Integrated design and construction for bridges: key aspects and benefits

University dissertation from Chalmers University of Technology

Abstract: The rate of productivity and innovation capacity within the Swedish construction industry of today is perceived to lead to a poor return of investment within infrastructures. Bridges, are commonly designed for a long service-life, and all stages after realization is greatly dependent on and constrained by decisions made during design and construction of the structure. To design for ease of construction is something that is always demanded by contractors and a challenge for the designers. It is widely known that the ability to influence a structure and its future properties is at its greatest in early stages, i.e. the project preparation phase followed by the design phase. Even though there is an obvious need for knowledge of construction in design work, there is a lack of a consistent and structured transmission of experience between the construction and the designing engineers.

Different approaches that are used today to generate productivity improvements in the construction industry are presented, evaluated and compared. The results sheds light to the common features of the approaches and that they necessarily don’t exclude each other. Life-cycle considerations, established team approach and identify critical design variables are common denominators. The outcome of a construction project is therefore in most cases dependent on the individual skills to collaborate and communicate.

A framework was established to identify areas of improvement to reach effectiveness within Swedish bridge design teams. The construction sectors are assessed and generates a common view regarding the collaboration and communication in the prevailing way of work. This the gives an indication of where to address the main efforts. Overall, the greatest potential for improvement were found at the project team level.

The contribution from this thesis provides with further knowledge to develop the contemporary approach in design and construction of bridges.