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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


A. Dikbas, P. Ercoskun & K. Ercoskun

Enabling Sustainability through SOA within the AEC/FM Domain

Abstract: Sustainability is one of the most important research topics for the Architecture/Engineering/Construction & Facility Management (AEC/FM) domain. Two basic factors which enable sustainability are the technology background and the acquisition capability of this technology to the end users – society. Sustainability requires state of the art technologies which reduce the negative impact of population and affiliation. Key aspects of such technology are; it should depend on renewable resources, without waste, cyclical, based on resource productivity rather than labor productivity, and should even be restorative in its effects on the biosphere. Theproblem is, today establishing such technology is not affordable for the average end user. Development, implication, and acquisition of such technologies takes reasonable time though signs from our earth warns usthat we have no more time. The problem itself contains a lot of interoperability challenges in Information Technology (IT), Process and Organizational levels. Although many governments deploy incentives to promote investments on sustainable technologies, money is not the only measure for the market penetration of a technology. A user oriented approach is developed and a proposal is made to elaborate on the problem as a whole within a reference process model. The model determines the key functions, mechanisms and controls, to enable the design and development of sustainable technologies and facilitate the acquisition of those technologies to the society. The process model basically focuses on the Facility Management processes and addresses many aspects of the problem including financial, legal, and ethical issues. The model benefits from Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions for construction sector from a previous research and promotes a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) for tracking the lifetime of sustainable technologies. The model includes decision support functions for the design phase, marketing and competency functions for the implication and acquisition phase, and measurement and evaluation functions for the use phase. The preliminary solution includes business processes rather then IT solutions but interoperability solutions on the IT layer also have been discussed for sustainable development. The model is under development within the joint efforts of a EU funded FP6 project I3CON (Industrialised, Integrated, Intelligent Construction) and a PhD research. It is believed that the model would facilitate the widespread recognition of the requirement of a radical switch to the sustainable technologies.

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Full text: content.pdf (365,990 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2009 (browse)
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Akbas R, Fischer M, Kunz J, Schwegler B

Use of domain knowledge, product models and geometric algorithms for generation of construction zones

Abstract: We present a layered approach for automated generation of construction zones from 3D CAD models for construction planning and scheduling. The existence of 3D models and product models provides an opportunity for planners and schedulers to consider zoning alternatives and represent and visualize production information in detail. Construction zones are spaces, or groups of spaces, which serve as units of work in the construction planning process. Failure to define construction zones properly may increase overall project duration and impact workflow adversely. Today, zone definitions are generally ad-hoc. Formal definitions and mechanisms to generate construction zone information are not available in commercially available software.We have defined a three-layer computational framework in a prototype construction management software tool to generate detailed information about construction zones. The framework separates the construction-based information from the product model representation and geometric information. Each layer is extensible and testable without the other layers. The highest layer (Layer3) contains domain knowledge about zones, i.e., types of zones and factors or constraints affecting construction zone definition. For example, a shape factor takes into account the changes in production rates due to local variations of geometry. The shape factor also allows the representation of an idle crew because of a nearby activity, missing support or unavailability of materials. Layer 2 manages the changes in the product and process models that are necessary to generate zones. Additionally, it uses zoning knowledge to maintain consistent schedules at multiple levels of detail. Layer 1 is the geometric level that contains the geometric algorithms to create the subdivisions and aggregations using the geometric shape representation of the building components. Instead of considering a fixed geometric representation for a component, we provide a flexible triangular mesh shape representation, breaking-up or aggregating component geometry as necessary. With the results of this research, professionals will be able to simulate and visualize construction processes more accurately and link design and construction data more tightly to explore design-build scenarios rapidly and communicate them effectively.

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Full text: content.pdf (1,076,021 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2001 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.impact (0.028985) class.environment (0.026386) class.represent (0.022098)
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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.


