Digital library of construction informatics
and information technology in civil engineering and construction


Paper w78-2008-4-05:

Facilitated by the SciX project

Manfred Breit, Manfred Vogel, Fritz Ha_ubi, Fabian Ma_rki, Marco Soldati, La_szlo_ Istva_n Etesi, Nicky Hochmuth, Andreas Walther


Abstract:In this paper we report about a three-tier applied R&D approach for the Enhancement of Virtual Design and Construction methods at the Institute of 4D Technologies UAS, North¬¬western Switzerland (i4Ds). In collaboration with the CAD vendor and developer cadwork informatik AG our research focuses on technology, its intro¬duction into the market the effects and difficulties of the tool use and the induced process changes. We will describe the methodlogy, the expected outcomes of the enhancements, the research approach, initial findings and the further proceedings.In the first tier cadworks introduces an intuitive integrated 4D modeler called (LexoCad or Baubit CAD) for contractors which is commercially available since one year. Analogue to playing with building blocks users create 3D building models and 4D phasing models for the construction of the building directly from 2D pdf drawings. The expected outcome are that the virtual building blocks serve as a test-bed for constructability analyzes, enhanced planning reliability, better coordination and communication, optimized procurement and wide-spread use in practice. The next two tiers of VDC enhancements are currently developed at i4Ds. For the second tier we introduce a semantic, flexible, database-backed, object-oriented data structure for hierarchically structured Product, Organization and Process models (POP models) with an enhanced intuitive 3D/4D graphical user interface for the rapid generation of design alternatives. Users can easily propagate information to related property sets of construction elements and assemblies. Behavior methods (scripts) can be assigned for a variety of tasks e.g. BOM creation, construction method modeling, creation of cost performance predictions etc. This approach technology-wise moves the model management from the modeler or viewer components to the data base domain. The flexible hierarchies not only allow users to manually restructure and rearrange the model to their needs but enable automatic AI optimizers to even alter the construction method e.g. timber element, precast concrete or masonry walls etc. The expected outcomes are a pro-active 4D planning, rapid generation, comparison and evaluation of POP- design- alternatives, derivation von case from existing designs, easy and effective integration of client information into POP models, creating performance predictions (quality, time, cost, risk, etc.) from this models, easy creation of 4D sub-models for knowledge transfer for inter-disciplinary cooperation.In the third tier we introduce a novel process design concept which we named Process Design Patterns (PDPs). They are based on Christopher Alexander's (1977) concept of design pattern as a formal way of documenting successful solutions to problems and as templates describing how to solve problems of a particular domain. In a study, we called Process Archeology, we chose a recently finished four storey residential concrete building and reconstructed and re-modeled the over-all building processes with an inter-disciplinary team. Therefore we created the necessary 3D-, 4D- and process- and organization- models with commercial available modeling tools. We were able to derive one generic and seven specific PDPs for the whole erection of the building. We describe a strategy to apply PDPs directly on 3D building information models (BIM) to automate and optimize the planning process.

Keywords:Virtual Design and Construction, 4D Modeling, Product, Process and Organization Modeling and Simulation, Process Design Patterns

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