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Research Grants To Build Labs: A Sample Mechanical Building Systems Lab (Mechbuild Lab)

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Innovation in Construction Engineering Education I

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Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1028.1 - 14.1028.10



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Daphene Koch Purdue University

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

Research grants to build labs: Mechanical Building Systems Lab (MechBuild Lab) Abstract

As the requirement faculty to develop research increases, create projects with funding potential are needed. One faculty member developed a grant to support the development of a Mechanical Building Systems Lab (MechBuild Lab). This lab will to serve an accredited four-year Bachelor of Science program in Construction Management. Students learning in this lab will someday be responsible for the management of construction, verification of design, and inspection of installation of all types of mechanical systems in buildings. The MechBuild lab will bridge the gap between student learning and the implementation of innovative technology, and will stimulate students with real-world, hands-on exercises. It will be beneficial to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education, faculty development, and community outreach. This paper will outline the goals and utilization of this lab.


A proposal was written to seek financial support for the development of a Mechanical Building Systems lab (MechBuild lab) to serve three courses in an accredited four-year Bachelor of Science program in Construction Management. Buildings are living things and mechanical systems are what keep the contents of the building alive. Per the United States Health Department, people cannot occupy a commercial building without clean air, drinkable water, and flushable toilets. Piping systems are the veins of a building. The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are the heart and lungs that provides a healthy environment. The proper design, construction, and installation of mechanical systems are necessary to allow the safe occupancy of any structure. Like internal organs, most mechanical systems are concealed within the walls of the structure; therefore, it is more difficult for the students to comprehend something that lies beneath the surface. The MechBuild lab will allow students opportunities to study the life systems of a building, previously only viewable during the construction of a building.

On average, 75 students per semester complete the Mechanical Construction course that is a requirement for graduation in the Construction Management department Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. In addition, approximately 25 students per semester take a mechanical specialization course that would apply higher-level learning to the MechBuild lab. The third class utilizing the MechBuild lab is a course for non-majors offered by the Building Construction Management (BCM) department. Usually sixty computer graphics, interior design, and other interested students take this course every semester. Currently the students enrolled in these courses have show and tell type activities. The need is to provide students with more challenging activities applying measurable outcomes. At a minimum, 160 students per semester are enrolled in courses that require the completion of lab exercises related to mechanical construction.

Koch, D. (2009, June), Research Grants To Build Labs: A Sample Mechanical Building Systems Lab (Mechbuild Lab) Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4948

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