Alain Zarli, Eric Pascual, Daniel Cheung

Information and Communication Technology for Intelligent and Integrated Controls in Buildings: Current Developments and Future Research

Abstract: A common and acknowledged vision today is the one that, in the future, buildings, along with their components, equipments, and their environment will communicate and be able to provide information on their status ubiquitously. This real-time available information will be interoperable via common protocols for holistic automation & control. The whole building will be supervised by intelligent systems, able to combine information from all connected devices, from the Internet or from energy service providers in order to efficiently control HVAC (heating & cooling), lighting, and hot water systems along with energy production, storage and consumption devices inside the building, taking into account the users' needs and wishes. In such a context, ICT is recognised as key for empowering people in the (built) universe in which they live, with smart e-metering and new smart e-devices – as well as becoming fully pervasive in the future optimization of energy in the built environment - where “Energy-efficient smart buildings” are to be buildings which contain systems that manage information for an optimal operation of building energy flows over the whole building lifecycle.In such a context, CSTB has developed an open framework for data collection and processing, to be installed in any built environment. It supports networked heterogeneous sensors and actuators (with appropriate communication protocols technology), allows assembling various “business” functions (with easy evolution and extension capability thanks to a concept of service composition and event-driven management between modules), can accommodate any hardware platform constraint (memory, computing power), and can be executed in any environments supporting a Java SE implementation. The framework is itself based on an OSGi platform. The notion of “sensor” is to be considered in a comprehensive way: physical sensor (analogic or logic), complex sub-system or meta-sensor (e.g. Agilent data acquisition system or alike), or even external services (e.g. getting weather data via the Internet). Fields of applications are energy-efficiency in the built environment, but also Ambient-Assisted Living (AAL), internal air quality assessment, collection of data related to inhabitants behaviours, etc..The REEB coordination action (European strategic research roadmap to ICT enabled Energy-Efficiency in Buildings and construction), as a European R&D technology roadmap initiative (achieved in the context of an EC-funded Coordinated Action - http://www.ict-reeb.eu) has identified ICT contributions to the energy efficiency of buildings mainly via improvement (and corresponding RTD) in integrated design (and indeed ICT tools for Energy-Efficient design and production management), integrated and intelligent control, user awareness and decision support to various stakeholders throughout the whole life of buildings, energy management and trading, and integration technologies. As far as the integrated / intelligent control field is concerned, REEB has fundamentally identified the following areas for future investigation:• automation & control: system concepts, intelligent HVAC, smart lighting, ICT for micro-generation & storage systems, predictive control;• monitoring: instrumentation: smart metering;• quality of service: improved diagnostics, secure communications;• wireless sensor networks: hardware, operating systems, network design.The paper will first introduce to expectations, requirements and potential future scenarios for ICT to support integrated and optimised control in future so-called smart buildings. It will then introduce to the current trend of developments at CSTB in this area, and will present the CSTBox as a tool federating and/or complementing functions (potentially relying on already installed systems) in the built environment. After a short presentation of the REEB project, the paper will follow up with exhibiting the outcome of the REEB project in terms of roadmapping RTD activities in this technological field, also providing with a first insight of their potential impact in the future.Acknowledgement: the authors wish to thank the European Commission (DG INFSO) for its financial support to the REEB co-ordinated action. Moreover, the authors are also grateful to the REEB Consortium partners, namely ARUP, ACCIONA, CEA, LABEIN, TUD, UCC & VTT.

Keywords: Energy-efficient buildings, Intelligent and Integrated Control, REEB project, CSTBox framework, Data collection and storage

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Series: w78:2010 (browse)
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Alvise Simondetti

Designer’s toolkit 2020: a vision for the practice

Abstract: Designer’s toolkit is rapidly changing and design practices need a shared vision of what the short, me-dium and long term might be. With this in mind we interviewed twenty-four thought leaders in the design community worldwide. Four big ideas emerged from the interviews: transferring technologies from other industries has provided great bene-fits, but it has also generated the need to transfer processes; changes in the way we build drives changes in the de-signer’s desktop, including the representations that designers use to communicate; greater gains are achieved by focus-sing on the interplay of specialised algorithms; “just on time” design data improves design. Four possible contexts for the designer’s toolkit are described: the proprietor aimed at increasing productivity, the open-source aimed at increasing IT driven creativity, either more or less engaged with fabrication. Finally, the paper concludes by proposing what designers ought to be doing today. Actions include educating specialist toolmakers, custodian and math modellers; integrating computer controlled machine workshops into designers’ project spaces; the automation of repetitive design tasks; supporting communities around software tools and store project data according to geospatial co-ordinates.

