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Integrated analysis and visualization for advanced construction planning and controls

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3D platform to optimise construction project planning and controls

Relatively new technology such as building information models (BIMs) has the potential to significantly improve construction management. An EU initiative sought to realise its benefits for construction planning and controls through an integrated 3D environment.

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BIMs promise major construction productivity gains, supporting design/construction integration and improvements in virtually all functions. However, there is still a lack of effective process analysis tools for the construction stage using BIMs. Model-based, detailed and realistic analysis of construction projects is needed to better evaluate alternatives and make key decisions. The EU-funded BUILD-CYCLE (Integrated analysis and visualization for advanced construction planning and controls) project worked to improve construction process analysis by introducing a general purpose, resource-integrated simulation platform on 3D BIMs. The research team developed an agent-based simulation model for construction resources where each individual crew and major equipment have specific goals and policies. Realistic construction practices can be achieved by providing simple and natural policies for resources. The BUILD-CYCLE team abstracted complex work sequences of multiple activities to complete building element locations on BIMs by using geometric techniques. They then analysed this construction model on BIMs with a hybrid simulation approach. With this method, the discrete-event simulation model for activity sequences is combined with the agent-based simulation model for resources. Prototype software was created to implement the modelling and simulation approach. In this 3D platform, planners can import data from BIMs and project schedule data from common software packages, and interactively define resources and their behaviour. Users can generate method, sequence and resource alternatives, and evaluate performance, duration and cost results as a combination of summary values, graphs and 3D visualisation. In addition, the platform supports extensions to define new equipment and crews, update resource behaviour and support new construction scenarios. Researchers successfully demonstrated that employing the modelling and simulation approach can benefit the application areas of pre-construction alternative analysis and resource- and BIM-integrated, short-term construction planning. The BUILD-CYCLE platform and approaches will lead to more efficient use of construction project resources. This will improve timing, costs, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions during the construction phase.


Building information models, construction planning, process analysis, BUILD-CYCLE

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