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  1. Traditional manual building code compliance checking is costly, time-consuming, and human error-prone. With the adoption of Building Information Modeling (BIM), automation in such a checking process becomes more feasible. However, existing methods still face limited automation when applied to different building codes. To address that, in this paper, the authors proposed a new framework that requires minimal input from users and strives for full automation, namely, the Invariant signature, logic reasoning, and Semantic Natural language processing (NLP)-based Automated building Code compliance Checking (I-SNACC) framework. The authors developed an automated building code compliance checking (ACC) prototype system under this framework and tested it on Chapter 10 of the International Building Codes 2015 (IBC 2015). The system was tested on two real projects and achieved 95.2% precision and 100% recall in non-compliance detection. The experiment showed that the framework is promising in building code compliance checking. Compared to the state-of-the-art methods, the new framework increases the degree of automation and saves manual efforts for finding non-compliance cases. 
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  2. Connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) offer many potential advantages, including improved traffic flow, reduction of traffic accidents, and increased freedom for adolescents and adults with restricted mobility. However, successful implementation of CAVs depends on several factors, especially acceptance and preferences by people. Specifically, during the earlier stage of deployment, CAVs will have to share the roads with human-driven vehicles (HDVs), which requires communication between CAVs and HDVs regarding their intentions and future actions. Therefore, as a first step in our research program, we conducted a survey of 182 U.S. drivers to assess their knowledge of CAVs and their thoughts about implementation. We report the survey results, accompanied by our interpretations. 
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  3. Issa, R. (Ed.)
    The construction industry has traditionally been a labor-intensive industry. Typically, labor cost takes a significant portion of the total project cost. In spite of the good pay, there was a big gap recently between demand and supply in construction trades position. A survey shows that more than 80% of construction companies in the Midwest of US are facing workforce shortage and suffering in finding enough skilled trades people to hire. This workforce shortage is also nationwide or even worldwide in many places. Construction automation provides a potential solution to mitigate this problem by seeking to replace some of the demanding, repetitive, and/or dangerous construction operations with robotic automation. Currently, robots have been used in bricklaying or heavy-lifting operations in the industry, and other uses remain to be explored. In this paper, the authors proposed a feasibility breakdown structure (FBS)-based robotic system method that can be used to test the feasibility of performing target construction operations with specific robotic systems, including a top-down work breakdown structure and a bottom-up set of feasibility analysis components based on literature search and/or simulation. The proposed method was demonstrated in testing the use of a KUKA robot and a Fetch robot to perform rebar mesh construction. Results showed that the overall workflow is feasible, whereas certain limitations presented in path planning. In addition, a smooth and timely information flow from the Fetch robot sensor and computer vision-based control to the two robots for a coordinated path planning and cooperation is critical for such constructability. 
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  4. Robotic automation of construction tasks is a growing area of research. For robots to successfully operate in a construction environment, sensing technology must be developed which allows for accurate detection of site geometry in a wide range of conditions. Much of the existing body of research on computer vision systems for construction automation focuses on pick-and-place operations such as stacking blocks or placing masonry elements. Very little research has focused on framing and related tasks. The research presented here aims to address this gap by designing and implementing computer vision algorithms for detection and measurement of building framing elements and testing those algorithms using realistic framing structures. These algorithms allow for a stationary RGB-D camera to accurately detect, identify, and measure the geometry of framing elements in a construction environment and match the detected geometry to provided building information modeling (BIM) data. The algorithms reduce identified framing elements to a simplified 3D geometric model, which allows for robust and accurate measurement and comparison with BIM data. This data can then be used to direct operations of construction robotic systems or other machines/equipment. The proposed algorithms were tested in a laboratory setting using an Intel RealSense D455 RGB-D camera, and initial results indicate that the system is capable of measuring the geometry of timber-frame structures with accuracy on the order of a few centimeters. 
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  5. The construction industry is known for its masculine culture where workplace discrimination, biases, and harassment exist. While interventions such as greater workplace diversity, equity and inclusion programs, and mentoring initiatives are directed toward fostering career engagement and employee retention, women continue to leave professional positions in the construction industry. Using an ethnographic methodology, the aim of this study was to identify and examine the dynamics involved in the perseverance of professional women working in the construction industry. In-depth interviews were conducted, and a qualitative approach toward gathering data was utilized. Consistent questions were posed to the participants primarily through synchronous communications, and specific construction companies and professional women employees were asked to participate. Results suggest that women in leadership positions who previously experienced harassment had male interventionists, and are now serving as the primary interventionists for younger women in their companies. Further results suggest increased women’s participation is realized by forming multiple supportive organizational structures within the construction workplace culture and enacting zero-tolerance guidelines to curb inappropriate or harassing behavior. These research findings underscore the need for further exploration of novel interventional mechanisms toward greater retention of women in the industry. 
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