C. B. Tatum: Research Overview
Overview of Research by Bob Tatum

Industry Experience and Research Motivation
Experience on two large power plant projects included involvement with design-construction integration and innovative designs and construction methods. My construction engineering activities on a power plant project in Colorado included an active interface with the design engineers to analyze and plan innovative construction methods, interpret the plans and specifications, and resolve field problems. Before relocating to the site for the project in Washington State, I spent two years in pre-construction planning and working with the design team at the home office. A major activity during this significant career opportunity was to jointly, with the project design team, study innovative designs and construction methods. I also provided construction input to the design in multiple disciplines. My responsibilities as Resident Engineer and later Construction Superintendent at the project included implementing many of the innovative designs and construction methods that we jointly developed during pre-construction planning. See industry experience.

My service in the US Army Corps included responsibility for a highway upgrading project in the Republic of Viet Nam. This required geometric design for the upgraded cross section and alignment, earthwork operations, bridge construction, and drainage structure work. We integrated and completed all of these activities at the remote site. Designing in the evening and constructing the following day provided complete integration between these two activities.

Both parts of this background provided a major motivation for my research concerning integration and innovation in construction. These two complimentary areas have increased understanding of context within a firm and on a project and the activities to integrate design and construction, develop innovative designs and construction methods when they are beneficial for the project, and better satisfy project objectives. Both of the power plant projects I worked on involved large and dynamic project organizations, which motivated me to complete doctoral research concerning decision making in organizational structuring.

The following paragraphs summarize my research in these three areas of integration, innovation, and organization. See publications for a listing divided into categories related to each area follow the three descriptions, along with teaching.

Design-Construction Integration
The integration work involves methods of construcibility improvement and formalizing and transferring construction knowledge to increase design-construction integration and improve construction methods. Completed projects related to integration include constructibility improvement during conceptual planning, use of modularization and pre-assembly, transferring knowledge from construction experience, and comparing integration in manufacturing and construction. Two other integration projects focused on formalizing and representing construction knowledge for use during design of reinforced concrete structures and the design of mechanical and electrical systems. In these projects, we identified characteristics of construction knowledge that is useful in design and methods to represent this knowledge as a part of computer models. My integration research involved four doctoral students and projects sponsored by NSF, CII, and CIFE. Research methods for this work included case studies and symbolic modeling of facility designs and construction knowledge. See publications related to design-construction integration.

Product and Process Innovation in Construction
The innovation portion of my research concerns mechanisms and strategies for product and process innovation in construction. This research began with case studies of new facility design features, new construction methods, and their interdependent development. Subsequent parts of the investigation included organizational characteristics fostering innovation in design and construction firms, processes of innovation in these organizations, and strategies to develop new product and process technology and use it for competitive advantage. This work increased the visibility and understanding of innovation in design and construction. My integration research involved seven doctoral students and projects sponsored by NSF, CII, and CIFE. See publications related to innovation.

Decision Making in Organizing Large Projects
My doctoral research, supervised by Professor Ray Levitt, focused on increasing understanding how managers decide in organizing large projects. This included analyzing case studies of large projects using models of decisions making and selecting the model that best fit the actual process. See publications related to organization.

Updated by C. B. Tatum