Visual 4D planning and scheduling techniques, that integrate 3D CAD models with the timing of construction activities, have proven to be more beneficial than traditional tools and are increasingly being employed on complex projects. In 4D models, project participants can effectively visualise and analyse problems regarding sequential, spatial, process conflicts and temporal aspects of construction schedules, prior to actual construction operations on site. The objective of this paper is to introduce and evaluate innovative visual planning tools that were developed as part of the VIRCON project. The VIRCON project, funded by EPSRC (UK funding agency), developed seven integrated IT tools with the objective of assisting construction planners to make accurate and informed planning decisions with particular emphasis on the allocation of activity's execution space. The successful development of the VIRCON tools was based upon the industrial requirements, real-life project data, and finally evaluated by the industrial collaborators. This paper will briefly introduce the VIRCON tools and thoroughly report on the industrial user evaluation. The aims of the evaluation were to establish the usefulness and usability of the individual VIRCON tools, and to indicate the potential towards commercialisation and real implementation. Ten collaborators from the construction industry evaluated VIRCON through a real-life case study. The space planning approach and visualisation features developed in this project were found to be practical and communicative.
|Journal||Journal of Information Technology in Construction|
|Publication status||Published - 2005|