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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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Development of the project definition rating index (PDRI) for small industrial projects

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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 70-90 percent (by count) of all projects in the industrial construction sector, the planning of these project varies greatly, and that a consistent definition of “small industrial project” did not exist. This dissertation summarizes the motivations and efforts to develop a non-proprietary front end planning tool specifically for small industrial projects, namely the Project Definition Rating Index (PDRI) for Small Industrial Projects. The author was a member of Construction Industry Institute (CII) Research Team 314, who was tasked with developing the tool in May of 2013. The author, together with the research team, reviewed, scrutinized and adapted an existing industrial-focused FEP tool, the PDRI for Industrial Projects, and other resources to develop a set of 41 specific elements relevant to the planning of small industrial projects. The author supported the facilitation of five separate industry workshops where 65 industry professionals evaluated the element descriptions, and provided element prioritization data that was statistically analyzed and used to develop a weighted score sheet that corresponds to the element descriptions. The tool was tested on 54 completed and in-progress projects, the author’s analysis of which showed that small industrial 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 overwhelmingly 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 developed an index-based selection guide to aid PDRI users in choosing the appropriate tool for use on an industrial project based on distinguishing project size with indicators of project complexity. The final results of the author’s research provide several contributions to the front end planning, small projects, and project complexity bodies of knowledge.

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2015

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Analysis of the state of practice and best practices for alternative project delivery methods in the transportation design and construction industry

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Alternative Project Delivery Methods (APDMs), namely Design Build (DB) and Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR), grew out of the need to find a more efficient project delivery approach than the traditional Design Bid Build (DBB) form of delivery. After decades

Alternative Project Delivery Methods (APDMs), namely Design Build (DB) and Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR), grew out of the need to find a more efficient project delivery approach than the traditional Design Bid Build (DBB) form of delivery. After decades of extensive APDM use, there have been many studies focused on the use of APDMs and project outcomes. Few of these studies have reached a level of statistical significance to make conclusive observations about APDMs. This research effort completes a comprehensive study for use in the horizontal transportation construction market, providing a better basis for decisions on project delivery method selection, improving understanding of best practices for APDM use, and reporting outcomes from the largest collection of APDM project data to date. The study is the result of an online survey of project owners and design teams from 17 states representing 83 projects nationally. Project data collected represents almost six billion US dollars. The study performs an analysis of the transportation APDM market and answers questions dealing with national APDM usage, motivators for APDM selection, the relation of APDM to pre-construction services, and the use of industry best practices. Top motivators for delivery method selection: the project schedule or the urgency of the project, the ability to predict and control cost, and finding the best method to allocate risk, as well as other factors were identified and analyzed. Analysis of project data was used to compare to commonly held assumptions about the project delivery methods, confirming some assumptions and refuting others. Project data showed that APDM projects had the lowest overall cost growth. DB projects had higher schedule growth. CMAR projects had low design schedule growth but high construction schedule growth. DBB showed very little schedule growth and the highest cost growth of the delivery methods studied. Best practices in project delivery were studied: team alignment, front end planning, and risk assessment were identified as practices most critical to project success. The study contributes and improves on existing research on APDM project selection and outcomes and fills many of the gaps in research identified by previous research efforts and industry leaders.

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2014

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DB 2020: analyzing and forecasting DB market trends

Description

Over the last two decades, Alternative Project Delivery Methods (APDM), such as Design-Build (DB), have become more popular in the construction industry, specifically in the U.S., and the competition for APDM projects has risen among construction companies. The Engineering News

