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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Design creativity: advanced design representation futures
Article Type: Guest editorial From: Construction Innovation, Volume 14, Issue 4
Construction projects are increasingly becoming more complex, often engaging new business processes and technological solutions to meet clients’ requirements. These new processes and technological solutions often require parallel improvements in skilled professionals and operatives. It is envisioned that in the future, architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) professionals will work independently in interdisciplinary teams with matching skill sets and competencies to meet complex project requirements and business imperatives. In lieu of establishing advanced design representation futures, this Special Issue aims to create foresight into future digital tools, their expected operating environments and the training gaps needed for design professionals in particular. The rationale, therefore, is to highlight how these improved virtual delivery processes and technologies affect the designed products, the design procedures, production techniques and associated construction implementation processes. It therefore uncovers issues of evaluating how digital design, especially virtual environments and building information modelling can support dynamic AEC design organisations to optimise project delivery. As such, it focuses on all phases of the building development life cycle that affect or impinge upon the design phase of a building project.
This Special Issue includes papers on foresights, developments and applications of advanced digital tools within the AEC sector – expressly to highlight existing theoretical and technical gaps within: design practice, design–production, design–construction and design–facility management. In addition, it uncovers topics relating to collaboration and implementation needs of multi-disciplinary team members.
The first two papers focus on innovation in construction using Building Information Modelling (BIM) adaptation from a planning point of view and stakeholders’ perspective. Enegbuma et al. reported the findings of their study which investigated different angles of BIM uptake in Malaysia in accordance with collaborative contribution by project teams at various stages of design and construction implementation. They evaluated the impacts of various factors by looking at them from the perspectives of people, process and technology to strategic IT in construction – mediated by collaborative processes for the emerging BIM players. In the second paper, Murphy asserts that the construction industry lacks the mechanisms to effectively implement BIM. Moreover, it is argued that this is because BIM is currently being delivered as a project rather than an innovation. Other findings include an acknowledgement that the industry tends to fail to address stakeholders’ competency as the key delivery agent of BIM. Using an established Competency Framework, Murphy assessed 31 studies on BIM and developed a matrix to align the BIM studies with the Competency Framework. This study posited that whilst the competency-related literature on BIM has not yet matured enough, BIM implementation still aligns closely with the innovation process.
The next two papers promote new technical approaches for BIM utilisation. Wang et al. challenged the traditional “static” and “cold” methods of architectural visualisation and proposed integration of augmented reality (AR) systems to BIM to improve the building design lifecycle. This study, comprised of a case study and interviews, revealed that the use of integrated BIM and AR in architectural visualisation supports innovative performance. Moreover, various benefits for designers, owners and estate agents can be evidenced. The paper by Bridge and Carnemolla explored the implications of socially inclusive BIM library components. This used an action-based research methodology to design, develop and deploy three enabling blocks as part of a plan to develop a larger library of tools for BIM practitioners. The paper discussed the design and development of the library components in detail. Results highlighted that “appropriate” code-compliant design tools can support the greater social inclusion aspects of built environment projects to become more beneficial for designers, engineers and certifiers.
The final two papers concentrate on the perspectives of collaborative planning and the impact of Enterprise Resource Planning on site monitoring. Zhou et al. present their research on user-centred design for collaborative four-dimensional (4D) modelling. This investigated the potential of using 4D modelling technology for integrating geographically dispersed planners to achieve collaborative construction planning. It postulated that the application of this technology in teamwork still remains a challenge in computer-supported collaborative work (CSCW). This paper investigated the role of CSCW in collaborative 4D modelling and its user interface/interaction in design for prototyping. Research findings verified the use of usability interfaces to support design collaboration, but highlighted the need to undertake further work to address design weaknesses and improve collaborators’ awareness (to help ensure smoother task transitions). The final paper in this Special Issue is by Vegad et al., who present a techno-economic feasibility study on the application of Audio Visual Enterprise Resource Planning (AV-ERP) to tackle the issues associated with the lack of coordination amongst the stakeholders concerning on-site construction activities – who were not prepared for adopting technological solutions. This was motivated by the rapid urbanisation and economic growth in India and the overwhelming development in infrastructure projects. Research findings highlighted that technology such AV-ERP can play a significant role in coordinating, controlling and improving construction activities and resources, especially communication, information exchange and its impact on project overheads.
Farzad Pour Rahimian and Rahinah Ibrahim, Guest Editors