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Paper w78-1997-285:
A methodology for dynamically assembling andmodifying an active-repository building database

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Mokhtar A, Bédard C, Fazio P

A methodology for dynamically assembling andmodifying an active-repository building database

Abstract: An information model has been developed at the Centre for Building Studies, ConcordiaUniversity to facilitate the management of design changes through inter-disciplinarycoordination. The main component in the information model is a central project databasethat can be characterized as an active repository of building components data. The data inthis active repository communicate design changes among affected disciplines and helpensure compatibility of design information. Because buildings are generally unique, a fixeddata structure for building components in such an active repository is impractical. Thispaper proposes a methodology that enables managers of multi-disciplinary design teams todynamically and transparently assemble and modify the data structure for the activerepository of building components in such a way as to suit a variety of specific buildingdesign configurations. The methodology relies on combining some of the capabilities ofthe object-oriented technology with the flexibility of the relational database technology. Toenable the implementation of such a combination, the project database is divided intobuilding components data part and a management data part. The management data allowsthe model to take advantage of SQL capabilities in controlling the data structure ofbuilding components. Design managers are also given the option to assemble the datastructure from reusable elements that contain both the building components attributes andthe rules that are necessary for managing design changes. These reusable elements aregathered into three levels of increasing complexity: components, systems, andconfigurations. Such organization greatly facilitates the structuring of the project databaseand increases the reusability of elements. The paper details the methodology anddemonstrates its use with a simple example.

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