PhD Research Abstract

PhD Research Abstract

Workspace Planning and Criticality Assessment of Construction Activities’ Execution Space Using 4D CAD/VR Visualisation

Abstract: The aim of this research is to identify and reduce workspace congestion between construction activities’ execution space by developing a proper methodology and software tool to assist planners in assigning activities’ execution space, identifying, visualising, and reducing the construction workspace congestion.

A number of objectives were achieved to meet the aim of this research. A literature review of workspace planning techniques and an on-site productivity analysis observation were established using activity-sampling method. It was concluded that the use of traditional workspace planning techniques might not be able to detect and resolve workspace congestions. It was found that productivity of workers was reduced by %30 when sharing congested workspaces at the workface and caused an inevitable roadblock to the progress of construction activities.

Based on literature review and an industrial case study, a critical space-time analysis (CSA) approach was developed to model and quantify the workspace congestions. A technique to realistically rehearse the construction schedules in a dynamic 4D simulation environment was developed. The technique is based on three workspace planning concepts, these are: the twelve execution patterns, the three different work rate distributions, and a time-based simulation of the progressing quantities of work. A multi-criteria function embedding the spatial and schedule related criteria was formulated to measure the severity of a workspace congestion.

The CSA and simulation technique were encapsulated in an innovative visual 4D CAD tool dubbed PECASO and evaluated in this work. In order to experiment with different construction execution scenarios and minimise workspace conflicts by identifying near optimal solutions, the Genetic Algorithms (GA) optimisation technique was used. The developed CSA approach and the 4D dynamic simulation technique were evaluated using a case study project and demonstrated to expert project planners. The system proves to be a promising tool for workspace planning, construction progress visualisation, identifies the potential workspace conflicts between progressing activities, and introduces a new way of communicating the schedules to the workface. It also contributes to knowledge in 4D workspace planning techniques and future research.

Research Partners

My PhD research was part of the VIRtual CONstruction Site (VIRCON), collaborative project between University College London (UCL), the University of Teeside, the University of Wolverhampton and eleven construction companies, funded by EPSRC award number GR/N000876.

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