My central teaching philosophy is to promote better learning outcomes for students by integrating my own experience in commercial markets with a solid educational core of academic and industry practices. I have developed integrative approaches that stimulate students’ ability to conduct self-directed and team-based research and learning, similar to the professional environment. The integration of “technical” and “leadership” components in the learning environment allows students to develop and demonstrate both conventional abilities in applied knowledge and the “non-technical skills” that are a growing area of importance for construction firms and the next generation of construction and general industry leaders. 

In the classroom, creating a unique and powerful learning environment for students is central to the development of students who can retain, synthesize and apply their knowledge outside of the classroom. For instance, in the “Construction Principles” course, the survey-type lecture course has become an interactive process that combines lectures with application of the course’s principles. In 2009, students received lectures on the basics of construction and construction economics, and then used this knowledge to create construction plans, develop building information models (BIM) and build modular sections of lumenHAUS, Virginia Tech’s Solar Decathlon entry. Students then built sections of the house combining these modular pieces, enabling students to gauge scale and efficiency of construction and economics for the process while working in a real-world, collaborative environment. In part due to this process, the lumenHAUS team received the 2010 XCaliber Award. Virginia Tech presents this award annually to an exemplary interdisciplinary team that integrates technology in teaching and learning, in recognition of the complex, multi-disciplinary nature of the project, and the coordination necessary to guide students during the project. 

Course and Program Development

BC 2064, 3064, 4064 and 5024: Integrated Construction Studio
The “Integrated Construction Studio (ICS)” course, which is unique among peer institutions, is another example of integrative learning. Each semester, the ICS course brings together Construction Engineering and Management and Building Construction sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate students (commonly incorporating 130 students or more) to conduct pre-construction management of a real project. Students within each grade level form teams of five members, which are then combined in larger teams of one sophomore team (structural sub-contractors), one junior team (mechanical sub-contractors) and one senior/graduate team (general contractors) each. Teams work together throughout the semester, culminating in a competitive, formal bid for a construction project similar to the bidding process construction companies undertake. The studio environment for the ICS course allows it to be catered to teams and also to each individual student. During the Department’s recent accreditation, ICS was listed as a ”strength” for the department, based on auditor and student input.

Fall 2014: BC 4064 Innovation in Construction Hourigan Construction and Chesapeake Bay Foundation Studio     Website Link ; Course Website Link
This course, part of a larger partnership of the Department of Building Construction and Hourigan Construction Company, provided students access to innovative processes and technologies on a state-of- the art, real project - the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) Brock Environmental Center. Previously Hourigan Construction offered BC students the opportunity to work on innovation in pre-construction and construction stages of the CBF project. For this semester, the course focused on innovative processes surrounding project commissioning, construction turnover, and facility operation. Further, the studio focused on BIM implementation to support better performance and owner satisfaction in CBF project processes.

The course format was seminar-based. During the first few weeks, students spent time reading literature and then discussed related concepts and applications of knowledge in depth during class. The course increasingly focused on project turnover and its processes, including innovative solutions. At the same time, the students became familiarized with CBF project documents, learn BIM applications such as BIManywhere and Navisworks, and worked with the project BIM model, culminating in practical tasks related to the CBF project.

Unique to this project is its focus on the Living Building Challenge (LBC) certification, which was a stricter requirement for building sustainability than other programs. Only a few buildings in the world are certified, and this will be the first on the east coast. Students learned LBC, its goals, importance, and why LBC is unique in achieving green building objectives. Students learned about LBC requirements (divided into 7 petals and 12 imperatives), implemented on a real project, and processes in obtaining certification through documentation and measurement in the project commissioning phase of owner operation.

In preparation of project turnover, the students took the lead in reviewing and organizing data for the turnover package of respective disciplines (Architecture, MEP) in ways that supported the owner’s daily operation of the facility, which involved multiple disciplines and constant information inquiry. With the BIM tools, the students integrated the turnover package with BIM to support project submittal documentation and presentation for the owner’s easy access. The documentation of the LBC sustainability requirements were also be integrated into BIM tools as a part of project turnover and for future certification.

Students were finally provided the chance to visit the site, know more about the project, try using the BIM tool and think about what could be further improved on current BIM tools.

Fall 2013: BC 4974 Hourigan Construction and Chesapeake Bay Foundation Studio  Website Link ; Course Website Link
The overall goal of the fall 2013 CBF Studio was to measure the effectiveness and utility of BIM 360 and virtual construction applications to traditional methods. This was accomplished through the involvement of BIM 360 checklist creation and completion and Navisworks Manage collaboration and cash detection. The primary components of analysis used include: clash detection, quality control/assurance and conformance, and schedule adherence.

Through this process students have discovered the various obstacles with implementing Virtual Construction Management (VCM) on a project while they are using it to support construction in real-time.

The course contained the following deliverables:
- Formwork Analysis: Analysis of structure and formwork design for constructability, scheduling and MEP coordination.

- Clash Detection Reports: Development of clash logging system and implementation of weekly clash detection in congruent to fabrication model development and Hourigan Construction BIM coordination meetings. Students organized clashes in terms of severity, likelihood and trade with a cost and schedule component and then offered solutions to Hourigan team to be used in real-time.

- Students rotated weekly and serve as a “Clash Captain” throughout the semester. The Clash Captain was responsible for the file management and assembly of the Clash Detection Report that week.

- BIM 360 Checklists: Establish familiarity with BIM 360 Field application. Students researched and created re-usable QA/QC checklists for tasks associated with Hourigan Construction’s project schedule. Students also completed samples during a site visit to gauge effectiveness of checklists and the 360 Field application.

-Virtual Construction Process Review: Utilize weekly clash detection reports and measurable parameters (cost and schedule impact) to evaluate the VCM process for this project. Students considered the limitations and barriers to implementation of BIM 360 Field and other technology specific to the project.

