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A decision support system for building refurbishment design

Abstract: "Refurbishment work in the EC currently accounts for more than one-third of the total construction output. This market is expected to grow stronger with the progressive ageing of buildings and the environment impetus to retain buildings. A further dimension is the need to adapt buildings for a greying population. There are important differences between refurbishment and new construction works. The existing building constraints the design solutions, construction technologies and work methods. Mechanisation, planning, and efficient organisation of refurbishment work is difficult, due to the small, labour intensive, and ad hoc, dynamic nature of the work. Also due to the relatively small scale of refurbishment projects, there have been no opportunities for standardisation and the applications of prefabrication and industrialisation are limited. Today, larger sized contractors are rapidly moving into the refurbishment market, in response to the shrinking new-build market and the higher technological demands of large scale refurbishment projects. The EC funded Brite Euram project 4670 is titled ‘Decision Support Systems for Building Refurbishment.’ This project has started in August 1998 and will finish in July 2001. Its objective is to develop a socio-technological-commercial framework and corresponding Decision Support Systems (DSSs) for housing refurbishment, to achieve: ? refurbishments which are more focused on user requirements; ? refurbishment designs which take into account the constraints of the existing building structure; ? increased incorporation of industrialised systems and components; ? organisational procedures and production technologies that recognise the unique nature of refurbishment work. The project is divided into three tasks. Task one aims at developing a DSS for the determination of the refurbishment demand and ballpark costs. Task two involves the development of a DSS for refurbishment design. Task three will result in a DSS for refurbishment process planning and control. This paper describes the approach followed for the ongoing development in task two, the DSS for refurbishment design. The main objectives of this task are to provide decision support at the project level. It will develop a database of layouts of representative existing housing estates and a database of preferred refurbishment layouts for these representative existing housing estates. Another database will be developed containing information on building systems and components that are relevant for the refurbishment process. Task two will establish a protocol for refurbishment design support. This protocol, which is implemented in a decision support information system, involves a number of steps that aid the user in selecting an appropriate housing layout and building systems and components that meet the user’s requirements. These steps involve the evaluation of a the user’s refurbishment demands and selection of a matching representative existing housing layout. Based on further dialog with the system, a preferred refurbishment layout is selected, which in turn is used as the basis for the selection of building systems and components that meet the performance requirements as stated by the user. The paper describes the methodology that is implemented in the system for retrieving performance requirements from the user, and the approaches for matching these to the stock of existing and preferred housing layouts available in the system’s database. The system is characterised by a flexible architecture of both the databases and the user interface, which results in a scalable system that allows the expansion of the databases with new graphical layouts and building systems and components, as well as the addition of new kinds of performance requirements. The system is implemented as an Internet application, which allows the database to be maintained centrally and facilitates world wide access to the system. The system’s implementation involves the combination of graphical and non-graphical data that can be queried and matched with only typical Internet browsing software installed at the client-side."

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Full text: content.pdf (465,782 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2000 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.man-software (0.029035) class.environment (0.012122) class.impact (0.010657)
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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


Addison A,O’Hare W-T,Kassem M,Dawood N

The importance of engaging engineering and construction learners in virtual worlds and serious games

Abstract: The engineering and construction industries require their workforce to undertake complex learning and training activities. Exposing new employees, graduates, or apprentices to these environments could endanger their safety and the safety of those working with them. On site education and training also requires an investment of time from skilled individuals and companies. Problems accessing environments, such as construction sites, heavy plants or chemical manufacturers, are substantially heightened by the need to risk assess and comply with Health and Safety legislation making the traditional “hands on” and “shadowing” approaches to training and education more complicated than in the past. These difficulties are also compounded by changes to the geographical locations (e.g. distance learning, on site) of those studying to join these career paths or progress within them. Therefore, educational institutions and trainers must consider how to deliver this skill based learning for both those with access to academic premises and those learning at a distance. New technologies such as serious games are one of the solutions being explored. This paper undertakes an analysis of safety issues and safety training and learning methods relating to the construction industry. The paper takes its start point from a Health and Safety Executive commissioned report in 2003 (Hide et al, 2003) and questions if sufficient improvements in safety have been achieved within the construction industry since its publication. Then, the paper investigates the development of education and training that meets the necessary reality and complexity of engineering and construction sectors and the ability of serious games to provide timely and accessible training to achieve competency within these sectors.

Keywords: Competency,learning,safety,serious games,training,virtual worlds

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Full text: content.pdf (579,452 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: convr:2013 (browse)
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Ahmad I, Nunoo C

Data warehousing in the construction industry: organizing and processing data for decision-making

Abstract: Construction organizations are critically dependent on data. But data must be available in suitable forms for use. Timely access to useful and meaningful information can enable construction companies gain competitive edge, increase client satisfaction, expand market share and enhance profitability. Vast amounts of construction operational data are scattered across multiple, dispersed and fragmented departments, units or project sites. In this paper, we present data warehousing as an emerging database management technology that can provide the resource for decisionmaking. We point out the difference between an operational database - used for transaction processing; and a data warehouse - intended to be used for analytic processing in management decision-making in the context of construction organizations.

