Author: Shen, Weilin
Title: A BIM-based Pre-occupancy Evaluation Platform (PEP) for facilitating designer-client communication in the early design stage
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2011
Subject: Communication in architectural design.
Buildings -- Computer-aided design.
Building information modeling.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Department of Building and Real Estate
Pages: xix, 196 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
Abstract: The architectural design process may vary according to different situations, but the common ground of this process generally starts from a briefing stage and ends up with design drawings. During the briefing and design process, communication between designers and clients is usually intensive and significant. Such communication is mainly based on client's requirements and solutions proposed by designers. Consequently in practice, there are constant interactions between these two groups of people. As documented in literature, there are some gaps between the designers and clients during these interactions. First, unlike designers, inexperienced clients may find difficulties in reading 2D drawings and imagining how the design will be emerged after construction stage. This will affect the process and outcome of requirement specification and design review. It is also not easy for them to understand how their organization daily activities will be accommodated in the new built environment (such as movement patterns). This would also affect them to effectively evaluate the design solutions. On the other hand, although some requirement models were established, there is still demand for a platform to manage both of the client requirements and feedback, and facilitate them to review design solutions against those requirements during the communication with designers, especially in the context of a virtual environment. In order to address the problems mentioned, objectives of this research are (1) to review the literature about the early architectural design process, discover the problems affecting effectiveness of the designer-client communication, and find the approaches of improvements; (2) to design and develop a Pre-occupancy Evaluation Platform (PEP) by integrating building information modelling, user activity simulation and requirements management techniques, so as to narrow the gaps between designers and clients; (3) to validate the effectiveness of this platform in enhancing client understanding of the design solutions, and improving their performance during requirement specification and design review process.
To achieve these objectives, different research methods were used. Literature review was conducted to understand the background of this research, define problems need to be solved by the PEP, and review relevant techniques for solving these problems. An applied research method named research and development was applied to establish this new platform. This PEP contains three modules: (1) building information module; (2) user information module; and (3) pre-occupancy evaluation module. In the first two modules, virtual prototyping technology is applied to improve client understanding of their built environment. A virtual environment is built based on Building Information Modelling (BIM) tools for demonstrating both building models and end-user activities in the built environment. In the pre-occupancy evaluation module, a specification of client requirements and feedback is complied, which contains requirements of building projects (mainly in spatial factors) and related questionnaires for collecting client feedback. An interface is also designed to facilitate the clients to manage requirements and review design solutions. Both of the requirements and feedback are recorded and saved in a database during the design process. In addition, a guideline of implementing the PEP in practice was developed. During the validation process, experimental research, action research and questionnaire survey were employed to validate the impact of PEP in improving participant's understanding of the design solutions and their satisfaction of the design review process. This validation process was also intended to test the effectiveness of PEP in facilitating participants to generate feedback. In this process, the conventional communication methods supported by 3D building models were used for comparative study. The results of this validation indicated that, compared with the conventional communication process, the simulation of end-user activities can improve client understanding of the building design mainly in terms of spatial factors and increase their willingness and confidence to work collaboratively with the designers. The application of requirements and feedback specification and related interface also help them to generate larger number of suggestions for improving the design solutions, especially in terms of the spatial factors. These suggestions include further developed requirements and unsatisfied requirements discovered during the design review process. Therefore, the PEP is considered to provide an effective tool to facilitate the designer-client communication. The main contributions of this research include (1) this research has lead to new knowledge on establishing a Pre-occupancy Evaluation Platform (PEP) for improving designer-client collaborative working efficiency during the early design stage; (2) this research has provided new insights into building up a user activity simulation model which contains both information about the building design and user organization in a project; (3) this research also provides new knowledge on creating and implementing a client requirements and feedback specification, which supports clients in conducting a systematic pre-occupancy evaluation during the design stage.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: open access

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