A knowledge-based electronic meeting system for implementing value management in construction briefing

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

A knowledge-based electronic meeting system for implementing value management in construction briefing


Author: Luo, Xiaochun
Title: A knowledge-based electronic meeting system for implementing value management in construction briefing
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2010
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Value analysis (Cost control)
Construction industry -- Communication systems
Electronic data processing -- Management
Department: Dept. of Building and Real Estate
Pages: xvi, 189 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2425043
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/6045
Abstract: This thesis describes the development and evaluation of a knowledge-based electronic meeting system (EMS) for implementing value management (VM) in construction briefing. This research is driven by two forces. First, difficulties encountered in the VM practice and the briefing practice jointly pose the challenge of efficiently conducting VM studies in construction briefing. The difficulties in briefing include client's limited experience with building industry, difficult representation of client interest groups, difficult identification of client’s needs, difficult interpretation of client’s needs in specific building terms, and lack of sufficient time for briefing. The difficulties of implementing VM include lack of information, lack of participation and interaction and difficulties in conducting accurate evaluation and analysis. Second, there is a growing desire to take advantage of information and communication technologies (ICT) to enhance the efficiency of briefing. In this research, the term "knowledge-based" refers to the case-based reasoning (CBR) features of the EMS. It is designed and implemented to build a learning-and-practicing environment, where people with limited experience of VM can retrieve functions and relevant functional performance criteria of previous similar projects, and then directly or heuristically use them. Thus, three specific research objectives have been established: (1) to develop a knowledge-based EMS for implementing VM in construction briefing; (2) to investigate whether the EMS can facilitate the implementation of VM in briefing; and (3) to investigate whether the CBR feature can facilitate the implementation of functional performance specification (FPS) in briefing. To achieve the research objectives, three research task: literature review, system development, and system evaluation, are conducted. The EMS is designed to increase process gains and decrease process losses in briefing workshops through four contributing mechanisms: (1) the process structure, which is constructed with a structured VM job plan proposed for briefing, FPS, and nominal group technique; (2) the process support, which is implemented with parallel communication, anonymity, group memory, and media effects; (3) the task structure, which is built with function analysis system technique and multi-criteria decision making; and (4) the task support, which is provided through building a collaborative whiteboard, a chat room, an electronic voting feature, and the CBR feature.
With respect to the difference between the objectives for which they are designed, the EMS and the CBR feature are evaluated separately. The performance of the EMS is then evaluated two field studies and an experimental study. The first field study is a VM workshop for a mountain bike track in Hong Kong while the second one is an integrated workshop that consists of three sessions: partnering, VM, and risk management. At the end of each workshop, a questionnaire is completed to completed to collect the participants' opinions on the workshop and the EMS. The experimental study is conducted by 72 part-time postgraduate students. They are divided randomly into two teams: an experimental team supported by the EMS and a control team using the traditional face-to-face means, to conduct a trial briefing workshop for the Phase 8 Development of the HK Polytechnic University Campus. The performance of the EMS is then evaluated through comparing the numbers of the unique functions and ideas of the two teams. The system evaluation results illustrate that the knowledge-based EMS can facilitate the implementation of VM in briefing through providing progress structure, process support, task structure and task support. Two methods are used to evaluate the CBR feature: (1) technical analysis in terms of case base coverage and (2) expert evaluation in terms of the percentage of problem solving successes and the performance of recommendations. According to the evaluation results, the CBR feature has big potential to be helpful in the function analysis phase and the performance specification phase. This research contributes to knowledge from three perspectives. First, this research leads to new knowledge of using EMS to implement VM in construction briefing. As a comprehensive ICT solution for VM, the knowledge-based EMS has a profound impact on the way to conducting construction briefing as well as on the efficiency of VM studies. The research outcomes provide possible solutions to the problems frequently encountered both in briefing and in VM studies. Second, this research leads to new knowledge of developing performance-based briefs. A performance-based approach is a way of thinking and working in terms of ends rather than means; it focuses on what a building is required to do rather than how it is to be constructed. This research proposes a new job plan that enables clients to more efficiently specify their requirements in the form of functions and functional performance. Third, this research contributes knowledge of using CBR, which is designed and implemented on the basis of VM, in construction briefing. This knowledge-based EMS builds a learning-and-practicing environment where inexperienced briefing takers can easily retrieve and learn relevant knowledge from previous similar projects, and directly or heuristically use the retrieved knowledge. In turn, new knowledge (i.e., well-defined original functions, functional performance, and ideas) can be retained and reused in future.

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