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Carter G, Smith S

IT tool for construction site safety management

Abstract: The UK construction industry kills some 80 employees per year. This corresponds to a fatal accident rate of roughly 4.4 per 100,000 employees. Furthermore, major injury and 3-day injury rates are approximately 400 and 900 per 100,000 employees, respectively. Figures for the rest of Europe are similar, if not worse. It has long been realised that the reduction of hazardous events is fundamental to good construction safety management because these events have the potential to cause accidents, which may result in injuries and fatalities. However, there have been examples within the industry where hazard identification and the subsequent assessment of risk have been carried out by people ill equipped to identify all the hazards, assess their risks and suggest appropriate responses. Our research aim is to develop a knowledge-based system to aid in site safety management. The system will consist of a centralised database containing the combined knowledge and experience of all personnel within the company. This database is accessed via a user interface, which takes the form of a dynamic data-driven website and consists of four main applications that focus on the main areas of site safety management. The first application concerns creating and maintaining a company risk log, which can be used to identify hazards, assess risk, establish adequate hazard responses and report risk reduction performance. The second application is intended to aid in the method statement preparation process. Hazard referencing to tasks within the methodology and assigning significance values to tasks based upon assessed risk are the main features of this application, which should improve the level of hazard identification and enhance safe systems of work on site. Our system relies heavily upon historical data to provide an objective and dynamic evaluation of risk, rather than current subjective and static estimations of risk using the traditional method of risk matrices. Thus the other two applications are concerned mainly with entering data from accident reports and site safety tours into the central database. The other function of these applications will be to perform detailed analysis of accident causes, which will help safety managers to better respond to hazards to prevent future accidents. We are currently at the stage of developing a prototype version of the system. Field trials will be conducted between February and May for validation of the prototype. Validation will take the form of analysing method statements and risk assessments before and after implementation if the system to determine its effect on improving hazard identification, the assessment of risk, hazard response and accident rates. Qualitative evaluation will also be carried out. Questionnaires to, and interviews with, safety managers will give an indication of the usefulness of the system from a management and operational perspective. Doing the same thing with site foremen and operatives will allow us to determine the effectiveness of the outputs of the system, i.e. method statements and risk assessments, in enhancing safe systems of work.

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Full text: content.pdf (1,139,352 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2001 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.man-software (0.026762) class.social (0.018951) class.impact (0.007440)
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Permission to reproduce these documents have been graciously provided by CSIR Building and Construction Technology. The assistance of the editors, Mr. Gustav Coetzee and Mr. Frances Boshoff, is gratefully appreciated.


Drogemuller R M, Smith J

Integrating the building procurement process using knowledge based technology

Abstract: Computer based methods for facilitating building procurement have been proposed for over twenty years, but progress on such systems has been slow. This paper describes a project built around a three dimensional computer model of the building to be constructed, Knowledge based techniques are used to build up the level of detail required at each stage of development. Data entry requirements are minimised since only the information unique to the project need be entered. Standard information is stored as default values from previous similar projects. The user interface is simple, with a combination of menus to control the flow of information and dialogues to enter textual information. An ‘intelligent’ CAD interface is used to enter the building geometry. The system has been developed around the design and construction of detached houses, but the principles demonstrated are relevant across the standard building types. In its current form the user can access the geometric and spatial parameters of the building, derive costing data and perform thermal analyses. There is an option to export scheduling information to an eaernal CPM program. This furnishes the basis for planning the construction activities. The flexibility of the system indicates that knowledge based systems are a viable technology for assisting construction management.

Keywords: knowledge based systems; knowledge based estimating; multi-expert system; geometric reasoning; Prolog

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Series: w78:1993 (browse)
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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by the National University of Singapore. The assistance of the editors, particularly Prof. Martin Betts, is gratefully appreciated.


E W East, D K Smith

The United States National Building Information Modeling Standard: The First Decade

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Series: w78:2016 (browse)
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Fowkes, A.H.R., Dechapunya, A.H. and Smith, A.G.

The Development of the BRANZ Computerized Information Service

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Series: w78:1986 (browse)
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Hartvig S, Ersen T

Teaching computing in civil engineering: knowledge systems.

