Teams of industry mentors, students compete in Tech Blitz to 'radically' boost Living Building construction productivity

Monday, April 9, 2018
The Living Building from the northwest, showing the building's "porch" opening to the Eco-Commons to the west. (Image Courtesy: The Miller Hull Partnership and Lord Aeck Sargent)
The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design at Georgia Tech, formerly known as the Living Building. A group of students from the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering will partner with construction industry professionals April 10 in the School's first Tech Blitz, a kind of hack-a-thon for the architecture-engineering-construction industries. Their challenge will be to develop new uses of Building Information Modeling software to “radically” improve construction productivity and how personnel are used on the building. (Image Courtesy: The Miller Hull Partnership and Lord Aeck Sargent)
 

Industry mentors will team with civil and environmental engineering students in a day-long competition April 10 aimed at improving the construction of Georgia Tech’s Living Building.

Organizers call it Tech Blitz. The idea is to showcase how the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering’s construction and infrastructure systems engineering program can push technological innovation for the architecture-engineering-construction industry.

TECH BLITZ
April 10

8 a.m.
Kickoff and judges' presentations
Mason 1133

9:30 a.m.
Team idea development

4 p.m.
Final team presentations and judging
Marcus Nano 1117

Teams will mix professionals with undergraduate and graduate students to tackle this charge: use Building Information Modeling, or BIM, software to “radically” improve construction productivity and how personnel are used on a real-life project — in this case the Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design at Tech.

“This first Tech Blitz is about practicing what we preach,” said John Taylor, Frederick Law Olmsted Professor and one of the faculty members leading the effort. “We think of our construction and infrastructure systems engineering program as the platform for technological change in the AEC industry, so we want to foster these kinds of interactions between our students and professionals to explore and expand the cutting edge of technology in our industry.”

The teams will spend most of the day brainstorming and developing their innovative BIM applications. They’ll present to three judges in the afternoon: Scott Jones, who oversees design and construction in Tech’s Office of Facilities Management; tech entrepreneur and alumnus K.P. Reddy; and Oliver Smith, a BIM expert from Skanska, the company constructing the building.

Students for the first event were hand-selected because of their interest and engagement with the subject, Taylor said. Future events will ask interested students to apply.

Taylor said the Tech Blitz grew out of conversations with the School’s Construction Advisory Board, a group of alumni and industry professionals who offer outside perspective on the construction and infrastructure systems engineering program. Members of that board helped plan and execute the event, along with Taylor and Professor of the Practice Eric Marks.

“This is a first of its kind in our field,” Taylor said. “We hope to run at least one Tech Blitz every year to continue to explore and define how various technologies can be innovatively applied to achieve radical improvements in productivity and optimal utilization of the workforce.”