used in the production of the SIV guidelines were systematically documented during the course for future researchers and practitioners to learn and build from.
  • Risk Analysis in Implementing Building Energy Performance Projects: Hybrid DANP-VIKOR Model Analysis — A Case Study in Iran
    Naderi, Hossein; Heydari, Mohammad Hossein; Parchami Jalal, Majid (MDPI, 2023-08-14)
    Building energy performance contracts have emerged as a highly effective strategy for reducing energy consumption in both developed and developing markets. These projects inherently involve risks, and a comprehensive risk analysis can greatly enhance their successful implementation, especially in emerging markets. This research aims to analyze risks associated with building energy performance projects, considering their interrelationships, prioritization, and the ranking of optimal project types based on the analyzed risks. Given its position as the largest electrical energy consumer in the Middle East and its status as an emerging market, Iran was selected as the case study for conducting the risk analysis. Thirteen risk factors were classified into four distinct risk groups, and their relationships and priority weights were determined using a hybrid DANP approach. Subsequently, the VIKOR method was employed to rank the most-advantageous project types based on their risk priorities. The findings of this research identified project lifecycle risks as the highest-priority risks, while external risks were determined to be the most-influential among all identified risks. Moreover, the implementation of packaged public projects was identified as the most-favorable alternative for promoting building energy performance projects in Iran and similar emerging markets. By providing a comprehensive understanding of risks, this study offers valuable insights that can aid emerging and developing markets in successfully implementing energy performance projects and improving overall energy efficiency.
  • Unmanned Aerial Systems and Deep Learning for Safety and Health Activity Monitoring on Construction Sites
    Akinsemoyin, Aliu; Awolusi, Ibukun; Chakraborty, Debaditya; Al-Bayati, Ahmed Jalil; Akanmu, Abiola (MDPI, 2023-07-26)
    Construction is a highly hazardous industry typified by several complex features in dynamic work environments that have the possibility of causing harm or ill health to construction workers. The constant monitoring of workers’ unsafe behaviors and work conditions is considered not only a proactive but also an active method of removing safety and health hazards and preventing potential accidents on construction sites. The integration of sensor technologies and artificial intelligence for computer vision can be used to create a robust management strategy and enhance the analysis of safety and health data needed to generate insights and take action to protect workers on construction sites. This study presents the development and validation of a framework that implements the use of unmanned aerial systems (UASs) and deep learning (DL) for the collection and analysis of safety activity metrics for improving construction safety performance. The developed framework was validated using a pilot case study. Digital images of construction safety activities were collected on active construction sites using a UAS, and the performance of two different object detection deep-learning algorithms/models (Faster R-CNN and YOLOv3) for safety hardhat detection were compared. The dataset included 7041 preprocessed and augmented images with a 75/25 training and testing split. From the case study results, Faster R-CNN showed a higher precision of 93.1% than YOLOv3 (89.8%). The findings of this study show the impact and potential benefits of using UASs and DL in computer vision applications for managing safety and health on construction sites.
  • Vibrotactile Alerting to Prevent Accidents in Highway Construction Work Zones: An Exploratory Study
    Yang, Xiang; Roofigari-Esfahan, Nazila (MDPI, 2023-06-16)
    Struck-by accidents are the leading cause of injuries in highway construction work zones. Despite numerous safety interventions, injury rates remain high. As workers’ exposure to traffic is sometimes unavoidable, providing warnings can be an effective way to prevent imminent threats. Such warnings should consider work zone conditions that can hinder the timely perception of alerts, e.g., poor visibility and high noise level. This study proposes a vibrotactile system integrated into workers’ conventional personal protective equipment (PPE), i.e., safety vests. Three experiments were conducted to assess the feasibility of using vibrotactile signals to warn workers in highway environments, the perception and performance of vibrotactile signals at different body locations, and the usability of various warning strategies. The results revealed vibrotactile signals had a 43.6% faster reaction time than audio signals, and the perceived intensity and urgency levels on the sternum, shoulders, and upper back were significantly higher than the waist. Among different notification strategies used, providing a moving direction imposed significantly lower mental workloads and higher usability scores than providing a hazard direction. Further research should be conducted to reveal factors that affect alerting strategy preference towards a customizable system to elicit higher usability among users.
