Elger D, Russell P
Teaching knowledge management using distributed practice simulation
Abstract: The paper describes attempts by the authors to convey the importance of teamwork
in architecture to students, be it in the process of architecture or the object itself.
One of the main postulates of the work is that pedagogically, teamwork is better
trained than taught. This is further compounded when the technological burden of
distributed practice is introduced. Using Internet based communication
technologies, the authors have sought to create a design studio environment that
simulates real world situations where major planning partners are located in
different cities and even different countries. Using experience gained over four
years of networked studios, the authors were able to enrol five other universities for
a semester-long experimental design studio. In essence, the students undertook to
solve the design problem in teams spread over different universities. From 43
students, 14 teams (each with 3 members and one with 4 members) were assembled
with no two students from the same university in the same team. Furthermore, each
team was assigned a tutor from a fourth (or fifth) university. The different
universities were far enough separated so as to preclude easy face to face meetings.
Instead, the Internet was used as a communication medium. The entire range of
available technologies was put to use. A central web site which logged user
presence served as a virtual "place" where the students and tutors could meet to
carry out informal discussions or arrange to transfer the discussions elsewhere
(e.g. to a chat room or a videoconference). The web site platform also provided the
entire group with supporting information such as personal diaries, common
calendar functions, email lists and directories of student work. The students made
their work available on the web throughout the semester in order to communicate
with their tutor as well as with one another. Essential to the successful
communication was an initial acquaintance session. This took the form of a 3-day
workshop at the beginning of the semester. While this workshop ostensibly focussed
on the design problem, it effectively served as a social engineering exercise in
order to shake out compatibility among potential team members. After the
workshop, the group met again 15 week later for a final review. Halfway through
the semester, the individual teams travelled to their tutors for a mid-term review.
Otherwise, all communication took place over the Internet (or through
conventional telecommunication methods). The theme itself was certainly selfreferential:
to design a centre for a virtual university. This cross-pollination of
design method and design theme was an additional encumbrance for most students,
but also provided a fertile bed for a wide range of design solutions. It is important
to note that all of the teams were able to complete the assignment and postsemester
questionnaires show an overwhelming positive reaction to the
experimental studio, notwithstanding the high costs of travel and telephone. The
paper discusses the feedback from the students and possible implications for future
iterations of the concept.
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Permission to reproduce these documents have been graciously provided by the Aarhus School of Architecture, Denmark. The assistnace of the editor, Prof. Kristian Agger, is gratefully aprecciated.
Product identification systems for construction and facility management
Abstract: This paper presents a study of the concept of a common construction product identification system with a focus on the establishment of principles for its use within computer integrated construction and facility management processes. An analysis of current systems for product identification utilized within the Swedish sector of construction and facility management is presented in an addition with a discussion of the concept of object and class identification in information systems development.
The study is a part of the industry doctorate research project ‘Product information in computer-integrated construction and facility management processes’, which aims at studying methods for handling product information and contribute to the development of computer based systems for product information management. A main hypothesis within this project is that an information platform enabling efficient integration of IT in handling construction product information is composed of an identification-, classification-, and an attribute system. These components should be mutually independent and implemented as sector wide standards. This study specifically deals with the first component, a common system for identification of construction products.
During recent years an increasing amount of research has been dedicated to define methods to integrate and utilize information technology in handling the vast amount of information used, created and transferred within construction and facility management processes. In Sweden, the focus has been on classification systems and product models as central means for establishing a framework for information handling. A common system for product identification would in general facilitate handling of product information in computer integrated construction and facility management processes. Specific advantages would be to enable;
- Dynamic invocation of distributed components (e.g. CORBA) representing the product via a link relation residing in a database connected to the Internet.
- Direct product information retrieval in case of a present identifier on a product, catalogue page or advertisement.
- Exactness in production follow-up, i.e. when consumed production resources are registered.