Over the last two decades, Alternative Project Delivery Methods (APDM), such as Design-Build (DB), have become more popular in the construction industry, specifically in the U.S., and the competition for APDM projects has risen among construction companies. The Engineering News Record (ENR) magazine analyzes DB firms and publishes the list of the top 100 every year. According to ENR articles and many scientific papers, the implementation of DB method has grown drastically over the last decade, however, information about growth trends depending on firm size and segment is lacking. Also missing is knowledge the future market trends over the next five years. Furthermore, public agencies and DB firms may be worried that DB projects do not distribute wealth equally among DB firms. Using the top 100 firms deemed representative of the DB market, the author has divided the market into volumes based on rankings to analyze the total DB market revenue growth. A comparison between international and domestic revenues indicated that the top five DB firms have 64% more involvement in the international market compared to the domestic market. Furthermore, while the research shows increasing market share only for the top five firms, the author has found that (1) a large portion of their market share is due to a large growth in their international market, and (2) revenues for all volumes of the DB market have increased. Moreover, regression and time series analyses allow for the forecasting of the DB market growth, which the author anticipate to move from about $100B to about $150B in 2020.

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Date Created
2014

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Instantaneous project controls: current status, state of the art, benefits, and strategies

Description

Despite advancements in construction and construction-related technology, capital project performance deviations, typically overruns, remain endemic within the capital projects industry. Currently, management is generally unaware of the current status of their projects, and thus monitoring and control of projects

Despite advancements in construction and construction-related technology, capital project performance deviations, typically overruns, remain endemic within the capital projects industry. Currently, management is generally unaware of the current status of their projects, and thus monitoring and control of projects are not achieved effectively. In an ever-increasing competitive industry landscape, the need to deliver projects within technical, budgetary, and schedule requirements becomes imperative to sustain a healthy return on investment for the project stakeholders. The fact that information lags within the capital projects industry has motivated this research to find practices and solutions that facilitate Instantaneous Project Controls (IPC).

The author hypothesized that there are specific practices that, if properly implemented, can lead to instantaneous controls of capital projects. It is also hypothesized that instantaneous project controls pose benefits to project performance. This research aims to find practices and identify benefits and barriers to achieving a real-time mode of control. To achieve these objectives, several lines of inquiry had to be pursued. A panel of 13 industry professionals and three academics collaborated on this research project. Two surveys were completed to map the current state of project control practices and to identify state-of-the-art or ideal processes. Ten case studies were conducted within and outside of the capital projects industry to identify practices for achieving real-time project controls. Also, statistical analyses were completed on retrospective data for completed capital projects in order to quantify the benefits of IPC. In conclusion, this research presents a framework for implementing IPC across the capital projects industry. The ultimate output from this research is procedures and recommendations that improve project controls processes.

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Date Created
2016

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Performance of the construction manager at risk (CMAR) delivery method applied to pipeline construction projects

Description

Much of the water and wastewater lines in the United States are nearing the end of their useful life. A significant reinvestment is needed in the upcoming decades to replace or rehabilitate the water and wastewater infrastructure. Currently, the traditional

Much of the water and wastewater lines in the United States are nearing the end of their useful life. A significant reinvestment is needed in the upcoming decades to replace or rehabilitate the water and wastewater infrastructure. Currently, the traditional method for delivering water and wastewater pipeline engineering and construction projects is design-bid-build (DBB). The traditional DBB delivery system is a sequential low-integration process and can lead to inefficiencies and adverse relationships between stakeholders. Alternative project delivery methods (APDM) such as Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) have been introduced to increase stakeholder integration and ultimately enhance project performance. CMAR project performance impacts have been studied in the horizontal and vertical construction industries. However, the performance of CMAR projects in the pipeline engineering and construction industry has not been quantitatively studied.

The dissertation fills this gap in knowledge by performing the first quantitative analysis of CMAR performance on pipeline engineering and construction projects. This study’s two research objectives are:

(1) Develop a CMAR baseline of commonly measured project performance metrics

(2) Statistically compare the cost and schedule performance of CMAR to that of the traditional DBB delivery method

A thorough literature review led to the development of a data collection survey used in conjunction with structured interviews to gather qualitative and quantitative performance data from 66 completed water and wastewater pipeline projects. Performance data analysis was conducted to provide performance benchmarks for CMAR projects and to compare the performance of CMAR and DBB.

