Affiliations

Research Sponsors

Research

Dr. Menches’ current research involves studying the reactions, behavior, and decisions of construction professionals and workers in response to circumstances on construction projects, including reactions to disruptions, safety incidents, and contract language. Specifically, Dr. Menches is conducting research on flexible, fast decision-making on the construction jobsite in response to disruptions to the flow of work. She is investigating how electrical construction workers react to a task disruption by improvising creative workarounds that allow the work to continue. The study aims to identify how decisions made by workers in response to disruptive events can lead them to flexibly restructure tasks (i.e., develop a work-around) in order to adapt to a disruption as it unfolds.

Dr. Menches is also conducting research on the age-old question of why construction workers take physical risks on construction sites even when safer options are available. The research acknowledges that on a fast-paced, high-intensity construction site, the ability to “think on your feet” is a valued characteristic of construction foremen and crew members, and increasingly, there is pressure to understand how these individuals make decisions rapidly, particularly when the decision involves evaluating hazards and taking risks during the course of performing the daily work. Consequently, Dr. Menches’ research focuses on investigating the question: How do construction workers resolve personal risk dilemmas when their careful deliberation suggests one course of action while their intuitive impulses suggests a different course of action?

Furthermore, Dr. Menches is conducting research on emotive contract language and structure. The study will identify specific features of contract clauses that communicate a positive or negative emotive tone, and then, through experimentation, Dr. Menches will establish how specific language and features in the contract evoke specific emotional reactions in individuals.

Current Research

1.      Title: Flexible Decision-making in Response to Disruptive Events on Construction Sites

Status: Funded; in progress

Role: Principal Investigator

Co-PIs: Dr. Dror Ben-Zeev and Dr. Scott Morris

Sponsor: National Science Foundation

Total Award: $324,556

Starting Date: 09/01/11; Ending Date: 8/31/14

 

2.      Title: Affective Reactions to Construction Contract Framing

Status: Funded; in progress

Role: Principal Investigator

Co-PI: Scott Morris, Ph.D.

Sponsor: IIT Educational and Research Initiative Fund

Total Award: $25,000

Starting Date: 01/01/2013; Ending Date: 12/31/13

Completed Funded Research

1.      Title: Benefits Resulting from Native File Sharing During Electrical Cost Estimating and Bidding

Status: Funded; in progress

Role: Principal Investigator

Sponsor: Foundation for Electrical Construction

Total Award: $50,000

Time: April 2011 - August 2012


2.      Title: Reimbursable Contracts

Co-PIs: Dr. Randolph Thomas and Mr. Steve Nelson

Sponsor: Construction Industry Institute

Grant: $227,776

Time: September 2008 – August 2010

 

3.  Title: Achieving Performance Improvement through an Effective Project Management Strategy

Sponsor: Foundation for Electrical Construction

Grant: $135,500

Time: January 2008 – December 2009

 

4.    Title: Synthesis Study on Innovative Contracting Techniques for Routine and Preventive Maintenance Contracts

Sponsor: The Texas Department of Transportation

Grant: $81,388

Time: November 2008 – December 2009

 

5.   Title: Facilitating the Transfer of Knowledge About Building Damage by Understanding the Cognitive Aspects of Severity Judgments

Sponsor: The University of Texas at Austin Vice President of Research

Grant: $6,000 (seed funding)

Time: October 2008 – August 2009

 

6.   Title: Effect of Roof Material on Water Quality for Rainwater Harvesting Systems

Co-PIs: Dr. Mary Jo Kirisits and Dr. Kerry Kinney

Sponsor: Texas Water Development Board

Grant: $50,000

Time: September 2008 – August 2009

 

7.      Title: Global Procurement and Materials Management

Co-PIs: Dr. Carlos Caldas and Dr. Pedro Reyes

Sponsor: Construction Industry Institute

Grant: $254,962

Time: September 2007 – August 2009

 

7.   Title: Synthesis Study of Programs Used to Reduce the Workload for Inspection Personnel

Co-PIs: Dr. Carlos Caldas and Dr. James O’Connor

Sponsor: Texas Department of Transportation

Grant: $113,413

Time: September 2007 – August 2008

 

8.      Title: Project Controls and Project Management Systems

Co-PI: Dr. William O’Brien

Sponsor: Construction Industry Institute

Grant: $165,227

Time: September 2006 – August 2008


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