New Nano Technology Could Lift 165 Times Its Own Weight

Thursday, August 31, 2017

According to Science Daily, engineers in New Brunswick have discovered a simple, economical way to make a nano-sized device (1.6 milligrams) that can lift 265 milligrams, repetitively for hundreds of times. Could this have construction applications?

Capture + Cloud Project

3D LiDAR Scan and Photogrammetry at Auburn University Rural Studio

Friday, August 04, 2017

Please visit the below link for more information:

3D LiDAR Scan and Photogrammetry at Auburn University Rural Studio

Laser Layout Device

Get square!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Associate professor Darren Olsen has developed and patented a device to assist in accurate rectilinear layout, which could potentially provide greater quality control and minimize mistakes in a variety of construction processes. The context for his research was underground plumbing rough-in prior to pouring the concrete slab, which is a notorious source of layout problems, often found only after the concrete has cured. Professor Olsen collaborated with colleagues from Auburn’s Department of Electrical Engineering on the effort.

Change Order Management

Friday, May 26, 2017

Assistant Professor Wes Collins is now in a second phase of research investigating change orders in institutional owners who are frequent purchasers of construction services. Partnering with Auburn University Facilities, Dr. Collins has researched and published insightful findings on sources and causes of change, their magnitude and tendencies that could be useful for institutional owners and contractors in how to mitigate risks on this front.

New Toys at BSCI

Teaching tools for using laser scanning in construction

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The McWhorter School of Building Science recently purchased a new Faro Focus 3D X-130 Laser scanner for use in research in the School, College, and beyond. The Faro scanner will compliment our Leica C-10 LiDAR scanner and other related instruments for use in research as well as in the classroom. Contact Associate Professor Junshann Liu for more details!

Turner Labs

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A shout out to Renzo di Furia and his team at Turner Lab, who recently hosted AU BSCI faculty at their Seattle facility. Cool stuff with VDC, CNC-based prefab and formwork!

In the House

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

At the 53 rd annual conference of the Associated Schools of Construction, AU Building Science was well represented in the 2017 published proceedings with over a dozen articles co-authored by faculty from Auburn.

Read More Here

Soft Robots

BSCI Faculty visit Pneubotics in San Fransisco

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

On March 30th, BSCI faculty members Dr. Ben Farrow, Dr. Eric Wetzel, and Prof. Junshan Liu visited with soft-robot manufacturing start-up ‘Pneubotics’ in the Bay Area, to discuss potential utilization of robots in the construction industry. Thanks to Kevin Albert, Gabe Hein, and Henrik Bennetsen for hosting us, we look forward to collaborating in research for construction applications!

Sample Major Project

Category of Sample Major Project

Friday, April 07, 2017

Welcome To CCIC…

CCIC projects are not bound by conventional problem solving techniques. We embrace outside-the-box thinking from many disciplines, many mindsets, and many orientations. Combine that kind of diverse input, in an environment that nurtures collective brainpower, and remarkable things happen.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: They're Here

FAA approves for commercial use

Image courtesy of Jessamyn Saxon

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Since 2014, the CCIC has sponsored a variety of research involving the use of UAVs/UASs, including investigations on potential uses in construction such as progress imagery, structure and skin inspection, development of point clouds through photogrammetry, site logistics planning, and several others. Associate Professor Mark Tatum, a credentialed UAS operator as well as a licensed fixed wing pilot, leads the College’s efforts on this front. We’ve partnered with Leica Geosystems, Aibotix, Brasfield & Gorrie, Auburn University Facilities, and several other stakeholders with this technology, and hope to soon make available an elective course for BSCI students to become credentialed to fly UAS.

RFID Location Systems for Construction Safety

Applying Real-time Location Systems to Improve Safety in Dredging Construction

Saturday, March 04, 2017

The aim of this research is to evaluate the effectiveness of radio frequency identification tags (RFID) technology in providing individual personnel safety monitoring on a dredge. Using active and passive Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, we will be testing our hypothesis that RFID will create a safer environment on a dredge, and determining which type of RFID tag is the most effective.

By collaborating with the US Army Corp of Engineers and Great Lakes Dredging Company, we believe this study has the opportunity to open the door to better safety practices in the dredging industry. If, in the end, RFI tags do improve the safety of the dredging boat and the personnel on board, this innovative method of utilizing technology may also be applied to other industries, i.e. oil rigs, commercial fishing, and other marine industries.

