Querying a building information model for construction-specific spatial information

Madhav Prasad Nepal, Sheryl Staub-French, Rachel Pottinger, April Webster
2012 Advanced Engineering Informatics  
This is the author's version of a work that was submitted/accepted for publication in the following source: Nepal, Madhav Prasad, Staub-French, Sheryl, Pottinger, Rachel, & Webster, April (2012) Querying a building information model for constructionspecific spatial information. Advanced Engineering Informatics, 26(4), pp. 904-923. This file was downloaded from: http://eprints.qut.edu.au/58162/ Abstract The design and construction community has shown increasing interest in adopting building
more » ... mation models (BIMs). The richness of information provided by BIMs has the potential to streamline the design and construction processes by enabling enhanced communication, coordination, automation and analysis. However, there are many challenges in extracting construction-specific information out of BIMs. In most cases, construction practitioners have to manually identify the required information, which is inefficient and prone to error, particularly for complex, large-scale projects. This paper describes the process and methods we have formalized to partially automate the extraction and querying of construction-specific information from a BIM. We describe methods for analyzing a BIM to query for spatial information that is relevant for construction practitioners, and that is typically represented implicitly in a BIM. Our approach integrates ifcXML data and other spatial data to develop a richer model for construction users. We employ custom 2D topological XQuery predicates to answer a variety of spatial queries. The validation results demonstrate that this approach provides a richer representation of construction-specific information compared to existing BIM tools. The existence of penetrations and openings are just a few examples of the design conditions that are important to construction practitioners. Others noted in the literature and confirmed in our case studies include spacing, horizontal and vertical alignment, and design uniformity (or variation). Consider another project scenario that we observed in the Chemical and Biological (Chem-Bio) Building project at UBC. Scenario 2: The "columns" in the Chem-Bio Building have considerable variation in orientation, size and shape and location both within a floor and from floor to floor (Figure 2). Columns located at the same grid intersections also have varying size and/or shape from floor to floor. Due to variation in the size, shape, location, and orientation of columns in a floor or from floor to floor, the formwork contractor for this building would be motivated to: (a) find the unaligned columns in a floor and from floor to floor (i.e., check for horizontal and vertical alignment of columns); (b) locate off-grid columns, if any; (c) identify the maximum and minimum spacing of columns or bay sizes; and (d) identify the uniformity in location and size of columns from floor to floor. The practitioners working for the general contractor and subcontractors in the Chem-Bio project manually analyzed and interpreted architectural, structural and/or mechanical drawings and other design documents to identify these kinds of design conditions for constructability analysis, cost estimating, MEP coordination, and methods selection.
doi:10.1016/j.aei.2012.08.003 fatcat:d5q4dbcgxvhz3pexsmuutcfcqu