Electronic Simulation in Construction

RT-154 Topic Summary
RT 154


Owners, engineers, construction managers, and contractors face numerous problems throughout the life cycle of a project. The research team involved in RT-154 believes that each of these entities can strongly benefit from the use of electronic simulation in construction for mitigating problems such as a lack of comprehensive scope visualization and design review, issues around constructability, maintainability, operability, quality and safety, and also cost and schedule control.

The purpose of this research was to identify, analyze, and evaluate the current use of interactive electronic simulation in construction (ESIC). The objectives were to:

  • Identify and evaluate existing technologies
  • Develop procedures and recommendations on applying the technologies

To establish the state of electronic simulation in construction, an extensive review of existing literature and supplier product information was conducted, followed by three different questionnaire surveys and two case studies. Finally, the results obtained from the research were used to develop a decision aid to assist users in selecting the most appropriate electronic simulation technology for their use.

The results highlight the benefits, limitations, and barriers of electronic simulation in heavy industrial construction, and also establish the state-of-the-art, state-of-practice, and the state-of-R&D for electronic simulation in construction.

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Electronic Simulation

Electronic simulation in construction is a rapidly evolving technology with research into currently available technology being of the utmost importance. (RS154-1, p. 21)
Reference: (RS154-1)

2 : Value of Electronic Simulation

CII members believe that electronic simulation reduces cost, schedule, and rework. The majority (92%) of the respondents found electronic simulation to be value adding for the construction industry both now and in the future. Electronic simulation will remain an important field of review, consideration, and implementation facing the industry membership. (RS154-1, p. 21)
Reference: (RS154-1)

3 : Electronic Simulation Project Types

Types of projects that would benefit most from the use of electronic simulation include: projects that use 3D modeling, large projects, fast track design-build, heavily process-oriented projects, process piping, rehabilitation projects, greenfield projects, power plants, high-risk projects, grass root and revamp projects, projects with several constraints (e.g., time, supplies, windows, completed logic, unlimited resources), and confined spaces. (RS154-1, p. 21)
Reference: (RS154-1)

4 : 3D CAD

3D CAD is the most commonly used technology for electronic simulation in construction according to the research findings. Integrated applications are increasingly being used. The use of virtual reality and mathematical simulation was less prevalent. (RS154-1, p. 22)
Reference: (RS154-1)

5 : Industry to Drive Electronic Simulation

The industry should take a participative role in driving the recommendations and supplier developments of the electronic simulation tools to ensure the technology is designed for the industry end-users. Of utmost importance to the buy-in and use of simulation systems in the construction field will be the ease of use and intuitive interface with multiple supplier applications, and effective/efficient field implementation technologies. (RS154-1, p. 22)
Reference: (RS154-1)

6 : Electronic Simulation Usage

ESIC systems are most beneficial when used at all levels of the project team throughout the life cycle of the project. One should analyze current and future needs before making a decision about electronic simulation in construction. CII companies should work with suppliers on improving the usability of ESIC systems. (RS154-1, p. 22)
Reference: (RS154-1)

7 : Implementation Tool #1

Supplier Criteria Review Checklist – use this simple checklist to determine product features and operating environment desired by the user (RS154-1, Appendix C)

Implementation Guidelines for ESIC – use this simple guideline to assist in the implementation of electronic simulation in construction (RS154-1, Appendix D)

Decision Aid for Electronic Simulation in Construction, CII Research Team 154 decision aid – use web based decision model to determine whether electronic simulation in construction is recommended on a project. See Emerging Technologies Web Site (no longer a working website) . (RS 154-1, p. 23)
Reference: (RS154-1)

Key Performance Indicators

Improved cost, Improved schedule, Improved quality (reduced errors & omissions)

Research Publications

Electronic Simulation in Construction - RR154-11

Publication Date: 12/2001 Type: Research Report Pages: 204 Status: Reference

Electronic Simulation in Construction - RS154-1

Publication Date: 10/2001 Type: Research Summary Pages: 30 Status: Tool

Presentations from CII Events

Session - Electronic Simulation in Construction

Publication Date: 07/2001 Presenter: Bryan Sharp Number of Slides: 22 Event Code: AC01