טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentErez Dror
SubjectImproving Information Flow in Construction Projects using
Real-Time Monitoring and Information Visualization
DepartmentDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Supervisor Full Professor Sacks Rafael
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Abstract

Construction projects are complex, requiring integration of several participants with different motivations, with dynamic and uncertain conditions, that make coordination and decision making difficult. Site management teams need reliable real-time data regarding the status of work processes on site. This research deals with information about the construction process (or process information), as opposed to information describing the construction product.


The information flow process on site consists of: Data collection, Processing the data into information, and Visualizing the information to support decision making. Several solutions are available for step, but no single platform provides all three. The goal of this research was to test the feasibility of a platform to collect real-time data regarding project status by monitoring the location of construction workers. The platform processes the data into meaningful information and displays the data to the project management team visually. It uses a BIM model, Bluetooth Low Energy )BLE) beacons, and workers' smartphones.


The research adopted an experimental approach: testing the feasibility and technological capabilities of the technology in the lab and in a functioning construction site (a reinforced concrete building residential in the fit out phase). The field experiments included:

a) site observations of several trades,

b) technical experiments to test the BLE beacons in non-sterile surroundings,

c) a week-long field experiment monitoring construction workers' movement patterns with information gathered for 100 working hours regarding six different trades.

d) a field experiment using a mobile phone application developed as part of the research. The application and its cloud platform operated continuously for one month in a complex construction project. Workers’ movements were recorded using BLE sensors, workers` smartphones, and a dedicated mobile application. Using the information gathered, conclusions were drawn regarding the workers' movement patterns.


To validate the data collected, the record was compared to a manual record. Undergraduate research assistants monitored workers` locations by observing them on site or by analysing video recordings. The system succeeded in monitoring workers' locations in real-time with high accuracy. At the level of resolution of an entire apartment, location accuracy was 98%, at the resolution of a region of an apartment, 75%, and at the resolution of a room in the apartment, 60%. The mobile phone application, called "bKan", had interfaces for both construction workers and site managers. The manager's interface displayed the locations of workers, at floor resolution or entire building resolution.


The final site experiments required the cooperation of construction workers, who raised a number of personal issues concerning workers` privacy and the way people adopt new technologies. These issues were not addressed specifically, but will need to be answered in order to successfully embed this new technology in an old-fashioned industry. By embedding technology in construction sites, we can collect vast amounts of data at low cost. This research opens a gate to a new world of data regarding construction processes, its analysis, machine learning etc., and we are currently just seeing the tip of the iceberg.