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Humankind has been interested in building construction for thousands of years. Construction projects, however, are typically too large for any one individual to accomplish alone, so from the very beginning humans have developed approaches to collaborating on such endeavours. These large-scale accomplishments necessarily require collaboration on the part of the participants. Since building projects are often large and complex, to plan, design, construct, and maintain them may require many specialized persons. The need for efficiency and the profitability of owners, designers, and contractors are being challenged as today's buildings and business processes become increasingly complex. The cooperation of many individuals with a great variety of skills and interests is required to make construction possible.
The goals for a construction project will generally reflect the needs and wishes of the owner, since most building projects are initiated by an individual, a group of persons (company or organization), or a community. It is the task of the project team, the group of individuals working on the project, to understand and interpret these goals for the owner. The primary goal of all construction project team members needs to be project related and to help the owner achieve her or his goals and business plan, i.e., to improve education, health care, factory productivity, etc. The secondary goals such as improving project quality, increasing construction efficiency (in time or cost of the construction), improving project safety, or reducing construction risks become team goals that can add value to the project for the owner. The individual and collective goals of project team members need to harmonize, and not conflict with the overall owner's goals; this will require collaboration on the part of all team members and enable the ultimate success of the team.
The use of building information modelling (BIM) as a tool may help in achieving the team's project goals; the BIM itself, however, should not be the final goal-it really is a tool. An interesting characteristic of the BIM process is that it tends to make the management process more transparent; i.e., the three-dimensional (3D) model quickly shows what has and has not been achieved in any given area. The weaknesses of the project thus become more easily detectable in the BIM since most of the process revolves on visualization with the 3D model. This is clearly a large benefit of the process, but it can also become an obstacle for the team members who are not used to working in such a transparent environment. The successful use of the BIM process will require a different psychological approach than most of the building design and construction industry is accustomed to.
'It is in overcoming the difficulties of the BIM approach that its greatest benefits are to be gained'.
Figure : The inter-relationship of 4 concepts that form the basis for human actions and interaction
Figure 1 illustrates the basic concepts of human action and interaction that directly relate to the subject of this book-visualization, understanding, communication, and collaboration. It is clear that all four of these concepts are interactively connected and both generate and reinforce one another. Each of the four concepts reinforces the other three. The efforts required to implement the Building Information Modelling approach successfully will develop directly into its greatest benefits-those of improving the four basic concepts of human interaction shown in Fig. 1.This industry will not merely change because of software and technology alone; the necessity for change is far more fundamental. All the contributors to the planning, design, and construction of a project have to collaborate and work together to be able to produce the desired improvements.
An important assumption in this study is that although technology and software tools will continue to change, in the application of building information modelling, the concepts and underlying processes will likely change very little, if at all; and this study primarily addresses these unchanging aspects of BIM.
Chapter 1: The Setting for BIM
Background of AEC Industry
The three errands linked to Construction projects-planning, design, and construction-are habitually considered together, since they all transpire in a moderately short span just ahead of the occupancy of a facility. During the middle ages in Western Europe, all three of these tasks were managed by the master builder-a single person who planned, managed, and executed the project for an owner. This placement developed into the Architect's role in later ages. The plans for most projects were communicated from the master builder's mind to the owners and builders by means of scale models as well as direct personal instructions. At that time the entire project team worked on the construction site, and "construction documents," as we know them today, did not exist yet. The master builder would instruct the workers verbally and by demonstration, manage all administrative needs, and guide all aspects of the construction process. Many prototype details were developed as full-scale mock-ups at the construction site. The model with which the master builder had communicated the design intent to the owner became the basis for the contract for construction and also could be used to develop and refine the details of the construction process. It limited the speed, size, and scope of projects to just what the master builder could handle personally; and this also meant that when a master builder needed to be replaced, the project could easily enter a crisis period. The advantage of this method, however, was that there was one person to solve problems and address the issues right there on the job, one person who had all the information.