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Full text: content.pdf (87,784 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:1999 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.store (0.010961) class.retrieve (0.002378)
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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by the Research Press of the National Research Council of Canada. The support of the editors, particularly Dr. Dana Vanier, is gratefully appreciated.


Aish R

Extensible enterprise computing for construction as a necessary pre-cursor for collaborative engineering

Abstract: "Our focus is to consider the construction industry as essentially an information processing system. In its ideal form, practitioners (each with an individual internal representation of design intent) interact with other practitioners by first interacting with an information processing system that manages various shared external representation of design intent. The underlying assumption (from an information technologist's perspective) is that design data is held in a sufficiently complete representation, and that changes to this representation are transactions that move the representation from one consistent state to another. We might call this 'enterprise computing' for construction. This ideal of 'enterprise computing' for construction can be compared to the realities of current practice. - Due to its fragmentation, the construction industry generally perceives its use of information technology in terms of multiple discrete 'individual' systems (with the resulting proliferation of discrete documents) rather than as an enterprise systems. - The drawing tradition, which represents building in 2D, with different representations of the same design split across multiple independently editable documents inhibits consistent management of design and the use of analytical tools. While these may be familiar arguments, there are new object oriented and data management tools emerging from key software developer, such as Bentley Systems, that are designed to address the specific needs of a 'construction enterprise', namely geometric generality, multiple application semantics, multi-user access, and transaction management. These systems also address the scalability and reliability issues required for deployment in practice. Again, arguments for (and advantages of) systems of this type have been discussed in the research literature for more than two decades. The difference is that these systems are ready for deployment. But with this prospect for a broader application of 'Enterprise Computing' for Construction, there are associated other significant issues which may concern both the 'strategic' and the 'creative' practitioners, namely: - Semantic completeness: building a sufficiently complete multi-disciplinary representation of design intent - Data integrity: where any intelligent components are used, these should not become 'orphaned', for example, by object ""instance"" data being detached from the definitions of the corresponding class - Data longevity: the integrity of design and other data should be maintained for the life-time of the building, across new hardware platforms and operating systems. Upgrades to the application and any intelligent components should not disrupt or invalidate existing data - Parallelisation of design: individual designers or engineers should be able to work in parallel, and then be able to synchronize their changes to design data with co-workers - Expressibility: architectural design and construction engineering are open-ended domains. Additional intelligent components should be capable of being added on a ""per project"" basis. Within this context, this paper will explore the essential 'tension' that exists within the Architecture and Construction sectors. On the one hand, there is a perceived need by construction managers for computing tools based on clearly defined and agreed schema to control the construction process (thereby giving economic advantage, comparability, etc.). On the other hand, creative designers who are under other competitive pressures, are expecting a different set of computing tools to allow the exploration of new building configurations and construction geometry. While in the former case a standardisation of schema (as the foundation of a traditional ""Enterprise Computing"" system) would appear to be in order, in the later case the essential 'open-ended-ness' of the creative process demands ""extensibility"" as a pre-requisite of any computing system. These differing requirements (and indeed, attitudes) within the user community, presents software developers with interesting challenges. What technologies (for example, object and/or relational) and what 'domain abstractions' are appropriate foundations for solutions for these differing requirements. Or indeed, what technologies and 'domain abstractions' can be used as the basis for broader set of applications whose design is intended to unify across this apparent ""management-creative"" divide…hence the theme of this paper: ""'Extensible Enterprise Computing' for Construction"". Fundamentally, this is not exclusively an issue of technology. We need to address both the technical and cultural issues if we are to realise our collective ambition of providing effective tools with which to support collaboration between the diverse range of interests that occur within the Architecture and Construction sectors."

