PATH - A Public Private Partnership for Advancing Housing Technology

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Pervasive Production Space: An Innovative Information Technology Framework for Homebuilding

Arizona State University

* Anil Sawhney, Principal Investigator
* Kenneth D. Walsh, Co-Principal Investigator
* Howard H. Bashford, Co-Principal Investigator

Start: September 15, 2003
Expires: August 31, 2005


The overall goal of this research is to realize the vision of making appropriate information available anywhere, anytime in the homebuilding process through the use of innovative information technology tools. The project vision will be accomplished through the development of a Pervasive Production Space (PPS) for building code compliance results that uses the emerging field of pervasive computing. This research will focus upon the development and identification of pervasive computing paradigms, methodologies, design tools, and technologies to meet this vision for the U.S. homebuilding industry. The project vision can ultimately apply to all phases of the homebuilding process including land development, house design, pre-construction, building construction, and post-construction.

While pervasive computing is being generally adapted to structured home and office environments, this research will expand fundamental underpinnings of such computing theory through its application in an "unstructured" production environment. The intellectual merit of the proposed research also relates to its confirmation of widely held, but insufficiently documented, hypotheses about the value of IT implementation in the residential construction industry.

The broader impacts of the proposed research are dramatic. Housing is a basic human need. Current management methods have led to an increase in the cycle time for the construction of new housing units, and a concomitant increase in the cost. The proposers estimate that some $90B in excess capital is tied up in the industry due to communications-induced cycle time waste. This capital could be put to other uses in the economy, and the impact on housing prices would increase affordability nationwide.

The proposed data collection strategies will provide significant material for classroom instruction in residential construction, improving education methods via conduct of the research. The proposers will make every effort to disseminate the results broadly; positive data vetted by industry partners could be a compelling tool to drive other builders to seek similar partnerships, which could in turn lead to wider partnerships. Revolving around the core research activity will be other important activities that will ensure integration of research and education, involvement of persons with diverse backgrounds and career aspirations, creation of an enabling infrastructure that will foster and sustain innovation in the long-term, and transformation of demand generated by diffusions of innovation into new businesses. View additional details on this NSF award.

More about the Project

The Arizona Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (AzPath) is a regional partnership formed to promote research and development in the Arizona homebuilding industry. Arizona State University (ASU) has entered into a partnership with PATH, five major Arizona homebuilders, and the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona (HBACA). The vision is that AzPath will serve as a vehicle to lead the southwest area housing industry to embrace research, learning, and the adoption of innovation to provide housing of higher value at a reduced cost. Higher value in housing means higher quality, more energy efficient, more durable, more sustainable, and safer to produce.

The vision is as worthy as it is challenging. The core partners identified above are actively participating in the venture. Initial areas identified as being ripe for improvement include improving cycle time, improving energy efficiency, and improving affordability of housing. Initial projects that are currently underway include the following:

Learn about Global Positioning System as an Innovative Layout Tool for Residential Construction, Supply Chains in Residential Construction and more.

Content updated on 9/21/2005

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