As projects became larger and more complex, the master builder required more time to figure things out "in the office." Drawings (2-D representations) began to be used as a means to communicate design intent and detailed construction information to the work force. Following the Renaissance period (around the year 1400CE), more and more construction projects were planned and drawn in an office that was generally removed from the construction site. These drawings became the primary means to communicate the building information to the persons constructing the project in the field. The most significant change was the removal of the master builder from the construction site, and the resulting need for an on-site "superintendent" to run the job from day to day. This split of the master builder's role into two new roles increased the necessity for reliable communication. This change in project management has had a very large impact on the evolution of the construction industry. The person who conceived and developed the plans for the construction project now had to communicate his or her understanding to another individual (the building contractor) whose task it was to ensure that these plans correctly materialized into a project. The traditional single owner-master builder relationship became a more complex threefold relationship among the owner, the architect, and the building contractor. The evolution of this process resulted in construction documents, as we know them today. This method of communication led to unanswered questions and unanticipated situations in the field, since the person who had developed the project drawings did not work on-site, ready to address these issues. As the architect's role evolved more and more in the design direction, she or he became less "hands on" than during the master builder period. Various specialty fields also developed alongside architecture, i.e., structural, mechanical, and geotechnical engineering. The building contractor organized the entire workforce, acquired all materials, and performed the actual construction.
The increasing scope of construction projects led to the development of the various professional disciplines necessary to handle this complexity. Even though the single master builder soon lost relevance in building construction, the need for a single overall project coordinator became even more important. Traditionally the architect has played this role on the project team. In the last few decades, however, it has become more difficult for any one person to play this role well, and the construction industry is searching for a solution to this dilemma. The architect typically is concerned with the aesthetic and functional issues of the project; while the building contractor focuses on the project cost and construction processes such as schedule, quality, and safety; and the owner attempts to maintain a balance among all concerns. The essential nature of construction management has not changed all that much over the last few centuries, and this continuity has resulted in a gradual development of improvements to this process.
Today, there is a choice among various approaches to project delivery methods, in an effort to make construction more efficient. The nature of the problems may not have changed much over these last few hundred years, but the complexity of today's construction projects has exaggerated them to an intolerable degree. The expense and complexity of contemporary construction projects have brought the problems of the construction industry to the forefront of the owner's mind. The inefficiency of construction as an industry has caused numerous studies and analyses to be published with proposals to address methods to improve construction performance.
The building industry is facing a looming worldwide crisis, a spectacular convergence of gross inefficiency and inordinate consumption of energy and raw materials. While the spectre of global warming has become catalyst for renewed interest in conserving energy and raw materials throughout the life cycle of buildings, the environmental challenge only adds greater urgency to a far more elemental problem: the utter failure of building industry to keep pace with the technological advancements and productivity lower costs, increase profits, and help raise the standard of living by making goods and services affordable to greater numbers of people. By that measure, the worldwide building industry has accomplished very little in the way of technological advancement.
According to U.S. government statistics, non-farming manufacturing industries in the United States have doubled their productivity between 1964 and 2000, while the construction industry in 2000 has declined to about 80% of its efficiency in 1964.There are of course some very good justifications for this discrepancy but it nevertheless is of concern to the construction industry.
The efficiency of the construction industry (solid line) in relation to all other nonfarm U.S industries (dashed line). It is clear that the construction industry needs help.
Numerous standards have evolved with the development of construction drawings and specifications over the past few centuries. These two-dimensional (2D) drawings and written instructions, which allow a contractor to build what the owner, architect, and consultants have visualized, are the current "state of the industry." Nevertheless they can also be the source of great misunderstanding, and most persons involved in building construction will agree that the use of only drawings and specifications is an imperfect method of planning and building contemporary complex projects. Construction is almost always site-specific. These variables complicate the preparations for a project and can create substantial challenges for the project team. A certain amount of learning needs to take place among the project team to establish working processes by its team members. The repetitive nature of the information in a drawing set is another source of errors.
