At the upcoming ELECTRI Council meeting in mid-July, five educators will present their proposals for the honor of an ELECTRI International Early Career Award (ECA). This competition is designed to encourage younger faculty members to become familiar with the electrical construction industry through shorter research projects. Eventually, many of them move on to apply for major ELECTRI research grants. This year, ELECTRI received 11 ECA proposals. ELECTRI’s the Program Review Committee narrowed the options to the following five entries.
- Resource Loaded Schedule (RLS) Course Development for Electrical Contractors — Ingrid Arocho, Oregon State University. Scheduling construction projects is one of the most complex planning-phase tasks. Applying resource loaded schedules techniques could help contractors be more efficient and competitive. This ECA project would develop a guide and a one-day course for contractors to help them become familiar with RLS and the techniques to implement on their projects.
- Implementation and Promotion of E-Construction for Electrical Contractor: Benefits, Challenges, and Lessons Learned — Sharareh Kermanshachi, The University of Texas at Arlington.
E-construction – a paperless environment – has various aspects and platforms in the construction industry. Yet, Building Information Modeling is the only aspect that has been studied for electrical construction. This ECA project will investigate the E-construction feasibility, cost/time benefits, challenges and lessons learned.
- Measuring Situational Awareness Among Electric T&D Line Workers — Siddharth Bhandari, Western Michigan University.
Work within the TD sector is highly dangerous with a very small margin for error. To work safely, workers need to have high situational awareness to detect and classify hazards, assess risks and potential outcomes, and consider the dynamic nature of the work environment. This ECA initiative would create and then validate an app-based survey tool for the TD sector to measure situational awareness.
- Harnessing Knowledge and Experience of Specialty Contracting Supervisors – Anthony Sparkling, Purdue University.
Throughout the US economy, there is interest in the relationship between unemployment rates and training to help adjust skills during times of economic growth or decline. This ECA project will use EC industry field studies to document how an knowledge and experience move from project team member to member working on construction projects. The results will include a measurement instrument to evaluate explicit and tacit knowledge, a lessons learned report, and training materials to help prepare the future EC workforce.
- Wearing Exoskeleton to Reduce Physical Demand for Electrical Workers — Chao Wang, Louisiana State University.
Intense EC worker physical activities and tasks can cause injuries to the worker’s back and lower extremities. To help eliminate safety hazards, an interesting solution may be to use assistive robotic devices – exoskeletons that attach to the human body and deliver mechanical power to augment user strength, endurance, and mobility. This ECA project will determine if exoskeletons can reduce physical demands of construction work in general. Results will also identify the types of construction tasks that will benefit the most from exoskeleton use.