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SD-72 – Computerized Decision Support for Modularization of Industrial Construction

Conclusions and Recommendations:

This research was conducted to facilitate decision making in the use of modularization, and to produce a tool for the use by various professionals in the construction industry to aid in determining the feasibility of a given project for modularization. The product of this research, the expert system prototype MODEX, enables that task. It is expected that experts will find MODEX useful for conducting preliminary studies of industrial construction projects that may benefit from modularization. The construction professional will also be able to predict the approximate cost savings or increase that modularization is expected to produce in the project under study.

The construction industry of the near future will be one in which skilled labor is in short supply, and very expensive. At the same time manufacturing processes will be more efficient and cost effective than they are today. Therefore, the industrialized building methods studied in this thesis such as preassembly, prefabrication, and modularization, are expected to be major options in the choice for future construction methods.

CII member companies may benefit from this research by utilizing MODEX at the inception of any pre-feasibility study. MODEX will enable the user to determine in general whether modularization is worth investigating. It has already been used by one of the CII member E.P.C. companies within this scope, (It has proven to be a powerful tool. In this case, as it encouraged the company to consider modularizing the project.) It can also be useful to owner companies which need to consider the construction options for particular industrial project.

MODEX should be adapted to other areas of the construction industry that can benefit from modularization, such as the building construction industry. These changes would eventually make MODEX a powerful tool for construction engineering and decision support.

MODEX would also be enhanced by the addition of a quantitative risk analysis module with regard to certain factors, given certain probabilities. For example, if the probability of a labor strike, or labor shortage can be ascertained based on the historical data, this module can utilize that information along with the relative weight of this factor in the risk analysis, and calculate the expected risk if the recommended construction method is chosen.

Table of Contents:

1. Problem Statement

A. An Overview of Modular Construction

B. Definitions

C. Objectives

D. Issues Addressed

2. Presentation of CII Modularization Task Force

3. Overall Approach/Methodology/Philosophy

A. Schedule

B. Steps

4. Compilation of Expertise

A. Influencing factors

B. Partial Modularization

5. System Architecture

A. Pre-screening

B. Detailed Feasibility Study

C. Economic Study

6. Example Application

7. Prototype Validation

A. Strategy

B. Procedure and Results

C. Statistical Tests

8. Conclusions and Recommendations

9. Appendices

A: Definition of Terms

B: References

C: List of Organizations that Participated in Knowledge Acquisition

D: Rule-Base Listing

E: Help Files

F: Economic Model Basis

G: Validation Information

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