UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Understanding how advanced parametric design can improve the constructability of building designs Shahrokhi, Hooman


Construction project complexity is rapidly growing, increasing the need for better project and design management practices. This complexity is attributable to the advancements in technology which have resulted in an intensification of contemporary design generation. Projects such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California by Frank Gehry & Associates exemplify the results of such technological advancements. This thesis presents the results of a year-long research project in the form of a case study on a building facade system. The case study approach is chosen due to the exploratory nature of this research project in answering a ‘how’ question where we have the ability to observe the events under investigation but lack control over them. The objective of this research is to understand how advanced parametric design can improve constructability of building designs. The research project was initiated as a test of the hypothesis by our industry partner, an international architecture firm, that they have been able to significantly improve constructability of a building facade system by using advanced parametric design tools. While the results of this study supported this assertion, a number of recurring challenges were noticed in the construction process. As a result, phase II of the project was introduced to include a rigorous productivity study of the construction process, identification of delay types, categorization of those delay types into constructability issues, and quantifying the impact of those constructability issues on the project. Finally, a conceptual design approach is developed and used to address the constructability issue with the largest impact by incorporating construction knowledge - as design rules - into the design stage using advanced parametric design tools in order to produce a design improved for constructability. The results are then validated through a comparison with the original design and checked with an expert subcontractor for confirmation. The claimed contribution of this research project is an increased understanding of how advanced parametric design tools can be used to improve constructability of the building facade system studied through design.

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