The Construction, Geotechnical and Structures Division of TTI consists of three programs: Construction Engineering and Management; Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental; and Major Highway Structures. These groups collaborate to maximize value to all parties involved in the planning, design, construction, renewal, and decommissioning of constructed facilities.
Construction Engineering and Management Program: Researchers develop knowledge, tools, and methods for adding value to construction projects and organizations and focus on three themes: development processes and management issues that drive and constrain progress, including the dynamics of rework, dysfunctional management teams, procurement process selection, fast-track implementation, and resource allocation; risks that threaten performance, including quantitative assessment techniques, performance prediction, and control under uncertainty, real options in construction, and risk management decision making; and means of improving construction, including development and implementation of advanced construction materials, integrated modeling of processes and management, and information technology.
Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Program: Researchers deal with earth materials, including soil, rock, and groundwater. Since most construction projects are supported by earth materials, geotechnical engineering interfaces with most of the other civil sub-disciplines. For example, geotechnical engineers design foundations for structures (collaborating with structural engineers), sub-grades for roadways (collaborating with transportation and roadway engineers), embankments for water storage and flood control (collaborating with construction engineers, managers, and planners), and containment systems for hazardous materials (collaborating with environmental engineers and scientists). In addition to participating in the design, construction, and operation of most civil engineering projects, geotechnical engineers also deal with various geologic hazards, such as landslides, soil erosion, and earthquakes.
Major Highway Structures Program: Structural engineering is the field of engineering particularly concerned with the design of load-bearing structures and is largely the implementation of mechanics to the design of the large structures that are fundamental to basic living, such as buildings, bridges, walls, dams, and tunnels. Structural engineers need to design structures so that the structures do not exhibit failure or perform in undesirable ways while serving their useful functions. This includes ensuring that structures are designed for long-term serviceability when appropriate. The structural engineering researchers focus on design and analysis of constructed facilities, dynamic loading and structural behavior, modeling and analysis, natural hazard engineering, probabilistic and stochastic modeling, smart structural systems, and rehabilitation and renewal of major structures.
The Construction, Geotechnical and Structures Division designs, develops, and evaluates new and existing materials and structures, new and existing structural designs, various construction techniques, non-destructive testing procedures, repair and rehabilitation methods, and new test procedures for various materials and structures.
The construction engineering and management researchers apply a variety of research methods to issues in the industry to build and test potential theories with data. For example, statistical models of dependence among construction phases and activities illuminate the effects of project structure on contingencies. Advanced construction materials are used to build and describe the behavior of structural members in laboratories. Controlled experiments with human subjects describe how managers assess and choose risk strategies for comparison with results from computer models based on theories from finance and economics. Surveys of experts and direct observations of construction operations form the basis for new processes and practices. Interviews of practitioners about project management policies are integrated with dynamic simulation models of rework and quality to analyze resource allocation efficiencies.
The researchers in the geotechnical engineering area have active research programs that include expansive soils, scour and erosion, construction quality control, seafloor foundations and anchors, and stability of seafloor slopes. Expertise of the researchers includes engineering properties of soils, geomechanics, numerical methods in geotechnical engineering, foundation design, slope and retaining wall design, foundations on expansive soils, site investigations, and geotechnical earthquake engineering.
The expertise of the structural engineering researchers includes design and analysis of constructed facilities, optimized design processes, dynamic loading and structural behavior, advanced mechanics, modeling and analysis, natural hazard engineering, probabilistic and stochastic modeling, smart structural systems, structural assessment, and rehabilitation and renewal of major structures.
The researchers in the constructed facilities division collaborate with other researchers throughout the United States and the world. The National Geotechnical Experimentation Site (NGES), headquartered at the RELLIS Campus, attracts researchers from throughout the world. Researchers are members of the Mid-America Earthquake Center, one of three national earthquake engineering research centers established by the National Science Foundation. The Center for Building Design and Construction brings together expertise within civil engineering from structural engineering, geotechnical engineering, and construction engineering, along with the College of Architecture, to evaluate a wide variety of challenges with constructed facilities.