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Benefits and Costs of Research: A Case Study of Construction Systems Integration and Automation Technologies in Commercial Buildings



Robert E. Chapman


This report focuses on a critical analysis of the economic impacts of past, ongoing, and planned research of the NIST Building and Fire Research Laboratory (BFRL) construction systems integration and automation technologies (CONSIAT) program. The CONSIAT program is an interdisciplinary research effort within BFRL - in collaboration with the Construction Industry Institute, the private sector sector, other federal agencies, and other laboratories within NIST - to develop key enabling technologies, standard communication protocols, and advanced measurement technologies needed to deliver fully- integrated and automated project process (FIAPP) products and services to the construction industry.The results of this analysis demonstrate that the use of FIAPP products and services will generate substantial cost savings to the owners and managers of commercial buildings and a contractors engaged in the construction of those buildings. The present value of savings nationwide expected from the use of FIAPP products and services is nearly $1.4 billion (measured in 1997 dollars). Furthermore, because of BFRL's involvement, FIAPP products and services are expected to be commercially available in 2005. If BFRL had not participated in the development of FIAPP products and services, the commercial introduction of FIAPP products and services is expected to be delayed until 2009. Consequently, potential cost savings accuring to commercial building owners and managers and to contractors over the period 2005 through 2008 would have been foregone. The present value of these cost savings is approximately $120 million. These cost savings measure the value of BFRL's contribution for its CONSIAT-related investment costs of approximately $29.1 million. Stated in present value terms, every public dollar invested in BFRL's CONSIAT-related research, development, and deployment effort is expected to generate $4.13 in cost savings to the public.
- 6763
Report Number


building economics, commercial buildings, construction, economic analysis, impact evaluation


Chapman, R. (2001), Benefits and Costs of Research: A Case Study of Construction Systems Integration and Automation Technologies in Commercial Buildings, - 6763, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (Accessed February 26, 2024)
Created December 1, 2001, Updated October 16, 2008