  • A Mycorrhizal Model for Transactive Solar Energy Markets with Battery Storage
    Gould, Zachary Michael Isaac; Mohanty, Vikram; Reichard, Georg; Saad, Walid; Shealy, Tripp; Day, Susan (MDPI, 2023-05-13)
    Distributed market structures for local, transactive energy trading can be modeled with ecological systems, such as mycorrhizal networks, which have evolved to facilitate interplant carbon exchange in forest ecosystems. However, the complexity of these ecological systems can make it challenging to understand the effect that adopting these models could have on distributed energy systems and the magnitude of associated performance parameters. We therefore simplified and implemented a previously developed blueprint for mycorrhizal energy market models to isolate the effect of the mycorrhizal intervention in allowing buildings to redistribute portions of energy assets on competing local, decentralized marketplaces. Results indicate that the applied mycorrhizal intervention only minimally affects market and building performance indicators—increasing market self-consumption, decreasing market self-sufficiency, and decreasing building weekly savings across all seasonal (winter, fall, summer) and typological (residential, mixed-use) cases when compared to a fixed, retail feed-in-tariff market structure. The work concludes with a discussion of opportunities for further expansion of the proposed mycorrhizal market framework through reinforcement learning as well as limitations and policy recommendations considering emerging aggregated distributed energy resource (DER) access to wholesale energy markets.
  • Sustainable Operations: A Systematic Operational Performance Evaluation Framework for Public-Private Partnership Transportation Infrastructure Projects
    Du, Juan; Wang, Wenxin; Gao, Xinghua; Hu, Min; Jiang, Haili (MDPI, 2023-05-12)
    With the application of public–private partnership (PPP) model in urban transportation infrastructure projects, various participants have put forward multi-dimensional demands to the operation and maintenance of infrastructures. This study aims to establish a systematic operational performance evaluation framework for PPP transportation infrastructure projects. Based on a literature review, the balanced scorecard was improved, and a conceptual model of multidimensional performance assessment was constructed. The structure of the qualitative performance assessment system was quantified and analyzed by combining structural equation modeling with questionnaires to obtain causal relationships among the indicators. Subsequently, a system dynamics model was constructed to assess the performance dynamically, and a validation analysis was conducted. It finds that maintaining a low level of operational quality over an extended period can significantly reduce stakeholder satisfaction, consequently exacerbating the decline in project performance. In contrast, an improvement in the level of informatization is found to positively contribute to enhancing operational quality and facilitating the long-term sustainability of project operations. It innovatively integrates four dimensions of financial, multi-stakeholder satisfaction, operation and maintenance quality, and sustainability performance to enrich the theoretical system of PPP transportation infrastructure performance assessment. At the same time, it analyzes the influence mechanism among the indicators and its long-term dynamic performance, which provides an effective decision-making tool for operational performance management.
  • A Tool-Based System Architecture for a Digital Twin: A Case Study in a Healthcare Facility
    Harode, Ashit; Thabet, Walid; Dongre, Poorvesh (International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction, 2023-02)
    Changes in the local and global markets are forcing A/E/C/FM (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Facility Management) organizations to deliver more robust and innovative operational BIMs (Building Information Models). It is hypothesized that BIMs will transform from a static 3D model to a Digital Twin providing a truly digital representation of the physical asset or the building it represents. This transformation to a dynamic Digital Twin will allow the A/E/C/FM industry to visualize, monitor, and optimize operational assets and processes to support better inspection and analysis for a more efficient facility operations and maintenance. To support the adoption and implementation of Digital Twin in A/E/C/FM, the authors have defined two clear objectives. First, we discuss requirements for a functionality-based canonical architecture to create a digital twin followed by proposing two tool-based system architecture options for its implementation. Second, we use a case study approach to develop a proof-of-concept Digital Twin of an operating room in a healthcare facility using Power BI Desktop and Azure Services. The prototype aims to monitor room air quality as per INAIL (National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work) and ISO (International Organization for Standards) standards. Multiple sensors connected to a Raspberry Pi 4 are used to capture real-time data for various air quality parameters including temperature, humidity, airflow, particulate contamination, and Nitrous Oxide (N2O) gas. Multiple dashboards are also created to visualize, monitor, and analyze the data harnessed from the OR sensors. The implementation addresses critical issues including security, data storage, visualization, processing, data streaming, collection, and analysis. As an initial validation, the Digital Twin prototype was presented and discussed with a healthcare BIM manager. Initial feedback from the industry expert indicated that the prototype could decrease the required time to respond to facility maintenance issues such as decreased air flow due to possible obstructions.
