Advances in Civil Engineering / 2018 / Article / Tab 2

Research Article

A Study on the BIM Evaluation, Analytics, and Prediction (EAP) Framework and Platform in Linked Building Ontologies and Reasoners with Clouds

Table 2

The hypothetical case study of the collaborative design process in the BIM EAP Platform.

Design processesOperations of collaborative interactions in X3D

Based on the owner’s requirement and design criteria, the architect designs the office building using a particular application (e.g., AutoCAD), as well as prior experience/knowledge/ontology and reasoner in her/his private workspace (as we assumed, the model shows a partial plan including the core). The architect creates the geometry using project-independent products, as well as project-dependent ontologies (e.g., <structural_element>).
After achieving a certain level of design development, she/he wants the structural engineer to review the design. The architect of the BIM interpreter translates the design created in the application into XML documents and publishes it. The published data will include 3D geometric information and XML tags and ontologies connected to its private data model. As additional information, the published data has the following information:
(i) Who: the architect
(ii) When: creation date
(iii) What: geometry
(iv) How: XML/ontology
(v) Why: the owner’s requirement and design criteria

The structural engineer’s task is to verify the architect’s design in terms of structural buildability. In order for the structural engineer to design the structure of the building, she/he needs the architect’s model and structural codes and standards. The BIM interpreter retrieves the latest version of the design. Although it can process the design, the BIM interpreter is missing some information such as “beam” and “column.” Therefore, the BIM interpreter begins breaking the architectural model into structural pieces (e.g., horizontal and vertical elements) using the incorporated knowledge base, ontologies, and reasoner tools. Then, it translates the model into the structural engineer’s own model to review whether the elements are properly dimensioned and positioned.
If she/he finds something that needs to be modified, then the structural engineer redesigns the structure and provides justification. When the structural design is ready, the BIM interpreter gathers necessary information (e.g., 3D geometric data, properties) and publishes the design with XML tags and ontologies.

When the structural engineer publishes the design, the published data includes the following information:
(i) Who: the structural engineer
(ii) When: modification date
(iii) What: geometry
(iv) How: XML/ontology
(v) Why: structural buildability
When the architect’s BIM interpreter receives the structural design and represents it with architectural ontology, the architect may decide whether she/he accepts the proposed design. Although it would be unrealistic in reality, let us assume that the design of the structure initially conformed to the architect’s requirements thanks to the BIM interpreter communication. Constraints for the architect’s design development are immediately available. Based on this information, the architect may begin designing interior walls and exterior compartments. For the interior walls, she/he allows further modification (e.g., tolerance) because she/he has prior experience with the MEP engineers.

The mechanical engineer’s primary concern is installing the ducts due to their size and inflexibility. In most cases, architectural and structural designs act as constraints for designing ducts and pipes. The size, material, and shape of the ducts and fittings along with the size, material, and connection type of the pipes and the elevation of air terminals should be based on the input data, as well as specifications.
As mentioned earlier, the first task of the interpreter is to find available spaces where the ducts can fit using the provided knowledge bases, ontologies, and reasoner tools, and then illustrate them, as suggested in the view on the left.

The mechanical engineer tries to fit the ducts in the available space suggested by the BIM interpreter. However, it appears that fitting in the space requires a special design (e.g., connection type) that usually leads to cost increase. Then, she/he tries to find out whether modification of the design would be allowed. First, she/he designs the duct and puts it in the same space.
As soon as she/he tries to put it there, she/he can recognize there is physical interference, as shown on the left. Then, the BIM interpreter displays who is in charge of the proposed design and semantic information (e.g., load-bearing or nonload-bearing wall). Let us assume that the interfering walls turn out to be nonload-bearing. Then, the mechanical engineer decides to modify them with additional information (e.g., explanation on his proposed action). The BIM interpreter will publish the proposed design with the following information:
(i) Who: the mechanical engineer
(ii) When: modification date
(iii) What: geometry
(iv) How: XML/ontology
(v) Why: physical interference

After the BIM interpreter of the mechanical engineer publishes the proposed design, the architect’s BIM interpreter retrieves and processes it. Consider the case that the proposed design is within the range of the tolerance specified by the architect. Still, the BIM interpreter lets the architect know that there is a modification proposed by the mechanical engineer. After getting the architect’s confirmation, her/his BIM interpreter publishes the accepted design to remain consistent. Likewise, the architect’s published data will be retrieved and processed by the BIM interpreter for the structural engineer and the mechanical engineer.

The situation for the plumbing engineer is more challenging than that of the mechanical engineer. The main constraints imposed on her/him would be the architectural and structural designs, as well as the mechanical designer’s ducts. Therefore, her/his primary task is to determine whether there is enough space to accommodate pipes.
When the BIM interpreter retrieves all the published data, which were contributed by the architect, the structural engineer, and the mechanical engineer, it begins analyzing geometries to find available spaces. Then, it suggests the spaces surrounded by the beams/columns (the structural engineer) and the ducts (the mechanical engineer) including clearance confined by the ceiling (the architect). If she/he could accommodate all pipes in the suggested spaces, the plumbing engineer could safely let her/his BIM interpreter to publish the design.

Once she/he is done with the pipe layout, the plumbing engineer lets the BIM interpreter publish the design. Then, the other participants of the BIM interpreter will be notified with the following information:
(i) Who: the plumbing engineer
(ii) When: creation date
(iii) What: geometry
(iv) How: XML/ontology

The electrical engineer’s situation is the most challenging because their designs will all constrain her/his design.

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