Integrated microcomputer applications in formwork design
Despite the arguments in favour of the application of computers in temporary works design, as highlighted in previous research, there was a lack of suitable software at the start of this research. The main objective of this research has been to design and develop software for a major temporary works item. Formwork design was selected from several classes as it provided a larger problem domain. Achieving the main objective necessitated the establishment of a strategy for implementing software in temporary works design using a systems engineering approach. After studying the state-of-the-art of computer application in engineering, construction, and temporary works design, an integrated program network strategy was established for implementing software in temporary works design. This involved the coupling of microcomputer-based packaged Computer-Aided Drafting and Database Management Systems with temporary works design applications. The coupling was achieved through the combination of a database/executive approach. This strategy was then used to design, develop, and validate a computer-aided design system for formwork. To establish the formwork design process, contemporary formwork design methods were studied by reviewing literature and holding informal discussions with eight practicing formwork designers. This study, coupled with an analysis of the formwork designer's. tasks, enabled a functional specification to be produced for a computer-aided design system for formwork. This was used to establish six individual modules that make up the system as follows: a formwork database management module; a concrete pressure modelling module; a rational formwork design module; a detailed form work design module; a drafting module; and a schedule of quantities and cost quotation module. A windowing and menu based human-computer interface was designed and developed for the applications to be developed. The system was produced by designing, developing and testing individual modules, which were finally integrated to form a comprehensive Formwork Integrated Computer-Aided Design System (FICADS). The functions integrated include the analysis/design, drafting, scheduling of quantities, and cost estimating of formwork. The system was tested and assessed by means of several case studies and demonstrations to expert form work designers which proved favourable. The main achievement has been the development of a computer-aided design system for formwork that was acceptable to formwork designers. In the development of the system, a conceptual framework within which temporary works design systems can be developed with great flexibility, confidence and a minimum of programming effort has been established.