Field superintendents make a broad range of decisions to support site safety, productivity, and quality. This research used a technique known as applied cognitive work analysis methods. The goal is to develop an "IT-savvy" workforce, particularly IT savvy superintendents. This effort also hopes to provide (1) more realistic environments for learning that speed the integration of experience, and (2) better software tools that can lead to improved technical knowledge among superintendents.
The research involved an analyst who, over an eight-month period, spent several hours a day with each of three different superintendents at two specific commercial construction projects. The objective was to document superintendent information processing to support innovative approaches to education and the development of supporting software. The method used, applied cognitive work analysis or ACWA, is useful in organizing the knowledge of a practitioner in terms of abstract goals of work, required decisions, and related information. The main product of ACWA is a representation of the practitioner's mental model: objectives of the job, the processes to attain each objective, and the relationships between processes.
Research results include:
The project team developed an electronic punch-list system that significantly improved a hotel construction project. Project team members could access the system from the field on a tablet PC, iPad or iPhone. The IT department provided a clear 4G spot router for field WiFi connectivity. The punch list files were synched between the users and their devices via Dropbox. As the documents were updated, the group were notified of the updated files. This allowed home office employees also to remain updated. During implementation, Bluebeam PDF Revu had a product update that added a free service, Bluebeam Studio, allowing the firm to collaborate on the punch list with all project stakeholders in real time.
Each summer, a Stanford professor and graduate students solicit corporate partners with compelling, sustainability-focused decisions. Over the course of the three-month academic quarter, five-member student groups partner with industry sponsors and mentors to formulate a project scope, collect primary data on social, environmental, and economic factors of the project, analyze the findings, and present the results at an annual symposium on campus. The program has trained Stanford graduate engineers in the tools and technologies of quantitative sustainability assessment, engaging and educating firms interested in sustainability metrics and decision-making, and enabling long-term partnerships between academia and industry focused on new technologies to support sustainability assessment and enable a workforce fluent in sustainability science.
Streamlining the handover of the Central Care Expansion Project provided Maryland General the resources needed to effectively manage and maintain the assets associated with its new facility. The creation of an electronic database containing closeout and as-built documentation allowed data to be easily maintained and altered throughout the life of the building. The process has enabled Barton Malow to efficiently manage the commissioning and closeout of the MEP systems. The use of tablet PCs for the selected commissioning and closeout tasks has inspired the workforce to utilize this technology in all aspects of its daily business activities. The hospital plans on incorporating the existing 1,000,000+SF existing spaces into the system.
Designed and built in 11 months, the new ten-lane interstate 35W Bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has a 504-foot span across the Mississippi River. The bridge achieves the Minnesota Department of Transportation vision of safety, quality, and innovation through the use of sustainable materials and state-of-the-art technologies. The design/build team of Flatiron-Manson, JV, with FIGG as the bridge designer, led to the successful completion three months ahead of schedule. The 120 segments of the main span were assembled over the Mississippi River in just 47 days. Opened to traffic on September 18, 2008, the bridge is an example of rebuilding of America's infrastructure.
This research evaluated a range of infrastructure assessment tools and methodologies used by the U. S. Army from a human factors perspective. The findings provide a better understanding of workforce needs, enabling both better design of the tools and improved training procedures. The principal client of this research, the U. S. Army Civil Engineering Research Lab, has incorporated the research results into their development program.
This program clearly demonstrates tangible results and benefits in terms of economic, technical, and cultural factors. It reinvigorates the dwindling engineering and technological workforce in the U.S., helping to alleviate rising costs for capital facilities and boost the nation's economy. The program raises awareness of what it means to be an engineer by providing internships and integrating current technologies into the K-12 curriculum.