American Society of Civil Engineers

A Decision-Support Model Utilizing a Linear Cost Optimization Approach for Heavy Equipment Selection

by Ahmad Jrade, (Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada, K1N 6N5 E-mail: and Nizar Markiz, Ph.D., (Student, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada, K1N 6N5 E-mail:
Section: Construction Means and Methods, pp. 100-109, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Construction Research Congress 2012: Construction Challenges in a Flat World
Abstract: In heavy earthwork operations, optimizing equipment selection based on economical operational analyses has a primary role in the success of major construction projects. The main objective of this study is geared towards developing an automated optimization model in order to assist contractors in this multifaceted task. Economical operation analysis is conducted for an equipment fleet while taking into consideration the owning and operating comprehensive costs involved in most of earthwork operations. The proposed model is developed in a Microsoft environment using Visual Basic for Applications® (VBA) and is capable of being integrated with other estimating and optimization or simulation models. The implementation of the model provides optimum equipment fleet to perform earthwork operations based on their economical operation analysis by providing the user with a final optimized report that includes ownership and rental options. The model is validated through an actual case project to illustrate its numerical capabilities and to quantify its degree of accuracy. The results of this study are anticipated to be of major significance to contractors and would contribute to the database of fleet management systems by including a computer model that integrates heavy equipment operational analysis with its corresponding comprehensive economical analysis.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Construction management
Decision support systems
Construction equipment