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Howard R, Petersen E

Monitoring Communication in Partnering Projects

Abstract: This report is a summary of a two year research project carried out by the IT byg group at BYG. DTU for the Danish government agencies Erhvervsfremmestyrelsen and By- og Bolig-ministeriet. The objectives were to collect data on the use of IT by the PPB housing consortia, a development project to test out various innovations, to map communications between the partners, and compare IT usage with their original proposals. Data was collected on communications in housing projects in the period June 1999- Aug 2000. The original PPB proposals were made in 1994/5 but there have been breaks in the flow of projects, and information technology has gone through much change since then. Use of Email has taken over from post and fax, and Project Webs have been developed in most consortia. Consortium members' policies have dominated the choice of management and logistics software, restricted compatibility in the consortia, and limited willingness to share data. Greater involvement by the client, and more sharing of equity, would have encouraged adoption of common IT systems and created more trust for data sharing between partners. PPB projects have allowed consortium members to test out new technologies but, in general, the IT systems used have been similar to those which the larger firms use elsewhere. Vertical integration has been limited by lack of experience and technology in smaller firms. In future, access to Project Webs from mobile devices should help use by all partners from any location. In all the projects studied, and in spite of the introduction of Email and Project Webs, the ratio of non-IT communications to IT varied from 0.8 to 4.6. When problems need to be solved rapidly there appears to be a tendency to revert to traditional means of communication - meetings, telephone and fax.

Keywords: communications, partnering, project web, social network analysis, housing

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Full text: http://www.itcon.org/2001/1 (available to registered users only)

Series: itcon:2001 (browse)
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I.C. Wu, A. Borrmann, E. Rank, U. Beißert & M. König

A Pattern-Based Approach for Facilitating Schedule Generation and Cost Analysis in Bridge Construction Projects

Abstract: The paper presents a computational method to help in automating the generation of time schedules for bridge construction projects. The method is based on the simulation of the construction works, taking into account the available resources and the interdependencies between the individual tasks. The simulation is realized by means of the discrete-event based simulation software originally created for plant layout in the manufacturing industry. Since the fixed process chains provided there are too rigid to model the more spontaneous task sequences of construction projects, a constraint module that selects the next task dynamically has been incorporated. The input data of the constraint module is formed by work packages of atomic activities. The description of a work package comprises the building element affected, the required material, machine and manpower resources, as well as the technological pre-requisites of the task to be performed. These input data are created with the help of a 3D model-based application that enables to assign process patterns to individual building elements. A process pattern consists of a sequence of work packages for realizing standard bridge parts, thus describing a construction method which in turn represents a higher level of abstraction in the scheduling process. In the last step, the user specifies the available resources. The system uses all the given information to automatically create a proposal for the construction schedule, which may then be refined using standard scheduling software.

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Full text: content.pdf (384,072 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2009 (browse)
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Iosifidis P, Tah J H M, Howes R

An advanced object-oriented architecture for Information exchange through shared objects

Abstract: Despite the extensive use of computing technology within the Architecture, Engineering and Conshction (AEC) industry during the past few years, the crucial issue of information sharing amongst AEC participants still remains to be addressed This results in poor building project co-ordinution and affects productivity and finul outcome. This paper presents the use of collaborative object databases for efficient data exchange between direrent AEC applications. Fundamental to this work is the development of an integrated product model that represents the information requirements for total project design and construction The deployment of the Integrated Building Product Model (IBPM) as the basis for schema generation is also explained The system architecture demonstrates the ability to dynamically interchange objects between applications, which is being utilised as the means of automatic project plan generation from semantically enhanced CAD data. The system is aimed toward compliance to ISO-STEP for facilitating the exchange of information between dissimilar systems.

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Full text: content.pdf (952,198 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:1995 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.communication (0.033232) class.software development (0.027177) class.represent (0.023656)
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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by the Stanford University, USA. The support of the editors, particularly Prof. Fischer is gratefully appreciated.


J Abel & K Lennerts

Where does CAFM really help? Current fields of application and future trends according to system users

Abstract: The possibilities of CAFM systems are multifarious and the system manufacturers are constantly drawing attention to these. The question is, however, what do customers actually need and which functions are being used. Karlsruhe University (TH) has therefore conducted a survey in order to determine the current situation regarding CAFM installations and the future needs of users. A mail survey was chosen as the means of data acquisition. A sample group of more than 100 CAFM users were asked to complete a standardized questionnaire. This questionnaire comprises approximately 50 questions, including questions of a factual nature, questions relating to specific knowledge and appraisal questions. The results of the survey give an overview of the current fields of application for CAFM systems and a trend for future fields of application in terms of user needs. It also shows whether CAFM is primarily used by building owners, occupants or operators. The reasons for introducing CAFM systems become evident, as well as the extent to which these needs have been fulfilled. An overall evaluation of the systems draws attention to the deficits and strengths of CAFM systems.

