Title page for ETD etd-07262007-145650

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Chen, Qian
Author's Email Address qchen@vt.edu
URN etd-07262007-145650
Title An Object Model Framework for Interface Management in Building Information Models
Degree PhD
Department Environmental Design and Planning
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Beliveau, Yvan J. Committee Chair
Reichard, Georg Committee Co-Chair
Garvin, Michael J. Committee Member
O'Brien, Michael J. Committee Member
  • project management
  • construction
  • object-oriented
  • interface modeling
Date of Defense 2007-07-13
Availability unrestricted
The construction industry's overall project performance is significantly reduced by numerous interface issues that also hinder its industrialization. Interface Management (IM) is becoming critical to the success of multidisciplinary construction projects. This research deals with three challenging problems associated with IM: 1) how to build a holistic understanding of interface issues for developing all-around IM solutions; 2) how to define and present interface information in a unified, accurate, and efficient way to improve information sharing, coordination, and implementation; and 3) how to resolve interface issues as a whole to optimize IM performance.

Comprehensive cause factors of interface issues are investigated from different yet interrelated perspectives. These cause factors allow for the development of an object data model and a systematic IM strategy. The findings of this multi-perspective approach not only add a holistic view of interface issues to the existing body of knowledge but also provide a theoretical base for researchers and practitioners to seek all-around IM solutions.

As a key innovation, an object view of interfaces is defined, resulting in a unified way of presenting interface information. This new technique of modeling interfaces as knowledgeable, intelligent, and active objects is far superior to the traditional use of simple relationships. The proposed Interface Object Model (IOM) framework is the first in the literature to present a comprehensive data structure and its dependencies of interface information for object modeling. This can greatly improve the quality and interoperability of modeled interface information. When integrated into a Building Information Modeling (BIM) approach, this technique can significantly enhance BIM capabilities for interface-related coordination, decision-making, operation, and management.

As a first application, a systematic model-based IM strategy is conceptually developed, which provides a good foundation for creating an implementation environment for the developed interface model. This strategy aims to resolve interface issues as a whole throughout a complete project process.

The multi-perspective approach, the generically structured IOM, and the conceptual, systematic IM strategy all target broad applications. Individually or jointly, they can also be applied to other domains beyond construction.

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