Brasfield & Gorrie, University of Alabama partner to provide hands-on experience in construction technology

Brasfield & Gorrie, University of Alabama partner to provide hands-on experience in construction technology
University of Alabama seniors learn about leading-edge prefabrication and modularization technology as part of a hands-on program created by a partnership between the university and the Brasfield & Gorrie construction company. (Brasfield & Gorrie)

Brasfield & Gorrie recently enabled a select group of graduating seniors from the University of Alabama to enter the job market armed with resumes that include hands-on experience with emerging technologies in the construction field, including assembling and operating 3D printers.

The experience was part of the students’ senior research project and is a result of a partnership that began in 2015 between the general contractor and the Culverhouse College of Business at the University of Alabama‘s STEM Path to the MBA program. The purpose of the annual project is to expose students to leading-edge construction technology as well as business challenges in the construction industry.

A modular building model created by 3D printing allows University of Alabama students to test their construction concepts. (Brasfield & Gorrie)

This year, Brasfield & Gorrie’s chosen project focus was prefabrication and modularization. The company provided the project team with two Prusa 3D printers, which the students assembled themselves and used throughout the project. The students researched ways to optimize use of prefabrication and modularization in construction, and they visited a modular homes manufacturing plant, SE Homes, to gain a better understanding of how components are built in separate stages and then joined together.

Based on their research and observations, the students formed hypotheses, which they tested by creating scale models of modular building components using 3D printing and modeling software. Through the printed scale modular components, the students were able to demonstrate the feasibility of their design concepts.

Brasfield & Gorrie personnel guided and monitored the students’ activities throughout the course of the project, exposing them to real-world issues and ensuring a valuable experience.

“It’s rewarding for me to see students get excited about some of the emerging technologies and innovative solutions we are currently identifying and using,” said Russ Gibbs, Brasfield & Gorrie Innovation and Operational Technology Director. “As the next-generation workforce, they will be the ones to take those concepts to the next level and drive future progress.”

In the following video, Gibbs teaches students about the use of prefabrication and 3D-printed modeling in construction and manufacturing.

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