This paper investigates the requirements of product modelling in the construction industry. Product models incorporate multifaceted aspects of design information (required at each stage of the lifecycle of buildings) by integrating additional information (such as time, costs, etc.) into a three-dimensional (3D) computer model, thereby adding intelligence to it. The project also investigates methodologies for automatically linking construction processes with 3D CAD models to allow users to visualize and simulate construction methodologies. Our study adopts a qualitative approach where semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 key design and construction professionals from two major Australian companies. Data were coded in relation to six main clusters – themes and summaries of results are presented as repertory grids. The paper identifies some of the risks and opportunities of implementing nD modelling in the construction industry. Analysis of data indicates a shift to 3D CAD, with a strong interest being identified for integration of CAD and construction programming. Although the use of product models is not presently seen as feasible for this purpose, the increasing use of 3D CAD is seen as positive. Results indicate a need for alignment models and user-friendly technologies if product models are to assist communication between clients, consultants and construction companies.
Architectural Engineering and Design Management Vol. 1, Issue 2, p. 111-126