Reasoning about component similarity in building product models from the construction perspective

Sheryl Staub-French, Madhav Prasad Nepal
2007 Automation in Construction  
Identifying the design features that impact construction is essential to developing cost effective and constructable designs. The similarity of building components is a critical design feature that affects method selection, productivity, and ultimately construction cost and schedule performance. However, there is limited understanding of what constitutes similarity in the design of building components and limited computer-based support to identify this feature in a building product model. This
more » ... aper contributes a feature-based framework for representing and reasoning about component similarity that builds on ontological modeling, model-based reasoning and cluster analysis techniques. It describes the ontology we developed to characterize component similarity that represents the building component, the component attributes, the direction, the range of acceptable variation for geometric attributes, and the degree of variation required to assess component similarity. It also describes the generic reasoning process we formalized to identify component similarity in a standard product model based on practitioners' varied preferences. The generic reasoning process evaluates the geometric, topological, and symbolic similarities between components, creates groupings of similar components, and quantifies the degree of similarity. We implemented this reasoning process in a prototype cost estimating application, which creates and maintains cost estimates based on a building product model. Validation studies of the prototype system provide evidence that the framework is general and enables a more accurate and efficient cost estimating process. CAD, Ontology, Model-based reasoning, Feature recognition, Cluster analysis and computer-interpretable. We represent component similarity as a product feature of a building product model and use feature recognition to infer its existence in a standard product model. This paper describes the ontology we developed to represent component similarity, and the generic reasoning process we formalized to evaluate the degree of similarity in a given design. The ontology formalizes a feature-based representation of building component similarity that represents the building component, the component attributes, the direction, the range of acceptable variation for geometric attributes, and the degree of variation required to assess component similarity. The generic reasoning process leverages this project-independent representation to assess the degree of similarity in a given product model based on user-defined criteria. This three step reasoning process employs model-based reasoning and cluster analysis techniques to evaluate the geometric, topological, and symbolic similarities between components, create groupings of similar components, and quantify the degree of similarity. We implemented this reasoning process in a prototype cost estimating application, Activity-based Cost Estimating (ACE), which creates and maintains cost estimates based on a building product model. The system identifies relevant cost-incurring design features, including building component similarity, and adjusts the labor productivity rates and construction methods accordingly to calculate the construction cost. The following section describes a case study that illustrates different practitioners' criteria for specifying component similarity. Subsequent sections describe the ontology, the reasoning process, and the prototype implementation. Finally, the specific validation studies conducted to date will be discussed.
doi:10.1016/j.autcon.2007.02.013 fatcat:xydmeppva5eurieqh6lw6h5ssm