Research Portal

May 21, 2020

Center for Education and Research in Construction

The Center for Education and Research in Construction (CERC) is a locus of research, scholarship and discovery in the University of Washington’s Department of Construction Management and allied disciplines of architecture, engineering and real estate. Focused on the people and practices of a dynamic, innovative construction industry, CERC develops new concepts and innovative solutions as well as improves methodologies for design, construction and operations. 

With labs focused on Safety and Health, Project Delivery and Management, Virtual Design and Construction, Infrastructure Development, and Sustainable Built Environments, the CERC faculty are not only experts and researchers in a wide array of topics, but also lead the field in translating that expertise into excellent construction education practices and pedagogy to train tomorrow’s construction professionals.

CERC develops and delivers continuing education for professionals within the built environment disciplines. Examples of past and ongoing partnerships include those with Skanska and the National Electrical Contractors Association. In addition, the Center supports the Department of Construction Management (CM) by hosting meetings of the program’s advisory council (CIAC), graduate and undergraduate classes, and teaching laboratories.  

With generous support from the local construction industry, the Department of Construction Management took on an ambitious project to develop a research and education center at the old naval base at Sand Point located in Magnuson Park, Seattle, WA near the University of Washington’s main campus. The facility features more than 25,000 square feet of space on two levels, providing a home for the Center for Education and Research in Construction.

Labs associated with CERC include:

  • PDM Lab
  • LCR Lab
  • ESC Lab
  • CTOP Lab
  • SHARE Lab

CTOP Lab supports the Internet of Things (IoT) project, studying devices which are increasingly a standard component of buildings. As these sensors are connected to the internet and networked to building technology (such as heating and lights), they introduce potential security vulnerabilities. Although technical solutions exist to counter security issues, implementation of these solutions are often impeded by the challenges that an organization’s Information Technology (IT) staff and a building’s Operations and Maintenance (O&M) staff have when they work closely together and share their knowledge about computer security and how buildings operate. These difficulties arise from different ways of working and different points of view about how technology works. These challenges, in combination with a policy environment that rarely regulates IoT devices, increases risk, leaving buildings vulnerable to attack.

This project will address these challenges by studying two critical areas: (1) how O&M and IT groups currently share their knowledge and skills in order to improve IoT security and (2) how public policies and an organization’s own rules regarding privacy and security impact how IT and O&M collaborate. The results of this study will generate knowledge around how IT and O&M professionals can work more effectively together to improve the security of our nation’s buildings and offer insights into how public policy may affect professional cybersecurity collaboration to manage IoT risk.

This project is a joint venture of the Communication, Technology, and Organizational Practices (CTOP) Lab as well as the Cyber-BE lab.