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Laboratory Learning Of The Benefits Arising From Detailed Pre Planning Of Construction Operations

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Innovation in Construction Engineering Education I

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Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1000.1 - 12.1000.9



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Paper Authors

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John Hildreth Virginia Tech

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Michael Vorster Virginia Tech

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Laboratory Learning of the Benefits Arising from Detailed Pre- Planning of Construction Operations Abstract Construction operations can be categorized as either routine and repetitive or unique and complex. The means of developing an understanding of operations in each category differs. An understanding of routine and repetitive operations is best developed through analysis of field operations. Unique and complex operations by their very nature have not been constructed in the field. Therefore, an understanding of such operations can be developed through a pre-planning process of first “building on paper.” A laboratory session was incorporated into a construction means and methods course to demonstrate the benefits of pre-planning construction operations. Students used the K’NEX construction system to build a replica of the Tower Bridge. By design, some groups pre-planned their operations, while others did not. The value of pre-planning was evident through observation of their performance. Introduction Construction operations can be categorized as either “routine and repetitive” or “unique and complex.” Regardless of the category, the ability to analyze and improve the operations represents a competitive advantage for the performing party. The category does influence the methods and techniques employed to develop an understanding of the subject operation. Traditional techniques of field operations analysis are applied to improve routine and repetitive operations. Unique and complex operations do not afford the luxury of analyzing previous performance. Such operations are improved by first “building on paper” through a detailed operations pre-planning process. A construction means and methods course is an integral part of a construction engineering and management education program. The objectives of the course should address the features and performance characteristics of construction equipment, as well as the principles of operations analysis and improvement. The senior level means and methods course at Virginia Tech was recently restructured to include a laboratory component to demonstrate the principles of operations analysis, methods improvement, and field data collection. A specific laboratory exercise was performed to demonstrate the benefits of detailed operations pre-planning for unique and complex construction operations. The exercise was well received by the class, successful in revealing the benefits of pre-planning, and made a lasting impression on the students. Operations Improvement Techniques Techniques for improving construction operations are either applied during construction or prior to construction. Field operations analysis techniques are applied to ongoing operations to record data, analyze performance, identify problems, and devise solutions1. Prior to operational performance, a formal pre-planning process may be employed to gather information, develop an operations pre-plan, and disseminate the information to the involved parties.

Hildreth, J., & Vorster, M. (2007, June), Laboratory Learning Of The Benefits Arising From Detailed Pre Planning Of Construction Operations Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1704

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