On-site production synchronisation : improving the resource-flow in construction projects

Abstract: This thesis presents a process model to support the synchronisation of work flow and resource flows in construction projects. The process model is based on a combination of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and construction management methods. Work-flow is defined as the flow of work on-site, i.e. activities, carried out by the construction workers on the construction site. The work on site requires different kind of resources. These resources have also to flow to and within the construction site. This is defined as resource flow. Planning of construction projects does not only concern the planning of work on site, each material must be delivered in time, drawings must be available when an activity starts, subcontractors must show up when they are required, etc. These plans are not automatically coordinated during the course of a construction project, i.e. the site manager and its supporting team has a lot to keep track of during the project. VDC methods can support the management of the construction work during the project duration and activities and flows must be managed simultaneously. This is only possible when the site manager supported by its project team and foremen can manage these two flows in real-time according to the execution of work on site, i.e. the work-flow and resource-flows must be synchronised. The author proposes a process model based on a number of techniques and methods that can address this need. This is the ´Big Idea´ of this thesis. The objective of this research is to find a suitable process of working with Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) methods to support and synchronise the flow of information, material, construction workers and required resources on construction sites. The research aims to provide a process model including techniques and methods which can be used by site managers, supported by its project team and foremen, to reduce waste and improve productivity of the construction work on site. The research is based on literature studies of construction management, ICT and VDC methods in combination with qualitative investigations and studies of two construction projects. The result of this research is a proposed process model for on-site production synchronisation. The main parts of the process model includes Building Information Models (BIM), Location-Based Planning (LBP), 4D modelling, and Field Force Automation (FFA). The architecture of the model is built to support flow of work and resources, real-time synchronisation, and the Last Planner System of production control. The combination of techniques and methods enables faster follow-up, benchmarking and reuse of experience of on-site production. This allows construction projects not only to be followed up regarding economy, but also regarding productivity, common errors, etc. In that way the productivity in construction can increase. The next step in this research is to evaluate the proposed process model in several case studies. The model will be evaluated step-by-step before the entire process is evaluated.