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Paper convr-2013-52:
Integrated virtual reality and discrete event simulation methods for production system research in construction

Facilitated by the SciX project

Gurevich U,Sacks R

Integrated virtual reality and discrete event simulation methods for production system research in construction

Abstract: Researching the behavior of production systems in construction is challenging because outcomes depend not only on production system design and on control strategies, but also on the decision-making behavior of works managers, crew leaders and suppliers. People make decisions within their context, and with limited and often uncertain information. This is especially true in the case of construction projects, where production is dependent on close coordination between multiple independent subcontractors. Theoretical models of the systems are limited if they ignore the human element, or if they assume rationality in decision-making. Thus experimental setups designed to test proposed production control systems or strategies should incorporate live experiments with human subjects. Virtual reality (VR) environments linked with discrete-event simulations (DES) provide an excellent platform for this kind of experimental setup. They enable, for example, experiments to compare performance with and without proposed information systems or other tools. We review the state-of-the-art in research of production control systems in construction management, with emphasis on VR and DES. We describe the experience gained in using a hybrid 'Virtual Construction Site' (VCS) system in which construction crew leaders were immersed in a virtual reality (VR) CAVE where they worked in a DES controlled site. The VCS proved its efficacy by allowing the researchers to observe, record and analyze the decision-making behavior of human subjects in a controlled environment, with high accuracy and in relatively very short times.

Keywords: Computer aided simulation,Construction management,Discrete-event simulation,Experimentation,Production system design,Virtual Reality


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