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Full text: content.pdf (827,728 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2000 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.communication (0.034023) class.software development (0.019513) class.represent (0.017320)
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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


Alexander J, Coble R, Crawford J, Drogemuller R, Leslie H, Newton P, Wilson B, Yum Kwok-Keung

Information and communication in construction : closing the loop

Abstract: Both nationally and internationally, the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) sector is highly fragmented : it is dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the nature of information and knowledge can be dispersed among firms and organisations, and consortia are frequently formed from geographically dispersed firms. In recognition of the potential improvements to be gained through an integrated approach to project information used throughout the design, documentation, construction and operation processes, substantial research is underway in Australia to "close the loop" of information flows between designers and constructors. The paper will explore and discuss both the technology platform in terms of information and communications technology (mobile, high-speed and wide area networking linking the design and engineering offices with the construction site) and the information platform in terms of the content of communications between project stakeholders and the requisite information (traditional spatial as well as non-spatial data) of key concern to the stakeholders at various stages of the project lifecycle. The paradigm shift that has occurred over recent years from stand-alone personal computing (which reinforced fragmentation) to mobile and Wide Area networked computing now provides a platform capable of promoting integration, accessibility and co-operation within the sector with attendant gains in efficiency. A minimum requirement to achieve these gains is access to the right information (not just simple data) at the desired level of scale and detail for a particular stakeholder’s view - information which once collected can be stored and refined and then held for use elsewhere on the project without loss and without the need for subsequent re-entry. The information needs to be available quickly and easily, that is at the right time and in the right location for maximum benefit and project efficiency. Demonstration collaborative systems to support interactive Computer Aided Design and information exchange between project stakeholders such as architects, various engineers (electrical, hydaulic, mechanical, structural) and project managers, in an innovative collaborative manner have become available to bring dispersed project members together electronically. Such systems allow project members attached to a network to undertake a range of information access and exchange from simple e-mail; through on-site access to central project data sources via handheld computers; right through to the use of optional live (or pre-recorded) video to enhance collaboration. Using communications infrastructure, this functionality can be shared in various ways - in a corporate-wide environment between regional and/or interstate offices within a company, or in a consortium situation (between offices of a consortium working together on a specific construction project). The questions then arise as to how such systems fit into industry practice, and how the industry might adapt to embrace new opportunities provided by such technological advances. Ease of access to up-to-date, accurate project information for a range of project stakeholders is being extended through research in the US and Australia to close the loop between some of the stakeholders, and this will be discussed in detail in the paper. As well, the progress of industry-based support for a level of interoperability for building and construction information by organisations such as the International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI Australasian chapter) will also be discussed, plus the likely impact of the adoption of Industry Foundation Classes in the Australian building and construction industry in areas such as the design life for buildings based on durability of materials.

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Full text: content.pdf (719,511 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:1998 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.communication (0.057235) class.environment (0.023003) class.synthesis (0.022896)
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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. The assistance of the editors, Prof. Bo-Christer Björk and Dr. Adina Jägbeck, is gratefully appreciated.


Andreas Kunz, Stefan Dehlin, Tommaso Piazza, Morten Fjeld, and Thomas Olofsson

Collaborative Whiteboard: Towards Remote Collaboration and Interaction in Construction Design

Abstract: The need for improved interaction and sharing of information in construction projects has grown significantly in recent years, especially as projects have become ever more complex.The early design stage is of particular importance for the final results as most of the building lifecycle characteristics are committed at this stage and the opportunity to influence them decreases rapidly as the cost of making changes, or correcting design errors, increases dramatically. Recent advances in information technology offer methods and tools to meet this need. In view of this, CollaBoard – an interactive whiteboard for remote collaboration – was developed to support mixed, geographically distributed teams. Interconnected via a network, two or more system setups allow users to interact and share information over a common interactive vertical whiteboard. Superimposing the live video of the remote partner – “people on content” – also allows the transfer of Meta information such as gestures, et cetera; resulting in a more intuitively distributed collaborative teamwork. Based on technology such as CollaBoard, the envisioned outcome of our research is a system allowing experts from different disciplines to integrate and optimize lifecycle-related parameters into a new product. The resulting system will allow each expert to adjust his/her own set of parameters, giving access to a large database through intuitive interfaces. This article also discusses possible areas of application with focus on early design, recommends future development needs and provides a brief comparison to existing and state-of the-art systems. The development work includes interdisciplinary research and development and interdisciplinary collaboration between academia and industry.

Keywords: design process, lifecycle, remote collaboration, visualization technology, whiteboard

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Full text: content.pdf (158,968 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2010 (browse)
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B. Omar, S. Abu Hassan & T. Ballal

Exploring Context-Awareness in the construction logistics services delivery

Abstract: Managing a construction project supply chain effectively and efficiently is extremely difficult due to involvement of numerous sectors that are supported by ineffective communication system. An efficient construction supply chain system ensures the delivery of materials and other services to construction site while minimising costs and rewarding all sectors based on value added to the supply chain. The advancement of information, communication and wireless technologies is driving construction companies to deploy supply chain management strategies to seek better outputs. As part of the emerging wireless technologies, context-aware computing capability represents the next generation of ICT to the construction services. Conceptually, context-awareness could be integrated with Web Services in order to ensure the delivery of pertinent information to construction site and enhance construction supply chain collaboration. An initial study has indicated that this integrated system has the potential of serving and improving the construction services delivery through access to context-specific data, information and services on as-needed basis.