  • Measuring the Impacts of AR HMD on Users' Situation Awareness During Wood Frame Assembly Tasks
    Qin, Yimin; Bloomquist, Eric; Bulbul, Tanyel; Gabbard, Joseph L. (International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction, 2023-02)
    Advances in the development of Augmented Reality (AR) hardware and software allow for novel opportunities to positively influence the traditional construction industry. Recent research studied the feasibility of various AR devices for supporting construction assembly tasks, however, there is limited work examining the usability of AR head-mounted display (HMD) in relation to construction workers' cognitive skills such as situation awareness. This study evaluated three information display types (paper blueprint, tag-along image and conformal model) during wood frame assembly of three different scales (small, medium, and large) to investigate how AR HMDs impact user's situation awareness with respect to mental workload. Eighteen construction engineering students were recruited in a within-subjects experiment. The findings showed no significant difference in both the mental workload and the situation awareness for all three display types, suggesting that AR displays did not generate significant excessive mental burden or distractions on users in comparison to traditional paper-based information. Specifically comparing the AR displays, the results revealed that user's mental workload was affected by field of view (FOV) restriction in AR HMD, whereas situation awareness wasn't impacted.
  • Transformation of Information Flows and Work Processes for Field Superintendents
    Mills, Thomas H.; Lewendowski, Lisa; Wakefield, Ron R. (2002)
    This paper addresses field information flows and work processes of one of America’s largest residential homebuilders. This residential contractor currently uses a combination of; 1) web based scheduling, allowing subcontractor to self schedule, 2) an e-order process for material procurement, which allows field superintendents to make simultaneously orders for multiple houses, 3) web based subcontractor payment authorization and 4) a mobile phone network internal to subdivision contractors to help deliver a portion of the parent company’s 50,000 houses a year. The objective of the research investigation is to understand which real time information in which format, will best assist construction supervision. The information mapping process for a sample of residential field superintendents is documented. Differences between the corporate workflow and information system and the system actually used by the field superintendents are highlighted. These differences guided the development of a revised information system and workflow that better serves the needs of the field superintendents. The basic field communications mechanisms and connections to the corporate database are documented. Observed ready, set, go points that connect information processes to field task initiation are also, identified within the paper. The reconfiguration of these established trigger points is addressed and identifiable information gaps are discussed. The information exchange techniques to ultimately self-activate work processes are also explored and presented.
  • Owner Initiated Modernization of Bridge Safety Inspections
    Mills, Thomas H.; Wakefield, Ron; Bushman, William (2004)
    This paper reports on an “asset management” research program that is applicable to both the private and public sectors. This work presents the strategies and endeavors initiated and driven by a public sector owner in an effort to modernize their current asset management practices. The Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Transportation (VDOT) is attempting to modernize a bridge safety inspection processes that requires over 14,000 bridges be inspected at least once every two years. The research effort involved investigating the capability to transform and replace paper-based inspection practices with advanced mobile computing practices. A series of owner-agency initiated research proposals are discussed and the impacts each would have on the procedural processes directed at transforming current work processes with newer mobile handheld computing processes. Ultimately the DOT selected a phased proposal and activated the first phase. This first phase research approach is presented, as are the results. The research determined that field inspections are readily transformable from one that relies on field marking paper reports and then returning to the office for semi-manual reporting to one that is electronically assisted in the field by using handheld computers. Identifiable areas of assistance are field data capture, automated asset inventory updates, and semi-automated report production. From this analysis a series of strategies and recommendations were identified. The owner-agency’s decision to abandon a controlled phased study in favor of an ad-hoc in-house development process is then presented and discussed.
  • Introducing Organizational Intelligence to the Construction Industry
    Jung, Younghan; Mills, Thomas H. (2010)
    The construction industry, which is inherently multidisciplinary, has adopted intellectual and technical business improvements from many other industries with the intent to optimize productivity. Therefore, there is a need to implement new managerial strategies that incorporate standardized and structured repeatable procedures. As part of the effort to establish a better understanding of management from organizational resources through final construction, this paper introduces a new theoretical approach for Organization Intelligence in Construction (OIC) that is based on the procedural ability of an organization to efficiently process, support, measure, and reason through management issues. Organizational intelligence is applied in all organizations to enhance the understanding of managerial processes and assets/resources within the organization. The measured performance of a managerial process depends on the capability and quality of resources that are available within the organization and/or the acquisition and management of resources that are outside of the organization. This paper suggests a mechanism to standardize construction processes by identifying the role of relationships in an organization's operation and the organizational cognitive abilities that subsequently determine the effective and efficient use of resources to aid in successfully completing an operation. A case example provides the foundation for a replicable template that reveals how construction processes, personal and organizational knowledge, skills, and resources contribute to managerial activity functions.
