ITcon Vol. 2, pg. 1-31,

Product Model Based Design of Precast Facades

submitted:November 1996
revised:March 1997
published:April 1997
authors:Vesa Karhu, Research Scientist
VTT Building Technology, Technical Research Centre, Espoo, Finland
summary:In Finland, approximately 80 % of the facades of buildings are manufactured as precast units. Currently one of the obstacles to making the overall design and construction of precast building facades more efficient is the exchange of data about facades between architects, structural engineers and precast element manufacturers. The product model approach seems to offer a new methodology for data exchange and sharing which would solve many of the current problems. This paper presents the results of research carried out at the Technical Research Centre of Finland in which this approach was tested.The prevailing way of designing facades was chosen as a reference process model. Based on an analysis of data needs in the different stages of the process a product data model of a facade was developed. The product data model was restricted to facades only and does not include other information about the building. Central data structures in the conceptual schema define how a precast concrete facade consists of precast concrete units, i.e., elements. Structural wall layers that may have openings form the elements. The conceptual schema was implemented as a prototype which was based on existing software, modified and further developed. The prototype was tested by an architectural design company, a structural design company and a manufacturer. The main conclusion of testing was that the data produced in the architectural design is directly usable in further design. The structural or element design may use the architectural data as such. Also, it is possible to create applications that take into account the architect's preferred design approach.
keywords:facade, precast, data exchange, object oriented, architectural design
full text: (PDF file, 0.488 MB)
citation:Vesa Karhu (1997). Product Model Based Design of Precast Facades, ITcon Vol. 2, pg. 1-31,