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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A knowledge management tool for method selection and feasibility reasoning More, Hrishikesh Rajaram


Method selection for the various physical components that comprise a project is central to its successful and timely execution. The selection of appropriate construction method for a given project context is a daunting task given the plethora of available methods, resources, and change in technologies. Typically, preconstruction and prebid meetings serve as the venues for method selection decision-making, where experts from diverse backgrounds apply their knowledge and experience to determine a feasible construction process. Generally, these decision-making processes are not documented, and hence thought processes are not captured for reuse, are not readily transferred, and, as a consequence, mistakes can be repeated. The emerging field of knowledge management in construction shows promise to manage knowledge and experience of construction personnel gained on past projects for future reuse. The knowledge and experience represented in knowledge management tools can be used for partially or fully automated method selection and feasibility reasoning. In this thesis work, a knowledge management tool for method selection has been developed. After a thorough literature review and interviews with construction personnel, factors affecting method selection and feasibility were synthesized for activities related to formwork, reinforcement, and concrete placement. Using a product-modeling hierarchy, a method-modeling hierarchy, and an expert system inference engine, a feasibility reasoning schema was implemented. The thesis work is done in context of the knowledge domain of concrete high-rise construction. However, it is broadly applicable to other types of constructions as well. A conscious effort was made to provide comprehensive decision support for method selection based on technical considerations (i.e. will it work for the physical features present and the method feasibility considerations required), as opposed to optimization of construction method selection. A full-scale high-rise residential tower was used for proof of concept of the reasoning schema.

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