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Multi-agent simulation for managing design changes in prefabricated construction projects

Juan Du (SHU-UTS SILC Business School, Shanghai University, Shanghai, China) (School of Building Construction, College of Design, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA)
Hengqing Jing (Shanghai University, Shanghai, China)
Daniel Castro-Lacouture (School of Building Construction, College of Design, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA)
Vijayan Sugumaran (Department of Decision and Information Sciences, School of Business Administration, Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan, USA)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 5 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a multi-agent-based model for quantitatively measuring how the design change management strategies improve project performance.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on questionnaires and interviews, this paper investigates the coordination mechanism of risks due to design changes in prefabricated construction (PC) projects. Combined with all the variables related with design change risks, a multi-agent-based simulation model is proposed to evaluate the design change management effect.

Findings

The coordination mechanism between design change factors, design change events, risk consequence and management strategy in PC projects is described and then the simulation-based design change management mechanism in PC projects is used to assess the effect of management strategies under dynamic scenarios.

Originality/value

PC projects have rapidly increased in recent years due to the advantages of fast construction, high quality and labor savings. Different from traditional on-site construction, the impact and risk from design changes are likely to be greater due to the prefabricated project being multi-stage, highly interactive and complex. The simulations presented in this paper make it possible to test different design change management strategies in order to study their effectiveness and support managerial decision making.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work is supported in part by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant 71701121, and the Chinese Ministry of Education of Humanities and Social Science Project under Grant 17YJC630021.

Citation

Du, J., Jing, H., Castro-Lacouture, D. and Sugumaran, V. (2019), "Multi-agent simulation for managing design changes in prefabricated construction projects", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 27 No. 1, pp. 270-295. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-11-2018-0524

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited