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The CPAS Constructability Design Tool: Multi-Media Lessons Learned for Improved Safety & the Environment Disclosure Number: IPCOM000217383D
Publication Date: 2012-May-07
Document File: 7 page(s) / 635K

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The Prior Art Database

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  The construction industry, like all other industries, has its share of poorly maintained equipment, chemical spills, uncontrolled water runoff, and other wastes that occur at the jobsite. In addition, waste generated during packaging for delivery of products to the jobsite contributes significantly to the 30% packaging content of municipal land fills (U.S. Congress, 1992 [&I). To reduce this waste, shop cutting of bulk materials such as lumber, steel beams, wall studs, drywall, and pipe to finished lengths and then transporting them to the jobsite will reduce waste and may lower overall costs.

  Often environmentally safe construction and maintenance issues can be addressed simultaneously during design. For example, removal or maintenance of a pump may require a spare pump, but should also involve designing inlet and outlet piping and appropriate vent and purge valves so that all liquid contents will drain, thus resulting is safe isolation of the liquids and avoidance of spillage as well as preventing release of VOCs.


  Constructability changes made during the process or product design stage have been proven to significantly improve construction productivity and project economics. Such improvements have also been made since 1989in response to environmental and safety initiatives and regulation. For example, the expanded substitution of citrus or other aqueous-based solvents for organic solvents has resulted in the reduction in VOCs (volatile organic compounds) released to the environment. These aqueous or biodegradable solvents are used withinmanufacturing processes for ultra-clean degreasing applications as well as to strip paint for welding and painting in the field, thus eliminating the use of toxic chlorinated solvents. Use of these new solvents is an example of pollution prevention where the source of the potential waste is eliminated and a non- polluting substitute put in its place. This practice is called source reduction and is one of the most effective ways to improve the potential for environmental releases for the long-term and provide an inherently safer system.

  Other methods for improving construction productivity involve the use of modular designs to reduce the cost of field assembly. Modules are usually safer to fabricate in the shop and then transport to the site for assembly. Modular prefabrication and assembly can allow large assemblies to be hoisted into place, thus reducing worker exposure to elevated work tasks. Modular considerations beyond initial construction could make the resulting facility easier to maintain andmore reliable. All of these practices allow improved construction productivity and safety, thus improving the project economics while also extending the life of the facility and reducing waste generation.

  Constructability, life-cycle costing, and value engineering are often related and used to achieve these ends (Tatum, Vanegas and Williams 1985 [I]).