Keywords: Design community, technology transfer, process transfer, designer's desktop, representation, communication

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Series: w78:2007 (browse)
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Amirante I

Information technology teaching at the University: an experience at the Faculty of Architecture in Naples

Abstract: The experiences illustrated here refer to didactic activity carried out at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Naples; in particular these concentrate on the technological aspects of the teaching of architecture. We can consider the evolution of the architect from individual operator to manager of the multi-disciplinary aspects of the building process (building process manager) as a reality in today's Italy. The Support Systems of Information Technology (ITSS), can be of great importance €or this professional figure, and for this reason it is important to include him/her in the teaching process. I personally have involved fourth and fifth year and last-year undergraduate students in the following subjects at the experimental stage: degradation diagnosis supported by m Expert System in courses of the Technology of Building Rehabilitation; co-ordinated System of tests in degradation of existing buildings; the use of three-dimensional programmes to survey and visualize rhe territory; rapid analysis of degradation in the maintenance of urban facades. * In these and other similar works I'TSS has played a significant part for a global synthesis in students' methodological approaches, being an inttoduc tion to new Information Technology potentialities.

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Full text: content.pdf (1,158,179 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:1993 (browse)
Cluster: papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class: class.education (0.036539) class.analysis (0.018067) class.synthesis (0.015849)
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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.


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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Andrej Tibaut, Danijel Rebolj

TOWARDS METHODOLOGY FOR HARMONIZATION OF SEMANTICALLY DIFFERENT BIM's

Abstract: Research focus of the paper are heterogeneous information systems. Heterogeneity within a set of software applications can be attributed to the fact that their collaboration is hindered due to the conflicts in software architecture, communication protocols and/or data representation. General interconnectivity and emerging interoperability have caused the fall of mainframe-based systems, which in turn led to variety of information systems with local data representations, communication protocols and software architectures. Today these information systems need to collaborate in different engineering projects. Existing approaches, such as common framework, integration with standard scheme and data mediation, try to diminish the undesired effects within heterogeneous systems. The approaches are indeed successful because they eliminate all conflicts at design time. This way collaborating applications have to abandon their local data views. In this paper heterogeneity is regarded as a property of an information system while disharmony of an information system is defined as a state of the system. Further, structural, semantical and functional disharmony is defined as part of overall information systems’s disharmony. As a consequence a new methodology called DRAGOn (Disharmony Resolving with Agents and Ontology) is proposed. The methodology aims to dynamically resolve structural and semantical disharmony by preserving applications’ local data views. Another novelty is the definition of conceptualization for structural and semantical disharmony (Disharmony ontology) and the use of software agents. Disharmony ontology is specified in OWL. The agents use the ontology for resolving of structural and semantical conflicts between applications at runtime. Agents communicate via shared communication space based on Java technology. The mediation is incremental, which means that agents are able to build their local ontologies. The ontologies are used as persistent meta-data repositories of concepts (structure and semantics) that are captured from applications during runtime.Extensive applicability of the DRAGOn methodology is expected in information system clusters with rich and complex data content, namely management of construction projects.

Keywords: Interoperability, building information model, quality of semantic and structure, semantic and structural difference, mediation, ontology

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Series: w78:2008 (browse)
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Anita Moum, Tore Haugen, Christian Koch

What did you learn from practice today?

Abstract: The AEC-industry has been slow in turning the potential of ICT into increased efficiency and productivity. This is a phenomenon which can be observed in many countries, and in Denmark this issue has been recognized as a major problem for the further development of the AEC-industry. The public-private and nationally funded R&D pro-gram ‘Digital Construction’ was initiated in 2003 in order to establish a common platform for interchanging digital information and to stimulate digital integration in the Danish AEC-industry. This paper explores the relationship be-tween visions, strategies and tools formulated in the ‘Digital Construction’ program, and the first experiences of im-plementing the 3D work method part of this R&D program in an ongoing building project. The discussions in the paper are placed in the complex field between choosing strategies for integrating ICT on the national level, and the effects of these strategies on real life building projects. The knowledge gained from the experiences in Denmark could be a valu-able contribution to further discussions regarding strategies for integrating ICT in the architectural and engineering practice.

Keywords: building design process, integration of ICT, digital construction, effects on practice, R&D efforts

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Full text: content.pdf (508,979 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series: w78:2007 (browse)
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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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