The organization of the drawings for large projects can be complex, and as a project develops, it is likely that some of the changes are not "picked up" in all places affected in the documents. That is, a window change may be edited in plan and elevation, but the detail wall section may have been overlooked, thus creating a conflict in the documents. Complex projects generally need to be documented by a large team of draftsmen and quantifiers who have the daunting task of visualizing and providing construction details for what the designers have in mind, and the builders have to realize. These characteristics of documentation are clearly a challenge to the communication skills of all the project team members. With the advent of computers, many builders and designers saw their drafting load lightened because repetitive tasks could be automated. The essential nature of documentation did not change, however; the same drawings and specification paragraphs describing the project are still used. This process still leaves much to chance because it is a challenge to visualize the coordination properly, without the ability to verify it prior to the actual construction. Most construction projects thus have a large quantity of Requests for Information (RFIs) about the documents and a substantial amount of rework before all building components are coordinated during the actual construction. It is difficult with a traditional construction documentation set to completely and accurately represent many of the complex structures built today.
In 2D drawings it is often the transitions between elements that are difficult to represent and easy to forget to design and document. An example is the transition between different cladding systems, particularly where special attention needs to be given to waterproofing. It is often easy to imagine a project is represented completely without knowing what has been neglected, until the builder is ready to assemble it. At that time that entire one can hope for is that it will not result in more than an RFI and hopefully be a resolvable issue.
History of BIM
In recent years, both the concept and nomenclature we now know as BIM-or building information modelling - have engaged professional and industry awareness. However, neither the concept nor nomenclature of BIM is new- not as 2007, not as 2002 nor even 1997. The concepts, approaches and methodologies that we now identify as BIM can be dated back to nearly thirty years, while terminology of the 'BUILDING INFORMATION MODEL' has been in circulation for at least fifteen years. The earliest documented example that could be found for the concept of what we know today as BIM is a working prototype "building description system" published in the now defunct AIA journal by Charles M. chuck Eastman, then at Carnegie-Mellon University, in 1975.
Chucks work included such now routine BIM notions as:
[Designing by] "â€¦.interactively defining elements â€¦deriv(ing) sections, plans, isometrics or perspectives from the same description of elements â€¦. Any changes o arrangement would have to be made only once for all future drawings to be updated. All drawings derived from the same arrangement of elements would automatically be consistentâ€¦any type of quantitative analysis could be coupled directly to the descriptionâ€¦cost estimating or material quantities could be easily generated â€¦. Providing a single integrated database for visual and quantitative analysesâ€¦automated building code checking in city hall or the architect's office. Contractors of large projects may find this representation for scheduling and materials ordering." (Eastman 1975)
Comparable research and development work was conducted throughout the late 1970 and early 1980's in Europe- especially in UK- in parallel with early efforts at commercialisation of this technology. During the early 1980's this method or approach was most commonly described in the USA as "Building Product Models" and in Europe -especially in Finland- as "Product Information Models". The next logical step in this nomenclature evolution was to verbally factor out, so to speak, the duplicated "product" term and call it "Building Information Model".
The first documented use of term "Building Modelling" in English-in the sense that "Building Information Modelling" is used today-appeared in the title of a 1986 paper that Robert Aish, then with GMW computers ltd makers of the legendary RUCAPS software system. It was set out in the paper, all the arguments for what we now know as BIM and the technology to implement it. Including 3D modelling, automatic drawing extraction: intelligent parametric components; relational databases; temporal phasing of construction processes; and so forth (Aish 1986). Aish illustrated these concepts with a case study applying the RUCAPS building modelling system to the phased refurbishment of terminal 3 at Heathrow airport, London.
From "building model" it was but a short leap to "building information model" from which the first documented use in English appeared in a paper by G.A. van Nederveen and F.Tolman in the December 1992 Automation in Construction.( Can Nederveen & Tolman 1992).
Current AEC scenario
Currently, the facility delivery process remains fragmented, and it depends on paper - based modes of communication. Errors and omissions in paper documents often cause unanticipated field costs, delays, and eventual lawsuits between the various parties in a project team. These problems cause friction, financial expense, and delays. Recent efforts to address such problems have included: alternative organizational structures such as the design - build method; the use of real - time technology, such as project Web sites for sharing plans and documents; and the implementation of 3D CAD tools. Though these methods have improved the timely exchange of information, they have done little to reduce the severity and frequency of conflicts caused by paper documents.