A common system for product identification is considered to be relatively easy to define and implement in comparison with common standards for product classification, attributes and product models, since the latter ones are aspect dependent and involve numerous actors and divergent interests.
The purpose of this study is to identify and analyze current systems for product identification used within the Swedish sector of construction and to demonstrate the role of such systems in IT based environments for handling construction product information.
The study shows that separate actors within the building process so far have developed systems for product identification without support for the process as a whole. Among the systems analyzed is EAN-13 regarded as most suitable since it is international, non-sector specific, in correspondence with a barcode standard for automatic data capture and has the widest propagation. However, the EAN-13 system, like the other systems, lacks explicit norms that guarantee valid identification in a historical perspective especially required for product information management within facility management processes. EAN-13’s main disadvantage in the construction context is its total focus on trade items, thus its deficient handling of standard product units, which is the common view for actors outside the sector of trading.
The conclusion implies that a common system for product identification with characteristics of being international, non-sector specific, without property or class referencing attributes and with explicit criteria regarding changes of identifiers as a result of property alteration would be most advantageous and that such system is a central component in an information platform with means for achieving efficient utilization of IT. None of the systems in current use is featured with all these characteristics.
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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.
Engy Serag, Hesham Osman, Moustafa Ghanem
Semantic Detection of Risks and Conflicts in Construction Contracts
Abstract: Various problems facing construction contract administrators can be linked back to lack of understanding, misinterpretation and conflicts among contract clauses. Lack of adequate time to analyze contracts during the biding stage results in contractors entering into contracts without sufficient analysis of contractual risks. Advances in the fields of semantic information extraction, text mining and natural language processing create opportunities for developing semi-automated systems for detection of risks and conflicts in construction contracts. This paper presents a framework for semi-automated detection of risks and conflicts in FIDIC contracts. The system is comprised of four main components: 1) A Contract Ontology acts as the core knowledge repository of the system. The ontology contains a formalized representation of FIDIC general conditions and relevant stipulations from legal code, 2) Text mining/NLP module provides semi-automatic parsing tools for supplementary conditions of construction contracts and provide concept / relationship matching in tandem with the ontology, 3) Problematic Clause Database contains examples of high-risk and ambiguous clauses from previous projects and, 4) Logic Reasoners undertake the detection of high risk and conflicting clauses will take place. The paper presents examples of potential ambiguity and conflicts in construction contracts and showcases how the system can be used to semi-automated the detection process.
Keywords: Contract Management, Semantic Systems, Ontologies, Text Mining
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Esa Viljamaa, Pekka Kilpelainen, Esa-matti Sarjanoja, Tomi Moakkonen, Teemu Kivimaki, Rauno Keikkila
Utilisation of a 3D Design Data in Controlling Pile Driving
Abstract: This research was concentrating on an exploitation of 3D design data to ground strengthening, especially focusing on the pile driving process. An XML model (schema) was defined for digital piling plan and as-build-data from the piling. The schema was targeted to cover the complete piling information flow from the piling plan from the 3D CAD software to the actual pile realisation data e.g. location and bearing capacity data, produced by the piling machine. In addition to the information management, a guiding system for the piling machine driver was developed. The guiding system included sensors and RTK-GPS positioning system for measuring the location of tool of the piling machine in relation to the planned locations of the piles. The system gives visual instructions for the driver for positioning of the piles according to the plan. A wireless database connection is used for synchronisation of the planned and realised piles information. The progress of the piling work can be easily supervised using an internet browser. The first proof-of-concept system was developed and tested during the year 2009. The main advantages of the system are reduced staking out work, faster pile positioning, automated piling data logging and data transfer between office and worksite and more up-to-date information about the progress of the piling work.