  • Residential Drainline Challenges and Future Design Objectives
    Carneal, Margaret G.; Pearce, Annie R.; Mills, Thomas H. (2022-04-21)
    Concerns of plumbing drainline issues are growing due to crumbling infrastructure, water conservation efforts, lower flows in drainline carry, outdated codes, pipe rigidity, and remodeling issues. The problem calls for a new drainline design, but first, the challenges of existing drainlines must be understood in order to develop new solutions. Plumbing codes have remained static for nearly 100 years despite dramatic changes in water usage in homes (Cole 2014). Documentation of drainline carry has not been collected outside of a laboratory environment (PERC 2016). This survey examines the challenges of drainline installation, remodeling, and service-repair issues in existing buildings from experienced plumbers.
  • Ranking Student Employment Decision Criteria
    Jenkins, James L.; Benhart, Bradley; Mills, Thomas H.; Reyes, Matthew; Rahn, Keith (2020-09-25)
    This paper presents the results of a recent survey taken by construction management (CM) students at four U.S. Construction Management programs and the construction industry companies that recruit them. Respondents were asked to rate factors that affect the students’ employment decision. Survey results indicate that although industry has a grasp on the top-5 factors of importance there remains some misalignment of other factors of importance. Results indicate the five most important factors when considering employment with a company are: upward job movement, salary, company reputation, company culture, and company ethics. Comparisons between the two surveys are discussed.
  • A study of effectiveness and value of BIM implementation in Lean Construction among medium size Mid-Atlantic USA construction firms
    Harode, Ashit; Mills, Thomas H. (2020-09-25)
    Lean Construction and Build information modelling (BIM) are two of the major advancements in construction industry that focus on increasing the productivity and adding value to the building process. Although previous work has been done in this area the industry is evolving and This research focuses on the synergy between Lean Practices and BIM Tools by assessing the value within the Mid Atlantic USA construction industry of BIM Tools integrated with Lean Construction practices and what areas this integration is the most effective The research focuses on: 1) Effectiveness and value of Lean Construction integrated into Building Information Modelling among Mid Atlantic USA construction industry, 2) Perceived challenges faced during this collaboration and, 3)Strategies towards better integration.
  • Virginia’s Public Procurement of Design-Build and Construction Management Services
    Mills, Thomas H. (1999)
    Both the Commonwealth of Virginia and its local governments have embarked upon a process of using Design-Build and Construction Management services as an alternative to procuring capital projects through competitive sealed bidding. In pursuit of alternative project delivery methods all states, including Virginia, must comply with public procurement acts aimed at obtaining high quality goods and services at reasonable cost. This has typically resulted in public procurement through competitive sealed bidding. Virginia’s state legislature has experimented at achieving the best from creative project delivery options through “fixed price, not to exceed price design-build and construction management contracts.” This paper illustrates Virginia’s legislative strategy; its determination and evaluation process; and explores issues faced by securers and providers when choosing and defending project delivery using Design-Build and Construction Management services. Readers are provided an opportunity to discover how Virginia is approaching its goal of achieving cost and timesavings in procuring capital projects by using Design-Build and Construction Management as project delivery options.
  • Robots in Inspection and Monitoring of Buildings and Infrastructure: A Systematic Review
    Halder, Srijeet; Afsari, Kereshmeh (MDPI, 2023-02-10)
    Regular inspection and monitoring of buildings and infrastructure, that is collectively called the built environment in this paper, is critical. The built environment includes commercial and residential buildings, roads, bridges, tunnels, and pipelines. Automation and robotics can aid in reducing errors and increasing the efficiency of inspection tasks. As a result, robotic inspection and monitoring of the built environment has become a significant research topic in recent years. This review paper presents an in-depth qualitative content analysis of 269 papers on the use of robots for the inspection and monitoring of buildings and infrastructure. The review found nine different types of robotic systems, with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) being the most common, followed by unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs). The study also found five different applications of robots in inspection and monitoring, namely, maintenance inspection, construction quality inspection, construction progress monitoring, as-built modeling, and safety inspection. Common research areas investigated by researchers include autonomous navigation, knowledge extraction, motion control systems, sensing, multi-robot collaboration, safety implications, and data transmission. The findings of this study provide insight into the recent research and developments in the field of robotic inspection and monitoring of the built environment and will benefit researchers, and construction and facility managers, in developing and implementing new robotic solutions.