This study provides the first CMAR performance benchmark for pipeline engineering and construction projects. The results span across seven metrics in four performance areas (cost, schedule, project change, and communication). Pipeline projects delivered using CMAR have a median cost and schedule growth of -5% and 5.10%, respectively. These results are significantly improved from DBB baseline performance shown in other industries. To verify this, a statistical analysis was done to compare the cost and schedule performance of CMAR to similar DBB pipeline projects. The results show that CMAR pipeline projects are being delivered with 6.5% less cost growth and with 12.5% less schedule growth than similar DBB projects, providing owners with increased certainty when delivering their pipeline projects.

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Date Created
2015

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Evaluating the performance of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified facilities using data-driven predictive models for energy and occupant satisfaction with indoor environmental quality (IEQ)

Description

Given the importance of buildings as major consumers of resources worldwide, several organizations are working avidly to ensure the negative impacts of buildings are minimized. The U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system

Given the importance of buildings as major consumers of resources worldwide, several organizations are working avidly to ensure the negative impacts of buildings are minimized. The U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system is one such effort to recognize buildings that are designed to achieve a superior performance in several areas including energy consumption and indoor environmental quality (IEQ). The primary objectives of this study are to investigate the performance of LEED certified facilities in terms of energy consumption and occupant satisfaction with IEQ, and introduce a framework to assess the performance of LEED certified buildings.

This thesis attempts to achieve the research objectives by examining the LEED certified buildings on the Arizona State University (ASU) campus in Tempe, AZ, from two complementary perspectives: the Macro-level and the Micro-level. Heating, cooling, and electricity data were collected from the LEED-certified buildings on campus, and their energy use intensity was calculated in order to investigate the buildings' actual energy performance. Additionally, IEQ occupant satisfaction surveys were used to investigate users' satisfaction with the space layout, space furniture, thermal comfort, indoor air quality, lighting level, acoustic quality, water efficiency, cleanliness and maintenance of the facilities they occupy.

From a Macro-level perspective, the results suggest ASU LEED buildings consume less energy than regional counterparts, and exhibit higher occupant satisfaction than national counterparts. The occupant satisfaction results are in line with the literature on LEED buildings, whereas the energy results contribute to the inconclusive body of knowledge on energy performance improvements linked to LEED certification. From a Micro-level perspective, data analysis suggest an inconsistency between the LEED points earned for the Energy & Atmosphere and IEQ categories, on one hand, and the respective levels of energy consumption and occupant satisfaction on the other hand. Accordingly, this study showcases the variation in the performance results when approached from different perspectives. This contribution highlights the need to consider the Macro-level and Micro-level assessments in tandem, and assess LEED building performance from these two distinct but complementary perspectives in order to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the actual building performance.

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Date Created
2015

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Developing a decision-making framework for market entry in the sheet metal construction industry

Description

Entering a new market in the construction industry is a complex task. Although many contractors have experienced the benefits of expanding their market offerings, many more have had unsuccessful experiences causing hardship for the entire organization. Standardized decision-making

Entering a new market in the construction industry is a complex task. Although many contractors have experienced the benefits of expanding their market offerings, many more have had unsuccessful experiences causing hardship for the entire organization. Standardized decision-making processes can help to increase the likelihood of success, but few specialty contractors have taken the time to develop a formal procedure. According to this research, only 6 percent of survey respondents and 7 percent of case study participants from the sheet metal industry have a formal decision process. Five sources of data (existing literature, industry survey, semi-structured interviews, factor prioritization workshops, and expert panel discussions) are consulted to understand the current market entry decision-making practices and needs of the sheet metal industry. The data help to accomplish three study objectives: (1) determine the current processes and best practices used for market entry decision-making in the sheet metal industry, (2) identify motivations leading to market entry by sheet metal contractors, and (3) develop a standardized decision process that improves market entry decision outcomes. Grounded in a firm understanding of industry practices, a three-phased decision-making framework is created to provide a structured approach to guide contractors to an informed decision. Four industry leaders with over 175 years of experience in construction reviewed and applied every step of the framework to ensure it is practical and easy to use for contractors.

