An intelligent approach to the engineering management of housing subsidence cases.
Over the last twenty years there has been a dramatic rise in subsidence claims for
residential buildings. This has led to growing concern amongst insurance companies and
the structural engineers who investigate these cases on their behalf. Their attention has
begun to focus more on the engineering management of these cases. A review of the
mechanism of subsidence damage to residential buildings and existing subsidence
management procedures has shown that existing management procedures are often ad-hoc
and uncoordinated, have been criticised for being inadequate, and have lead to solutions
which have either been inappropriate or have failed to solve the problem. The review
concludes that there is major scope for improving the decision-making process, by
ensuring that it is based on a sound technical framework.
This thesis describes an innovative approach to the engineering management of subsidence
cases based on knowledge-based system (KBS) techniques. The Subsidence CAse
Management System (SCAMS) is applicable to the multi-task domain and consists of three
main components which address important facets of subsidence management. These are the
diagnosis of a subsidence problem, the choice of an appropriate course of investigations,
and the specification of effective remedial measures.
SCAMS was developed using a KBS building shell- Kappa PC. The data structure adopted
was object-oriented and incorporates production rules. The knowledge acquisition was
based on multiple sources of knowledge using a variety of techniques. The system
implementation was designed to result in a user-friendly system, and incorporates a highly
graphical interface. Evaluation of the system was undertaken using test cases from
industry. The system proved highly effective in all the tests and, in some cases, achieved
more accurate results than the human expert.
SCAMS represents a significant advance over existing approaches to the engmeenng
management of subsidence cases. It provides many benefits to the construction industry
including greater consistency in the evaluation of subsidence damage, improved quality of
engineering judgement, reduced repair costs and specific guidance to -engineers for