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New Research Center Tackles Construction Problems
WMU's Georgeau Construction Research Center

New Research Center Tackles Construction Problems

"We're facing a host of challenges, from evolving regulatory requirements, population increases and energy shortages to air quality issues, a rising ambient temperature and more violent weather," Dr. Osama Abudayyeh, chair of the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering and founding director of the Georgeau Center, explains. "Engineers and architects have been forced to rethink traditional building codes and construction practices. It's not only sensible to change how we do things, it's become mandatory."

A group of Western Michigan University (WMU) researchers is studying new and creative ways to build better in an age of climate change and other challenges facing the construction industry.

Their activities are being funded by grants from WMU's Georgeau Construction Research Center, which was established in 2016 through a $5 million gift from Phil Georgeau of Kalamazoo and his late wife, Betty.

The couple funded the center to not only advance the construction industry through innovative research, but also to create better, stronger, safer, sustainable and more resilient construction systems and materials.

Housed in Floyd Hall and administered by the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the center already has awarded $350,000 in grants to seven projects being conducted by faculty members at the University.

In addition, construction has begun on a $1 million lab that will open in the fall of 2018 in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences annex near the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport. The state-of-the-art laboratory facility will allow researchers to evaluate roofing system designs under extreme wind loads as well as study the properties of large-scale structural elements and samples under different loading conditions, including seismic loads.

According to government figures, the construction industry contributed more than $1 trillion to America's gross domestic product and employed some 7 million people in 2017.

With that in mind, the Georgeau Center aims to:
• Advance the construction body of knowledge through innovative research.
• Distill research results into best practices that can be implemented by the industry.
• Educate the next generation of construction researchers by engaging undergraduate and graduate students alike in the center's research.
• Transfer technology to industry through product development as well as publications, workshops and other knowledge dissemination.

This article can be read in full HERE.

Article Credit: Western Michigan University

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August 24, 2019, 2:33 pm PDT

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