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Harvey S, Marache M, Samad Kazi A, Rezgui Y, Zarli A, Hemio T

Web-based generic services for the construction virtual enterprises in the OSMOS project

Abstract: The challenge addressed by the OSMOS[1] project is to provide construction participants with effective access to project information regardless of its form, format, and location, and on the other hand with increased flexibility to support smooth co-operation between non co-located teams, and the co-ordination of their work and activities in an environment that promotes trust and social cohesion. Driven by requirements specified by industrial partners, OSMOS aims at focusing on the specification of industry requirements including intra- and inter-company information process models, identification of required tools, interfaces and services for the Virtual Enterprise (VE), specification of construction groupware services including system architecture, interfaces and necessary extensions to common construction applications. The OSMOS consortium is developing two Internet-based prototype groupware services, hosted in Finland and France, including low entry tools for accessing project information in a VE. The latter include browsers for accessing distributed project information, tools for quick set up of the infrastructure for a new VE, and tools for typical asynchronous communication. The paper will give, first, a general background on the Information and Communication Technology use in construction, with an emphasis on IT tools supporting team work. This will be followed by a summary of the requirements of the OSMOS system based on the analysis of the current practices within the participating companies. These requirements form the base of the OSMOS specification, comprising a set of information models as well as a set of services packaged in the form of an OSMOS Application Programming Interface. The paper will then concentrate on 2 of the following services: the e-mail based communication service, and the document cross-referencing/information management service, selected as specific targets for the 1st iteration of the OSMOS project. The objective of the e-mail based communication service is to provide users with mechanisms for exchanging electronic information and messages, examples of which include electronic letters, e-mail, documents, etc., and generalised functionality archiving messages within the VE, search and get email addresses according to specified criteria, and so on. The second service (document cross-referencing/information management ) is to provide users with mechanisms to relate any particular nugget of information with other information to which it relates based on its semantics (meaning), regardless of its actual form and storage format. The paper then proceeds with a detailed overview of the application and potential of the web-based generic services for construction virtual enterprises in the OSMOS project. A demonstration of the initial web-based versions of the “Virtual Enterprise Management system” (VEM) and the OSMOS information browser is then presented. The VEM, as the name implies, manages a VE in terms of registering, modifying and deleting users, roles, access rights, classes, objects, services/methods, etc.. More functionality will be added for security, authentication, session management, logging facility, etc. The OSMOS browser on the other hand communicates with the VEM and serves as the main user interface presenting different views to the project data and through these views makes available invokable methods for individual objects based on user roles, rights, and view preferences. Finally, it is worth mentioning that the results presented in this paper though targeted towards the construction industry are in fact generic enough to be translated to other industry sectors. The project is supported by 4 user interest groups in Finland, France, Sweden, and UK.

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Full text: content.pdf (288,277 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2001 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.man-man (0.049106) class.software development (0.041176) class.man-software (0.039832)
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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.


I. A. Mutis

Semantic tags for collaboration in construction formalized within a social network framework

Abstract: As construction projects require tracking an ever-increasing number of parameters to operate with suppliers, vendors, and the entire organization of a construction firm, particularly in exchanging, sharing, and integrating information, a semantically rich form to represent information is required. Semantic tags for interoperable construction workflows represent a novel approach to support the exchanging, sharing, and integrating of information. This approach proposes a semantic main form of representation of construction concepts to assist in the communication between actors. The proposed approach is based on the notion of the social network framework. The assumption is that construction actors’ relationships in communicating information can be expressed by patterns of relationships defined in a social network structure. Semantic tags leverage the communication of information within the dynamic social network grid by employing a concept-description that contains metadata. The purpose is to semantically enrich the product or project data. It is expected that the inclusion of additional semantics will overcome inefficiencies within interoperability.

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Series: w78:2009 (browse)
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Ivan Mutis, Jose Solis

FLOORBOOK: A Social Network System to Enable Effective Interfacing of Project Actors

Abstract: Construction project participants constitute a complex social human network composed of a heterogeneous and fragmented set of stakeholders. The disjoint group of actors that team to work on a project constitutes collective entities, social networks at different scales in time and space. The proposed social network system is a semantic resource that leverages the communication and coordination of exchanging and sharing information. It is expected that it will enable an improvement in efficiency of the interfacing of actors and information. This semantic resource helps actors to minimize human intervention for coordination and information searching and retrieval, which are activities that demand costly resources and the use of specialized labor. Floorbook analyzes the vocabulary of the annotations on the forms of representation used in construction documentation, categorizes and models communities according to the user’s role in the shared form of representation, and makes suggestions to the users to optimize their particular world view, so that the suggested annotation is more precise and personalized. The basic rational of the approach is that the position of the users in a social network impacts their use in the system, and that the content of the annotations are part of a categorization model of a specific domain. The proposed social network system works as an effort of collective intelligence that enables the sharing of the semantics of the tags that are associated with the representations. As an effort of collective intelligence, Floorbook (1) models and extracts semantics from informal communication; (2) categorizes and models communities defined by common interests; and (3) self-learns from the history of user actions in the system to enable new value-added services, such as, for example, suggesting new candidate semantic tags as a result of the analysis of the representations to optimize the particular world view of an individual user.