One of the most common problems associated with paper - based communication during the design phase is the considerable time and expense required to generate critical assessment information about a proposed design, including cost estimates, energy - use analysis, structural details, etc. These analyses are normally done last, when it is already too late to make important changes. Because these iterative improvements do not happen during the design phase, value engineering must then be undertaken to address inconsistencies, which often results in compromises to the original design.
Regardless of the contractual approach, certain statistics are common to nearly all large - scale projects ($ 10 M or more), including the number of people involved and the amount of information generated.
The following data was compiled by Maged Abdelsayed of Tardif, Murray & Associates, and a construction company located in Quebec, Canada (Hendrickson 2003):
Number of participants (companies): 420 (including all suppliers and sub - sub - contractors)
Number of participants (individuals): 850
Number of different types of documents generated: 50
Number of pages of documents: 56,000
Number of bankers boxes to hold project documents: 25
Number of 4 - drawer fi ling cabinets: 6
Number of 20 inch diameter, 20 year old, 50 feet high, trees used to generate this volume of paper: 6
Equivalent number of Mega Bytes of electronic data to hold this volume of paper (scanned): 3,000 MB
Equivalent number of compact discs (CDs): 6
It is not easy to manage an effort involving such a large number of people and documents, regardless of the contractual approach taken. Figure 1 - 1 illustrates the typical members of a project team and their various organizational boundaries.
There are two dominant contract methods in the U.S, Design-Bid-Build and Design-Build, and many variations of them (Sanvido and Konchar 1999; Warne and Beard 2005).
Construction Project Delivery Systems
A Delivery system is a contractual method used to realize a construction project. The contracts describe the relationships among all the project team members and their legal and financial responsibilities to the project and to one another.
The conventional design-bid-build project delivery method is based on an owner having the design prepared by a design team (an architect and consultants) so that several construction companies can bid on the construction of the project after the plans (construction documents) have been completed. The general contractor then builds the project under the watchful eye of the architect, who acts as the owner's professional representative. This process is linear in time, and the construction team is generally not able to be part of the planning process; the lack of early communication between the design and construction teams often leads to oversights and misunderstandings regarding the details of the project.
Due to the many inherent weaknesses in this process, numerous other contractual methods have evolved over the last century. These complicated the bid process and were cause for the evolution of some of the following negotiated approaches to building contracts.
â€¢ Design-build. The design-build contract emerged with either the architect or the builder leading the team. This process is an attempt to involve the design and construction teams in collaboration throughout all phases of the project. This creates new challenges from a contractual standpoint since the project cannot easily be put out to bid in this delivery method. Design-build projects are generally negotiated with a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) so that the entire project team works toward delivering the best product within this GMP.
â€¢ Design-assist. A design assist approach to construction is a variation on the design build method. The owner hires a general contractor and specialty subs (subcontractors) who in turn consult with a design team during the planning phases of the project, to provide expertise that will prove practical in the development of the design and the assembly of the construction documents of the project.
The Term Guaranteed Maximum Price that is generally attached to these last two methods has interesting implications; it generates a continuous negotiation throughout the design and construction process between the parties to such an agreement. There is a constant assessment of the risk for the project, and discussion as to who will take responsibility for it. In the end, however, it is the owner who usually is forced to assume the bulk of the risk, by having to accept the financial burden of the cost of that risk to the participants. Therefore these methods work best in an environment where there is a pre-established trust and familiarity among the team members. When the team members can feel confident that they are not assuming certain risks when working with familiar partners, these cost risks may be eliminated from the project.
