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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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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


De Grassi M, Giretti A, Caneparo L, Mecca S

Teaching construction in the virtual university: the WINDS project

Abstract: "This paper introduces some of the Information Technology solutions adopted in Web based INtelligent Design Support (WINDS) to support education in A/E/C design. The WINDS project WINDS is an EC-funded project in the 5th Framework, Information Society Technologies programme, Flexible University key action. WINDS is divided into two actions: ·The research technology action is going to implement a learning environment integrating an intelligent tutoring system, a computer instruction management system and a set of co-operative supporting tools. ·The development action is going to build a large knowledge base supporting Architecture and Civil Engineering Design Courses and to experiment a comprehensive Virtual School of Architecture and Engineering Design. During the third year of the project, more than 400 students all over Europe will attend the Virtual School. During the next three years the WINDS project will span a total effort of about 150 man-years from 28 partners of 10 European countries. The missions of the WINDS project are: Advanced Methodologies in Design Education. WINDS drives a breakdown with conventional models in design education, i.e. classroom or distance education. WINDS implements a problem oriented knowledge transfer methodology following Roger Schank’s Goal Based Scenario (GBS) pedagogical methodology. GBS encourages the learning of both skills and cases, and fosters creative problem solving. Multidisciplinary Design Education. Design requires creative synthesis and open-end problem definition at the intersection of several disciplines. WINDS experiments a valuable integration of multidisciplinary design knowledge and expertise to produce a high level standard of education. Innovative Representation, Delivery and Access to Construction Education. WINDS delivers individual education customisation by allowing the learner access through the Internet to a wide range of on-line courses and structured learning objects by means of personally tailored learning strategies. WINDS promotes the 3W paradigm: learn What you need, Where you want, When you require. Construction Practice. Construction industry is a repository of ""best practices"" and knowledge that the WINDS will profit. WINDS system benefits the ISO10303 and IFC standards to acquire knowledge of the construction process directly in digital format. On the other hand, WINDS reengineers the knowledge in up-to-date courses, educational services, which the industries can use to provide just-in-time rather than in-advance learning. WINDS IT Solutions The missions of the WINDS project state many challenging requirements both in knowledge and system architecture. Many of the solutions adopted in these fields are innovative; others are evolution of existing technologies. This paper focuses on the integration of this set of state-of-the-art technologies in an advanced and functionally sound Computer Aided Instruction system for A/E/C Design. In particular the paper deals with the following aspects: Standard Learning Technology Architecture The WINDS system relies on the in progress IEEE 1484.1 Learning Technology Standard Architecture. According to this standard the system consists of two data stores, the Knowledge Library and the Record Database, and four process: System Coach, Delivery, Evaluation and the Learner. WINDS implements the Knowledge Library into a three-tier architecture: 1.Learning Objects: ·Learning Units are collections of text and multimedia data. ·Models are represented in either IFC or STEP formats. ·Cases are sets of Learning Units and Models. Cases are noteworthy stories, which describes solutions, integrate technical detail, contain relevant design failures etc. 2.Indexes refer to the process in which the identification of relevant topics in design cases and learning units takes place. Indexing process creates structures of Learning Objects for course management, profile planning procedures and reasoning processes. 3.Courses are taxonomies of either Learning Units or a design task and Course Units. Knowledge Representation WINDS demonstrates that it is possible and valuable to integrate a widespread design expertise so that it can be effectively used to produce a high level standard of education. To this aim WINDS gathers area knowledge, design skills and expertise under the umbrellas of common knowledge representation structures and unambiguous semantics. Cases are one of the most valuable means for the representation of design expertise. A Case is a set of Learning Units and Product Models. Cases are noteworthy stories, which describe solutions, integrate technical details, contain relevant design failures, etc. Knowledge Integration Indexes are a medium among different kind of knowledge: they implement networks for navigation and access to disparate documents: HTML, video, images, CAD and product models (STEP or IFC). Concept indexes link learning topics to learning objects and group them into competencies. Index relationships are the base of the WINDS reasoning processes, and provide the foundation for system coaching functions, which proactively suggest strategies, solutions, examples and avoids students’ design deadlock. Knowledge Distribution To support the data stores and the process among the partners in 10 countries efficiently, WINDS implements an object oriented client/server as COM objects. Behind the DCOM components there is the Dynamic Kernel, which dynamically embodies and maintains data stores and process. Components of the Knowledge Library can reside on several servers across the Internet. This provides for distributed transactions, e.g. a change in one Learning Object affects the Knowledge Library spread across several servers in different countries. Learning objects implemented as COM objects can wrap ownership data. Clear and univocal definition of ownerships rights enables Universities, in collaboration with telecommunication and publisher companies, to act as “education brokers”. Brokerage in education and training is an innovative paradigm to provide just-in-time and personally customised value added learning knowledge."

