Communication of sustainability information and assessment within BIM-enabled collaborative environment

Zanni, Maria Angeliki (2016) Communication of sustainability information and assessment within BIM-enabled collaborative environment. (PhD thesis), Loughborough University, .


Sustainable performance of buildings has become a major concern among construction industry professionals. However, sustainability considerations are often treated as an add-on to building design, following ad hoc processes for their implementation. As a result, the most common problem to achieve a sustainable building outcome is the absence of the right information at the right time to make critical decisions. For design team members to appreciate the requirements of multidisciplinary collaboration, there is a need for transparency and a shared understanding of the process. The aim of this study is to investigate, model, and facilitate the early stages of Building Information Modelling (BIM) enabled Sustainable Building Design (SBD) by formalising the ad hoc working relationships of the best practices in order to standardise the optimal collaboration workflows. Thus, this research strives to improve BIM maturity level for SBD, assisting in the transition from ad hoc to defined , and then, to managed . For this purpose, this study has adopted an abductive research approach (iterative process of induction and deduction) for theory building and testing. Four (4) stages of data collection have been conducted, which have resulted in a total of 32 semi-structured interviews with industry experts from 17 organisations. Fourteen (14) best practice case studies have been identified, and 20 incidents narratives have been collected applying the Critical Decision Method (CDM) to examine roles and responsibilities, resources, information exchanges, interdependencies, timing and sequence of events, and critical decisions. As a result, the research has classified the critical components of SBD into a framework utilising content and thematic analyses. These have included the definition of roles and competencies that are essential for SBD along with the existing opportunities, challenges, and limitations. Then, Schedules of Services for SBD have been developed for the following stages of the RIBA Plan of Work 2013: stage 0 (Strategic Definition), stage 1 (Preparation and Brief), and stage 2 (Concept Design). The abovementioned SBD components have been coordinated explicitly into a systematic process, which follows Concurrent Engineering (CE) principles utilising Integrated DEFinition (IDEF) structured diagramming techniques (IDEF0 and IDEF3). The results have identified the key players roles and responsibilities, tasks (BIM Uses), BIM-based deliverables, and critical decision points for SBD. Furthermore, Green BIM Box (GBB) workflow management prototype tool has been developed to analyse communication and delivery of BIM-enabled SBD in a centralised system (Common Data Environment, CDE). GBB s system architecture for SBD process automation is demonstrated through Use Case Scenarios utilising the OMG UML (Object Management Group s Unified Modelling Language) notation. The proposed solution facilitates the implementation of BIM, Information Communication Technology (ICT), and Building Performance Analysis (BPA) software to realise the benefits of combining distributed teams expertise holistically into a common process. Finally, the research outcomes have been validated through academic and industrial reviews that have led to the refinement of the IDEF process model and framework. It has been found that collaborative patterns are repeatable for a variety of different non-domestic building types such as education, healthcare, and offices. Therefore, the research findings support the idea that a detailed process, which follows specified communication patterns, can assist in achieving sustainability targets efficiently in terms of time, cost, and effort.

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