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A decision support system for building refurbishment design

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

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

Series: w78:2000 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.man-software (0.029035) class.environment (0.012122) class.impact (0.010657)
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Permission to reproduce these documents have been graciously provided by Icelandic Building Research Institute. The assistance of the editor, Mr. Gudni Gudnason, is gratefully appreciated


Al-Hajj A, Aouad G

The development of an integrated life cycle costing model using object oriented and vr technologies

Abstract: There is an increasing realisation of the importance of operation and maintenance as opposed to capital costs throughout the life of an asset. In addition, new styles of contracts such as PFI (Private Finance Initiative) are becoming more popular. This will require that the building product is addressed within its holistic picture including the design, construction and maintenance. It is therefore vital to embed the life cycle costing element of a facility within its design and construction. Whole Life Costing is a technique used to facilitate effective choice between alternatives in the search of economic solutions. Information technology, particularly integrated databases and VR (Virtual Reality), can provide the mechanism to facilitate the integration of the whole life cost information. The research project described in this paper aims to add a life cycle costing element to the design phase of the OSCON integrated database developed at Salford University in the UK. The current integrated database within OSCON supports the functions of design, estimating and planning. The proposed system will allow the user within a VR environment to navigate inside the building retrieving information about building components that need replacement or repair. A colouring mechanism will be developed to show various elements in different colours according to cost criteria. This would allow the user to easily inspect the building and get rough ideas of repair and maintenance programmes, running costs and cash flows. The system will allow data to be updated continuously so that it will enable the comparison with initial plans and estimates and provides a fresh view of future action and feedback.

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Full text: content.pdf (77,170 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:1999 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.economic (0.029049) class.processing (0.019301) class.software development (0.013495)
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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by the Research Press of the National Research Council of Canada. The support of the editors, particularly Dr. Dana Vanier, is gratefully appreciated.


Björk B-C, Turk Z

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

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

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

Series: itcon:2000 (browse)
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C Changxin Wang,

Ontology based Knowledge Retrieving in a Web Collaboration Environment for Construction Industry

Abstract: As the amount of information and knowledge that we deal with in construction projects are huge, computerized collaboration and management systems have been seen as effective tools for construction project participants. While a vast amount of information and knowledge can be stored in these systems, how to retrieve knowledge when needed is a challenge. Traditional keyword search usually results in high returns but low precision, as context and terminology difference are not considered. This research implements construction domain ontology into a web collaboration environment. Domain ontology provides a common understanding of a domain (a particular area) in which people and the application system communicates with each other. The ontology is composed of a network of concepts, which are clearly defined and interlinked based on their context. Knowledge items published in the web are annotated according to the ontology, and enable the semantic inference to locate a particular knowledge items during the retrieval process. In this paper, some knowledge items (knowledge stories) are published as blog entries in the web collaboration systems, and a comparison between traditional keyword search and ontology based retrieval is reported. The ontology based knowledge retrieving gives much more accurate returns, and therefore can facilitate the web-based knowledge sharing practice more efficiently in the construction industry.

Keywords: Ontology, Knowledge management, Knowledge retrieving, Construction industry, Web-based collaboration.

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Full text: content.pdf (541,967 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2011 (browse)
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E Sabbatini, G M Revela, A Sicilia, M Böhms

Integration of an Infrared-based monitoring system with an EIIP (Energy Information Integration Platform) for innovative efficient indoor environment control

Abstract: An innovative thermography based measurement system for real-time estimation of thermal behaviour of a room is already developed as part of the FP7 project IntUBE. The applied approach is based on indoor measurements by an infrared (IR) camera and image post-processing to derive mean surface temperatures, thermal comfort indices, air temperature, number of occupants with the relative heat gains generated and presence of other heat sources (e.g. computers). The purpose is to provide spatially distributed room energy information in order to obtain instantaneous feedback displayed for the users or eventually for automatic HVAC control. Lumped parameter model of the room receives data from IR camera to compute exchanged heat rate and air temperature. A low-cost IR sensor, commercially available as surveillance system with automatic movement control that can provide qualitative data output, has been upgraded with a new interface to achieve quantitative data. The paper describes the integration of energy information related to the developed monitoring device (e.g. PMV - Predictive Mean Vote, PPD - Predicted Percentage Dissatisfied, room air temperature as output, humidity value from external sensor as input) within the IntUBE Energy Information Integration Platform (EIIP). The key aspect of the platform is smartness or “semantics”: ICT applications will communicate via this integration platform on the basis of semantic building objects. Performance Information Model (PIM) server stores data regarding the actual monitored performances of a building (energy, temperature, humidity, PMV etc.). These operational data together with the actual weather data can be used e.g. to compare actual performances with simulated performances and can lead to corrective actions. The paper demonstrates that an advanced monitoring/control system (as the IR-based one) can benefit from retrieving data from the EIIP through SPARQL queries, thus activating new functionalities with interoperability guaranteed by the Platform semantics.

Keywords: Thermography, Thermal comfort, Integration Platform, Interoperability, Semantics

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Full text: content.pdf (563,836 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2011 (browse)
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Grijspeerdt K, Backx E, Rammant J P

Lclms, an advanced database environment for the development of multimedia courses

Abstract: The Live Code Learning Multimedia System (LCLMS) is an integrated development environment, available on Windows NT and Unix-platforms, that allows the creation of advanced multimedia computer based training courses, deliverable through a (remote) network. The foundation of the system consists of a robust relational database management system (RDBMS). A specially developed database management system allows rapidly and intuitively querying, retrieving and storing of multimedia data. The course can be developed with a modified version of IconAuthonB, a high-end multimedia authoring tool that uses a graphical flow chart metaphor. The course is delivered to the end-user via a web browser, or by using a dedicated viewer. The course can be delivered to the end-user via a network, either locally or world-wide.

