Product configuration in the construction sector

    Project Details


    The primary objective of this project is to increase the productivity and quality of the Danish building industry by the application of product configuration to support a number of different processes in the building industry. In collaboration with a number of manufacturers of products for the building industry electronic models of their respective building components will be constructed.

    Based on the product programme of the companies involved the models will be constructed with a view to achieving two objectives:

    The first objective is directed towards the outside, towards projecting architects and performing contractors. Thus, architects are to be able to apply the electronic models directly during the execution of their architecture projects, both for sketching, visualization, and projecting.
    The contractors are to be able to use the models in connection with pricing and different kinds of simulation: construction and logistics, etc.

    The second objective is directed towards the inside, towards the internal procedures of the manufacturing firms. Here, the purpose is to enhance the efficiency of and rationalize the procedures in connection with the elaboration of the production basis, list of parts, pricing and quotations.

    In order to achieve the above objectives the electronic models will be made parametric and configurable, meaning that the models are constructed as “intelligent” electronic building components in which are encoded the engineer expert knowledge of the manufacturing firms.

    If, for example, a parametric and configurable model of a concrete staircase is elaborated, the computer will, after the encoding/entering of various parameters (width of staircase, floor-to-ceiling height, materials character, banister type, etc.), automatically create a 3-D model of the staircase.

    The engineer expert knowledge about minimum materials thickness, quantity of steel reinforcement, appropriateness between the foundation of the staircase, its rise, etc., information that is entered in advance, ensures that the staircase can be produced and used.

    When the model has been configured it thus returns direct information about volume, number of incoming units, weight, etc., which facilitates the act of pricing.

    The way in which the project has been planned ensures that the manufacturing firms participating in the research collaboration cover all areas are representative of various areas of the building industry, so that models of all the building components included in a building project as a whole are constructed.

    Through the construction of models of this whole the process is being stimulated towards an application of the sophisticated electronic tools that we posses today, but which have difficulties in penetrating the market of the Danish building industry in general.

    The reason for establishing this research project and the collaboration with the building industry parties are the important changes that the building industry is going through at present.
    The trend within the building industry is towards new-industrialisation, which means that from being a trade based on craftsmanship where relatively much time was spent on the adaptation of many different building materials on the building site, with subsequent risks of errors and logistics difficulties, the trend is now towards geometrically precise, finished building components that are brought to the building site and assembled without craftsmanship adaptation.

    The application of product configuration offers a considerable optimisation of the building process, quality assurance, time frame, and thereby the financial management.

    The research project is primarily based on the know-how of the Technical University of Denmark within the area of configuration of product models (contact person: Associate Professor Lars Hvam) and of the Aarhus School of Architecture within the area of parametric building components
    Effective start/end date01/11/200301/05/2005


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