Keywords: social-networking, communication, collaboration, emerging semantics

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Series: w78:2010 (browse)
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Ivan Mutis, Raja R.A. Issa, Ian Flood

Missing fundamental stratum of the current forms of the representation of concepts in construction

Abstract: The generation of concepts in the construction industry involves the interpretation of syntactically defined symbolic notations, such as logic, frames, semantic networks, natural language, and of other forms such as visual rep-resentations. These notations are deliberately organized to define concepts. Models as forms of representations are based on symbols that are aimed at referring to some entities of the world with properties and relations apprehended within them. Models involve grouping a set of relations, which characterize concepts, with the purpose of sharing and understanding these concepts by members of the community. However, models suffer the limitations that logic and the symbolic notations bear, because they cannot capture the richness of the phenomena of the world in their syntactic no-tation nor other intentionality features. Other forms of representations such as visual representations suffer the same limitations. An analysis of the nature of the representations employed in the construction industry suggests the inclusion of the ac-tor’s role in a new stratum for generating representations of construction concepts. This actor, who manipulates or generates the representation for communicating concepts, is committed to the intentionality aspects of the represented concept that are not captured in current forms of the representation. The inclusion of these and other phenomenological aspects concerning the nature of the representation are intended to generate representations for accurate interpreta-tions. The modus operandi with these representations indicates a subsequent interpretation by other actors or project participants. The inclusion of this stratum promises a significant progress in creating efficiency in interoperability on construction projects. The assumption is that the representations are cognitive manifestations of common, shared con-cepts employed by the construction industry community. This analysis is supported and developed through the semiotic theory which addresses the nature of the representations through signs and the role of agents with the representations and with the external physical domain. This study attempts to approximate semiotics as an experience that illustrates the reasoning process from external rep-resentations and the role of intentionality in employing external representations. This experience inquires about the form of the correspondence of the perceived, entity, event, and relations, or, in other words, a correspondence of a phe-nomenon in the world with the concept in the construction participant’s mind. In addition, the purpose of this experi-ence is to provide direction to the method of how semantics aspects should be understood to give interpretations for concepts employed in the construction industry.

Keywords: semiotics, construction concepts, representations, interpretation

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Series: w78:2007 (browse)
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Ivan Mutis, Raja R.A. Issa

THE INTEROPERABILITY ACT FOR EMCOMPASING SEMANTICS IN CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS

Abstract: Actors generate, share, and ultimately communicate information with other construction project actors. The content of this information is described within construction documents such as drawings, schedules, and specifications. Poor understanding of the content of the documents has been a factor in the escalation of construction project complexity. The result is a lack of efficiency in the communication that has been documented as failures to interoperate among actors during any construction process. As a consequence, actors need to employ additional resources for aiding the understanding of the shared information therefore significantly raising costs and reducing project productivity. Current research efforts are aimed at aiding interoperability by sharing common vocabulary and models among project actors. These efforts have been addressed through the development of common, shared models and construction industry standards. The objective is that multiple construction participants ultimately recognize the shared models and set a universal language. The implementation and use of the models and the common vocabulary provides the possibility of reusing the information within the construction documents by project actors. However, the industry has failed to adopt the commonly shared models and the universal language to effectively share information. The assumption in the construction industry is that the creation of an a priori consensus over the content of what is described within the information is a condition for interoperability. This paper questions this assumption by diverging into another paradigm, the semantics of the represented information. As an alternative, our research focuses on the semantic paradigm. We move away from the attempts to find consensus through common vocabulary and shared models to new methods that benefit from precise meanings. Our assumption is that strategies for exchanging, sharing, and integrating information will not reduce the lack of full automatic interoperability without working first on strategies for understanding the information from other sources.One of the steps proposed here towards this paradigm is the interpretation of the represented information by other construction actors. Our research explores the relationship between the represented information and the interpreter. For this purpose, a parallel of the interpretation of shared information has been made through the Speech Act Theory (Searle 1969). The objective is to understand what background information is pertinent to the conversation and what assumptions and inferences are needed to capture the intended meaning within the expressed utterance in order to parallel the speech act with the shared represented information between two construction participants. This research proposes the interoperability act concept for construction documents. The significant implications of this effort are the characterization of the interoperability act with the purpose of developing new forms of representing semantics within the construction documents, which provide a method to successfully share and communicate information.