What Kind of Building Procurement Is Best When BIM Is Used
There are many variations of the design - to - construction business process, including the organization of the project team, how the team members are paid, and who absorbs various risks. There are lump sum contracts, cost plus a fixed or percentage fee, various forms of negotiated contracts, etc. It is beyond the scope of this book to outline each of these and the benefits and problems associated with each of them (see Sanvido and Konchar 1999 and Warne and Beard 2005). With regard to the use of BIM, the general issues that either enhance or diminish the positive changes that this technology offers depends on how well and at what stage the project team works collaboratively on the digital model. The earlier the model can be developed and shared, the more useful it will be. The DB approach provides an excellent opportunity to exploit BIM technology, because a single entity is responsible for design and construction and both areas participate during the design phase. Other procurement approaches can also benefit from the use of BIM but may achieve only partial benefits, particularly if the BIM technology is not used collaboratively during the design phase.
These various approaches are outlined by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in conjunction with the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) in a publication entitled "Primer on Project Delivery" that can be found on the AIA website.* The Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) also publishes "Choosing the Best Delivery Method for Your Project," which can be downloaded from their website.â€ *The AIA website is www.aia.org.â€ The CMAA website is www.CMAAnet.org.
In the BIM workshops that Construction Simulation Lab offers to the industry, Michael Borzage, professor of construction management, CSU Chico, has described the weaknesses of current delivery methods and outlined a revised construction management delivery method as developed by GM for its automobile fabrication plant construction:
In the traditional design-bid-build project delivery approach, the design and construction portions are deliberately segregated by means of specific contracts with the Owner, the Architect and the Builder. While the reasons for employing this approach may be debated, there can be little disagreement that the owner loses opportunities for added value, and takes on additional risk in at least three important areas.
First, the project budget is established early in the process, and serves as an important constraint in the project program. Scope and quality are tailored to this preliminary cost estimate. Unfortunately, the builder, who best understands true cost, is not included in this process until the completion of construction documents. All too often, the owner is first made aware of the shortcomings of the design-bid-build approach at bid time. This takes the form of "sticker shock," in that the bids sometimes far exceed the proposed budget, thus creating a serious dilemma. The construction documents (CDs) require a tremendous effort that involves an investment of considerable time and resulting fees. Following the bid opening, owners and architects have reason to hope the CDs are salvageable. However, regardless of the strategy employed to identify and to reduce the areas of the project generating excessive costs, the result is damage control at best, and more often than not has disastrous consequences.
The second area of missed opportunity is the optimization of the original design program to maximize the value of the final project. Clearly, it is too late to add square footage or additional stories at bid time. It is then also too late to consider alternative materials, or systems that will already be deeply embedded into the bid documents. Life cycle costing or market analysis of sales or lease conditions can no longer be considered as influential factors on the project design.
The third opportunity missed by the design-bid-build process is caused by the organization of the design work according to the architectural work phases. The programming/schematic design, design development, and construction document phases become the major project milestones. As a result, large blocks of design time float along over many weeks without focus. There is often little accountability for this time, and it can result in considerable waste of both time and design work that is found to be unusable. This "leap-of-faith" process also results in critical portions of the project not being coordinated with each other, which in turn translates directly into re-work, and extends the project's overall cost and duration.
The owner (and entire project team) will find greatly increased success in an alternative delivery system that utilizes building modelling, and employs a tight coordination between all disciplines throughout the entire project. A design build (or design assist) approach allows the input of the sub-contractors and fabricators to be included during the preconstruction planning phases. These team members bring both construction expertize as well as reliable detailed cost data to the planning stages of the project.
The design process becomes iterative with high frequency cycle periods. The design progresses in small but tightly controlled steps, rather than the large open blocks of time associated with the traditional methods. This work flow is also carefully coordinated with all critical trades before it progresses into a new iteration. Lost time and wasted rework is minimized.Figure 1.4 shows a diagram of the project delivery methodology employed on General Motors highly successful new auto plants. The illustration of the GM delivery method shows a thorough integration of the planning and design activities of the project. The traditional methods would show linear and disconnected graphics for these activities. A collaborative and iterative planning phase will greatly improve certain aspects of the design quality and construction performance for the project. The challenge for building construction will be to let each project team member do what she or he is best at, and to coordinate the whole into a better result.