Assistant Professor Alan Bugg, P.E., and his graduate assistant Ms. Claire Gilbert have completed the first phase of their research in utilizing radio frequency identification devices (RFID) for use in developing location systems for personnel on construction sites. The context for their work is the dredging industry, although they believe potential solutions to be transportable to a wide range of sitework and heavy construction. Professor Bugg first compared passive and active devices to gauge worker location accuracy, and then monitored restricted access control to evaluate efficacy of potential system use.

Development of Teaching Materials for Advanced Construction Survey Technology

Test test test

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Advanced technology and equipment have been adopted by many contractors to innovate and improve building construction. Some of these technologies include robotic total stations, LiDAR scanners, UAVs, photogrammetry and BIM. As building science faculty, it is our responsibility to introduce these new technologies and their applications to our students in a timely matter.

Project Update:

The majority of work for this project will take place in the summer of 2017. In preparation for this summer we have acquired a new robotic total station and are working on acquiring a new laser scanner. In addition some field work has been conducted to advance this project which includes fabricating and placing some new control points near the Gorrie Center.

An Exploratory Study to Investigate the Value of Mobile Technologies in the Construction Management Classroom as Rationalized by the Needs of Industry

Saturday, March 04, 2017

An Exploratory Study to Investigate the Value of Mobile Technologies in the Construction Management Classroom as Rationalized by the Needs of Industry

In a recent report from JBKnowledge (2016 Construction Technology Report), where nearly 2,600 builders shared their opinions about mobile technology use in their companies, it was revealing to discover that nearly 80% of respondents thought that mobile capabilities were either “Very Important” or “Important”. Interestingly, this represents a 20% increase in importance since 2012 when the same survey was conducted. So mobile technology is become more important to the construction industry, but how is academia preparing students to work in the mobile environment? It is suspected that many programs introduce a few concepts in mobile technology use based on trending research articles. Other programs rely on an arbitrary communication network, whereby industry informs academia of their progresses in this realm. Individually, these methods achieve some success, but by combining these separate methodologies we can use industry demand to inform the construction classroom and provide a catalyst for more relatable academic research.

Construction Management at Risk

Program Development for Educating Owners and Contractors

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Construction management at risk (CM@Risk) has been a recognized project delivery method for construction projects since the 1960s. However many statutory roadblocks have prevented its implementation in many sectors of the U.S. Alabama has been among the states resisting its use on Alabama funded projects. A bill (SB289) was introduced in a previous Alabama legislative session but was defeated when it was strongly opposed by a group which represented smaller general contractors in Alabama. It is thought that Alabama will introduce a similar bill sometime in the future.

Proponents of CM@Risk point to the fact that this delivery method allows the contractor, designers and owners to work together at an early stage and reap the inherent benefits of such proaction. Detractors point out that it’s just a way to get around public bid laws and grants the larger contractors a monopolistic position. The purpose of this study was to investigate the reintroduction of CM@Risk as a delivery method and draw conclusions as to its true purpose. In order to achieve this goal, the researchers investigated the history of CM@Risk, reviewed legislation at the state level in order to determine what is and what is not allowed for publically funded state projects, and investigated changes in the state legislative policies to ascertain if any trends are in evidence as it relates to the public attitudes towards CM@Risk.

Use of Augmented Reality Devices on the Construction Site

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Virtual Reality (VR) can be described as a computer simulated near-reality. From that standpoint, it can be argued that any photorealistic computer generated image is virtual reality. Often times VR images or experiences are designed with simulating a near reality experience, through a computer screen. A VR experience designed so that the user cannot see anything other than the virtual environment created through a computer is known as ‘Immersive Virtual Reality’. The Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard are examples of Immersive VR.

This research explored ways to apply VR and AR in the construction industry, and was jointly funded by the Center for Construction Innovation and Collaboration Grant and the College of Architecture Design and Construction SEED Grant. For the purpose of this study, the Epson BT-200 device was used

Photogrammetry and Image-based Spatial Modeling in Construction, Facilities Management, and Construction Education

Friday, March 03, 2017

This research featured collaboration with software platform experts to develop a procedure to optimize the accuracy and speed of spatial image modeling. This is an essential step for evaluating the accuracy and feasibility of photogrammetry for proper activities in construction and facilities management. The PI used the 3D laser-scan

point cloud of Samford Hall as a base-line, compared and contrasted it with point clouds developed in photogrammetry program from UAV photos and AuMiD14 photos. Investigators also had meetings with architects and construction and civil engineers of AU Facilities Division to discuss possible applications of photogrammetry technology for the university.

