An analytical system for space planning on construction sites
Effective construction planning is essential to the successful completion of a
construction project. Although workspace requirements are essential aspects of
construction planning, they are often either overlooked or left to the intuition of the
construction planner. Emerging computer based techniques are becoming
predominant within the construction industry. In recent years, the development of
four dimensional computer aided design (4D CAD) has particularly proved
beneficial to construction project planning practice. The purpose of this study was to
develop a novel computer based method to allow workspace, required during the
construction process, to be planned and analysed using 4D CAD techniques. It is
predicted that this approach will allow potential time-space conflicts to be foreseen.
Based on a revIew of a large body of work, it emerged that specialist trade
contractors were one of the primary parties affected by spatial constraints.
Consequently, industrial case studies were carried out on UK construction sites to
observe workspace planning practices for a general contractor, a groundwork
contractor and a mechanical and electrical contractor. As a result, a conceptual
framework was put forward to depict software development requirements to assist
construction space planning and analysis. Using the framework as a basis, an
approach was developed to represent the key processes required to plan construction
workspace using a 4D methodology. Based on the proposed approach, a software
tool was developed, the Specialist Trade Site Space Analyser (STraSSAn). The
proposed tool allowed a CAD based product model to be fonnalised into a product
breakdown structure, compliant with the Uniclass standard. The scheduling of
tasks used a novel interactive 3D scheduling technique. The product
model could then be decomposed into dynamic weekly geometry through use of an
innovative method of decomposing 4D product geometry. Dynamic weekly site plans
could then be generated and various contractors could allocate required workspaces.
Potential time-space conflicts could be detected, and the severity of these conflicts
could be analysed using a numeric Space Conflict Classification value.
Subsequently, the construction process could be visualised in a 4D virtual reality
environment, which included for the building product evolution and workspace
Finally, construction practitioners evaluated the implemented prototype to test its
usefulness for space planning requirements. It emerged that the implemented tool
had achieved the fundamental requirements of the proposed conceptual framework.
Furthermore, the evaluators deemed the software as having potential to assist space
planning throughout the construction process.