American Society of Civil Engineers

Representing Work Spaces Generically in Construction Method Models

by Burcu Akinci, (Asst. Prof., Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890. E-mail:, Martin Fischer, (Assoc. Prof., Dept. of Civ. and Envir. Engrg. and (by Courtesy) Computer Sci., Dir., Ctr. for Integrated Facility Engrg., Stanford, CA 94305. E-mail:, John Kunz, (Sr. Res. Assoc., Ctr. for Integrated Facility Engrg., Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA 94305. E-mail:, and Ray Levitt, (Prof., Dept. of Civ. and Envir. Engrg., Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA 94305. E-mail:

Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, Vol. 128, No. 4, July/August 2002, pp. 296-305, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: Construction activities require a set of work spaces to be executed safely and productively. The locations and volumes of these spaces change in three dimensions and across time, according to project-specific design and schedule information. Previous research on construction space management requires users to specify the spatio-temporal data necessary to represent each project-specific space needed for construction. Since a construction schedule consists of hundreds of activities requiring multiple types of spaces, this approach is practically infeasible. There is a need for a generic (project-independent) representation of work spaces, from which the project-specific instances of spaces can be derived automatically based on project-specific design and construction schedule information. This paper formalizes such a generic space description as a computer-interpretable ontology. This ontology is general, reusable, and comprehensive. A prototype system developed uses this ontology to capture the spatial requirements associated with construction methods and to automate the generation of project-specific spaces represented in three dimensions and across time.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Construction methods
Construction management