BIM-based construction simulation modelling

Osorio-Sandoval, Carlos Arturo (2021) BIM-based construction simulation modelling. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Construction simulation has been widely used in academia for research purposes and its usefulness as a planning and decision-making support tool has been proven. However, it has been neglected by the industry for various reasons, including the amount of data, skills, effort and time required to develop complex simulation models, the difficulty of model reuse, and the abstract and confusing way in which simulation results are usually presented.

This thesis proposes a simulation modelling approach that leverages existing simulation modelling paradigms used in the context of construction engineering and management, namely, discrete-event simulation, distributed simulation, hierarchical control structures and parametric modelling. The proposed simulation modelling approach enables an accurate representation of resource allocation and task interdependencies constraints while enabling model reuse to streamline the process of developing complex simulation models. Moreover, the proposed simulation approach provides a mechanism to enhance the visualisation of simulation results by generating simulation-based animations, which can be used for different visualisation purposes. The thesis discusses how the proposed simulation approach could tackle some of the barriers to adopting simulation in the industry.

Subsequently, the thesis presents a framework for the semi-automatic generation of a construction simulation model and animations of its results from a building information model (BIM). The development of the proposed conceptual framework was based on the proposed simulation modelling approach. The framework is composed of five main modules: (1) the environment module, preloaded with a library of generic simulation models of different construction activities, (2) the user input, which includes the facility to import existing BIM models, (3) the preprocessing module, which automatically generates a BIM-based simulation model, (4) the simulation module, in which users can experiment with the model, and (5) the visualisation module, which produces reports and simulation-based animations to support planning and decision-making.

The proposed conceptual framework and its components were tested by designing a game engine-based application implemented in the Unity game engine. The features of the selected game engine were exploited to achieve the intended functionality of the framework. The feasibility of the framework was assessed through a case study based on a typical masonry construction problem.

Results of implementing the framework reveal that BIM-based simulations can reduce the skills, effort and time required to develop simulation models, and enable model reuse. The integration of simulation-based animations provides a model verification and validation mechanism, and a means to communicate model results to stakeholders that are unfamiliar with simulation.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Tizani, Walid
Ninic, Jelena
Pereira, Estacio
Keywords: building information modelling; discrete-event simulation; construction simulation; simulation-based animation; game engine
Subjects: T Technology > TH Building construction
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering
Item ID: 64673
Depositing User: Osorio Sandoval, Carlos
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2021 04:40
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 04:40

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