Dynamic building model integration

Viljoen, Dewald (2012-03)

Thesis (MScEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The amount and complexity of software applications for the building industry is increasing constantly. It has been a long term goal of the software industry to support integration of the various models and applications. This is a difficult task due to the complexity of the models and the diversity of the fields that they model. As a result, only large software houses have the ability to provide integrated solutions on the basis of a common information model. Such a model can more easily be established since the different software is developed within the same group. Other software suppliers usually have to revert to importing and exporting of data to establish some form of integration. Even large software houses still sometimes make use of this technique between their different packages. In order to obtain a fully integrated solution, clients have to acquire complex and expensive software, even if only a small percentage of the functionality of this software is actually required. A different approach to integration is proposed here, based on providing an integration framework that links different existing software models. The framework must be customisable for each individual's unique requirements as well as for the software already used by the individual. In order for the framework to be customisable, it must either encompass the information requirements of all existing software models from the outset, or be flexible and adaptable for each user. Developing an encompassing software model is difficult and expensive and thus the latter approach is followed here. The result is a model that is less general than BIM-style models, but more focussed and less complex. The elements of this flexible model do not have predetermined properties, but properties can instead be added and removed at runtime. Furthermore, derived properties are not stored as values, but rather as methods by which their values are obtained. These can also be added, removed and modified at runtime. These two concepts allow the structure and the functionality of the model to be changed at runtime. An added advantage is that a knowledgeable user can do this himself. Changes to the models can easily be incorporated in the integration framework, so their future development is not limited. This has the advantage that the information content of the various applications does not have to be pre-determined. It is acknowledged that a specific solution is required for each integration model; however the user still has full control to expand his model to the complexity of BIM-type models. Furthermore, if new software models are developed to incorporate the proposed structures, even more seamless and flexible integration will be possible. The proposed framework is demonstrated by linking a CAD application to a cost-estimation application for buildings. A prototype implementation demonstrates full integration by synchronising selection between the different applications.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die hoeveelheid en kompleksiteit van sagteware programme vir die bou industrie is konstant aan die vermeerder. Dit was nog altyd 'n lang termyn doelwit van die sagteware industrie om integrasie van die verskeie modelle en programme te ondersteun. Hierdie is 'n moeilike taak as gevolg van die kompleksiteit van die modelle, en die diversiteit van die velde wat hierdie programme modelleer. Die gevolg is dat net groot sagteware huise die vermoë het om geïntegreerde oplossings te bied op die basis van 'n gemeenskaplike inligting model. So 'n tipe model kan makliker bymekaargestel word siende dat al die verskillende sagteware binne dieselfde groep ontwikkel word. Ander sagteware verskaffers moet gewoonlik gebruik maak van sogenaamde uitvoer/invoer tegnieke om 'n mate van integrasie te verkry. Selfs groot sagteware huise maak ook gebruik van hierdie tegnieke tussen hulle verskeie pakkette, in plaas van om die programme direk met mekaar te koppel. Om 'n vol geïntegreerde oplossing te verkry, moet kliënte komplekse en duur sagteware aanskaf, selfs al word net 'n klein gedeelte van die funksionaliteit van hierdie sagteware gebruik. 'n Verskillende benadering word hier gevolg, gebaseer op 'n integrasie raamwerk wat verskillende bestaande sagteware modelle met mekaar koppel. Die raamwerk moet aanpasbaar wees vir elke individu se unieke opset. Vir die raamwerk om aanpasbaar te wees, moet dit óf alle bou industrie inligting inkorporeer van die staanspoor af, óf dit moet buigbaar en aanpasbaar wees vir elke gebruiker. Om 'n model te ontwikkel wat alle bestaande inligting inkorporeer van die staanspoor af is moeilik en duur, dus word die tweede benadering gevolg. Die eindresultaat is 'n model wat minder omvattend is as BIM-tipe modelle, maar eerder gefokus en minder kompleks. Die elemente van hierdie buigbare model het nie voorafbepaalde eienskappe nie, eienskappe kan bygevoeg en weggevat word terwyl die program hardloop. Verder word afgeleide eienskappe nie gestoor as waardes nie, maar eerder as metodes wat gebruik word om hulle waardes mee af te lei. Hierdie konsepte laat toe dat die struktuur en funksionaliteit van die model verander kan word terwyl die program hardloop. 'n Verdere voordeel is dat 'n kundige verbruiker die veranderinge self kan doen. Veranderinge in die modelle kan maklik ingesluit word in die integrasie model, so toekomstige ontwikkeling word nie beperk nie. Dit beteken dat die inhoud van die modelle nie vooraf bepaal hoef te word nie. Al het die raamwerk 'n gespesialiseerde oplossing vir elke gebruiker tot gevolg, het die gebruiker nogtans volle beheer om sy model uit te brei tot die omvattendheid van BIM-tipe modelle. Indien nuwe sagteware modelle ontwikkel word met die integrasie raamwerk in gedagte, kan nog gladder en buigbare integrasie moontlik wees. In hierdie tesis word 'n tekenprogram met 'n kosteberaming program gekoppel om die voorgestelde raamwerk te demonstreer. 'n Prototipe implementering demonstreer volle integrasie deur seleksie binne die programme te sinchroniseer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/20257
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