Please click on the link below to view my proposal for thesis research in the spring of 2012.

Thesis Proposal

A revised version of my proposal was uploaded on January 11th, 2011. The revised version contains changes in scope for depth analysis 2 and 4. In addition, breadth topic two was changed to an acoustical study that is tied into depth analysis two as opposed to a structural one. The revised version can be viewed by clicking the link below.

Thesis Proposal
Revised January 11th, 2001

Below are descriptions of my analyses:

Analysis 1/Geothermal Heat Pumps:
The quantity and life cycle cost of geothermal heat pumps on LRI will be determined.  Their load capacity will then be calculated and used to calculate if the existing mechanical equipment could be downsized.  The impact on the schedule from the installation of the heat pumps will be analyzed.  Finally, taking into account life cycle cost, impact on schedule and constructability, and effect on existing mechanical equipment it will be determined whether or not the heat pumps would have increased the efficiency of the building at a reasonable cost to the owner.

Analysis 2/Feasibility and Design of a Modular Classroom:
The dimensions of a modular classroom will be determined, after investigation of which prefabrication method to use, based on input from manufacturer’s as well as the project requirements and architects.  After ensuring that the design can be efficiently shipped to the job site and that it fits the project requirements the savings in design and construction time will be calculated and compared against actual durations on the site.  Lastly, state requirements and other data will be analyzed to determine if the classroom could be used in other areas of the state.

Analysis 3/Effect of Electrical Rough-In Method on Productivity:
The amount of time and cost that is associated with underground versus overhead electrical rough-in will be analyzed based on a single classroom.  Once the cost and schedule impacts are known for that classroom that data will be extrapolated to the entire school.  The results will be analyzed to determine which method is cheaper and which method would have allowed the school to be dried in at an earlier date.  Lastly, through interviews with electrical contractors the popularity of one method versus another for similar project types will be analyzed in order to identify any trend.

Analysis 4/Alternative Project Delivery Method:
The state law regarding delivery method will be researched and any loopholes for obtaining an alternative delivery method will be identified.  Through investigation of case studies and interviews with project managers on those projects, the means, methods, and people that were used to obtain an exemption to the law will be compiled.  The data will be analyzed in order to try to identify a typical path to exemption.  Through interviews with the project management staff, estimates of differences in cost and schedule between the project delivery method used and multiple prime will be analyzed.  Lastly, based on the findings of the case studies it will be determined whether or not an alternate delivery system could have improved the efficiency of Landis Run Intermediate.

Mechanical Breadth/Geothermal Heat Pumps:

The geothermal heat pumps that have been proposed to be used on the project can take a significant load off of the building’s mechanical systems.  The building’s mechanical systems may even be able to be downsized if the load capacity of the heat pumps is significant enough.  This would greatly increase the sustainability of the building since conventional mechanical equipment produce more emissions than heat pumps.  Determining whether or not this is feasible and to what extent if so is the topic of my first breadth study. 
Once the quantity of the geothermal heat pumps has been determined their total load capacity will be calculated.  Then, their load capacity will be used to calculate the remaining total load of the building that needs to be picked up by the conventional mechanical systems in the building.  Once the new load for the conventional mechanical systems is calculated new equipment will be selected to be installed in the building.  Any cost savings, difference in electrical requirements, and difference in size between the mechanical equipment being installed now and the newly proposed equipment will be tabulated.

Acoustical Breadth/Feasibility and Design of a Modular Classroom:

Modular construction allows for quicker and more efficient construction on site as well as a higher quality of work due to tighter tolerances in the factories.  However, the design of the modules must be carefully thought out to ensure that they perform as well if not better than if the project was stick built.  In addition, one of the most important aspects of a school is the learning environment is promotes.  A large aspect of that is its acoustics which will determine how well the students can listen and therefore learn.
The amount of noise that passes through the walls of a modular classroom will be calculated and compared with the amount that would pass through the stick built walls being constructed to determine how the use of modular construction will affect the acoustical properties of the classrooms.  In addition, the acoustical properties of a classroom will be analyzed to determine if it meets the LEED prerequisite “Minimum Acoustical Performance”.  This will determine whether or not the classroom would support the LEED rating that the project is striving for.