Collaborative production planning with BIM – Design, development and evaluation of a Virtual Production Planning system

Abstract: Construction projects have for a long time been characterized by increased specialization, low productivity, and a fragmented information exchange culture, resulting in inefficient work processes, with time delays and budget overruns. Research within the context of construction planning and scheduling and IT points to improving communication, collaboration, and cooperation to address these problems. However, the focus has been chiefly on production planning processes and scheduling tools and software. Research also points to collaborative user-friendly scheduling systems remaining under-researched; even though collaborative approaches have been introduced, the technological support and implementations are lacking. In this context, this thesis presents a novel collaborative planning and scheduling process and software system, supporting multiple modes of interaction such as individual review, planning, collaborative scheduling and review work in 4D, both co-located and remote. A Design Science Research approach was used to identify requirements that guided the collaborative production planning system's design and development and evaluations. These evaluations show that implementing the collaborative planning and scheduling system enhances understanding of the planning and scheduling of projects and supports both individual and group work. The developed system facilitates information gathering when creating activities and improves collaborative production of the schedule. Furthermore, the new collaborative setting shortens the length of planning workshops while simultaneously increasing the quality output. Thus, the thesis contributes to the body of knowledge of collaborative production planning, collaborative IT systems in construction, how these systems can support communication and collaborative processes in a social context, and how a design science approach could be used in this setting.

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