Abstract: "After decades of research and development in ""advanced"" IT, the picture of IT usage in construction remains the same - industry in general is not taking proper advantage of commercially available IT-technologies, as for example knowledge systems. We and others [Raphael 99] think this is caused by the fact that technical universities do not include teaching in advanced computing for civil and building engineers, despite the outspoken need for it. At Department of Planning at the Technical University of Denmark, we have acknowledged this need, and we offer an intensive class in knowledge engineering. Experiences from that course have been presented in [Andersen98]. It is clear to us that this class is valuable, because it enables a fraction of the new generation of professional engineers to cope with 1) knowledge and problem solving and 2) more advanced use of IT. However, it is equally clear that we need to do more - that is: offer teaching in a broader field than just narrow scoped expert systems. We [Andersen98] have pointed out that the relatively narrow scope of the intensive class present a risk of giving the student a too narrow minded attitude to knowledge systems. We are in the process of renewing and possibly expanding our teaching in knowledge systems. To be able to move in the right direction a survey is about to be performed: we are in the process of tracking ""old"" students, now working in industry, in order to learn how our teaching have impacted their professional life and workplace. We seek empirical support for our idea that handling of ""knowledge"", ""problem solving"" and ""concepts"" are key skills for engineers rather than abilities in specific computer applications. The paper will present the results of our survey and considerations, and will include an outline of an improved teaching programme for knowledge systems in civil and building engineering. [Raphael99] Raphael B, Shea K, Smith I, A task and software independent CAE course, in proceedings AICIVIL-COMP99, civil-comp press 99. [Andersen98] Andersen T, Hartvig S, Teaching Knowledge Engineering: Experinces in: Artificial Intelligence in Structural Enginneering, Springer 99"

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Full text: content.pdf (315,577 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2000 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.education (0.056740) class.impact (0.029838) class.environment (0.027163)
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Permission to reproduce these documents have been graciously provided by Icelandic Building Research Institute. The assistance of the editor, Mr. Gudni Gudnason, is gratefully appreciated


Ian F.C. Smith and John Miles

A Course In Computer-Aided Engineering Fundamentals

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Full text: content.pdf (254,149 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2006 (browse)
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Lottaz C, Stouffs R, Smith I

Increasing Understanding During Collaboration Through Advanced Representations

Abstract: Efforts to provide support for collaborative work in the AEC industry have resulted in systems that offer various levels of assistance. Although some systems support information transfer in a wide range of formats, they offer little in terms of decision support such as conflict management and negotiation. Other systems provide more decision support but require strict formats for information input and transfer. Nearly all current proposals offer very limited facilities for viewing information. The objective of this paper is to present an environment which has been specifically designed for multiple ways to represent and manipulate information. Several representations, when coupled with appropriate visualization techniques, lead to opportunities for increasing understanding of AEC project characteristics. More specifically, when a numerical constraint solver (SpaceSolver) is integrated within a document-centric collaboration environment (ICC), synergies between information exchange and solution space exploration contribute very positively to the quality of projects. In particular, the ICC environment provides a framework for representing and visualizing information structures that are created during collaboration. Conceptually, an information architecture and visualization techniques to support the virtual AEC enterprise are emphasized. A plug-in architecture allows for the addition of process- specific functionality. The constraint solver SpaceSolver presents a complementary collaborative approach, with strict semantics to support decision making and conflict management. The use of solution spaces during collaborative negotiation avoids premature decisions in the design process, allows detection of conflicting project requirements at early stages of the project, and increases the designers' understanding of hidden relations between design parameters. Together, the ICC environment supports the management of an information space that, when linked to a constraint satisfaction problem, can explain important restrictions and decisions for an effective negotiation. The combination of a flexible framework with more rigid modules, such as constraint solvers, provides a useful compromise and, thus, comprehensive support for a range of AEC projects. Two recently completed construction projects are used to validate the approach

Keywords: collaboration, negotiation, electronic document management, information architecture, information visualization, feedback.

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Full text: http://www.itcon.org/2000/1 (available to registered users only)

Series: itcon:2000 (browse)
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Raphael B, Smith I

