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T Hartmann

4D models to support safe planning of hospital renovations

Abstract: During hospital renovations, medical processes are, oftentimes, in progress at the same time as construction processes are. As a result, construction work may interfere with ongoing medical work. These conflicts often have undesirable effects on the vulnerable medical processes, in particular in relation to patient safety. Hence, during hospital renovation planning activities medical and construction experts have to work closely together to devise sound construction plans that align these two processes. To support such planning activities, this paper presents a method to model hospital renovation activities using 4D models that link a virtual representation of the hospital and several temporary objects, such as dust barriers, with planned construction sequences. We developed the method in an action research effort working closely together with architectural and medical practitioners on a hospital renovation project in the Netherlands. Throughout this action research we iteratively generated 4D models of the project and applied these models by supporting decision and communication tasks of practitioners in the ongoing project planning process. Next to the method itself, the paper also reports about some these first applications of the model that we were able to observe. These applications show that the method allows construction managers and medical specialists to develop 4D models that help to mutually evaluate the effects of a chosen construction sequence on ongoing medical processes.

Keywords: hospital renovation, safety planning, 4D modelling, action research, modelling process

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Series: w78:2011 (browse)
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T Mahfouz,

Hybrid Construction Document Classification Model using Machine Learning (ML) and Text Segmentation Methodology

Abstract: The dynamic nature of the construction industry yields enormous documents that are generated in an unstructured format like technical specifications, meeting minutes, daily reports, claims, and construction litigation cases. With the increasing level of sophistication and growing speed of the industry, the efficient use of these documents became inevitably needed. This paper proposes a hybrid automated construction document classifier utilizing Machine Learning (ML) and Text Segmentation. The current research builds on previous study performed by the author that utilized Support Vector Machines (SVM) for automating construction document classification. To that end, the current paper presents the enhanced results of performing a pre-processing step of text segmentation of construction documents. Lengthy construction documents like claims typically address different topics or different aspects of the same topic within one document. This issue decreases the accuracy of the SVM classifiers. Consequently, the pre-processing step aims at defining texts that are related to different topic within the same document. The adopted research methodology (1) gathered and utilized a corpus of 500 Different Site Conditions (DSC) cases from the Federal Court of New York; (2) developed a tokenizing and parsing algorithm for the used documents through C++; (3) implemented text segmentation adopted from Hearst’s TextTiling algorithm; (4) developed SVM automated classification models; and (5) compared the outputs to results attained in previous works. The outcomes of this research are expected to enhance automated decision support tools developed for the construction industry.

Keywords: Document Classification, Text Segmentation, Machine Learning (ML), TextTiling, Support Vector Machines (SVM)

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Series: w78:2011 (browse)
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Tat N H, Lansley P

Organisation Structure, Management Style and IT The Case of Hong Kong Chinese Building Companies

Abstract: The paper reports a study of how managers of Hong Kong Chinese building firms have changed their styles of management and the organisation of their firms in response to the introduction of information technology. In some cases these changes have been quite marked and have led to the erosion of the role and influence of middle managers as information has become more readily available to senior and lower level managers. The study suggests that the conflicts between traditional management philosophies and those required of IT can be resolved and used to strengthen commitment to organisational performance.

Keywords: information technology; culture; organisation structure; management style

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


Tomaž Pazlar, Žiga Turk

Evaluation of IFC optimization

Abstract: Today Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) with considerable number of implementations presents almost “de-facto” standard in the Building Information Modelling (BIM). The idea of architecture, engineering, construction and facility management (AEC-FM) software interoperability may be easy understandable but the current standard implementations performances are not always satisfying. Although various deficiencies can be concluded from evalua-tion reports and the pilot projects presented research focuses only on model optimization issues. IFC files generated with the most commonly used architectural design applications are as a rule not optimal regarding the record length and as deduced from previous research work several easily resolved optimization procedures could be applied. Pre-sented case study is based on Solibri IFC Optimizer, the only IFC optimization tool available. Several simple and com-plex models were tested and optimization results have been closely examined. Prospects and constraints of presented optimization are discussed at paper closing.

Keywords: BIM - building information model, IFC - industry foundation classes, interoperability, optimization, soli-bri IFC optimizer

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Full text: content.pdf (233,304 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2007 (browse)
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Turk Z, Delic D

Graduate level construction informatics curriculum: a proposal to meet the Bologna structure

Abstract: Across Europe, faculties of civil engineering and departments of construction are addressing the structure of the university level education according to the Bologna declaration. The restructuring provides an opportunity to rethink some aspects of the curriculum, including the status of education in construction informatics and computer science. While today the IT tools are used in most courses, there is a significant corpus of knowledge that needs specialized attention in dedicated courses. Some courses must be aimed at fundamental IT knowledge that is required to support core engineering works such as design, planning, construction management and construction itself. Advanced understanding of all aspects of information technology is required for job positions that actively shape the introduction of IT for strategic, management and knowledge worker levels. This is reflected in the proposed schema of four courses, two of which are optional. The author believes that the 2+2 courses over the 4 years of engineering education is a realistic share that construction informatics should have in the reformed curricula. This paper reports on a study that was completed in 2002 for the University of Zagreb, Croatia in 2002, that is reforming the curriculum related to construction informatics. The goal of the paper is not to provide a definitive curriculum, but rather to start a Europe-wide discussion on a harmonization of construction informatics curricula.

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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.


