ITcon Vol. 13, pg. 408-420, http://www.itcon.org/2008/26

Knowledge-based engineering in construction: the prefabricated timber housing case

submitted:November 2007
revised:August 2008
published:September 2008
editor(s):Björk B-C
authors:Marcus Sandberg, PhD,
Division of Functional Product Development,
Department of Applied Physics and Mechanical Engineering, Luleå University of Technology,
marcus.sandberg@ltu.se

Helena Johnsson, PhD,
Division of Structural Engineering – Timber Structures,
Department of Civil, Mining and Environmental Engineering, Luleå University of Technology,
helena.johnsson@ltu.se

Tobias Larsson, Professor,
Division of Functional Product Development,
Department of Applied Physics and Mechanical Engineering, Luleå University of Technology,
tobias.c.larsson@ltu.se
summary:Swedish prefabricators of domestic buildings need to become more effective and efficient; the aim of this paper is to investigate the usefulness of rule-based IT support tools for this purpose. The current sales and design process at a timber volume element prefabricator is presented and evaluated regarding information management and standardisation. It was found that information management during early design is often ad hoc and person dependent; therefore searching for information that could lead to reuse of past solutions is rather time demanding. There is a need for standardisation due to a mentality of designing one-of-a-kind buildings. Knowledge-based engineering is seen as an enabler to enhance the current situation and an IT support procedure is suggested. A demonstrator stair tool was tested, which lets the seller discuss needs with the customer and then use the tool to assess cost and manufacturability. It is argued that the IT support procedure can enable; automation of activities and availability of down stream knowledge in virtual format and a connection between instances of the same geometry. If design flaws can be found early on, downstream waste activities can be reduced. Standardisation could be realised through modularisation, which the implementation of the IT support tool procedure could gain from.
keywords:Timber prefabrication, information management, knowledge-based engineering, early phase design, manufacturing evaluation
full text: (PDF file, 0.419 MB)
citation:Sandberg M, Johnsson H, Larsson T (2008). Knowledge-based engineering in construction: the prefabricated timber housing case, ITcon Vol. 13, pg. 408-420, http://www.itcon.org/2008/26