Keywords: pile driving, product modelling, positioning, RTK-GPS
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Estacio Pereira, Sanguk Han and Simaan Abourizk
Integrated Data Analytics-Simulation Framework for Proactive Assessment of Safety Performance
Abstract: Although considerable advances in the proactive control of construction project risks have been reported, identification and assessment of safety-related measures on safety performance remains challenging. This has been attributed to (1) difficulties in data collection; in particular, establishing the number of safety-related measures required to assess their influence on safety performance and (2) difficulties addressing the dynamic nature of projects; in particular, how measures affect safety performance over time. This papers aims to address these issues by implementing a framework that integrates existing departmental data with simulation models to proactively assess and predict safety performance. The framework is composed of three main components. First, safety-related measures available in various departmental databases are identified; second, the relationship between safety performance and measures is analysed and indicators with significant influence are incorporated into the assessment model; and third, a simulation model that reproduces the behaviour of these measures is used to test various scenarios. As evidenced by the results of a case study, the framework proposed here can assist companies with the proactive development of risk-avoidance strategies, thereby improving safety performance.
Keywords: Conceptual Safety Performance, Prediction; Policy Making; Simulation; Historical Data
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Esther Obonyo, Mukund Patil, Chimay Anumba
Towards an Agent-Augmented Virtual Design and Construction Approach
Abstract: There has been a rapid growth in the use of Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) applications for design and functionality analysis in the early stages of the project development cycle. Although significant strides have been made in refining the functionality of such applications, there is still no overall integration scheme that addresses the challenges inherent in knowledge management for organization learning. There are several initiatives directed addressing this challenge through leveraging on Semantic Web technologies, to address these challenges. Some of these efforts are directed at the developing the potential for using software agents to automate some of the tasks inherent in information retrieval through enhancing the implementation of dynamic, domain-specific components. This paper discusses the deployment of an agent-based approach to enhance the modeling and simulation of construction activities. The main body of the paper identifies specific roles that can be delegated to agents in the deployment of an intelligent, virtual architecture. The paper also describes a proof-of-concept application that was implemented to assess the feasibility of using agents within VDC applications. The proof-of-concept models the flow of formwork components in a construction yard. Based on the findings, it is clear that there is a great potential for enhancing VDC applications using an agent-based approach. Given that agents-based systems are by definition software components that exhibit flexible and autonomous action in dynamic, unpredictable context, they can automate functions such as information extraction, structuring and retrieval. These benefits were apparent in the experimental use of the approach. This notwithstanding, the concept of agents is still relatively new and there are some implementations challenges that will need to be address if the approach is to be scaled up. The paper concludes with a concise discussion of the implications of the research and identifies specific components of the agent-based approach that will be implemented as part of follow up activities.
Keywords: virtual applications, organizational learning, knowledge management, agents
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Fabio K. Schramm, Guilherme L. Silveira, Carlos T. Formoso
A PROPOSAL FOR REUSING SIMULATION MODELS IN THE DESIGNOF PRODUCTION SYSTEMS IN CONSTRUCTION
Abstract: One of the main difficulties of using simulation in the management of construction projects is the fact that developing simulation models is time consuming. One of the possible strategies to cope with this problem is the reuse of an existing model or part of it in other simulation study. Although many authors have pointed out that the unique nature of construction projects leads to the necessity of starting each model from the scratch, the reuse of models for simulating projects of the same market sector seems to be reasonable. This paper aims to assess the main benefits and difficulties of developing reusable simulation models for designing production systems for housing projects. A case study in which a simulation model was developed for supporting that task in a construction company involved in repetitive housing projects is presented. The development of this model took into account the possibility of reusing it in other similar projects of the company in order to reduce the time for doing the simulation study. The main findings are related to the limitations and requirements of reusable models as well as to the implementation of those models in the design of production systems for real construction projects.
