Thesis Proposal

The following proposal is a comprehensive report detailing the proposed four topics for which technical analyses will be performed on the VIDA Fitness Center. Each of the four possible areas that have been analyzed could prove to be either feasible or unpractical with their engagement on the project. The results obtained are expected to provide potential solutions to some of the construction problems at VIDA and are intended generally to improve the overall quality and value for the Owner, as his high reputation and company branding demand both.

Technical Analysis 1: Application of ReRev Energy Harvesting System

The first technical analysis in this report includes an electrical breadth and proposes the introduction of a ReRev energy harvesting system that captures the DC energy generated from cardio equipment and converts it to AC power. This system is specified for fitness centers alone and affords a unique and trendy approach to commercial sustainability application. Applying this system with the cardio equipment could provide potential energy and long-term cost savings for VIDA, along with a "green" feature that would promote a positive, sustainable image to the public which would, in turn, increase the value for the Owner. In order to properly analyze the employment of a ReRev system at VIDA, several key aspects must be thoroughly researched and considered. The initial equipment and installation cost must be measured against the payback period in a lifecycle cost analysis to evaluate the feasibility of installation. Case studies for other similar fitness centers will be studied for feedback on the ReRev system along with the general public opinion before and after ReRev integration. The installation process for the ReRev system will be examined in conjunction with how best to incorporate the system to maximize its use; this evaluation will introduce an electrical breadth that will be needed for a partial system redesign with integration of the ReRev system.


The second technical analysis investigates the effects of scheduled overtime use during the construction of VIDA. Scheduled overtime is traditionally utilized in construction to accelerate the project schedule, either to make up lost time on a delayed project or simply to ensure a project with an extremely constricted timeframe does not fall behind schedule. In the case of the VIDA project, scheduled overtime was used to combat both of these reasons. Research has proven that this extended use of overtime can negatively affect worker productivity and quality on a project. Investigations on this topic will be conducted in order to properly analyze whether it is possible that the overtime costs, decreased quality, and efficiency losses of working overtime outweighed the costs of working a traditional, 40-hour week. Differences in initial and actual schedules can be determined by comparing the original project schedule to the actual construction schedule, provided by Forrester Construction. The adjusted work schedule developed from this point could provide an opportunity to not only save the Owner on indirect labor costs, but also increase efficiency and quality, both of which will increase the overall value of the finished product.


The third analysis discusses Job Order Contracting (JOC) and how it can be applied in a unique manner to the VIDA project. Instead of the traditional Design-Bid-Build process, Job Order Contracting (JOC) could be developed with a pre-qualified steel subcontractor to prevent the selection of inadequate subcontractors for VIDA projects. JOC is typically employed on smaller projects and permits an owner to achieve multiple smaller contracts under the umbrella of one large, competitively bid contract. Though this umbrella contract is typically held between the owner and contractor, a unique analysis could be performed to examine the benefits of Forrester Construction holding a Job Order Contract with a subcontractor on the VIDA project. This could be especially beneficial due to the fact that David von Storch, the Owner of VIDA, consistently uses Forrester for construction of all of his VIDA Fitness Centers, all of which possess the signature monumental stairwell and combine similar features and finishes. It would also allow for the subcontractor to be pre-qualified, a step that could later improve the quality and timeliness of the constructed stairwells. With this idea in mind, procurement and delivery times could be decreased, substantial cost savings could be reaped for both the steel subcontractor and Forrester, and quality could be increased, all of which support improved efficiency and value.


The fourth and final analysis, which includes a mechanical breadth, proposes relocating the two exterior duct lines and redesigning the ductwork on each floor for a more efficient layout. Moving the main supply and exhaust lines from the exterior of the building could alleviate several constructability issues associated with them and could also provide the opportunity for the redesigned layouts to increase constructability and decrease both material and labor costs. Because of the variables associated with a layout change, a metrics measuring chart will be developed for each ductwork redesign and can be implemented to determine the optimum ductwork layout that will provide the best value to the Owner.

Electrical Breadth

Technical Analysis 1 studies the integration of a ReRev energy harvesting system that will convert the DC energy produced by cardio equipment use to AC power that can be used to offset the electricity usage costs at VIDA. This electrical breadth calculates and examines the changes that must be made to the existing electrical system with the addition of the ReRev system; the system on VIDA ties into the grid from the existing connection, a 208/120, 3-phase, 4 wire, 1600 amp feed supplied by Pepco. Electrical calculations will be done to ensure this is still properly sized for the building once the ReRev system has been implemented. The electrical system at VIDA will also be studied to determine a connection location for the ReRev system and other electrical equipment and connection requirements. A constructability and feasibility review will additionally be performed to not only ensure that the existing system is properly suited for the ReRev system, but also to guarantee the changes made in the system are feasible for this particular construction project. Both cost and schedule impacts will be examined throughout this feasibility process.

Mechanical Breadth

Redesigning the ductwork on each floor and/or moving the exterior supply and exhaust ducts could potentially introduce several benefits, as discussed in the fourth technical analysis. Moving the main supply and exhaust lines from the exterior of the building could alleviate several constructability issues associated with them and could also provide the opportunity to propose redesigned ductwork layouts for the interior of the building. These redesigned ductwork layouts will serve as the mechanical breadth for this analysis, and will require duct resizing and CFM calculations for a proper and effective redesign. Impacts on schedule and cost will both be analyzed when choosing the proper layout. Lastly, a constructability review will be performed to consider the practicality of the redesigned layouts and whether they are realistic options for the existing mechanical system.

MAE Requirements

The MAE requirements for the senior thesis research will be fulfilled on the third technical analysis, Implementation of Job Order Contracting. JOC was introduced and discussed by Dr. Robert Leicht in AE570: Production Management in Construction. The knowledge gained from this will be incorporated into the third analysis in the determination of how JOC can decrease the length of procurement and preconstruction, increase overall quality, and provide a substantial cost savings for Forrester and the Owner. Dr. Leicht also taught AE572: Project Development and DeliveryPlanning, which will be incorporated into the fourth analysis with the creationof the Integrated Decisions chart used for decision making on mechanical systemlayouts. This chart will aid thechoosing of a layout that will potentially save the Owner money, improveconstructability and efficiency, and thus, increase the overall value to the Owner.