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Anders Ekholm

ISO 12006-2 and IFC – could they be harmonized?

Abstract: Today, there are two major candidates for core ontologies common to the construction and facilities management sector, the ISO 12006-2 Framework for classification of information, and the Industry Foundation Classes, IFC. ISO 12006-2 has been developed as a step in harmonizing different national and regional classification systems for construction and facilities management. The main purpose of the IFC standard is to enable effective information sharing, within the AEC/FM industry throughout the project lifecycle. These standards have similar objectives but show fundamental differences in semantics and structure. The presented study compares the standards and points at differences and similarities, firstly in order to understand their structure, and secondly to initiate a discussion about the need and the possibility to co-ordinate them. The analysis indicates a fundamental difference in view between the standards. The starting point of IFC was to reject classification, and therefore a harmonization with ISO 12006-2 would require a major shift of approach.

Keywords: Product models, Process models, Ontologies, Interoperability

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Series: w78:2004 (browse)
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Arif A A, Karam A H

A comparative study: with insight into the use of IT in local architectural practices

Abstract: This paper reports on the use of Information Technologies (IT) in the South African building industry. It offers an insight into the architecture profession, a profession that plays a major role in the construction sector. The analysis is based on the results of a survey conducted in the Western Cape Province during the year 2000. In an attempt to uncover the similarities and differences between the local context and the international one, this paper outlines a few elements of IT for comparison. After a brief introduction to the IT map of South Africa, the analysis concentrates on the following four issues: Response and Respondents, General IT usage, Use of Computer-Aided-Design (CAD) and Use of Networks. Each of these issues is framed in both the local and the international contexts. Despite the shortcomings of using different questions with different emphasis when referring to other surveys, it is still believed that reporting on local practices is not extremely meaningful in isolation. It is hoped that this type of analysis will serve to unravel the particulars of the construction industry in South Africa providing its counterparts with a new perspective.

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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.


Bjornsson H, Lundegard R

Strategic Use of IT in Some European Construction Firms

Abstract: A study has been carried out in which a number of large construction firms in Europe have been investigated with regard to management thinking in the area of IT. There is a common understanding of the strategic importance of IT, but the means for using the technology strategically are not well developed. Some theoretical frameworks for analysing the firms studied have been developed based on earlier work done by management researchers. The project-oriented nature of construction may make it necessary to modify existing theories. It is believed that although these frameworks cannot be used directly in the strategy-writing process of a contractor, they can help create awareness and explain possible effects of various generic strategies. A number of problems arise in trying to compare strategies or investment patterns between different construction organizations. Some of these problems will be discussed together with some ways of coping with them. Some conclusions about similarities and differences in the management view of IT will be stated from an international perspective.

Keywords: strategic advantage; IT-strategy; corporate strategy; impact of IT, European construction

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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.


Howard R

Modelling buildings anti classifying data in cad systems

Abstract: This paper presents the results of some studies of data modeling and layering practice carried out for the draft British Standard 'Construction Drawing Practice - Guide f o r graphic representation by computer'. This standard, BS 1192 Part 5, is currently a draft on which public comments have been received but which will not be final until 1989. Its objectives are to complement developing international data exchange standards by guiding those designing buildings with CAD to organize data so that its structure can be transferred. It has three main elements: 1. Translation of system terminology into standard terms. 2. A simple representation of data structures. 3 . Guidance on allocating building data to layers. In the first study six of the systems most widely used in the UK were represented in IDEF IX data modeling format to show their similarities and differences, and the standard includes a simplified data structure which can be related to each of these. Typical variations are identified and system terminology is related to standard terms proposed. The second study looked at current practice in allocating layers or categories, both by FEDCAD in user groups and by CICA in individual members using CAD. A number of criteria for classifying layers were found and these included, in order of frequency: 1. Job specific elements. 2. Elements of drawings, eg. grids, text. 3 . Elements of buildings, eg. phases, floors, services. 4 . Standard element systems, eg. CI/SfB. 5. Types of drawing eg. plans, elevations, perspectives. The recommendations of the standard are that a common system should be used allowing flexibility in the numbers of layers. CI/SfB Table 1 and the Common Arrangement are seen as suitable systems appropriate to different stages of the design process.