Additionally, photos were obtained through field surveys (ground and/or air base) and mining the existing AuMiD14 imagery data. Photos were processed and models created in a range of platforms including Agisoft PhotoScan, Photo Modeler, Autodesk Recap, Recap 360, and other relevant software packages.

Research Activities:

The PI captured all 37 Ground Control Points (GCP) located throughout Lee County for the AuMid14 project

The PI surveyed the site of Auburn Arena in summer of 2015 and collected the data of ground control point (GCP) and actual dimensions of this site.

The PI implemented the data and developed a scaled photogrammetry point clouds for Auburn Arena.

Developed a procedure to process the photogrammetry models from AgiSoft to Autodesk Recap, AutoCAD and Autodesk NavisWorks for design and construction related applications.

UAS Case Study - Curtain Wall

Friday, March 03, 2017

In 2002, construction began on a 12-story, 1 million square foot in-patient healthcare facility located in the southeastern United States. Progress came to a halt when the prior owners of the facility shuttered the project. The infrastructure, exterior shell, and five floors of interior space were near complete at that time, yet the rest of the building remained incomplete. Over a decade later, a new owner of the facility hired a general contractor to resume construction and complete the project with newly designed interior space. The building’s northwest façade was a large, convex shaped, 12-story, glass curtain wall. This curtain wall was minimally maintained for nearly a decade and its condition needed to be inspected as part of the new construction build-out on the interior. A waterproofing consultant was hired, but the significant cost of inspecting the building with swing stage led the contractor to seek ways in which this curtain wall could be alternatively inspected. Specifically, ways in which light unmanned aerial vehicles could be used to eliminate the need to put personnel in adverse conditions for inspection were to be explored.

Tangible Design: An Actuated Approach to Convert Virtual Form Into Physical Form

Friday, March 03, 2017

Computer interface is increasingly essential to visualize the design of buildings. Virtual reality involves a direct or indirect view of a real world object/idea with computer-generated information; however visualization of the constructed form(s) is still in a virtual environment. Conversion of virtual design into a physical form before execution can help all project stakeholders to visualize the design and have further meaningful discussions regarding the project. This research demonstrates the creation of a physical 3D model generated from a virtual design model. The research utilizes linear actuators combined with appropriate electrical/electronic equipment to generate the physical model by establishing a tangible user interface. A tangible user interface (TUI) is a user interface in which a person interacts with digital information through the physical environment. The purpose of TUI development is to empower collaboration, learning, and design by giving physical forms to digital information, thus taking advantage of human abilities of grasp and manipulate physical objects and materials. In order to demonstrate ideas, designers create expensive and time-consuming physical models from materials such as Balsa wood or thick cardboard. This research output can assist project stakeholders to visualize aspects of design in a physical model that can be created on the fly through the use of electronics as an exploratory implementation of small scale robotics.

Mitigating Heat Transfer from Impervious Surfaces to Stormwater Discharge Using Alternative Design Methods and Pavement Types

Friday, March 03, 2017

During the summer months in Mobile, AL it has been observed that water running over the city’s impervious surface reaches 118 degrees Fahrenheit before entering into the storm water system. This heated water travels through the storm sewer systems and is eventually discharged directly into the Mobile Bay via the city’s main storm water outflow. Once temperatures exceed 94 degrees, aquatic life starts to die off. Unfortunately following a rain event in Mobile, temperatures below outflow can be as high as 122 degrees. The situation of hot storm water discharge into an aquatic system is a form of thermal pollution. In the case of Mobile, the receiving water is home to Alabama’s seafood industry and a wide array of important economic estuary services.

This study explores pervious pavement solutions to move the storm water back into the soil instead of the bay. The green infrastructure lab explores the use of pervious pavement and other low impact strategies in reducing the temperature of water before it reaches a water body. The lab replicates the natural patterns of heating and cooling with heat lamps and irrigation systems across various pavement options.

This research will establish baseline data on the mitigation of heat transfer from pavements to storm water. This information will help contractors and designers select pavement material and other low impact design storm water control measures that will ultimately lower heat island effect and protect receiving waters from thermal pollution.