V Semanov, OTarlapan, S Morozov,K Kazakov, V Zolotov

Global path planning in large-scale environments using metric and topological schemes

Abstract: Global path planning is a challenging problem arisen in many fields of research. It is of particular interest to construction planning community facing the requirements of trustworthiness and feasibility of project schedules. Correct schedules must avoid any conflicting situations at project sites and assure the existence of collision-free paths for installed construction elements and deployed equipment. To validate schedules against potential spatio-temporal conflicts, emerging 4D modeling technologies, collision detection and motion planning methods can be applied. Ultimately it would enable detecting and anticipating problems at earlier planning phases and reducing risks and waste at the final construction phases.Unfortunately, path planning algorithms have relatively high complexity that extremely grows with the input data volume. Most reports have concluded that the algorithms work well in simple 2D environments, but require much larger computation resources in large-scale dynamic 3D environments that makes the stated validation problem highly intractable for construction applications. Being oriented on exact or approximate metric representations, traditional local path planning methods have significant limitations in the case of large-scale environments. Their inability to use overall a priory information on the whole environment creates another shortcoming in global planning. Topological schemas try to overcome these drawbacks by representing the original environment by means of route graphs. Topological schemas scale better than metric ones, but being resistant to geometric representation errors may yield incorrect or suboptimal solutions.In the paper we propose an effective method leveraging global and local path planning strategies and combining metric and topological schemas. Due to original criteria for extracting a topology from metric information, the method is applicable to complex indoor/outdoor environments and can be used for spatio-temporal validation of construction project schedules. Conducted experiments proved the feasibility and effectiveness of the method presented.

Keywords: 4D modeling, Planning and scheduling, Collision detection, Project validation, Path planning.

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Series: w78:2011 (browse)
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Y Deshpande, H Leslie

ONTOLOGY-BASED SOFTWARE ENGINEERING AND DISTRIBUTED INFORMATION MANAGEMENT IN THE AEC-FM INDUSTRY

Abstract: Decision-making in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction and Facility Management (AEC-FM) industry is highly distributed across individuals, organizations, national economies, and over a full facility lifecycle measured in decades. Information management in this environment presents problems to all concerned - the practitioners themselves, manufacturers and suppliers, regulators and even clients and users. For the AEC-FM industry, given its size, information management needs to be tackled through an orchestrated set of modest initiatives leading to a distributed set of interactive components– each able to function independently while serving the larger needs of the industry. A companion paper identifies and deals with three major levels at which the problems have to be solved. The top level is ontological and looks at how the industry might develop and maintain an agreed way of identifying and describing the entities about which data are accessed, processed and exchanged by its decision-makers. The second level is concerned with how this controlled vocabulary can be used to identify and make application specific resources (information, products, materials, and ICT tools) available to the project decision maker. The third level is concerned with making the resources from the other two levels available to support distributed decision-making. Ontology-based Software Engineering is a recent phenomenon wherein the development approach varies from creating more general tools to domain specific solution strategies. This paper reports on a prototype software package applicable at the top, industry-wide level, which demonstrates the feasibility and the desirability of ontological solutions specifically for the AEC-FM sector. The outcome could become part of infrastructure for sector-wide application development.

Keywords: Performance-based project data, Product/Process data management, Ontologies, Ontology-based Software Engineering, ICT, BIM

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Z. Ren, T. M. Hassan & F. Yang

The Drivers and Barriers for the Development and Applications of Project Collaboration Systems in the Chinese Construction Industry

Abstract: Fragmentation is one of the major problems facing the Chinese construction industry. With its rapid development, this problem becomes more severe in the industry. In response to this problem, different collaboration systems have been developed by domestic and foreign construction and ICT companies. Although a significant of money has been invested, the impacts are still unclear. This paper reports on the findings of a survey conducted in 2008, with contributions received from 42 construction organizations including developers, designers, and contractors. The paper discussed the major problems and issues involved in developing project collaboration system in Chinese construction industry, and identified the key issues that support and inhibit the application of collaboration systems. Both qualitative and quantitative analyses methods have been adopted to analyze the results obtained. The results reveal the state-of-the art of collaboration systems in the Chinese construction industry and their impacts, at both Governmental and organizational levels.

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Series: w78:2009 (browse)
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Zhang S,Teizer J,Perez E,McDonald M

Automated safety-in-design rule-checking for capital facility projects

Abstract: Safety-in-design (SID) reviews are mandatory for capital facility projects because they eliminate hazards before activities in the construction, operation, and maintenance phases take place. Existing SID review processes which many large corporations have in place, however, still rely mainly on manual input and judgment of experienced safety experts. Often very skilled humans make decisions based upon paper-based drawings or three-dimensional visualization models. As such, tasks in safety-in-design review sessions remain to be manual and thus are very much time-consuming, expensive. Furthermore, if not all hazards are detected and mitigated, they can be potentially error-prone. Unsafe design ultimately exposes workers at risk as it provides an unsafe work environment. It can also become very costly if unsafe design is detected outside of the design and construction planning phases of a capital facility project. The objective of this work was to develop a safety code compliance checking technology that does not replace human judgment, but supports human decision making of safety experts, designers, engineers, and field staff. The developed work applies novel safety code compliance checking algorithms on intelligent information models which are prepared during design and construction planning. The initial scope of the developed algorithms is limited to check for safe work access and egress requirements in existing information models. As existing safety rules and best practices are embedded in the developed code compliance checking system, they can be automatically executed on information models which exist for every capital facility project. A case study is presented to illustrate its practical implementation for an off-shore oil platform. Results show that the developed system generates automated reports that list the safety violations and furthermore, along with visual screenshots of the unsafe object in the information model, indicate the process of how these issues can be mitigated based upon established best safety practices. The significance of human-assisted decision-making in SID reviews and its potential to lead to safer designs early in a project is explained.

Keywords: Capital facility projects,design for safety,design reviews,information modeling,rule checking,3D model,safety-in-design

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