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Series: w78:1988 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.represent (0.032593) class.synthesis (0.032456) class.bestPractise (0.017060)
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Permission to reproduce these documents has been graciously provided by the Lund University and the Swedish Building Centre. The assistance of the editors, Prof. Per Christiansson and Prof. Henry Karlsson, is gratefully appreciated.


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.


Lopes J L R

An investigation into the main information dimensions of corporate real estate management

Abstract: The fragmentation of the construction and real estate sectors, and the information intensive character of their activities, makes it very difficult to select, store and transfer relevant information among its members. The volume and diversity of data in these sectors have been a hindrance for developing effective, integrated and standardised information systems for construction, building and real estate management. To overcome these problems at the level of strategic management of corporate real estate, a research was set to elicit the main information dimensions, or the main concerns, within the area. This research used as paradigms models that succeeded on defining and using the main dimensions of a particular subject matter, facilitating communications, decision-support and learning processes. Examples of these paradigms are the main factors of production in the theory of capital in economics, the balanced scorecard and the critical success factors in organisational management, the three dimensions in project management and Pena's (1987) main concerns for programming in architecture. The research consisted of a content analysis of seventy corporate real estate management (CREM) models used in industry and academia eliciting the main features (concepts, tools, techniques, methods) quoted on these models. Using classification techniques and supported by a literature review and expert interviews, these features were classified according to their nature, similarities and origin. The main dimensions resulting from this classification system provided the main information dimensions in CREM. These dimensions are financial, physical and human, each one divided in three classes, respectively. The financial dimension is divided in the classes rentability, business information and intelligence. The physical dimension is divided in the classes data, management and diagnosis. Finally, the human dimension is divided in the classes organisation, occupancy and customer. Examples of uses of the CREM framework are given.

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Full text: content.pdf (72,776 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:1999 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.software development (0.021566) class.education (0.018527) class.strategies (0.016666)
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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.


Luiten G, Froese T, Bjork B-C, Cooper G, Junge R, Karstila K, Oxman R

An information reference model for architecture, engineering, and construction

Abstract: This paper describes the results of the information modelling work group from the International Workshop on Models For Computer-Integrated Construction in Finland, October 1992. At this workshop, researchers from around the world presented their individual modelling efforts. These models ' parallel goals and abundant similarities led the participants to combine their individual results into a single cohesive reference point to act as a basis for future work. The result is IRMA, an Information Reference Model for Architecture, Engineering and Construction. IRMA can serve as the core of a conceptual project model, which can be used as a framework for data standards, as a kernel for modelling and as a basis for implementing computer applications. It defines generally applicable relationships between products, activities, resources, and participants in a building project.

Keywords: computer integrated construction; project modelling; project model; data standards; object-oriented modelling languages

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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.


Mahmoud O. Abou-Beih, Tamer E. El-Diraby, Baher A. Abdulhai

Coordinating Urban Incident Management & Reconstruction Using Social Web

Abstract: The enormous widespread and relative maturity of collaborative and social applications in Web 2.0 has encouraged metropolitans worldwide to incorporate them into their emergency management systems. This paper describes SWIMS (Semantic Web Based Incident Management System), a middleware system that integrates Web 2.0 collaborative/social applications with software agent technologies on GIS-based platform in an aim to enhance emergency management practices in urban transportation networks. The paper then compares the IT needs of this domain (incident management domain) with those of construction IT. A set of lessons and similarities are explored to guide the development of a collaborative, process-oriented system for urban incident management. Three of the main goals behind developing SWIMS are: (i) efficient information dissemination to increase public awareness of current emergency conditions in order to influence their commuting decisions, (ii) increase public participation in emergencies reporting and description to enhance the efficiency of emergency response processes, (iii) and provide a GIS-based middleware for optimized response resources allocation and management.When it comes to emergency reporting, finding equilibrium between public participation and information credibility is crucial for the system success. In this context, the authors propose a model to validate the integrity of received information; helping to provide a good balance between public participation and information reliability. In addition the paper illustrates the role of software agents in handling the enormous continuous flow of data resulting from massive anticipated public participation and due to the nature of emergency management process in general. Agents communicate using asynchronous message passing, acting as an interface between various Web 2.0 collaboration systems and SWIMS. This also helps to overcome any syntax and/or schematic heterogeneity between SWIMS and collaborative applications data structures. The roles of software agents in response resources allocation and management as well as coordination of relief efforts and decision updates are also discussed. The experiences in developing and implementing this project are thoroughly discussed and analyzed in this paper.

