In 1975, Secretary of Labor John Dunlop commissioned an arm of the Tennessee Valley Authority to analyze data on the construction industry with the aim of enhancing operations of various government programs. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment Standards Administration (DOL ESA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) contributed, funding a system of econometric models with detailed information on construction activity for every county in the nation.

By 1981 TVA was no longer interested in housing or funding construction research activities, but the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Corps of Engineers (USACE) found the research relevant. As a result, TVA’s construction resources analysis staff moved to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business (then the College of Business Administration).

At UT, the construction research analysis staff refocused from construction forecasting to supporting the Employment Standards Administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). From the mid-1980s until 2017 our team contracted with the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (DOL WHD) to conduct wage surveys in accordance with Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (DBRA). These surveys examined all types of construction (building, heavy, residential and highway) for any assigned location in the United States and its territories.

In 2000 the construction research analysis activity was officially recognized by UT as the Construction Industry Research and Policy Center.

Opposite: Williams R. (Bill) Schriver, the former director of the center, was the driving force in its creation and evolution for more than 30 years.