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Full text: content.pdf (192,550 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2009 (browse)
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Bjork B C, Turk Z

Scientific publishing at the crossroads - a case study of the impact of the internet on the construction IT and construction management research communities

Abstract: Electronic communication is changing the ways of scientific information exchange. We all witness it and practise it by using the Web, communicating over email and videoconferencing, however, what the implications of these change ares, how they quantify in scientific research, is not known. A survey in the fields of construction IT (2/3 of respondents) and management (1/5 of respondents) was conducted in February 2000, that sheds some light one these questions. The questions dealt with how researchers find, access and read different sources, how much and what they read, how often and which conferences they travel to, how much they publish, how they choose where to publish. Questions dealt with traditional and electronic publishing with one final section dedicated to opinions about electronic publishing. The shift that the web is achieving seems to be towards the "just in time" reading of literature. Also, users of the Web rely less on scientific publications and tend to read fewer articles. If readily available, journals are preferred, if not, the articles should be on the Web. People don't want to go into trouble of subscribing or even going to the library to fetch a paper - they go to the Web.The situation does not look good for new paper based journals. In these circumstances, the role of paper based journals published by established publishers is shifting from the core "information exchange" to the building of authors prestige. To be read, the author should build up his reputation by publishing in journals and relevant conferences, but then make his work freely available on the Web.

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Full text: content.pdf (259,551 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2000 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.collaboration (0.050039) class.man-man (0.049637) class.bestPractise (0.032954)
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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


Björk B-C, Turk Z

A Survey on the Impact of the Internet on Scientific Publishing in Construction IT and Construction Management

Abstract: The World Wide Web provides the opportunity for a radically changed and much more efficient communication process for scientific results. A survey in the closely related domains of construction information technology and construction management was conducted in February 2000, aimed at measuring to what extent these opportunities are already changing the scientific information exchange and how researchers feel about the changes. The paper presents the results based on 236 replies to an extensive Web based questionnaire. 65% of the respondents stated their primary research interest as IT in A/E/C and 20% as construction management and economics. The questions dealt with how researchers find, access and read different sources; how much and what publications they read; how often and to which conferences they travel; how much they publish, and what are the criteria for where they eventually decide to publish. Some of the questions confronted traditional and electronic publishing with one final section dedicated to opinions about electronic publishing. According to the survey researchers already download half of the material that they read digitally from the Web. The most popular method for retrieving an interesting publication is downloading it for free from the author's or publisher's website. Researchers are not particularly willing to pay for electronic scientific publications. There is much support for a scenario of electronic journals available totally freely on the Web, where the costs could be covered by for instance professional societies or the publishing university. The shift that the Web is causing seems to be towards the "just in time" reading of literature. Also, frequent users of the Web rely less on scientific publications and tend to read fewer articles. If available with little effort, papers published in traditional journals are preferred; if not, the papers should be on the Web. In these circumstances, the role of paper-based journals published by established publishers is shifting from the core "information exchange" to the building of authors' prestige. The respondents feel they should build up their reputations by publishing in journals and relevant conferences, but then make their work freely available on the Web.

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Full text: http://www.itcon.org/2000/5 (available to registered users only)

Series: itcon:2000 (browse)
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Blackmore J M

Computer aided development of knowledge in the construction process

Abstract: Modern regulations control the performance of our built environment rather than the methods and materials of construction. The designer has freedom to fulfil specified objectives any way he chooses, but he must show that he is fulfilling the regulatory intention, and fulfilling it well enough. How does he convince the building surveyor that his building will provide an acceptable level of compliance? Where does he find the information to justify his choice of solutions to the regulatory problems? And where does the regulator find the information needed to determine whether or not a proposed solution is acceptable? The answers lie in the sea of regulatory information and research that is the source of all building reedation. Required levels of compliance are implicit in ixaditional, prescriptive regulations. Background research data, legal rulings, records of committee decisions, articles, advisory notes, commentaries, accreditation reports, cornon practice - all give an indication of the level of compliance that society and the regulators are willing to accept and help the designer and the regulator establish criteria of acceptance. This vast array of knowledge helps the regulator determine the intentions of existing regulations and write realistic rules for the performance of buildings. But where does the search fgr knowledge begin? Information technology can structure the search and help find a way through the jungle of data, macheteing obstructions to the introduction of innovative solutions. A structured, selective search can give the regulator access to all the data he needs to support his arguments, allowing the full realisation of the benefits of performance regulation. Linked to a powerful expert system that assists and checks his passage through the regulations, CSBO is creating an IT system to facilitate these benefits.

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Full text: content.pdf (2,214,097 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:1993 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.legal (0.085813) class.analysis (0.024178) class.synthesis (0.023322)
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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.


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