Keywords: multi-agent system, GIS, incident management, social web

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Series: w78:2010 (browse)
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Pe?a-Mora F, Craig M

AVSAR: a collaboration system for disaster search and rescue operations using autonomous vehicles

Abstract: The disaster relief community is increasingly focused on issues of critical physical infrastructure in search and rescue operations. As the disaster relief and civil engineering community attempts to expand its abilities in this arena, it is being confronted with constraints related to manpower, risks to human personnel, and system stability. The community can address these barriers by integrating autonomous vehicles and intelligent software agents into its traditionally human elements. The military has been actively pursuing this goal in order to minimize human casualties and expand its functionality, and a technology transfer to the disaster arena would be greatly beneficial. The transition from the military to the disaster relief community is a logical step because of the great number of similarities between the two areas. Both are concerned with operations carried out in hostile, chaotic environments, where many participants from different areas of expertise collaborate to reach an objective, and both are constrained by the quality of intercommunication and the effectiveness of their equipment. Experience gained by the military in the field of autonomous vehicles has shown that while the ratio of autonomous vehicles to humans remains low, there is little trouble in directly controlling these vehicles as personnel can be dedicated to this task alone. However, as the number of autonomous vehicles increases to include personal human assistants and entire teams of vehicles, the task of control and collaboration becomes increasingly difficult. To date, most autonomous vehicle control work has been done with a one-to-one structure where one human controls one vehicle. While this works well when the vehicles are relatively simple and the number of vehicles is small, it does not translate well into the ideal situation of large populations of complex autonomous vehicles. Under these circumstances, intelligent software agents, residing both on the autonomous vehicles and on the communication devices, are needed to handle the task of distributed decision-making. This autonomous decision making ability is particularly critical for the cases where the autonomous vehicles fall out of contact with their human commanders or remote experts such as geotechnical, structural, and earthquake engineers. This paper examines past work done for and by the military in the area of autonomous vehicle systems and examines its application to the field of disaster relief involving critical physical infrastructures. It then presents a system that meets the needs of a combined human - intelligent software agent - autonomous vehicle SR (Search and Rescue) team, operating on critical physical infrastructure in an unstable and hostile environment. The collaboration infrastructure includes an information policy layer and a client application layer that address the need for inter-user communication and flexible command structures, which can be dynamically arranged to meet the situational need.

Keywords: collaborative environments, disaster relief, search and rescue, autonomous vehicles, intelligent software agents, self-organization, control structures, information policy

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Series: itaec:2004 (browse)
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Robert Klinc

Comparison of distance learning courses: A/E/C computer integrated global teamwork course and ITC euromaster

Abstract: Even though advances in information and communication technologies (ICT) significantly changed the way professionals in building and construction (BC) industry work, the dominant training method is still the traditional classroom lecture with all its drawbacks. In response to the demands from the AEC sector to improve and broaden the competence of engineering students in using new technologies while solving specific problems, in 1993 University of Stanford (USA) started an ICT supported distance learning course named Architecture/Engineering/Construction Computer Integrated Global Teamwork Course (AEC Global Teamwork). The mission of the program is to educate the next generation of professionals to be able to work in multi discipline collaborative environments and to take advantage of information technologies to produce high quality products in faster and more economic way. Positive feedback of the AEC Global Teamwork encouraged other institutions to introduce their own BC oriented dis-tance learning courses, one of them being ITC Euromaster. In autumn 2001, nine European universities started the pro-ject in order to develop an inter university postgraduate programme in information technology in construction (ITC). This paper describes similarities and differences of both approaches, presents results of the survey carried out among participants of both courses, and compares both of them from the students’ point of view.

Keywords: engineering education, distance learning, PBL, ITC Euromaster

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Series: w78:2007 (browse)
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