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Alty J L

Information Technology and the Construction Industry: Another Tower of Babel ?

Abstract: The application of information technology (IT) to the construction industry has not been outstandingly successful and does not seem to have produced the benefits which other industries have achieved. A number of reasons for this are highlighted, some already well-known. However some serious mismatches between the technologies and the requirements of the industry are also identified. It is suggested that new developments in multimedia interfaces and computer supported co-operative working may reduce this mismatch and result in a higher level of take-up of the technology.

Keywords: human interface; group working; multimedia; construction industry; groupware

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Full text: content.pdf (733,652 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.


Antonio Grilo, Ricardo Jardim-Goncalves, Adolfo Steiger-Garcao

A methodology using domain ontology and SOA for better interoperability in AEC mass customization

Abstract: Today, the OMG’s Model Driven Architecture (MDA) makes available an open approach to write specifi-cations and develop applications, separating the application and business functionality from the platform technology. As well, the Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) establishes a software architectural concept that defines the use of services to support the requirements of software users, making them available as independent services accessible in a standardized way. Together, these two architectures seem to provide a suitable framework to improve construction company’s competitiveness through the adoption of a standard-based extended environment, challenging and enhanc-ing the interoperability between computer systems and applications in industry. Nevertheless, Domain Ontologies (DO) have been recognized more and more as a challenging mechanism to bridge knowledge. The paper, after illustrating the general motivations the construction companies have to adopt open architectures to achieve interoperability for extended and collaborative enterprise practices, presents the emerging model driven and service oriented architectures. Then, it describes an innovative methodology for better interoperability in AEC mass customization. The paper finishes with discussion and concluding remarks concerning the empirical results obtained from the pilot demonstrator.

Keywords: interoperability, mass customization, domain ontology, SOA, MDA

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Full text: content.pdf (160,235 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2007 (browse)
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Arif A, Karam A

Architectural Practices and Their Use of IT in the Western Cape Province, South Africa

Abstract: The application of Information Technologies (IT) is moving forward with tremendous speed affecting all industries and professions; our building profession is no exception. To identify the extent of IT application in the building construction context of South Africa, a survey was conducted in the year 2000; it included IT as one of the many topics investigated. The Western Cape Province (WCP) was selected as the first subject of the ambitious national survey. The survey provides insight into the particular patterns in IT applications within the local architectural industry of the WCP and tracks its implications in terms of human resources and technical needs. This research paper presents a focused perspective of the findings of the survey on the local practices; their general profile, their computer technology profiles, their particular applications of technology and finally the effect of computer use on the profitability and cost reduction of their practices. The data presented in this paper highlights the high numbers of small-sized offices as a general characteristic of the local profile. Although a good percentage of these small offices seem to have a high need and use for IT applications, larger-sized offices are totally computerised and are all networked as well. The use of computers is clearly concentrated in three areas: administration, communication in addition to the core activity of construction drawings production. The survey reveals a major dependency on computer-aided-design (CAD) software where its use extends, in most cases, to clients' presentations. This dependency makes high demands on staff and principals' literacy and on the high competency levels needed for their use of technology. On the financial effect of IT use, many practices are not fully convinced that there is an actual reduction in their running costs. The exception occurs in the case of practices run by principals who use computers themselves; they have a positive perception of the financial benefits of technology. This research establishes a baseline from which to scale the progress in the use and application of IT in the architectural profession, being a key player in the construction industry. It serves as a measure for future surveys of the other provinces. It is hoped that it provides a foundation for many assumptions made by practitioners, technologists, consultants and educators of this field.