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2016

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A national study on leveraging public infrastructure funds: project performance and financing source analysis for public-private partnerships (PPP) in the U.S. transportation sector

Description

Transportation systems in the U.S. are in a poor state of disrepair. A significant investment is needed to replace or rehabilitate current transportation infrastructure. Currently, transportation investments are lackluster with the recession of 2008 heavily impacting transportation spending, inciting deficits

Transportation systems in the U.S. are in a poor state of disrepair. A significant investment is needed to replace or rehabilitate current transportation infrastructure. Currently, transportation investments are lackluster with the recession of 2008 heavily impacting transportation spending, inciting deficits and budgetary cuts at state and federal government levels. As a result, policy makers and public officials are increasingly looking for innovative financing and alternative delivery methods to supplement traditional financing and delivery for transportation projects. Subsequently, the number of public-private partnerships (PPP or P3) has increased substantially over the last two decades.

There is a growing need to quantify the project performance and financial benefits of PPP. This dissertation fills this gap in knowledge by performing a comprehensive quantitative analysis of PPP project performance and financial sources for transportation projects in the U.S. This study’s specific research objectives are:

(1) Develop a solid baseline for comparison, comprised of non-PPP projects;

(2) Quantify PPP project cost and schedule performance; and

(3) Quantify private versus public financing sources of PPP.

A thorough literature review led to the development of a structured data collection process for PPP and comparable non-PPP projects. Financing data was collected and verified for a total of 133 ongoing and completed projects; while performance data was verified for a subset of 81 completed projects. Data analysis included regression analysis, descriptive statistics, inferential statistics and non-parametric statistical tests.

The results provide benchmarks for PPP project performance and financing sources. For the performance results, non-PPP projects have an average cost change of 8.46 percent and an average schedule change of -0.22 percent. PPP projects have an average cost change of 3.04 percent and average schedule change of 1.38 percent. Statistical analysis showed cost change for PPP projects were superior to that of non-PPP; however, schedule change differences were not significant. For the financing results, private financing totaled 44.5 percent while public financing totaled 55.5 percent. This result shows private financing can be used to leverage public financing with close to a one-to-one ratio and that PPP has the potential to double the amount of infrastructure delivered to the public.

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Date Created
2016

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Project Delivery Method Performance Evaluation for Water and Wastewater Capital Projects

Description

The water and wastewater industry in the United States is in dire need of renovation due to dwindling infrastructure and requires substantial reinvestment. Design-bid-build (DBB) is the traditional method of project delivery most widely applied in this industry. However, alternative

The water and wastewater industry in the United States is in dire need of renovation due to dwindling infrastructure and requires substantial reinvestment. Design-bid-build (DBB) is the traditional method of project delivery most widely applied in this industry. However, alternative project delivery methods (APDM) are on the rise and touting the benefits of reduced project schedule and cost. The main purpose of this study is to conduct a qualitative and quantitative performance evaluation to assess the current impact of APDM in the water and wastewater industry. A national survey was conducted targeting completed water and wastewater treatment plant projects. Responses were obtained from 75 utilities and constructors that either completed their projects using DBB, construction manager at risk (CMAR), or design-build (DB). Data analysis revealed that CMAR and DB statistically outperformed DBB in terms of project speed and intensity. Performance metrics such as cost growth, schedule growth, unit cost, factors influencing project delivery method selection, scope changes, warranty and latent defects, and several others are also evaluated. The main contribution of this study was that it was able to show that for the same project cost, water and wastewater treatment plants could be delivered under a faster schedule and with higher quality through the utilization of APDM.

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Date Created
2018