Senior Thesis Proposal: Click the image directly to the right to open this document. This proposal describes the intentions of what to investigate for the spring semester. Specific systems and methods to be used for performing each analysis is included.
Posted: December 14, 2012
Revised: January 10, 2013
Analysis #1: Effect of the Change Order Management Process
Change order management has been noted by the project team as one of the biggest challenges. It is believed that researching the change order management process will reveal how the project team and laborer morale have been negatively impacted throughout construction due to a large amount of waste and value loss in this process. All steps will be investigated and specific problematic examples chosen to perform a value stream analysis; identifying where value is added or it is a wasteful step. Required extension of the schedule is also assumed to be, in part, due to the change order management process and how untimely decisions have hindered construction and caused otherwise avoidable delays.
Analysis #2: Implementation of Precast Panels
This analysis includes both breadth studies. Hand-laid brick was used on this project, which the mason suffered major setbacks due to weather delays and drawing detail issues. It is expected that the use of precast panels could eliminate significant time and greatly reduce site congestion. Changing the materials used on the façade and how those materials are supported will potentially have major impacts on other building systems. A breadth study including the structural analysis will be conducted to determine if steel will have to be upgraded. A separate breadth study will include the impacts on the mechanical system due to a change in the façade materials and insulation properties.
Analysis #3: Use of Virtual Mock-Ups for Connection Details
BIM was used on the project, although not to its full potential. Details of the addition’s connection to the existing building were deemed unachievable the way they were shown on the drawings. Because a viable solution was neither found easily nor found early in construction, this is an example where virtual mock-ups could have been utilized and added value to the project. A virtual mock-up will be created as well as an analysis determining whether the cost benefit and applicability of using mock-ups on this project would be deemed feasible.
Analysis #4: Modularization of Headwall Units
Modularization was a major discussion topic at the PACE Roundtable as prefabrication is becoming more prevalent in the construction industry. Headwall units involve work to be done by several trades, and there are 49 total units in this building. It is believed productivity will significantly increase as complex connections in tough-to-reach areas, now pre-assembled, will allow trades work to flow much smoother throughout the building, preventing bottlenecks at headwall units in each room. Costs and schedule impacts of using modularized headwall units will be analyzed.
The Kaiser Permanente Largo Medical Office Building has a unique SidePlate Moment Connection System discussed in Technical Assignment 1. Due to the several issues with the masonry façade and tight schedule discussed in both Technical Assignment 2 and 3, it is believed that precast panels could greatly accelerate the schedule. The structural system does not support the entire masonry façade, although there are relief angles provided to carry some of the load. Load of a precast façade system will need to be carried entirely by the building’s structural system. Because a precast system is being proposed, the structural system will now have to carry a larger load and most likely require upgrades. Steel upgrades would most likely require costly implications, and it will be determined whether or not the benefits during construction will outweigh the cost. Calculations will be performed to show if the building's structure can support the additional load, if not, larger structural members will be appropriately sized. Producers of panels will have to be consulted to determine expected loads of panels to know what the structure will have to support. Also, other design considerations will need to be investigated and consulting with the project’s structural engineer will be necessary. Assistance will be sought from members of the project team that have worked with precast panels before, and both faculty members and students in the Architectural Engineering department.
Precast panels have very different properties from a conventional brick façade. This will require investigation of the insulation properties of the panels that are chosen to be analyzed. Impacts on the mechanical system will vary with the change of seasons, and potentially have a significant impact on the energy costs to keep the building comfortable. Heating and cooling loads will need to be researched along with energy costs for the Largo, Maryland area. Some preliminary investigation of panels has revealed panels often have better insulation properties than traditional hand-placed brick. It will need to be investigated whether the mechanical system currently in use is the appropriate size and also lifecycle costs of the mechanical system will be analyzed to fully understand the effects of implementing precast panels on the project. Calculations will be done to check if mechanical system changes will be necessary. It would be ideal if the panels would be discovered to actually reduce costs.
Many of the thesis analyses that are proposed will deal with AE 570, Production Management, as individual activities are going to be required to compare total man-hours of that activity to the alternative method being proposed. Prefabrication, standardization, and modularization have been discussed throughout the semester, which pertains to two analysis topics. Discussion of Lean Methods have been discussed in AE 570, as well as AE 572, Project Development and Delivery Planning. Investigation of alternative collaboration methods related to change order management and defining value streams applies to AE 572 as well. These two courses are the focus of the MAE studies being researched in this thesis.