This collaboration will leave the architect responsible for the functioning and aesthetics of the project, while the contractor will ensure that the design is buildable and affordable; clearly early cooperation will be the key to a successful resolution. Tata book Figure?
Weaknesses of the Planning and Construction Process:
The largest problem in the planning and construction of building projects is the incorrect visualization of the project information ("the devil is in the details"). If it is not fully visualized, understood, and communicated, it cannot be represented correctly in the contract documents and may consequently create problems during construction.
Difficulty in visualization begins with the owner's and end users' definition of need and visualization of space. It is critical that the designers and owner/end users understand one another in relation to the project requirements. Once a design is represented in a series of drawings, the contents of these documents may not be clear to all who use them. The standard method to formally address such questions is to issue the RFI (Request for Information). The RFI is the first indication that communication was inadequate; the information (generally drawings or specifications) is either not understood, or may simply not be there; or the project may actually have an unresolved problem. In any case, the RFI is generally at least a symptom of inadequate communication that in turn often stems from an incorrect or incomplete understanding on the part of the person who prepared the documents.
Communication Difficulties: Human nature may also be an obstacle to efficient communication. The complexity of construction projects and the involvement of so many individuals can create strenuous demands on the communication between the project team members. Persons of different character or cultural background often work together. Most of design and construction-related communication consists of ideas that have been translated back and forth between the 2D representations and the 3D space. Once an idea has been translated back and forth a few times by different individuals, it is not surprising that it may have become unrecognizable.
Competition among Team Members: Construction project teams often include individuals who place maximization of their personal gain from the project above the project goals and interests. Most contractual documents in place today are written to protect the interest of the team member who is responsible for writing it. A contractor may count on post bid clarifications to add scope to a project in which he feels the documentation is incomplete; this will entice him to be more aggressive with the original bid, as long as he can count on change orders during the course of construction. It may be difficult for a subcontractor to work efficiently after or around other subcontractors, i.e., given issues of proper clean-up, timely removal of equipment and materials, etc. In other words, contemporary construction teams often do not behave as one team challenging the project, but as competing teams challenging one another.
Risk Shifting: Dissatisfaction with traditional contractual forms has led to the development of alternative delivery methods; essentially most of these variations merely represent the shifting of the risk from one team member to another. In the end, however, the owner usually bears most of the financial burden for the inefficiency and problems of the project. Most contractual relationships have no built-in incentives for collaboration. Construction firms are also hesitant to experiment with methods that tend to benefit the owner when they see little chance to create a benefit for themselves from it. This includes risk issues; as long as the owner ultimately bears the risk, there is no incentive for change, except from the owner. At this time most of the contractual and management process changes are still mandated by owners. It is, however, primarily through the removal of risk that it is possible to change the nature of the construction industry. Project economics are forcing the improvement of construction efficiency, and competition will rearrange the major players in the field.
Litigation: Litigation and construction have been virtually synonymous for too long. Due to the overwhelming complexity of the construction industry, there are too many opportunities for disagreements about the resolution of conflicts, and errors and omissions, generally originating from the planning phase of the project. Project team members are often well advised to build the cost of a certain amount of litigation into their bid proposal. Litigation happens when there is not enough communication and collaboration among the project team members. Almost all differences can be worked out in compromise through effective communication. Since the legal industry is the only entity that really benefits from litigation, it is in the team's best interest to collaborate and minimize these avoidable expenses.
Goals for Process Improvement
Goals that are project-related will generally be directly derived from the needs and wishes of the owner and other project team members. The goals will focus on achieving desirable end results for the project, and so they also relate to removing obstacles that might stand in the way of progress toward these results. These goals can thus be seen as reinforcing positive factors as well as removing negative factors. The weaknesses of the construction process need to be understood to address them effectively. But simply analyzing the symptoms is not enough; the underlying causes of the problems have to be discovered and addressed. The formulation of project goals needs to take the causes of the inherent weaknesses of the construction process into account. These weaknesses may sometimes be part of the process itself, and at other times they may be due to the specific characteristics and limitations of the project's circumstances or project team members.