Low Cost 3D Digital Scanning and Immersive Visualization Technologies for Built Environment

Friday, March 03, 2017

The aim of this research was to investigate the low cost 3D digital scanning and immersive visualization technologies for design, construction, and facility management. The thrust of this research was to propose a solution that should be cheaper than the existing 3D laser scanners and more accurate than the photogrammetry method. For this purpose, we tested Google Tango tablet, which falls under the category of Simultaneous Localization And Mapping (SLAM) technologies. Pairing Augmented Reality (AR) with SLAM technologies can enable untethered indoor tracking of users’ location within a space through depth sensors and tracking of its movement. The specific research objectives were as follows: (1) Investigation of state-of-the-art handheld SLAM enabled devices for Onsite Scanning and BIM model development; (2) Demonstration of their applications in design, construction, and retrofitting; (3) Development of relevant examples for classroom and visitors demonstrations; and (4) Development of a framework outlining an optimized workflow for the industry. This research allowed us to explore the emerging AR and SLAM technologies which could provide significant cost and time savings within the design and construction industries. The accuracy of scans through SLAM devices is fairly reasonable especially for schematic planning. Since the consumer version of Google Tango is set to be released soon we are expecting the accuracy will improve in the new version.

Organizational Requirements for Implementation of Building Information Modeling for Facilities Management (BIMFM) for Designers, Contractors, and Facility Owners

Thursday, March 02, 2017

The use of Building Information Modeling for Facilities Management (BIMFM) is an emerging field of research that utilizes a BIM model, executed during the design/construction phase, for operations and maintenance (O&M) data storage. The data loaded model can be utilized by FM staff as a single repository for O&M information in lieu of referencing multiple documents (plans, specs, O&M manuals, etc.) in order to obtain comprehensive asset information. Research studies have presented the technical viability of BIMFM through interoperable and proprietary system (Cleveland 2014; Lin and Su 2013; Lucas 2012; Parsanezhad and Dimyadi 2014; Wetzel and Thabet 2015); however, very few studies have attempted to identify the related organizational requirements to implement BIMFM.

It is assumed by most researchers in this field that facility owner capabilities are the limiting factors to the implementation of BIMFM. A lack of hardware/software, BIM utilization, culture, and other factors have all been cited (Kelly et al. 2013). Although this research does not dispute these findings, it is hypothesized that designers and contractors would also be ill-prepared for BIMFM implementation. This research will utilize data collection mechanisms in order to identify, for each contract entity, the hardware and software requirements of BIMFM, determine the organizational needs for implementation, and evaluate the current market readiness.

Cost Analysis of Construction Projects at Auburn University - Phase II

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Research purpose is to analyze change orders on a set of “large public works” projects to determine:

  • The prevalence of change orders.
  • The work scopes most impacted by change orders including general construction, mechanical construction, and electrical construction.
  • The prevalence of associated reason codes.

A quantitative analysis will also be performed.

A summary of findings shows that 215 projects were reviewed from the years 2006 to 2013. 302 prime contracts were issued and the total contract value was $621,145,802. 1,214 change orders were issued averaging 4 change orders per contract. The total change order value was $35,310,316 or 5.7% of the contract value. Only 533 change orders had reason codes.

The key takeaways were that electrical construction requires the highest amount of change orders. The contracts costing between $1 million and $10 million had the highest percentage of change orders (per contract value). On average, multiple prime contracts had a higher percentage and number of change orders as compared to single prime projects. Unforeseen conditions and owner requested items were the largest drivers of change orders.

LiDAR Scanning to Prefabricate Gypsum Board

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Since 2014, Associate Professor Junshan Liu and other BSCI faculty have investigated the potential to use LiDAR scanning at the in-wall inspection phase of vertical construction, to collect data that can be used to prefabricate gypsum board ‘cuts,’ which could significantly increase productivity, while decreasing waste as well as airborne particulates from the historically ‘dusty’ process of cutting boards on site. By capturing a point cloud of the metal studs and their respective in-wall rough in and penetrations, data can be used to inform cutting operations (by mechanic or by CNC). Multiple early investigations by Professor Liu and CCIC Director Dr. Paul Holley suggest that the work flow has potential.

Studio + Build

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Assistant Professors Rusty Lay (Industrial Design) and Eric Wetzel (Building Science), and CCIC Director Professor Paul Holley collaborated with construction tool manufacturer Western Forge in Fall of 2016 to develop new tool concepts, accessories, and branding strategies for the domestic tool maker. Working with a 3rd year Industrial Design studio, students and faculty interacted with end users in addition to the manufacturer to explore new solutions to potentially improve productivity and/or safety in the construction industry. Studio+Build was begun in 2006, and to date has produced hundreds of concepts, several of which have received full utility patent.