A probabilistic search algorithm for finding optimally directed solutions

Abstract: "Evolutionary search techniques such as Genetic Algorithms (GA) have recently gained considerable attention. They have been used for solving a wide range of problems including function optimisation and learning. In this paper, a new global search technique, called Probabilistic Global Search (PGS), is presented. Results of benchmark tests indicate that this technique performs better than genetic algorithms on a wide range of problems. PGS is a stochastic search technique. It works by generating points in the search space according to a probability distribution function (PDF) defined over the search space. Each axis is divided into a fixed number of intervals with equal probability density. The probability densities of intervals are modified dynamically so that points are generated with higher probability in regions containing good solutions. The algorithm includes four nested cycles: 1. Sampling 2. Probability updating 3. Focusing 4. Subdomain cycle In the sampling cycle (innermost cycle) a certain number of points are generated randomly according to the current PDF. Each point is evaluated by the user defined objective function and the best point is selected. In the next cycle, probabilities of regions containing good solutions are increased and probabilities decreased in regions containing less attractive solutions. In the third cycle, search is focused on the interval containing the best solution after a number of probability updating cycles, by further subdivision of the interval. In the subdomain cycle, the search space is progressively narrowed by selecting a subdomain of smaller size centred on the best point after each focusing cycle. Each cycle serves a different purpose in the search for a global optimum. The sampling cycle permits a more uniform and exhaustive search over the entire search space than other cycles. Probability updating and focusing cycles refine search in the neighbourhood of good solutions. Convergence is achieved by means of the subdomain cycle. The algorithm was tested on highly non-linear, non-separable functions in ten to hundred variables. Results are compared with those from three versions of GAs. In most cases PGS gives better results in terms of the number of times global optima were found and the number of evaluations required to find them. The application of the technique to non-parametric optimisation problems is further illustrated using an example from conceptual structural design."

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Full text: content.pdf (373,661 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2000 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.retrieve (0.019177) class.impact (0.015651) class.deployment (0.013039)
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Permission to reproduce these documents have been graciously provided by Icelandic Building Research Institute. The assistance of the editor, Mr. Gudni Gudnason, is gratefully appreciated


Robert-Nicoud Y, Raphael B, Smith I

Decision support through multiple models and probabilistic search

Abstract: "A large number of candidate behaviour models may exist for existing civil engineering structures such as bridges. Finding the right model for explaining a given set of observations is a difficult task. Traditionally, modelling assumptions are made without adequate justifications and verifications. Manually constructing multiple models and comparing their behaviour with measurements is arduous and hence, we are developing support tools for engineers. Techniques of model composition and model reuse are used for systematically constructing and evaluating multiple models. In this paper, experiments in model construction for the Lutrive bridge in Switzerland and their results are reported. The Lutrive bridge was constructed in 1972 using the cantilever method with central hinges. It is found that the bridge continues to creep significantly even after twenty-seven years of construction. However, load tests indicate that the bridge possesses unusually high rigidity and earlier theoretical models (constructed manually) gave results that were different from displacement measurements by as much as 100%. It was necessary to evaluate different modelling possibilities in order to obtain reasonable correlation with measurement data. The approach we have used is summarised in the following steps: ? Cases consisting of candidate models are constructed manually. ? Spaces of behaviour represented by each case are defined. ? The total solution space which is a union of the spaces represented by individual cases is searched using a new probability-based algorithm. The following conclusions were drawn from the above approach: ? If a model contains enough number of parameters as observation points it may be possible to get an exact match by tuning values of parameters. However, certain models are capable of representing only a few modes of behaviour and no combination of parameter values might exist that explain the observed behaviour. ? Model creation in a domain such as structural engineering requires considerable amount of skill. Storing cases consisting of complete models is a means of reusing such expertise. ? Model construction is a search problem. Evolutionary and stochastic search techniques produce good results when used in combination with cases."

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Full text: content.pdf (466,067 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2000 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.impact (0.017941) class.retrieve (0.013831) class.environment (0.011624)
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Permission to reproduce these documents have been graciously provided by Icelandic Building Research Institute. The assistance of the editor, Mr. Gudni Gudnason, is gratefully appreciated


Smith I

Augmenting design integration and communication using idiom

Abstract: This paper discusses how a system developed for spatial composition using cases is able to improve design integration and communication. Layouts are built interactively by users rather than automatically generated as has been proposed by others. The design is incrementally parameterized as cases are added and therefore, case adaptation, user interpretation and model activation can occur at any stage. IDIOM supports designers through reducing constraint complexity and through managing design preferences, thereby restraining proposed solutions and further adaptation during subsequent project stages within globally feasible design spaces. Since this system finds global solutions for constraints in an incremental manner, it is well suited for collaborative design and for increasing the integration of spatial design with other activities. Practical applications, currently under way, are demonstrating the advantages of IDIOM for communication and integration in construction.

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Full text: content.pdf (131,523 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:1996 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.communication (0.065641) class.man-software (0.023989) class.social (0.016752)
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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by the University of Ljubljana. The assistance of the editor, Prof. Ziga Turk, is gratefully appreciated.


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