The Complementary Use of the Parameter-Based Design StructureMatrix and the IFC Process Models for Integration in the ConstructionIndustry

DSM 2010: Proceedings of the 12th International DSM Conference, Cambridge, UK, 22.-23.07.2010

Year: 2010
Editor: Wynn, D.C.; Kreimeyer, M.; Eben, K.; Maurer, M.; Lindemann, U.; Clarkson, P.J.
Author: Pektas, S.T.
Section: Dependency Modelling in Construction
Page(s): 389-402


Building design is a collaborative process by its nature. It involves several participants with diverse disciplinary backgrounds, viewpoints and working methods. It has long been recognized that shared product and process models are essential for supporting building design processes efficiently. Despite the various tracks of research in this field, product and process integration and distributed cooperation in design teams have remained to be a main problem in the construction industry. The development of the Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) has been the largest scale effort to standardize the representation of Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) knowledge. IFCs are developed by an international non-profit organization named BuildingSMART (formerly known as. The IFC specification targets at a common view of building data that can be shared by the AEC community and software development professionals. This common view is known as the IFC object model, defined using a top-down approach. By starting with a very general view of the industry, an overall model of a building is defined suitable for software applications. The IFC specification involves both process modelling (usage scenarios and process diagrams) and product modelling (classes, attributes, relationships and interfaces) components.
Being a widely accepted standardization effort, IFC development shapes the future of building information modelling. The IFC explicitly model a variety of project information, however, it was observed that most of the existing IFC implementations primarily support modelling and exchange of building product information. In fact, relatively little research effort has been devoted to process modelling compared to product modelling in the construction industry. As a result, process modelling components of the IFC schema have not been fully analyzed and exploited yet. In order to alleviate this problem, this paper focuses on the methods of process modelling for IFC and discusses that the high-level activity-based IFC process models fail to represent the complex and iterative collaborative building design processes. In order to augment top-down process modelling, the complementary bottom-up use of the parameter-based Design Structure Matrix (DSM) method was suggested and demonstrated through an example from elevator design.

Keywords: Parameter-Based Design Structure Matrix, Industry Foundation Classes (IFC), Process Integration, Construction Industry


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