Conplan : construction planning and buildability evaluation in an integrated and intelligent construction environment
The lack of a buildability evaluation at the design stage coupled with the separation of the design and construction processes have been acknowledged to cause buildability problems on site. Normally, designers view of their task, is to develop a masterpiece which satisfies the functional requirements of a project while constructors consider their task as construction works, which need to be completed at the lowest price. No significant efforts have been made to bring the design and construction processes together to facilitate the integration of information for the improvement of the overall project performance. This study proposes an integrated framework for construction planning which is capable of exchanging information with other construction disciplines and generating planning information in an integrated construction environment. Planning data and processes were first modelled using object oriented analysis methodology, i.e. Martin (1993), where the emphasis was placed on both the data and its behaviour. This development was carried out within a general integrated framework which facilitates the integration between the various construction application across the project life cycle. The developed models highlight the importance and the role of the planning process which is vital in providing relevant information to other disciplines. Moreover, the study proposes a quantitative approach for a buildability evaluation based on the information available within the integrated environment. It evaluates the design solutions from the construction view, as outlined in the construction plan. The qualitative principles of buildability improvements were adopted to formalise this approach. A combination of weightings and scores were assigned to building elements to reflect their buildability factors. The developed data and process models, were implemented in an object oriented environment as part of a single integrated construction environment SPACE (Simultaneous Prototyping for An Integrated Construction Environment) where CONPLAN (Intelligent CONstruction PLANning for design rationalisation) is one of the SPACE modules. CONPLAN automatically generates the construction planning information and the buildability reports. The former can be dynamically accessed either through a planning package or visualised in a virtual space using a virtual reality package. The buildability reports can be either displayed in a textual or graphical format.