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Full text: content.pdf (417,738 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2000 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.education (0.088602) class.deployment (0.042591) class.bestPractise (0.035370)
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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


G Kapogiannis, F Khosrowshahi, J Underwood

Digital Services for Construction Small and Medium Enterprises: A Conceptual Business Model

Abstract: The rapid deployment of web technologies delivers information from diverse sources in the world of digital business in a unified way. Within the construction industry the demand for investments in the digital dimension has raised very fast indicating a trend towards on-line collaboration services usually offered through a web portal. The main purpose of this research is to examine how the use of a web portal enhances the mission of construction Small Medium Enterprises (SME) in the local, national and international economy. Therefore, features and services captured from existing construction web portals are listed quantitatively to indicate those that are important to support the enterprise needs of construction managers and directors. Additionally the common practical and essential features considered in the technical and contextual design of a web portal geared for the use within the domain of construction SMEs in order to promote enterprise continuity in digital business are briefly presented. Results indicate potential support of interaction and collaboration among partners in the construction industry due to direct information accessibility as well as an attractive web platform developed based upon their daily needs. Therefore the need to develop a web business model is suggested to enhance the role of construction SMEs with a focus on online collaboration (online services). This model aspires to provide potential practical on-line dissemination of knowledge within construction SMEs to help the world of construction managers and directors in order for them to be more efficient, effective and creative when developing new businesses, new ideas and new projects. This model is partitioned to accommodate for flexible and scalable technological infrastructures that offer the necessary web services addressed to construction SMEs.

Keywords: Construction SME, Web Portal Technologies, Web Services, Virtual Organisation, Communication

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Series: w78:2011 (browse)
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Gero J S

New knowledge-based CAD models of design

Abstract: Knowledge-based systems utilise concepts from artificial intelligence. They are the bases of new models of design which have the potential to extend the utility of computers in design. This paper briefly reviews current research supporting new knowledge-based CAD models of design before describing and elaborating two such models. One is case-based design and the other is creative design.

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Full text: content.pdf (487,772 bytes) (available to registered users only)

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.


Junge R, Ammermann E, Liebich T

Product model: a basis for next generation CAAD

Abstract: Even at the very beginning of the use of computers in architecture there had already been the vision to use the new medium for more than just copying the draught man's way of work [l]. Thus, the search for such a computer assisted or even computer automated de- sign process, either for the more artistic or for the more constructive part of the architectural design process, has lasted as long as the history of CAD in architecture itself This search follows different concepts, which are, with more or less intenseness, AI approaches. The more artistic and creative aspects are to be solved by, e.g., Shape Grammar or Case Based Reasoning, the more constructive aspects by Expert Systems. These are approaches on a very high and demanding level. It is still not clear, how far the progress will lead to usability in practice. A more pragmatic but surely arduous approach is to built next generation CAAD system on the basis of a product model. The product model, however, will be a sound foundation for using case based or expert system approaches in a further step of the development. The Next CAAD project follows this approach. The model defines and describes the architectural design objects, their relations, dependencies and constraints. This will be done in a stepwise manner. A stepwise approach is also followed for the handling of dependencies and constraints. In a first phase the user will have to set the rules. In next phases small rule based modules will be taken over as far as they are proved useful.

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Full text: content.pdf (725,694 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:1994 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.synthesis (0.039372) class.analysis (0.033708) class.represent (0.021597)
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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by VTT, Espoo, Finland.


Martin Fischer

Tomorrow's workday: spontaneous, creative, and reliable

Abstract: Through several scenarios, this paper shows how a construction project manager might spend a workday in the future. The particular tasks addressed include participating in a design review meeting, preparing the construc-tion input to an engineering issue, tracking the schedule, budget, and environmental performance on a project under construction, dealing with organizational issues around innovative methods, and maintaining the company’s intelligent production planning and control system. Through these examples, the paper also tries to show that the combination of lean production methods and virtual design and construction tools should not only lead to reliable workflow, but should also enable and leverage the ingenuity, spontaneity, and creativity of designers, engineers, and builders.

