Due to the importance given today to innovation, the education sector is evolving thanks digital technologies. Virtual Reality (VR) can be a potential teaching tool offering many advantages in the field of training and education, as it allows to acquire theoretical knowledge and practical skills using an immersive experience in less time than the traditional educational process. These assumptions allow to lay the foundations for a new educational environment, involving and stimulating for students. Starting from the objective of strengthening the innovative teaching offer and the learning processes, the case study of the research concerns the digitalization of MastrLAB, High Quality Laboratory (HQL) belonging to the Department of Structural, Building and Geotechnical Engineering (DISEG) of the Polytechnic of Turin, a center specialized in experimental mechanical tests on traditional and innovative building materials and on the structures made with them. The MastrLAB-VR has been developed, a revolutionary innovative training tool designed with the aim of educating the class in total safety on the techniques of use of machinery, thus reducing the dangers arising from the performance of potentially dangerous activities. The virtual laboratory, dedicated to the students of the Building and Civil Engineering Courses of the Polytechnic of Turin, has been projected to simulate in an absolutely realistic way the experimental approach to the structural tests foreseen in their courses of study: from the tensile tests to the relaxation tests, from the steel qualification tests to the resilience tests on elements at environmental conditions or at characterizing temperatures. The research work proposes a methodology for the virtualization of technical laboratories through the application of Building Information Modelling (BIM), starting from the creation of a digital model. The process includes the creation of an independent application, which with Oculus Rift technology will allow the user to explore the environment and interact with objects through the use of joypads. The application has been tested in prototype way on volunteers, obtaining results related to the acquisition of the educational notions exposed in the experience through a virtual quiz with multiple answers, achieving an overall evaluation report. The results have shown that MastrLAB-VR is suitable for both beginners and experts and will be adopted experimentally for other laboratories of the University departments.
Building information modelling (BIM) is a new technology to enhance the efficiency of project management in the construction industry. In addition to the potential benefits of this useful technology, there are various risks and obstacles to applying it in construction projects. In this study, a decision making approach is presented for risk assessment in BIM adoption in construction projects. Various risk factors of exerting BIM during different phases of the project lifecycle are identified with the help of Delphi method, experts’ opinions and related literature. Afterward, Shannon’s entropy and Fuzzy TOPSIS (Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to Ideal Situation) are applied to derive priorities of the identified risk factors. Results indicated that lack of knowledge between professional engineers about workflows in BIM and conflict of opinions between different stakeholders are the risk factors with the highest priority.
Construction Industry has been evolving since the development of Building Information Modelling (BIM). This technological process is unstoppable; it is out to the market with remarkable case studies of solving the long industry’s history of fragmentation. This industry has been changing over time; United States has recorded the most significant development in construction digitalization, Australia, United Kingdom and some other developed nations are also amongst promoters of BIM process and its development. Recently, a developing country like China and Malaysia are keying into the industry’s digital shift, while very little move is seen in South Africa whose development is considered higher and perhaps leader in the digital transition amongst the African countries. To authors’ best knowledge, Nigerian construction industry has never engaged in BIM discussions hence has no attention at national level. Consequently, Nigeria has no “Noteworthy BIM publications.” Decision makers and key stakeholders need to be informed on the current trend of the industry’s development (BIM in specific) and the opportunities of adopting this digitalization trend in relation to the identified challenges. BIM concept can be traced mostly in Architectural practices than engineering practices in Nigeria. A superficial BIM practice is found to be at organisational level only and operating a model based - “BIM stage 1.” Research to adopting this innovation has received very little attention. This piece of work is literature review based, aimed at exploring BIM in Nigeria and its prospects. The exploration reveals limitations in the literature availability as to extensive research in the development of BIM in the country. Numerous challenges were noticed including building collapse, inefficiencies, cost overrun and late project delivery. BIM has potentials to overcome the above challenges and even beyond. Low level of BIM adoption with reasonable level of awareness is noticed. However, lack of policy and guideline as well as serious lack of experts in the field are amongst the major barriers to BIM adoption. The industry needs to embrace BIM to possibly compete with its global counterpart.
Structural design and analysis is an important and time-consuming process, particularly at the conceptual design stage. Decisions made at this stage can have an enormous effect on the entire project, as it becomes ever costlier and more difficult to alter the choices made early on in the construction process. Hence, optimisation of the early stages of structural design can provide important efficiencies in terms of cost and time. This paper suggests a structural design optimisation (SDO) framework in which Genetic Algorithms (GAs) may be used to semi-automate the production and optimisation of early structural design alternatives. This framework has the potential to leverage conceptual structural design innovation in Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) projects. Moreover, this framework improves the collaboration between the architectural stage and the structural stage. It will be shown that this SDO framework can make this achievable by generating the structural model based on the extracted data from the architectural model. At the moment, the proposed SDO framework is in the process of validation, involving the distribution of an online questionnaire among structural engineers in the UK.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is not an exception in relying on the growth of its construction industry to support rapid population growth. However, its need for infrastructure development is constrained by low productivity levels and cost overruns caused by factors such as delays to project completion. Delays in delivering a construction project are a global issue and while theories such as Optimism Bias have been used to explain such delays, in KSA, client-related causes of delays are also significant. The objective of this paper is to develop a framework-based approach to explore how the country’s construction industry can manage and reduce delays in construction projects through building information modelling (BIM) in order to mitigate the cost consequences of such delays. It comprehensively and systematically reviewed the global literature on the subject and identified gaps, critical delay factors and the specific benefits that BIM can deliver for the delay management. A case study comprising of nine hospital projects that have experienced delay and cost overruns was also carried out. Five critical delay factors related to the clients were identified as candidates that can be mitigated through BIM’s benefits. These factors are: Ineffective planning and scheduling of the project; changes during construction by the client; delay in progress payment; slowness in decision making by the client; and poor communication between clients and other stakeholders. In addition, data from the case study projects strongly suggest that optimism bias is present in many of the hospital projects. Further validation via key stakeholder interviews and documentations are planned.
Construction cost estimation is one of the most important aspects of construction project design. For generations, the process of cost estimating has been manual, time-consuming and error-prone. This has partly led to most cost estimates to be unclear and riddled with inaccuracies that at times lead to over- or underestimation of construction cost. The development of standard set of measurement rules that are understandable by all those involved in a construction project, have not totally solved the challenges. Emerging Building Information Modelling (BIM) technologies can exploit standard measurement methods to automate cost estimation process and improve accuracies. This requires standard measurement methods to be structured in ontological and machine readable format; so that BIM software packages can easily read them. Most standard measurement methods are still text-based in textbooks and require manual editing into tables or Spreadsheet during cost estimation. The aim of this study is to explore the development of an ontology based on New Rules of Measurement (NRM) commonly used in the UK for cost estimation. The methodology adopted is Methontology, one of the most widely used ontology engineering methodologies. The challenges in this exploratory study are also reported and recommendations for future studies proposed.