All the concepts listed below can ultimately be effective in improving the efficiency of a project and will thus either directly or indirectly reduce the cost of the project.
For clarity, however, the concepts have been separated into the following five categories: Reduce Risk, Reduce Cost, Reduce Time, Improve Project Quality, and Improve Life Cycle Performance.
Improve Communication: Unreliable communication is a critical factor in the creation of risk in a construction project. The complexity of construction provides numerous opportunities for things to be misunderstood or missed entirely. Each project team member needs to be responsible for the communication of essential information during the course of the project. Communication channels need to be clearly defined and tested at the beginning of a project.
Collaborate: Team collaboration is also a critical factor to risk reduction. Generally team members prefer to work on their own and not share in either the success or failure with other team members or entities (i.e., the mechanical subcontractor has no interest in the financial success of the electrical sub, but will help in the coordination of the required work as far as it affects the mechanical work). Collaboration is based on the concept that all team members work on the same project with the same goals, in support of the owner's interests; it is everyone's responsibility to put these goals first and get help from other team members to solve specific problems that affect the ability of the entire team to perform optimally. Good communication and a sound contractual relationship among all project team members are essential aspects of collaboration.
Anticipate Problems: This implies the improvement of predictability of various factors of the planning and construction processes. It is possible to drastically reduce RFIs and change orders by understanding the construction details well enough that all construction information can be documented and communicated completely and accurately in the project planning phases. Methods that facilitate the ability to foresee potential problems and oversights need to be implemented. All aspects of the construction project should be coordinated early, and the overall project has to be better understood to reduce associated risks.
Improve Safety: Safety on the jobsite is high on the priority list for any construction project. A good safety record will also lower insurance rates for the project.
Study Parallel Industries: The development of production processes in parallel industries can serve as a model for improvements in the construction industry. The practices of Toyota have already been adapted for use in the construction industry by Greg Howell and Glen Ballard of the Lean Construction Institute (see next paragraph).The use of technology is an important aspect of these improvements. The construction management processes have been lacking in the use of technology in comparison to most of the other industries. The automotive and aircraft industries have been improving the manufacturing processes by virtually prototyping products, since the necessary technology has been available. With a virtual 3D computer model it is now possible to create a "full-scale" simulation of a construction project during the planning stages.
Apply Lean Construction Principles: A significant attempt to address some of the major shortcomings of the construction industry is made by the Lean Construction Institute (LCI) under the guidance of Greg Howell and Glenn Ballard. Lean construction principles can have a fundamental effect on the current delivery methods in the industry; these principles were developed in the 1990s and have been gaining in popularity with both owners and construction companies. The core principles of this approach are to minimize waste and add value, and they have their origin in the manufacturing industries. Lean construction principles are based on the business and manufacturing practices developed by Toyota Motor Company in Japan. Toyota was trying to develop a consistent quality product that could initially supply cars for the Japanese market and ultimately compete in the U.S. market. Having its roots in automatic weaving looms, the company had already developed a system that would shut down the production process whenever a defect was detected, i.e., a thread ran out. This virtually eliminated wasted product due to defects, a problem that had always plagued the U.S. auto industry, i.e. large parking lots with cars from the production line that required some repairs. Another problem for the Japanese company was the inconsistent demand for the product, which led to the second fundamental principle of the Toyota production system, or TPS, namely, just-in-time (JIT) delivery. This meant that there would be minimal inventory of parts, as well as finished automobiles, thus minimizing investment in both the production and the amount of space required for the production process. This second characteristic of TPS also required that the supply chain be carefully managed, so that product could be delivered whenever necessary. These two principles had far-reaching effects on the manufacturing process for Toyota; they decentralized authority and put the workers in positions of responsibility for product delivery. The cars could have no defects because that would stop the production process and not permit timely delivery. Components could also not be stockpiled in any given area, which made the various production units more dependent on one another, since the entire system can move only as fast as the slowest link in the chain. Thus the whole factory was trying to keep the process moving as quickly as possible; in other