Keywords: Simulation; Reusable models; Production system design
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Fahim Al-Neshawy, Jukka Piironen, Jari Puttonen, Tomi Laurila, Vesa Vuorinen, Mika Makitalo
The Use of ICT for Monitoring the Hygrothermal Behaviour of Building Structures
Abstract: Temperature and moisture are two of the main factors in physical, chemical and biological deterioration of building materials. Thermal gradients and movement of moisture in materials used in buildings typically cause deterioration of structures. The continuous monitoring of temperature and relative humidity provides valuable information about the long-term performance and deterioration of building structures. Documenting performance through monitoring can greatly enhance the understanding of the long-term degradation of building materials and the deterioration of the constructions due aging.The aim of this study is to develop a computerized monitoring system for building structures and test the reliability of the monitoring sensors. The study is focused on concrete building structures and consists of laboratory work and field measurements. The laboratory work focuses on designing a monitoring network system, developing a monitoring software application, assessing the reliability of the monitoring sensors, and testing of the moisture and thermally induced deterioration of concrete. The field measurements are carried out by monitoring the temperature and relative humidity of three repaired concrete facades as well as selected structures of a new school construction.The deliverable of the study will consist of two applications: (i) collecting of the moisture and thermal monitoring data and (ii) assessing the performance of building structures based on the acquired information. The results of the research will provide feasible methodologies and systems for monitoring and assessing the performance of building constructions, thus improving the quality of the final product. The scientific relevance of this research will be the improved correspondence between laboratory studies and observations of deterioration in practice.
Keywords: thermal, moisture, monitoring, assessment, building materials, sensor technology
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Faisal Manzoor Arain
IT-based approach for effective management of project changes: a change management system (CMS)
Abstract: In a perfect world, changes will be confined to the planning stages. However, late changes often occur during construction, and frequently cause serious disruption to the project. The need to make changes in a construction project is a matter of practical reality. Even the most thoughtfully planned project may necessitate changes due to vari-ous factors. The fundamental idea of any variation management system in a building project is to anticipate, recognize, evaluate, resolve, control, document, and learn from past variations in ways that support the overall viability of the project. Learning from past variations is imperative because the professionals can then improve and apply their experi-ence in the future. Primarily, the study proposes six principles of change management. Based on these principles, a theoretical model for change management system (CMS) is developed. The theoretical model consists of six fundamen-tal stages linked to two main components, i.e., a knowledge-base and a controls selection shell for making more in-formed decisions for effective management of variations. This paper argues that the information technology can be ef-fectively used for providing an excellent opportunity for the professionals to learn from similar past projects and to better control project variations. Finally, the study briefly presents a knowledge-based decision support system (KBDSS) for the management of variations in educational building projects in Singapore. The KBDSS consists of two main components, i.e., a knowledge-base and a controls selection shell for selecting appropriate controls. The KBDSS is able to assist project managers by providing accurate and timely information for decision making, and a user-friendly system for analyzing and selecting the controls for variation orders for educational buildings. The CMS will enable the project team to take advantage of beneficial variations when the opportunity arises without an inordinate fear of the negative impacts. By having a systematic way to manage variations, the efficiency of project work and the likelihood of project success should increase. The study would assist building professionals in developing an effective variation management system. The system would be helpful for them to take proactive measures for reducing variation orders. Furthermore, with further generic enhancement and modification, the KBDSS will also be useful for the man-agement of variations in other types of building projects, thus helping to raise the overall level of productivity in the construction industry. Hence, the system developed and the findings from this study would also be valuable for all building professionals in general.
Keywords: CMS, information technology, KBDSS, changes, management
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Faraj I, Alshawi M
A modularized approach to the integrated environment
Abstract: The lack of a high level structure for and a full understanding of an integrate environment has led to the development of a number of small integrated applications in various fields of construction. This paper has addressed this issue and proposes a strategic, but generic, framework for an Integrated Construction Environment (ICE). The framework is based on three main components; the central core data models, the construction applications, and project specific information. The paper has adopted IDEF0 notations to represent a process based model which shows the various activities involved in the ICE along with their relationship with each other. The framework highlights a methodology for operating such an environment addressing specifically the three main issues outlined above.
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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.