Keywords: Architecture - South Africa, Architectural Practices, Building Construction, Computer-Aided-Design (CAD), Survey - Cape Town

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Full text: http://www.itcon.org/2001/2 (available to registered users only)

Series: itcon:2001 (browse)
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Björk B-C

Document management - a key IT technology for the construction industry

Abstract: The IT infrastructure of today offers excellent opportunities for the construction industry to workmore efficiently by managing its documents in a digital form on the Internet. Nevertheless IT has sofar had more effect on the production of documents than on their efficient transfer and retrieval. Inthis paper the historical developments in construction computing over the last decades are outlined;how technical innovations such as photocopying, the fax, the personal computer, local areanetworks and finally the Internet have effected the production, storage, duplication and transfer ofinformation. Key features in current web based document systems are shortly described, withspecial emphasis on alternative search methods such as hierarchical folders or meta datarepositories. The integration of document management systems with other Internet based ASPservicesin vertical construction industry portals is also discussed. The paper finishes by outliningsome current trends, which seem to be leading towards the survival of a few dominant systems.

Keywords: Construction, document management, Internet, ASP

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Full text: content.pdf (361,292 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: ecce:2001 (browse)
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Crook D, Rooke J, Seymour D

Research techniques in construction information technology

Abstract: An important strategic issue in the use of IT by construction organisations is its use as an enabling technology for re-engineering the construction process. An examination of research reveals a tendency in IT research to adopt a mechanical systems view of an organisation’s activities: the organisation is treated as a complex of ‘black box’ processes or sub-systems linked by information flows. It is suggested that although this may be necessary for the production of a computer model, a detailed study of the empirical world, which the model is intended to represent, is a prior requisite if the system designed is to meet its purposes.We argue that the current assumptions made in construction IT research characterise a dominant ‘rationalist’ research paradigm. The main feature of this paradigm is belief in the objective reality of information or data: this has the effect of excluding from consideration the meaning or semantic content of information. A consequence is that the processes which are the interpretive context for information and data are ignored as matters for study. Information requirements within the system are treated as unproblematic, and do not seem to be adequately addressed by researchers within this paradigm.We suggest that research where an insufficient examination of the empirical world is undertaken misrepresents the nature of the processes under study. It also highlights the limitations of a positivistic approach to research. We note the emergence of ‘soft systems methodologies’ as an attempt to address these issues, and a call within the construction IT research community to recognise their importance, albeit one which may as yet have gone unheeded.In order to develop a more coherent research strategy for construction IT, we present an alternative, interpretive research paradigm which seeks to provide an appropriate footing on which to model socio-technical phenomena. We introduce the concept of participant observation-supported software development, which may help to remedy some of the problems identified.

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Full text: content.pdf (57,809 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:1996 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.social (0.022904) class.strategies (0.019865) class.communication (0.008767)
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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.


Frye M J, Olynick D M, Pinkney R B

Development of an expert system for the fire protection requirements of the national building code of Canada

Abstract: In Canada, the standard for fire safety for new buildings, reconstruction of buildings including alterations and additions, and buildings involving a change in occupancy, is established in Part 3, Use andOccupancy, of the National Building Code of Canada. While the fire protection requirements contained in this section of the Code are very explicit, inexperienced or infrequent users of the Code often find it confusing and overwhelming because of the number of requirements which apply or seem to apply to a given building. An experienced code user or expert understands what information is relevant and will generally use a systematic process to determine the fire protection requirements that are applicable. Because the human approach to fire protection analysis is, in fact, systematic and logically sequential, and because the knowledge contained in codes and standards is largely in the form ofrules, an expert system can be developed to effectively simulate human competence in fire protective design. This paper describes the development of a user-friendly expert system that closely mimics the human approach used in the fire protection analysis of those buildings regulated by Part 3, Use and Occupancy of the National Building Code of Canada. The principal fire protection requirements of the Code have been incorporated into the expert system. The resulting expert system will be useful to the experienced code user as a code assistant, and to theinexperienced or infrequent code user who requires code information when no expert is available.

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Full text: content.pdf (1,290,837 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:1992 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.synthesis (0.097966) class.analysis (0.040004) class.legal (0.022945)
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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by Research Press of the National Research Council of Canada. The support of the editor, Dr. Dana Vanier, is gratefully appreciated.


