Design Practices to Facilitate Construction Automation

RT-183 Topic Summary
RT 183

Overview

Automation in the construction industry involves the use of mechanical and electronic means to achieve automatic operation or control to reduce exposure, time, or effort while maintaining or improving quality. The use of automation in the construction industry has not kept pace with other industries and construction remains a predominantly labor-intensive activity. Cost, availability, and applicability of automated technologies, along with the knowledge and training required to operate the technologies, are obstacles to implementation. The design of permanent features and the means used to communicate the design may either inhibit or prohibit its use in construction.

The CII Design Practices to Facilitate Construction Automation Project Team (RT-183) was formed to investigate this issue and the impact of design on the use of automated technologies during construction. A survey of constructors, designers, and fabricators was conducted regarding the current use of automated technologies and the practice of addressing construction automation in the design. Interviews were also conducted with personnel in other industries regarding their approach to designing for automation. This study focused on the design of the permanent features of a project, not the temporary processes and structures.

The resulting research was used to develop and record design practices that facilitate construction automation and expose barriers and limitations that affect the consideration of construction automation in the design. The goal was to facilitate the advancement of automation in the construction industry.

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Supporting Implementation

Implementation of automated construction technologies can be greatly affected throughout the design process when consideration is given to the constructor’s opportunities for automation. (RS183-1, p. 29)
Reference: (RS183-1)

2 : Effective Use of Construction Technology

Constructability reviews, standardizing building elements, providing adequate clearance, prioritizing design objectives and comparing design alternatives, communicating the design through specified electronic means, and considering the capabilities and limitations of the automated technologies helps mitigate issues and helps lead to effective accommodation of automated construction technologies in design. (RS183-1, p. 29)
Reference: (RS183-1)

3 : Alignment

Communication of the means by which automated construction technologies can be more fully employed should optimally take place during the design phase. In addition when designers modify the design process and implement the use of automated construction technologies, the designer acts as an implementation champion for the Technology Implementation Cycle. (RS183-1, p. 29)

Reference: (RS183-1)

4 : Contract Modifications Needed

Modifications to contracting arrangements, modified designer compensation structures, and expanded interaction between designers and constructors will mitigate issues and help lead to effective accommodation of automated construction technologies in design. (RS183-1, p. 31)
Reference: (RS183-1)

Key Performance Indicators

Improved cost, Improved schedule, Improved quality (reduced errors & omissions), Improved performance/achieved success, Improved craft productivity

Research Publications

Design Practices to Facilitate Construction Automation - RR183-11

Publication Date: 12/2003 Type: Research Report Pages: 115 Status: Reference

Design Practices to Facilitate Construction Automation - RS183-1

Publication Date: 05/2003 Type: Research Summary Pages: 38 Status: Supporting Product


Presentations from CII Events

Session - Designing for Construction Automation

Publication Date: 06/2003 Presenter: Number of Slides: 26 Event Code: AC03


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