Computer visualisation support for buildability
The construction industry has a reputation for low productivity, waste, low use of new technologies, and poor quality (Egan, 1998; Wakefield & Damrienant, 1999). It is estimated that up to 30% of construction is rework, and recognised that site teams spend too much time and effort making designs work in practice (Egan, 1998). The aim of the research project was to develop a visualisation and communication environment that would assist design teams in communicating design details that may be problematic for construction teams. The investigation was based on the need for a tool that facilitates detail design information communication. The VISCON (computer visualisation support for buildability) environment provides support for general information sharing in the context of a collaborative building project. This prototype is Web based and can be accessed from any location. This will allow for construction information to be readily communicated and shared between head offices and construction sites and any other locations to provide better visualisation of design details. Three scenarios were developed as case studies for demonstration purposes based on real projects. These case studies used a paper factory, a bay barrage building and a swimming pool recently constructed at Loughborough University. In the development of the case studies, 3D models were produced using components from the selected prototype buildings that may inherently be difficult to assemble. The VISCON prototype demonstrates the various functionalities of the system in creating intricate design details that can be animated or interacted with in real time. The main achievements of the research are: The review of buildability problems and their causes during the construction stage of a facility; The development of an architecture for a computer visualisation tool for buildability (VISCON); Implementation and validation of the proposed system (VISCON) through the use of a number of case studies. The system was found to be useful and demonstrated that computer visualisation tools provide considerable potential in improving clarity of information and also a new way of visualising and solving design problems that arise during the construction stage of a project. It also demonstrated the ease of use of the proposed system, and its efficiency and application to the construction industry. The research concludes that the use of computer visualisation can improve the construction project delivery process by providing guidance on how components are assembled together and how buildability problems can be solved during the construction stage. Furthermore, the use of effective communication tools will improve collaboration between construction and design practitioners.