This research proposes and tests an integrated framework for bottom-up simulation of performance in construction projects. The proposed framework conceptualizes construction projects as systems-of-systems in which the abstraction and micro-simulation of dynamic behaviors are investigated at the base-level consisting of the following elements: human agents, information, and resources. The application of the proposed framework is demonstrated in a numerical example related to a tunneling project. The findings highlight the capability of the proposed framework in providing an integrated approach for bottom-up simulation of performance in construction projects.
One of the major challenges facing the construction industry is the low efficiency of projects in terms of time, cost and quality. Based on a recent study by the Construction Industry Institute, only 5.4% of the construction projects investigated met both authorized goals in time and cost within an acceptable margin (CII 2012). Better understanding of the determinants of performance is critical in enhancing the performance of construction projects. Construction simulation models (e.g., Cyclone by Halpin (1976), STROBPSCOPE by Martinez (1996), Simphony by Hajjar and AbouRizk (1999)) have been used over the past three decades to facilitate a better understanding of the underlying dynamics affecting the performance of construction projects. However, context-related factors (e.g. human behaviors and organizational culture), which have been proved to have significant impact on the performance of construction projects, cannot be captured by traditional construction simulation models (Lee et al. 2007; CII 2013). Recent studies in construction simulation filed have developed methodologies to incorporate some of these context-related factors into consideration (Lee et al. 2006). Despite the efforts have been made, an integrated framework facilitating a bottom-up understanding of the dynamic behaviors, uncertainties, and interdependencies between the constituents in construction projects is still missing. The major limitation of the existing construction simulation models is the lack of appropriate conceptualization of construction projects. In the existing models, construction projects are conceptualized as monolithic systems. However, construction projects are actually systems-of-systems (SoS) consisting of networks of interconnected human agents, information, and resources. Conceptualization of construction projects as SoS facilitates identification of the dimensions of analysis required for an integrated assessment of performance. The objective of this research is to propose and test an integrated framework for bottom-up simulation of construction projects using a SoS approach. In the following sections, first, the dimensions of analysis related to the proposed framework are introduced. Then, the application of proposed SoS framework is demonstrated in a numerical example.
Figure 1: Time and cost with different designers