Purdue Construction Engineering and Management Digging Deep Developing Underground Space

Purdue University – West Lafayette is a public institution that was founded in 1869. Purdue research exceeds $347.1 million a year using more than 400 research labs. Purdue Civil Engineering has been consistently ranked as a top 10 undergraduate program by U.S. News and World Report for over a decade. On July 1, 2020, Dr. Tom Iseley joined the faculty at Purdue University as the Beavers Heavy Construction Distinguished Fellow as a full professor of engineering practice in Construction Engineering and Management (CEM), College of Engineering, in West Lafayette, Indiana.

The Beavers is a heavy engineering construction association. It is a social, honorary organization formed in 1955. It was organized and continues to be managed by construction companies and individuals who are or have engaged in heavy engineering construction. The Beavers provides funding for Dr. Iseley’s position at Purdue. It was established in honor of Dr. Donn Hancher, who was Dr. Iseley’s major Ph.D. professor at Purdue.

The Department of CEM at Purdue started in 1979, and is among a small number of engineering-based construction programs. Purdue Consortium for Construction Innovation (PCCI) is an industry/university consortium and is a component of the CEM at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. The objective of PCCI is to merge the resources of industry with Purdue’s CEM resources to advance the science and practice of construction engineering including heavy civil and underground construction industry through research, education, technology transfer, etc. to drive innovation and validation.

PCCI has a flexible structure to respond to a wide range of potential challenges related to the total life-cycle of projects and programs including the planning, design, construction, operation and termination of vertical construction and horizontal infrastructure projects. By establishing PCCI, Purdue CEM will extend its impact to the construction industry that is well established through the internship program and the number of graduates working in the industry. Another resource is the wealth of knowledge and experience possessed by CEM faculty and staff and faculty in other Purdue academic units.

Development of Underground Space (DUS) Course at Purdue University is offered under Dr. Iseley’s supervision each spring semester for the students in Civil Engineering and Construction Engineering and Management. This course has been designed to support students with civil engineering and construction engineering and management background. New underground construction projects are planned all over the world, and the course equips students to contribute to these exciting developments. This course includes an overview of the application for tunneling and underground space as well as construction methods. The course covers various sizes of underground excavations from small diameters built by microtunneling to common tunnels used in civil and mining applications to large caverns, often found for different end uses such as storage or hydropower construction. The learning outcomes of this course are:

  • Critique concepts for the future use of underground space and innovative methods of construction,
  • Systematically describe and classify underground works according to type, use and construction methods,
  • Recognize the diversity and complexity of underground excavations and associated works.

This course is provided as a classroom option and through the Purdue Engineering online option which is available globally for individuals looking for university credit course. This course brought 24 industry and academic leaders to Purdue virtually to make this course. These individuals are:

Greg Raines (Stantec), Dr. Priscilla Nelson (Colorado School of Mines), Brian Dorwart (Brierley Associates), Nasri Munfah (AECOM), Paul Schmall (Keller Specialty Services), Jon Y. Kaneshiro (retired from Parsons), Ray Sterling (Louisiana Tech), Steven R. Kramer (COWI North America, Inc.), Paul Nicholas (AECOM), Arthur “AJ” McGinn (Brierley Associates), Jon Hurt & Michael Dutton (Arup), Mike Miller (Citizens Energy Group), Natalie Parks (USI Consultants, Inc.), TJ Short (City of Fort Wayne), Christophe Bragard & Richard McLane (Traylor Bros., Inc.), Dr. David Chapman & Dr. Nicole Metje (University of Birmingham-UK), Red Robinson (Shannon & Wilson), Russ Lutch (Brierley Associates), Robert (Bob) Goodfellow (Aldea Services Inc. and Chair, UCA of SME), Dr.-Ing. Robert Stein (Stein Ingenieure GmbH, Germany).

Dr. Iseley is in the process to establish the UCA of SME Student Chapter at Purdue which will be the 3rd student chapter UCA of SME in the world after the Colorado School of Mines and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A team will represent the Purdue UCA of SME Student Chapter at the Rapid Excavation & Tunneling Conference (RETC) which will be held on June 13-16, 2021 in Las Vegas, NV. Also, they will make a presentation to the UCA of SME Executive Committee on June 16 at RETC.

Dr. Iseley will be teaching the “Asset Management for Buried Pipelines” at Purdue in fall 2021 for the second time. Most of the U.S. water and wastewater conveyance infrastructure was installed during the first half of the 20th century and is coming to an end of its useful life. “Out of sight, out of mind” describes the awareness and significance that has been placed on these underground lifeline systems which support societies’ quality of life, public health, economic development and living standard.

Historically, management of these systems has been described as “reactive management.” They only get attention when there is a failure. It has been determined that a reactive management approach is not sustainable. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been instrumental in assisting utilities transition from reactive management practices to proactive practices. This approach involves the principles and practices of Asset Management (AM). AM is a comprehensive approach which involves every aspect of the organization to develop and implement best business practices to address: (a) the current state of the assets, (b) levels of service, (c) critical assets, (d) life-cycle costing, and (e) funding. This course prepares students to utilize sound engineering judgment and principles for managing the construction, repair, rehabilitation and maintenance of buried infrastructure systems including pipes, tunnels, chambers, etc.

For more information, please contact Dr. Tom Iseley, diseley@purdue.edu.

This article was written by Dr. Tom Iseley & Saleh Behbahani.


Comments are closed here.