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Full text: content.pdf (252,552 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2005 (browse)
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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by the Technische Universität Dresden.


J van Leeuwen, Hendricx A, Fridqvist S

Towards dynamic information modelling in architectural design

Abstract: Product modelling has received a lot of attention in the last decennium and is now growing into a successful means to support design and production processes, also in the area of building and construction. Collaboration through data exchange and model integration are coming within reach for all participants in the building process. However, the applicability of the current approaches in product modelling for architectural design is still very limited. It is the nature of architectural design to give much importance to issues such as uniqueness and diversity in relation with architectural style. Particularly in the earlier stages of the design process, not just technical but also cultural issues play an important role. Standardisation and predefined methodologies of design are not generally appreciated during early design, when ambiguity and a dynamic way of handling design information is often considered very important. The success of computer support for architectural design therefore depends on how well it supports ambiguity and a dynamic handling of design information. This criterion for successful design support systems seems to oppose the need for standardisation and classification that is felt so strongly in the later stages of the building process. The paper describes and discusses three long-term, independent research projects that are being carried out in three European universities: the BAS·CAAD project [1], the IDEA+ project [2], and the VR-DIS project [3]*. While their initiatives were independent and the developments are not formally related, these three projects show strong similarities in terms of objectives, conceptual approach, and methodology. The paper demonstrates that these parallel research projects are paving a new way for the development of design support systems, allowing architects to profit from the benefits of product modelling technologies and enabling integration of early design stages in the complex process of building design and construction. The common objectives of the projects are identified in detail. One of the major issues is schema evolution, or the necessity for a design model to be conceptually adaptable as design proceeds and more information is becoming available or design decisions are reversed. It is also recognised that no assumptions can be made about design methods, and that design information models must support, for instance, both spatial design and design that starts from building elements. Design concepts such as space and user activity play an important role in early design stages and must take a central role in design models as well. Approaches to achieve these objectives can be positioned in the force-field of two pairs of opposite characteristics of design information models. The first pair is (1a) maximum consistency and optimal data exchange through rigidly predefined typologies, versus (1b) maximum flexibility and extensibility of typologies in the conceptual schema. The second pair distinguishes approaches based on (2a) domain independent concepts from those based on (2b) specific domain concepts. The paper discusses the position in these force-fields of each of the three projects, which also clarifies their individual theoretic bases for information modelling. Although these theoretic bases are different in the three projects, common for all three is the object orientation of their approach and, more importantly, the effort to disconnect the identification of objects from the properties of objects. This appears to be an effective means to facilitate flexibility. Also common to the three projects, but elaborated very differently in each of them, is the capability of user-defined extensions to the conceptual schema. Both these issues of flexibility and extensibility are discussed in detail in the paper. Finally, the paper summarises the individual conclusions drawn in three PhD theses reporting intermediary and final results from the projects. This leads to the final discussion of the potentials of schema evolution for the integration of early design stages in the product modelling process. As a basis for the next generation of architectural design support tools, dynamic information models can be expected to deliver an important contribution to the rationalisation of architectural design and are an important next step in solving the conflict between computer tools and designers’ creativity.

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Full text: content.pdf (251,036 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2001 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.synthesis (0.026635) class.communication (0.026053) class.represent (0.024858)
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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.


J Ye, Keith Ellis, T Hassan, S Firth, 3Matti Hannus, C Sheridan

an approach to Impact Assessment of ICTs for Energy Efficiency

Abstract: The importance of information and communication technologies (ICTs) as an enabler for energy efficiency is well understood, however there is no one agreed common methodology for assessing the impact of ICTs on energy efficiency. In order to promote legitimacy, transparency and real progress in the application of ICTs to improving energy efficiency there is a clear need for common ways of assessing energy performance based on a common understanding of commitments, targets and methodology. In this paper, common means for assessing the impact of ICTs on energy efficiency are reviewed and the approaches of organisations focused on the development of ICT impact assessment methodologies are discussed. Subsequently, a potentially useful means of qualitative impact assessment is suggested. The proposed methodology aims to leverage the heuristics of domain experts and is based on life cycle thinking coupled with elements of an adapted capability maturity model/framework. The SMARTT taxonomy developed as part of the overall approach for common assessment is also described. SMARTT stands for Specification and design, Materialisation, Automation and operational decision support, Resource and process management, Technical integration and Trading/transactional management. Aligned to these six high level categories are twenty sub-categories to which user-defined ICTs/research and technology developments (RTDs) are mapped. An impact assessment example is given to illustrate how the proposed approach can be used at the offering level. The SMARTT taxonomy and common methodology are deemed by the authors to be as a useful means of assessing the impact of ICTs on energy efficiency both within and across sectors and potentially offers a foundation on which to base more quantitative methods to assess the impact of ICTs on energy efficiency.