Keywords: Interoperability act, construction concepts, interoperability actions, forms of representation

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Full text: content.pdf (181,020 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2008 (browse)
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J Niu, R R A Issa

Concept Classification for Construction Contractual Semantics: A Case Study on the AIA A201 Document

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Series: w78:2013 (browse)
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Kahkonen K, Bjork B C, Arola P, Hult S

Building regulations as a part of a digitalized building information service

Abstract: This paper presents a practical and cost-effective approach to disseminate building regulations and codes as a part of a digitalised building information system. The proposed approach takes into account the most important characteristics of the building regulations and codes. These characteristics are: inner semantics comprising the indexing system, definitions and cross references and different data types for representing various data captured in building regulations and codes.

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Full text: content.pdf (597,989 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:1992 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.legal (0.085934) class.store (0.061251) class.synthesis (0.025572)
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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.


Lottaz C, Stouffs R, Smith I

Increasing Understanding During Collaboration Through Advanced Representations

Abstract: Efforts to provide support for collaborative work in the AEC industry have resulted in systems that offer various levels of assistance. Although some systems support information transfer in a wide range of formats, they offer little in terms of decision support such as conflict management and negotiation. Other systems provide more decision support but require strict formats for information input and transfer. Nearly all current proposals offer very limited facilities for viewing information. The objective of this paper is to present an environment which has been specifically designed for multiple ways to represent and manipulate information. Several representations, when coupled with appropriate visualization techniques, lead to opportunities for increasing understanding of AEC project characteristics. More specifically, when a numerical constraint solver (SpaceSolver) is integrated within a document-centric collaboration environment (ICC), synergies between information exchange and solution space exploration contribute very positively to the quality of projects. In particular, the ICC environment provides a framework for representing and visualizing information structures that are created during collaboration. Conceptually, an information architecture and visualization techniques to support the virtual AEC enterprise are emphasized. A plug-in architecture allows for the addition of process- specific functionality. The constraint solver SpaceSolver presents a complementary collaborative approach, with strict semantics to support decision making and conflict management. The use of solution spaces during collaborative negotiation avoids premature decisions in the design process, allows detection of conflicting project requirements at early stages of the project, and increases the designers' understanding of hidden relations between design parameters. Together, the ICC environment supports the management of an information space that, when linked to a constraint satisfaction problem, can explain important restrictions and decisions for an effective negotiation. The combination of a flexible framework with more rigid modules, such as constraint solvers, provides a useful compromise and, thus, comprehensive support for a range of AEC projects. Two recently completed construction projects are used to validate the approach

Keywords: collaboration, negotiation, electronic document management, information architecture, information visualization, feedback.

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Full text: http://www.itcon.org/2000/1 (available to registered users only)

Series: itcon:2000 (browse)
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M Weise & P Katranuschkov

Supporting State-based Transactions in Collaborative Product Modelling Environments

Abstract: The up to date state and the consistency of shared building model data are of utmost importance for the achievement of efficient model-based collaborative work. However, in engineering design these are not easy tasks. Design activities are typically carried out in long transactions that are characterized by the following three subtasks: check-out of the needed design data into a private workspace, making design changes within the private workspace, and check-in of a new model state into the shared model repository to make changes and decisions visible to the other designers. As a result of various existing semantic interoperability problems, in the new model state both actual design changes and data loss have to be considered that cannot be easily distinguished. To help tackle these problems we suggest a delta-based versioning approach whose essence is in storing design changes instead of complete design states. This approach is then used as basis to support the three data processing stages of a design step within a collaborative work environment, namely (1) creation of the needed and manageable model subset by removing all irrelevant design data, (2) storing the design changes, and (3) restoring the removed data by an ""undo"" operation of the first step. In the paper we present the used semantics for describing design changes, their transformation to deltas and the scope and limits of the suggested undo operation. At the end we provide an example of the use of the suggested approach with the industry standard IFC model and discuss its potential and needed further research.""

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


Mallasi Z, Dawood N

A generic inclusion of space strategies with activity execution patterns in 4D tools

Abstract: In this paper we describe construction generic space strategies that affect the development of realistic 4D space visualisations. The simple and dynamic approach has been implemented in the PECASO model to allow a new insight into a project’s space-time schedules. Our approach considers the activities execution patterns among the variables used for minimising space-time conflicts between site operations. The semantics of a construction activity execution patterns are illustrated in this work and they are: 1) progress of work direction, 2) execution of work direction, and 3) activity volume of work per week. The PECASO system applies a Simple Genetic Algorithm (SGA) to search for the most suitable execution pattern suitable for a construction activity. Among the included space strategies are the physical constraint such as activity-products Assembly Sequence Constraints (ASC) and the construction logic dependencies. The SGA has been proposed here to model the generic space strategies for the execution patterns. This research suggests that the definition of activity execution patterns semantics in 4D is an important element of interaction between site operations and could shape the site space usage in a different way. Other advantages are the benefits that can be generated from rehearsing different ‘what-if’ scenarios for coordinating site operations and to communicate the project plan in 4D. The paper presents an experimental execution patterns SGA runs with results, and shows how they are used to minimize space-time conflicts.

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Full text: content.pdf (414,617 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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