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Automating construction manufacturing procedures using BIM digital objects (BDOs): Case study of knowledge transfer partnership project in UK

Yahya Al-Saeed (Faculty of Design and Production, Excelsior Panelling Systems, Dudley, UK)
David John Edwards (Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment (CEBE), Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK and Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa)
Stephen Scaysbrook (Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK)

Construction Innovation

ISSN: 1471-4175

Article publication date: 10 February 2020

Issue publication date: 29 June 2020




This paper aims to present a novel proof-of-concept framework for implementing building information modeling (BIM) Digital Objects (BDO) to automate construction product manufacturers’ processes and augment lean manufacturing.


A mixed interpretivist and post-positivist epistemological lens is adopted to pursue the proof-of-concept’s development. From an operational perspective, a synthesis of literature using interpretivism provides the foundation for deductive research inquiry implemented within a case study approach. Within the case study, participatory action research (PAR) is implemented to test the proof of concept via three “waterfall” research phases, namely, literature diagnosis and BIM package selection, BDO development and validation and evaluation.


The findings illustrate that a BDO (which represents the digital twin of manufacturing products) can augment and drive automation processes and workflows for construction product manufacturers within a contractor’s supply chain. The developed framework illustrates the benefits of a BDO, by reducing the number of manufacturing processes to effectively eliminate early errors in the model, generates financial savings and reduces material wastage.


This research provides a seminal case study that implements BDO to automate construction product manufacturing processes and demonstrates the utilisation of BDO at an operational (vis-à-vis theoretical) level. Future research is proposed to implement a longitudinal approach to measure and report upon the success (or otherwise) of the proof of concept when implemented on fabrications and shop floor procedures.



The authors wish to thank Innovate UK for funding this research work.


Al-Saeed, Y., Edwards, D.J. and Scaysbrook, S. (2020), "Automating construction manufacturing procedures using BIM digital objects (BDOs): Case study of knowledge transfer partnership project in UK", Construction Innovation, Vol. 20 No. 3, pp. 345-377.



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