Keywords: Impact assessment model, ICT, Energy efficiency, Impact quantification

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Full text: content.pdf (371,065 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2011 (browse)
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J. Beetz & B. de Vries

Building Product Catalogues on the Semantic Web

Abstract: In this paper we describe a prototype implementation of an ontology repository that captures the concepts in the Ontology Web Language OWL. We describe how these concepts can be used directly by embedding them in standard HTML pages and thus augmenting traditional product catalogues with semanti-cally rich information by means of RDFa. As an addition to the ISO part 12006-3, where such a mechanism is not specified explicitly, we propose a way to instantiate actual products, their types and attributes through an instance-of relationship. Building upon the rich family of Semantic Web standards such as SPARQL and RDFa, we demonstrate how information in building product catalogues can be made machine-accessible in more efficient and generic ways. Using the Open Source persistency frameworks we demonstrate how real-world products can be linked to 13,000+ concepts with some 44,000 names in different languages in efficient ways.

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Full text: content.pdf (82,694 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2009 (browse)
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Kiiski M

Product model based software for structural design

Abstract: Tekla Oy is developing a software package called Xbuild for the design and detailing of steel and concrete structures. The development focuses on two main areas: steel structure design and design of reinforced concrete structures. Accordingly, Xbuild consists of two main parts: Xsteel and Xconcrete software modules. The basic idea behind the Xbuild is to build a logical product model of the steel concrete structure. This product model is stored in a relational database and it is created by using sophisticated interactive 3D-modelling tools. All documentation needed for the manufacture and construction of the structure - drawings, material lists, NC-preprocessor files - can then be produced from the product model. Xsteel includes modelling tools for beams, columns, connections, plates, weldings, bolts and other components of a steel structure. Most of the standard components used in Finland and other European countries are stored in component libraries such as profile, connection and bolt libraries. The modelling is object-oriented, which makes the model "intelligent". Every component in the structure is an object in the product model database and objects can be connected to each other by certain rules. In practise this means that for instance when a beam is being moved, the adjoining joints will follow. Every object is stored in the database only once, which ensures the coherency of the database in all situations. The 3D-model, drawings and lists are just "views" to the database - all design modifications can only be made in the model. This way the user can be sure that all documentation of the model is always up to date. Xconcrete is based on the same principles as Xsteel. The main difference is that Xconcrete can also handle the reinforcement bars in an intelligent way by utilizing object-oriented techniques. The database structure of Xsteel and Xconcrete is relational. The contents of the database can be written out in any format specified by the user. This enables data transfer between Xbuild and any other product model based software. It is also possible to link other applications, such as strength analysis and dimensioning, production planning and cost calculation, to Xsteel by using an open linking inter- face. In addition to this, the Xbuild software modules include tools for creating user specified macros - a feature that enables users to develop own Xbuild "applications". Today Xsteel is used by several engineering and steelwork companies in Finland as well as abroad. Xconcrete is still partially under development and will be completed in the near future. As the construction process, codes of praxis etc. differ a lot in different countries, the requirements set on the software vary quite much from one country to another. Therefore the software has to be easy to adapt into different design environments. The results gained by the users show that the product model based approach is radically improving the productivity and quality of the design work. On the other hand it is clear that using a sophisticated product model based design software sets new requirements for the designers and manufacturers of structures.

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Full text: content.pdf (1,306,080 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:1994 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.bestPractise (0.036567) class.represent (0.028935) class.analysis (0.028125)
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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by VTT, Espoo, Finland.


Kiroff L, Ostrowski P

It and E-architecture – a technological breakthrough, a techno knowledge race or a new paradigm in business?

