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A Methodology for the Automated Creation of Construction Simulation Models Open Access


Other title
Model Compiler
Discrete Event Simulation
Model Descriptive Data
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Labban, Ramzi Roy
Supervisor and department
Abourizk, Simaan (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Hoover, H. James (Computing Science)
Qiu, Zhijiun (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Stylios, Chrysostomos D. (Department of Computer Engineering-Technological Educational Institute of Epirus)
Al-Hussein, Mohammed (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Mohammed, Yasser (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Construction Engineering and Management
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Although much academic research has been performed in the study of construction process simulation, this research has not seen mainstream application in the construction industry. Many factors play a deterrent role in the adoption of simulation by construction end users, mainly the time, cost and skills required to utilize simulation as a viable tool to analyze construction operations. In addition to construction domain expertise, simulation modeling and development skills are required to build a simulation model. The modeling process is the most difficult and time consuming part of the process of building and utilizing a simulation model. The time, effort and technical expertise required to build and experiment with a simulation model balanced against the uniqueness and relatively short life cycle of a construction project is what leads to the slow adoption of simulation by the construction industry. The objective of this research is to make construction simulation more accessible to construction domain expert end users by reducing the modeling effort required for building construction simulation models. It aims at doing so by developing a methodology which will allow construction end users to rapidly build simulation models using information they are familiar with and use as part of their work. The proposed methodology describes the product, process and environment definitions that describe a construction operation with the purpose of constructing a simulation model to mimic it. It also describes the algorithms and programming required to build a discrete event simulation model compiler that would use the provided product, process and environment definitions to compile a DES model of the described operation, run the model, and produce simulation run results. The methodology will help simulation practitioners develop systems composed of data structures which hold model descriptive information and simulation run result sets, and a DES model compiler program which will compile the model and execute it for the user. Three case studies of actual construction project simulators are examined to establish the commonalities in building construction simulation models. The commonalities found are then used to describe the different components of the methodology. The methodology is prototyped in a proof of concept setting and then applied to rebuild one of the case study simulation models using the prototype system. The methodology is then applied to build an enterprise level production version system using the methodology. The production version is then utilized to redevelop the same case study which was rebuilt using the prototype, and to build a simulation model for a new construction operation.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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