words there was built-in incentive for success of the whole process, rather than competition among individual components of the process. Greg Howell and Glen Ballard have attempted to synthesize the TPS principles into an approach that works within the U.S. building design and construction industry. The equivalent to flow of product is identified as the work that is completed by one team and handed off for the next task. This makes this approach relate directly to construction schedule tasks and thus is more easily understood for a construction project. The construction process planned in this fashion will lead to a reliable work flow for the project teams, which can be achieved only by collaborative planning of all participants for each part of the work. A continual updating of completed work (checking for defects) and commitments will be critical to maintaining the anticipated work flow. Successful implementation of this management technique will result in lower project costs, shorter construction schedules, and better jobsite safety and quality. The Lean Construction Institute calls this system the Last Planner System (LPS), and it is the equivalent to just-in-time delivery for manufacturing. One aspect of lean construction is to refine existing methods to improve productivity or reduce waste. Waste can refer to materials, energy, time, money, etc., and often the reduction of waste will result from the refinement of a process, i.e., the way we do something. Simulating a project is a great opportunity to reduce the waste in the project because all the processes through which the project is being realized can be visualized.
Prefabricate: Prefabrication is based on the concept that production is more controlled and predictable in a factory than on a construction site. The construction industry is attempting to increase the prefabrication of building components. Prefabricated components require tighter tolerance control in the field, as well as some detailing constraints on the prefabricated units in relation to their use in various applications. By necessity, prefabricated units have a lot in common so that a large number can be fabricated more efficiently; they cannot be custom pieces any longer. That is, there is greater efficiency in the production of a line of generic trusses than in the fabrication of a specific truss order for a particular building.
Improve Preconstruction Planning: The planning process itself needs to be analysed through improved scheduling of all the BIM (planning) related activities. It is possible to improve preconstruction scheduling through better collaboration and faster question/ answer turnaround time between project team members. This is an area for improvement that is frequently overlooked, but the increased complexity of the planning phase with close collaboration among all project team members necessitates this. The Centre for Integrated Facility Engineering (CIFE) has done a lot of research for the construction industry in this particular area.
Improve Construction Scheduling: The construction process itself can also be improved through better scheduling of all construction-related activities. The visualization of the construction process is often represented by the schedule, usually a bar chart showing the duration of various construction tasks and their interdependencies. The bar chart can be made more visually clear by representing the tasks and their time lines so that it would be simpler to understand the construction sequence and visualize improvements for it. Construction schedules do not always have a good reputation within the industry; frequently they are not being maintained, and they do not often represent a thorough understanding of the project. Using the schedule to develop a more detailed analysis of all project tasks will result in a better understanding of the project and will allow a tighter (and probably more realistic) time line for all the construction tasks. (See "Project Control" in the Glossary and Index.)
Improve Project Quality: Improve Project Design. There frequently are opportunities to develop ways to improve the design of the building project. Improvements can consist of a functionally better design, enhanced project aesthetics, better use of materials, etc.; and generally these improvements result in increased owner comfort, building functionality, community esteem for the project or the process that created it (i.e., Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, projects ), or reduced long-term maintenance costs. Having project user design charted and early schematic design consultations with particular experts is another way to investigate improving the design quality of a project.
Improve Construction Quality: The overall project quality can also be improved by affecting the construction processes of the building project. Improvements can consist of better construction processes (i.e., impact on the site and environment from the construction process), better assembly methods, reduction of project waste, safer building methods, etc.
Improve Life-Cycle Performance:
Improve Maintainability of Components: Reducing the life-cycle cost of the project is generally related to looking ahead at the longevity of materials and the performance of the building components over time. LEED ratings for construction projects take many of these issues into account.
Improve Energy Use of the Project: Energy consumption of the project is also addressed by LEED ratings. Both reduction of the energy consumption related to the operation of the project and the reduction of components that require energy in their production can be optimized through the evaluation of alternatives early in the design process.