CAPE construction application protocol for data transfer : a building data model
Construction is a process, which involves diverse parties having different professional skills and interest. At present, the co-operation and information exchange between parties involved in any construction has not yet been attained. During a project life cycle, the amount of information generated and exchanged is enormous even for a small-size construction project. Current process of managing information flow in construction still lags behind other industries such as manufacturing. In the era of information age, information technology (IT) becomes a vital tool for managing information. It allows a user/manager to store and retrieve information easily, quickly, produce complete and accurate response, and be better informed of the relevant issues. However, the progress of IT in the construction industry relies on the ability of the project participants to exchange and share information among themselves. Inevitably, there is a need for common standards and approaches due to the lack of compatibility of the information exchange. The complexity and vast amount of information involved in any construction project and the lack of standards have made the process of producing an integrated environment very difficult. A framework for establishing an Integrated Construction Environment (ICE) has been proposed with the aim of co-ordinating the integration process between the various construction applications. SPACE (Simultaneous Prototyping in An integrated Construction Environment) has been developed which aims to integrate design and construction throughout the project's life cycle via a single database. The implementation of this framework has led to the development of a modularised central core whereby each application has its own data module. CAPE (Construction Application Protocol for data transfEr) is a design application, which has been developed as part of data module in SPACE. It represents a building elements data module and the object interpreter engine. It aims is to improve the flow of information between project's participants, particularly those related to the design stage. The development of CAPE data module has resulted in the implementation of a system, which capture most of the design elements in CAD (AutoCAD/AEC Tm), the study of their properties such as co-ordination and dimension and populates it into the object-oriented database systems to serve other application modules in the project model, i.e. SPACE. CAPE data module also provides several benefits. It provides essential support for the integration of design and construction, a generic set of building element classes, defines building elements with the necessary information at run-time, and a dynamic and an independent environment for all graphical packages such as CAD and YR.