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Different Roads to the Same Destination?

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Sustainable Materials Management and Circular Economy are both frameworks for considering the way we interact with the world's resources. Different organizations and institutions across the world have adopted one philosophy or the other. To some, there seems to be little

Sustainable Materials Management and Circular Economy are both frameworks for considering the way we interact with the world's resources. Different organizations and institutions across the world have adopted one philosophy or the other. To some, there seems to be little overlap of the two, and to others, they are perceived as being interchangeable. This paper evaluates Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) and Circular Economy (CE) individually and in comparison to see how truly different these frameworks are from one another. This comparison is then extended into a theoretical walk-through of an SMM treatment of concrete pavement in contrast with a CE treatment. With concrete being a ubiquitous in the world's buildings and roads, as well as being a major constituent of Construction & Demolition waste generated, its analysis is applicable to a significant portion of the world's material flow. The ultimate test of differentiation between SMM and CE would ask: 1) If SMM principles guided action, would the outcomes be aligned with or at odds with CE principles? and conversely 2) If CE principles guided action, would the outcomes be aligned with or at odds with SMM principles? Using concrete pavement as an example, this paper seeks to determine whether or not Sustainable Materials Management and Circular Economy are simply different roads leading to the same destination.

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2017-05

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Team emotional intelligence as a predictor of project performance: a case study at a college-level construction management course

Description

The current paradigm to addressing the marginal increases in productivity and quality in the construction industry is to embrace new technologies and new programs designed to increase productivity. While both pursuits are justifiable and worthwhile they overlook a crucial element,

The current paradigm to addressing the marginal increases in productivity and quality in the construction industry is to embrace new technologies and new programs designed to increase productivity. While both pursuits are justifiable and worthwhile they overlook a crucial element, the human element. If the individuals and teams operating the new technologies or executing the new programs lack all of the necessary skills the efforts are still doomed for, at best, mediocrity. But over the past two decades researchers and practitioners have been exploring and experimenting with a softer set of skills that are producing hard figures showing real improvements in performance.

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Date Created
2014

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Quantifying the Impact of Circular Economy Applied to the Built Environment: A Study of Construction and Demolition Waste to Identify Leverage Points

Description

The built environment is responsible for a significant portion of global waste generation.

Construction and demolition (C&D) waste requires significant landfill areas and costs

billions of dollars. New business models that reduce this waste may prove to be financially

beneficial and generally more

The built environment is responsible for a significant portion of global waste generation.

Construction and demolition (C&D) waste requires significant landfill areas and costs

billions of dollars. New business models that reduce this waste may prove to be financially

beneficial and generally more sustainable. One such model is referred to as the “Circular

Economy” (CE), which promotes the efficient use of materials to minimize waste

generation and raw material consumption. CE is achieved by maximizing the life of

materials and components and by reclaiming the typically wasted value at the end of their

life. This thesis identifies the potential opportunities for using CE in the built environment.

It first calculates the magnitude of C&D waste and its main streams, highlights the top

C&D materials based on weight and value using data from various regions, identifies the

top C&D materials’ current recycling and reuse rates, and finally estimates a potential

financial benefit of $3.7 billion from redirecting C&D waste using the CE concept in the

United States.

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Date Created
2019

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Development of the Project Definition Rating Index (PDRI) for small infrastructure projects

Description

Project teams expend substantial effort to develop scope definition during the front end planning phase of large, complex projects, but oftentimes neglect to sufficiently plan for small projects. An industry survey administered by the author showed that small projects make

Project teams expend substantial effort to develop scope definition during the front end planning phase of large, complex projects, but oftentimes neglect to sufficiently plan for small projects. An industry survey administered by the author showed that small projects make up approximately half of all projects in the infrastructure construction sector (by count), the planning of these projects varies greatly, and that a consistent definition of “small infrastructure project” did not exist. This dissertation summarizes the motivations and efforts of Construction Industry Institute (CII) Research Team 314a to develop a non-proprietary front end planning tool specifically for small infrastructure projects, namely the Project Definition Rating Index (PDRI) for Small Infrastructure Projects. The author was a member of CII Research Team 314a, who was tasked with developing the tool in September 2015. The author, together with the research team, scrutinized and adapted an existing infrastructure-focused FEP tool, the PDRI for Infrastructure Projects, and other resources to develop a set of 40 specific elements relevant to the planning of small infrastructure projects. The author along with the research team supported the facilitation of seven separate industry workshops where 71 industry professionals evaluated the element descriptions and provided element prioritization data that was statistically analyzed and used to develop a corresponding weighted score sheet. The tool was tested on 76 completed and in-progress projects, the analysis of which showed that small infrastructure projects with greater scope definition (based on the tool’s scoring scheme) outperformed projects with lesser scope definition regarding cost performance, schedule performance, change performance, financial performance, and customer satisfaction. Moreover, the author found that users of the tool on in-progress projects agreed that the tool added value to their projects in a timeframe and manner consistent with their needs, and that they would continue using the tool in the future. The author also conducted qualitative and quantitative similarities and differences between PDRI – Infrastructure and PDRI – Small Infrastructure Projects in support of improved planning efforts for both types of projects. Finally, the author piloted a case study that introduced the PDRI into an introductory construction management course to enhance students’ learning experience.

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Date Created
2017