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

Series: ecce:1997 (browse)
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Kosovac B, Froese T, Vanier D J

Integrating heterogeneous data representations in model-based AEC/FM systems

Abstract: "The paper addresses an information management issue in integrated product/process-model based AEC/FM systems. It introduces an approach to the management of heterogeneous representations of project information. The focus is on graphical representations of a building model used as a tool for accessing data from an already populated model in traditionally non-CAD-based applications. The proposed approach is based on the concept of controlled vocabularies -- thesauri. In this context, a thesaurus is used to control not only terminology but all different representations of entities comprising a building or project model. Examples of different representations include: graphical representations at varying level of abstraction, diverse graphic formats (vector, pixel, VR, video etc), graphics-text-audio as both alternative and complementary modes, visualised non-natively-graphic information etc. The approach is illustrated by a simple application, the first in a series of interrelated projects comprising an intended research. The application uses XML and an existing pilot thesaurus in the low-slope roofing domain for retrieving textual and graphical information from complex documents, sets of documents, and the Internet. The application should represent a proof of the concept to be elaborated in the future work and used for efficient and economical management of information in construction planning and facilities management applications within integrated model-based systems."

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Full text: content.pdf (644,613 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2000 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.retrieve (0.053481) class.represent (0.031923) class.economic (0.018899)
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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


L McGibbney, B Kumar

THE WOMBRA PROJECT: A WEB-BASED ONTOLOGY-ENHANCED MULTI-PURPOSE BUILDING-REGULATION RETRIEVAL APPLICATION FOR SCOTTISH TECHNICAL STANDARDS

Abstract: An increasing amount of professional work within the domain of sustainable design and construction is becoming dependent on retrieving regulatory and advisory information over the web quickly. A common recognition that advanced search and retrieval technologies enable enormous amounts of information to be accessed has emerged. However, as a result designers and builders are finding it increasingly difficult to identify this information and assimilate them in their activities. Commercial search engines provide a generic and inaccurate method of retrieving relevant information for domain-specific needs in a focussed manner. Therefore, there is a need for developing intelligent domain-specific search and retrieval technologies under a structured information management framework. This paper presents Wombra: a web-based information search and retrieval application which employs domain specific ontology to identify (in particular) relevant energy performance building regulations. The framework builds on our previously established model, incorporating an HTTP SPARQL server, which supports the SPARQL RDF query language allowing additional truths to be inferred from our ontologies. Firstly we introduce the design and development of the customised, domain specific web search platform. Related research in this field accompanies this introduction. A theoretical model justifies the choice of technologies used and the basic construction of the search application itself. Further, we provide the reasoning behind our requirement to establish an ontology library with specific application to Scottish Technical Standards. We conclude this paper with various observations relating to on-going experiments and a discussion on future research areas. The Wombra project is being developed in collaboration with a Scottish City Council’s building control department who are actively validating the value of our approach in their daily activity of checking and approving designs for construction.

Keywords: Search and Information Retrieval, Ontology, Construction, Building Regulations, Scotland

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Full text: content.pdf (244,131 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2011 (browse)
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Marasini R, Dawood N, Dean J

Real-time management of stockyard using integrated digital technologies

Abstract: This project is a follow up from a stockyard layout planning research where simulation approach has been used to find the best stock layout for the efficient storage, loading and dispatch of precast concrete products. It was concluded from the study that a more robust real time management system should be in place to implement stockyard layout plans and help to retrieve products in an efficient manner. The proposed system will be composed of a number of integrated digital technologies that assist in retrieving products from the stockyard. The technology is composed of a central database where storage locations (bays) for the products are determined through the simulation model and actual supply from the production lines (presses). During loading and dispatch processes, the order number to be served is fed to the system. The system then guides the loaders (forklift drivers who load the products into the lorries) the products about the locations to be visited through a graphical display system installed in the lift trucks, the visitation sequence as well as quantity to be loaded in the lorries. To identify the right products to be loaded within the storage bay (location), geodetic positioning system (GPS) is utilised. Through intelligent system fitted in the lift trucks, and using bar code technology, products are retrieved efficiently. In this paper, the various technologies available for product identification have been reviewed, and an integrated real time model has been developed. Using a case study, the preliminary real-time implementation of the model and its results, problems encountered, and future steps have been discussed.

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Full text: content.pdf (201,966 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2001 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.economic (0.013616) class.impact (0.010128) class.retrieve (0.009144)
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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.


Nollau C, Hauser M, Scherer R J

Information retrieval - a concept of an engineering database server for prefabricated elements

Abstract: A concept for an engineering database server for retrieving information on the use of prefabricated elements will be discussed. The methods for the re-use of design solutions stored in this structural library are based on database technologies for a client-server architecture and advanced concepts of object-oriented modelling techniques. The objective is to optimise the cognitive effort in the early design stage by actively supporting the choice and adaptation of a structural solution depending on the constraints of the design situation. Because of the great number of prefabricated concrete slab floors used in construction we have chosen this very promising domain to demonstrate our model.

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Full text: content.pdf (59,694 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:1996 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.analysis (0.037184) class.retrieve (0.033616) class.software development (0.025024)
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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.


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