Abstract: The impact of Information Technology on the growth of the knowledge society is profound. In an era when human intellectual creativity is highly valued, IT is a powerful tool enabling the analysis and development of ideas and concepts. Regarding IT as a means to automate business tasks aiming at some labour savings would be an extremely simplistic approach to a more complex concept. Designing systems that augment user capabilities, encourage further exploration and foster creativity will enable users to do what they have not been able to do before. Business environments where collaborative work relationships flourish become highly successful in the intensely competitive global marketplace. The synergy between IT and teams working together to accomplish mutual goals becomes the key to organisational performance. The AEC (Architecture, Engineering and Construction) industry in particular is undergoing dramatic changes due to the pervasive use of networked computers and multimedia equipment. The advent of the first PCs in the architectural profession in the early 1980s gradually started adding a new element of complexity to the architect’s job. The essence of the architectural work is the teamwork environment and IT is able to facilitate the design process and make project collaborations effective. Our research focuses on IT and its impact on architectural team environments. Recent emerging trends that will be analysed include architecture firms’ collaborations on national and international projects (firms experts in particular building types associate with local or regional firms called “architect of record” commissioned for the contract documentation and the contract administration stages of the project). The Royal Sun Alliance Building, Metropolis Apartments, Botany Downs Shopping Centre, DFS Galleria (all in Auckland) are some NZ examples of international collaborations with the design coming from the USA and Australia and Auckland firms commissioned as “architect of record”. Such trends necessitate the use of new technologies like advanced digital communications and hence the unprecedented boom of project extranets, or project WEB sites, and the emergence of the WEB-based architecture. Highly sophisticated architectural environments are built around Intranets, Extranets, the Internet and Video Conferencing systems. This enables the integration of architectural design, business management and team collaborations through computer technology. As a consequence, traditional roles and responsibilities in an office environment will change dramatically with fewer lower level routine tasks being available. Continually updating skills through on-going education becomes a lifetime commitment for the highly qualified industry professionals and for the company as a whole. A large number of computer software applications become indispensable for the highly efficient everyday functioning of an office. Some of the most significant buildings of the 1990s like F. Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and S. Calatrava’s Extension for the Milwaukees’s Art Museum, Wisconsin, USA couldn’t have been made without CAD. Another interesting trend is the use of IT to define a building through its entire life cycle in a more comprehensive way. This covers not only the traditional design and construction phases of a project but also automated facilities management and even the building’s eventual demolition. Our research methodology encompasses an array of primary and secondary sources of information – literature review, international case studies and projects both pre and post IT revolution, interviews with experienced industry professionals, hands-on experience demonstrating WEB based concepts in practice and individual professional expertise. Research Outcomes and Conclusions: · Although technology has given us numerous new tools to be more productive and innovative creatively, the amount of quality architecture being designed may not necessarily increase. · It is academia that drives innovative uses of technology not industry. Academia has more time and resources to experiment and is not at the mercy of the vendors’ vision or how technology can or should be used. · Computing is in a never-ending flux. This change, for better or worse dynamically drives the way we do business. The entire industry must seek out these changes, create them, challenge them, foster, adopt or discard them to suit. · As object oriented CAD becomes more pervasive, more value will be added to the construction documentation. This value-add needs to be recognised and exploited. · As technology pervades, the design process, regardless, remains relatively the same. · Hierarchical business models and decision-making processes are no longer the norm. This fosters an atmosphere of collaboration and employee empowerment. · Talent is talent. Technology is no substitute for it.

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Full text: content.pdf (170,944 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2001 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.communication (0.044696) class.collaboration (0.038235) class.environment (0.034749)
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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.


Kähkönen K, Leinonen J

Visual product chronology as a solution for accessing building product model data

Abstract: Building product modelling technology is principally aiming for solutions which are capturing the data of gradually developing buildings. In simple terms these solutions can be characterised as storages where the most recent data and its updates exist. At the moment IFC standard is providing a common starting point for sharing building product model data between various applications. Having this as a starting point one major current challenge is to build methods and practical tools for accessing building product models. Here the term access means both data input and different analyses over building product model data. For example, the user needs to find out all building components where changes have appeared during certain period and visualise those in an appropriate level of detail. It is considered that these types of operations shall provide a true basis for wide acceptance and impact of building product modelling technology. Visual Product Chronology is an application, which can be used for linking data from various sources with the objects of building product model and for analysing the content of the resultant data storage. Development of Visual Product Chronology is proving improved understanding of various problems and their potential solutions when we are on way to develop applications enabling versatile but an easy access of building product model data.

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Full text: content.pdf (445,637 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2003 (browse)
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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by the University of Auckland. The assistance of the editor who provided the full texts and the structured metadata, Dr. Robert Amor, is gratefully appreciated.


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