Jan Tulke, Jochen Hanff

4D construction sequence planning – new process and data model

Abstract: Model based working is only just getting introduced in the construction sector to support design and pro-ject management. In particular, construction sequence planning as one of the key processes in a construction project can benefit from model based working. Since the time schedule defines sequences of activities and allocates resources such as material and labour, it plays an important role in optimizing and managing a construction project. In this respect, model based working can offer more to construction sequence planning than just a visualisation of the construction sequences, in which the term ‘4D simulation’ is today commonly understood. Still, available 4D simulation software packages do not engage in the scheduling work but require major additional effort after the time schedule has been finished. The links between the objects of the 3D CAD model and the activities of the time schedule have to be established manually, i.e. the user has to select certain objects and assign them to a related activity in the time schedule. Furthermore, a 4D simulation merely adds limited value due to a restriction to visualisa-tion of construction sequences only. This additional effort for creating the 4D simulation and limited benefit of having a visualisation of construction se-quences only, seem to be the main drawbacks as a result of which 4D simulation still has not crossed the threshold to daily practice. To significantly improve the efficiency of creating a 4D simulation this article presents a solution for creating time schedules and 4D simulations based on data stored in a building model.

Keywords: 4D simulation, scheduling, construction planning, model based planning, building information model

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Series: w78:2007 (browse)
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Mustafa Oral, Emel Laptali Oral

A computer based system for documentation and monitoring of construction labour productivity

Abstract: Improving labour productivity is one of the most significant areas that may result in competitive advan-tage for construction companies. This requires continuous monitoring, documentation and measurement of factors like quantity of work, site conditions, work conditions and crew characteristics. Time study is a systematic approach that can be applied by the site management to achieve these goals. However, various numbers of tasks to be undertaken are time/cost consuming and may seem to be a burden to the site management. Thus, a computer based system is a requisite for the long term success of the applications. Literature discusses the advantages and disadvantages of three widely used systems for documentation and monitoring of labour productivity on site. This article introduces a novel computer based system for documentation and monitoring of construction labour productivity. The system not only provides a user friendly environment for documentation and monitoring of construction labour productivity but also undertakes various statistical analyses. The future work in-cludes development of a neural network module.

Keywords: construction labour productivity, time study, programming, documentation, monitoring

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Full text: content.pdf (579,073 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2007 (browse)
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Panu Vahala

A prototype user interface for a building product model in renovation design

Abstract: Despite the fact that several sophisticated building product data model proposals and working prototype applications have been developed, actual practical use of product model applications does not, however, seem a viable prospect for the near future. In our view, the key problem impeding a more widespread use of product model applications is that the user has been neglected. The laboratory of Construction Economics and Management at the Helsinki University of Technology has developed a prototype application for renovation architectural design. The approach taken to this work was to design intelligent user interfaces, the use of which resembles as closely as possible traditional and manual document-oriented design methods. The application consists of four elements: the user interface, a building product model database, library database and tools for producing output documents. The application is developed on an AutoCAD system integrated with a relational database management system, Paradox for Windows. The user interfaces were designed using AutoLisp, DCL and ObjectPAL. The extensive use of actual case studies in the development of this prototype application has provided valuable input in that it has allowed continuous testing of the system and further refinements based on real-life experience.

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Full text: content.pdf (650,761 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:1994 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.man-software (0.080015) class.software development (0.019652) class.represent (0.016717)
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Permission to reproduce these papers has been graciously provided by VTT, Espoo, Finland.


R Schijf

Modelling at the Earliest Design Stage

Abstract: Starting point is that between the 70's, if not earlier, and now, many theories and related diagrams have circulated, describing the (building) design process from initiative to productions, or even demolition. But none of them appears very practical when it comes to explain where and how CAD fits in. By now we have hundreds of CAD-tools to our availability, most of them standing alone, some of them more or less integrated, but we seem to lack the sort of infrastructure which places them in the design process and shows their position relative to other CAD-tools.

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Full text: content.pdf (1,037,357 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:1984 (browse)
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