Keywords: virtual design and construction, lean construction, future scenarios

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Series: w78:2007 (browse)
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Martin J W, Haque M E

Distance learning in engineering and construction education: pros and cons

Abstract: Distance education has rapidly emerged as a new avenue for teaching and learning in the engineering and construction disciplines. Much has been written about the benefit and the downside of distance education. Many stakeholders in the construction and engineering fields remain sceptical about the validity of distance education. In spite of this scepticism the American Council of Education estimated that 85 percent of traditional colleges and universities offered, or soon would offer distance accessible classes. China alone produces more than 100,000 graduates, with more than half of China’s 92,000 engineering and technology graduates having attained their degrees through distance education. A universal model for distance education in engineering and construction would include answers to questions about the reliability and validity of the distance curriculum. The virtual engineering and construction classroom will become much more student centred. The traditional classroom will likely be replaced with a more intimate virtual environment. The student centred distance learning archetype will include dynamic demonstrations of theoretical engineering and construction models allowing students to manipulate, experiment, and translate theories into real-world applications. The distance education curriculum in engineering and construction will likely include the creative use of virtual technologies, theoretical adaptation, and the incorporation of comprehensive evaluation of student performance. Distance education in engineering and construction in the future must provide an element of comprehensive student evaluation to be universally valued and accepted.

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Full text: content.pdf (1,089,664 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2001 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.education (0.108034) class.deployment (0.038926) class.software development (0.006953)
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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.


Mathur K, Maver T

IT in the management of design and construction

Abstract: This paper provides an overview of the developments in Information Technology (IT) and its impact on the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry. It takes note of what has transpired in the last two decades and how the evolution of this subject corresponds to the predictions which had been made at various times in the past. It concludes that changes in procedures, processes and structure of organisations are needed if the most effective use of IT is to be achieved, and it is timely to go beyond solutions which mimic and automate current processes. Strategic frameworks must be defined within which new solutions will emerge rather than specific technical solutions for individual design or automation tasks. Concurrent changes in the AEC professions and the management of projects and organisations will be required to support the new tools and techniques offered by IT. Thus no promises should be made purely on the basis of emerging technologies. Hence the paper makes no attempt to predict the future of the AEC industry even though integrated systems may become available to support creative, cooperative, multi-disciplinary design, and though such systems will assist construction automation tasks, maintenance and facility management.

Keywords: information technology; construction; design; management; integration

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Full text: content.pdf (463,645 bytes) (available to registered users only)

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.


P. Christiansson, K.B. Sørensen, K. G. Steffensen & K. Svidt

User driven innovative building design

Abstract: During recent years there has been an ever-increasing focus on the possibilities to change the building process to raise quality on the final building products as well as on the activities of actors involved in the building process. One reason for this interest is the new opportunities evolving due to the broad introduction of advanced information and communication technology (ICT). VICMET is a general method for user involvement in every phase of the construction process and with a unique setup for each type of user. VICMET can use already created information in the building process and emphasis that the users are the key to next level of successful building projects. VICMET defines four spaces to support the activities in a innovative/creative design process; The Contextual Inquiry Space, the Conceptual Modeling and Game Space, the Functional Building Systems (FBS) Consolidation Space, and the Solution Space. In addition to these spaces there are supporting artifacts like Idea Bank and Good Story/Best Practice bank as well as Ontology containers and access to Communities of Practice and Interest. The project has so far validated the need for enhanced methods to involve end-users of buildings in a collaborative/participative creative and innovative building design process. The AEC professionals also appreciate development, enhancement and to some extent formalization of existing methods for user involvement in the building process.

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Series: w78:2009 (browse)
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Per Christiansson

ICT enhanced buildings potentials

Abstract: The paper describes and gives example on how Information and Communication, ICT, can and will en-hance and support the building functional systems defined from client and end-user needs and requirements. The build-ing systems may be derived from functional requirements on buildings such as usability and security on highest level with sub-systems definitions on lever levels. Building functional sub-systems may be defined for user comfort, indoor-climate, evacuation, space configuration, aesthetics, O&M etc. These building systems are supported by Information and Communication Technology, ICT, and building component systems that are accessed and integrated in the real world of building use in different contexts. The ICT systems may be physically or virtually embedded in the building. Already in 1982 AT&T established the 'intelligent buildings', IB, concept due to marketing reasons and the Informart building was established in Dallas as a showplace for IB installations. The interest in IB has fluctuated since then. There may be a fruitful interaction between user needs pull and ICT break-through push for creative and innovative development of ICT enhanced buildings. The paper explains the Intelligent Building concept with focus on virtual build-ing models support, new services and user environment definitions and development, virtual spaces and augmented reality, intelligent building components, application ontologies, and ICT systems integration to illustrate ICT enhanced buildings potentials and R&D needs.

Keywords: building functional systems, client, end-user requirements, intelligent building, application ontologies

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Series: w78:2007 (browse)
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