Benefits and Costs of Research: A Case Study of Construction Systems Integration and Automation Technologies in Industrial Facilities
Robert E. Chapman
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is improving its resource allocation process by doing microstudies of its research impacts on society. This report is one of a series of microstudies prepared by NIST s Building and Fire Research Laboratory (BFRL).This report focuses on a critical analysis of the economic impacts of past, ongoing, and planned research on BFRL s construction systems integration and automation technologies (CONSiAT) major product. The CONSiAT major product is an interdisciplinary research effort within BFRL in collaboration with the Construction Industry Institute, the private 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.This case study of BFRL s CONSiAT-related research, development, and deployment effort illustrates how to apply in practice a series of standardized methods to evaluate and compare the economic impacts of alternative research investments. It is presented in sufficient detail to understand the basis for the economic impact assessment and to reproduce the results. It is based on past, ongoing, and planned research efforts. Thus, it includes CONSiAT-related investment costs that have already occurred along with estimates of future investment costs and cost savings due to the use of FIAPP products and services.The results of this study demonstrate that the use of FIAPP products and services will generate substantial cost savings to industrial facility owners and managers and to contractors engaged in the construction of those facilities. The present value of savings nationwide expected from the use of FIAPP products and services is in excess of $2.0 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 accruing to industrial facility 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 $150 million. These cost savings measure the value of BFRL s contribution for its CONSiAT-related investment costs of approximately $30.1 million. Stated in present value terms, every public dollar invested in BFRL s CONSiAT-related research, development, and deployment effort is expected to generate $4.95 in cost savings to the public.
Benefits and Costs of Research: A Case Study of Construction Systems Integration and Automation Technologies in Industrial Facilities, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], https://tsapps.nist.gov/publication/get_pdf.cfm?pub_id=860035
(Accessed June 7, 2023)