A final report was prepared and presented to Hourigan construction of outcomes of the work. A final paper on the topic of establishing cost implications of pre-construction BIM integration for journal publication was also an outcome of the work.

Ethical Issues, Group Assignments, Integration of Technology, Writing Intensive

Fall 2012: BC 4974 Hourigan Construction and Chesapeake Bay Foundation Studio  Website Link
In the Fall of 2012, Hourigan Construction Company (HCC) invited Virginia Tech's Department of Building Construction, in the Myers Lawson School of Construction, to work with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) on a Living Building Challenge (LBC) facility in Virginia Beach, VA. This facility, the CBF Environmental Center, required a focus on higher-level factors surrounding constructability, means and methods, logistics and schedule for a real, high performance building, both in its design and implementation. As a result of this partnership, HCC asked the students from Virginia Tech to research and recommend suitable solutions to the current "state-of-the-art" processes in implementing a sustainable construction site, solutions that meet the spirit of the LBC.

As part of this studio, students worked with architecture students to develop a detailed pre-construction plan for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Environmental Center in Virginia Beach, VA. Initially, architecture students established a detailed list of innovative, optimal technologies, included larger schemes, for the construction and operation of the facility. Based on several technologies of that list, the pre-construction plan proposed criteria for implementing construction of the real facility as follows: 1) Constructability review; 2) Means and methods; 3) Site utilization strategy and 4) Scheduling. The students will be working inside and outside of the classroom, including one visit to the site and frequent meetings with the management team of Hourigan Construction Company (HCC).
Teaching Experience
- BC 2014: Construction Principles I, 3 credit hours, 5 contact hours; 25 students/ year. 
- BC 2024: Construction Principles II. 3 credit hours, 3 contact hours; 30 students/ year. 
- BC 2064: Construction Principles Lab. 2 credit hours, 3 contact hours; Approximately 100 students/ year. 
- BC 3064: Building System Technology Lab. 2 credit hours, 3 contact hours; Approximately 100 students/ year. 
- BC 4064: Construction Practice Lab, 2 credit hours, 3 contact hours; Approximately 100 students/ year. 
- BC 5064: Innovation in Construction, 3 credit hours, 3 contact hours; Approximately 10 students/ year. 
- BC 4974: Invited Faculty: Spain and Portugal Abroad. 3 credit hours, 3 contact hours; Approximately 8 students/ year avg. 
- CNST 5024: Integrated Leadership Studio, 2 credit hours, 3 contact hours; Approximately 30 students/ year. 
- BC 4444: Invited Faculty, Design Build Studio, Alternate Studio: An Architecture of Relief. 3 credit hours, 3 contact hours; Approximately 10 students. 

Student Advising & Research

As Committee Chair or Co-Chair
-Project and Report: Gangwar, Saurabh. “Establishing an Interactive Resource Application for Commercialization of BIM.”
-Project and Report: Phillips, Jake. “Establishing BIM as a Methodology in Construction.”
-Master’s Thesis, Spring 2010: Gore, Justin. “Towards Defining Categories of Innovativeness for the Construction Industry.”
-Project and Report, Fall 2009: Jones, Jefferson. “A Decision Support Manual for Kitchen Design and Construction.”
-Project and Report, Fall 2010: Henry, Chris. “Towards Establishing Attributes of SIPs.” 
-Project and Report, Fall 2010: Gagliano, David. “Case Studies of Construction Knowledge Management.” 
-Project and Report, Fall 2010: Monica, Anthony. “A Case Study Approach for Determining Website Characteristics for the Diffusion of Roofing Innovation within the Construction Industry.” 
-Project and Report, Fall 2010: Lilly, Josh. “Application of OSHRC Granata Pilot Projects to r2p2r Cyclical Research Translation Model.”
-Ph.D.: Albassami, Ali. “An International Commercialization Model for Residential Construction Products.” 
-Ph.D.: Rigby, Ellie. “Establishing a Theory of Innovative Project Delivery in the Construction Industry.” 

As Member of Committee
-Project and Report: Nandgaonkar, Chinmay. “A Decision Wheel for Adoption of Housing Technology.” 
-Project and Report: Jones, Cosco. “Adoption of Green Technologies in Renovation Projects.”
-Project and Report: Adoma, Emelia. “Affordability of Green Residential Housing in the USA.”-Project and Report: Wright, Neil. “The Impact of Peak Oil             on US Construction.”
-Project and Report: Hayden, Desmon. “Implementation of the Agile Method for Design-Build.”
-Project and Report: Berge, Chris. “Leadership in AEC.” 
-Project and Report: Mitra, Chayanika. “Identifying Research Gaps in Implementation of Zero Energy Building.” 
-Project and Report: Tucker, Jake. “The Self-Perceived Value Of and the Selection Criteria For Sustainable Construction Professional Credentials.”
-Ph.D.: Bhattacharjee, Suchismita. “Energy Code Adoption in US Construction Industry.” 
-Ph.D.: Pishdad, Pardis. “US Construction Economic Cycles.” 
-Ph.D.: Shan, Liang. “Innovative Public Private Partnership Financing Costructs.” 
-Ph.D.: Ahmed, Ali. “Increasing Building Component and Material Re-use.”
-Ph.D.: Langar, Sandeep. “Observeability of BIM.” 
-Ph.D.: Ahmed, Ali. “Increasing Building Component and Material Re-use.” 
-Ph.D.: Short, Kathleen. “The Impact of Experiential Learning: Assessing the Outcomes of Internship Experiences for Students Entering the Construction Industry.” 
-Ph.D.: Lucas, Jason. “Enhancing Information Flow through Facility Lifecycle to Support Facility Management in Healthcare Environments.”