Holonic Construction Management: Unified Framework for ICT-Supported Process Control
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Communication in construction still depends on a communication network much like the Romans used, face-to-face meetings and paper. Not surprisingly, this situation has been identified as an inhibitor to increasing productivity and a source of miscommunication, rework, and avoidable accidents. This paper will present a holonic construction management (HCM) model allowing the inclusion of multitype holons organized in resource clusters as well as “flowing” construction material carrying with it critical information. HCM was successfully tested to provide smooth interface between five different types of holons: (1) equipment, (2) human laborer/operator, (3) material, (4) three-dimensional (3D) space, and (5) information/supply logistics. Results also illustrate the potential of the HCM to integrate the many information and communication technology (ICT) applications into a resilient construction environment where electronic designs are turned into physical products. The results of initial site observations as well as safety statistics were used to identify the most important problem areas. Comparative work studies provided the means to measure differences in performance between traditional and HCM-enhanced approaches. The analysis of the field study results highlighted the effectiveness of a key element of HCM, the creation of new communication corridors between previously disconnected production units or holon. The hardware testing under field conditions highlighted the difficulties of embedding modern ICT systems into the rugged environment of construction as well as the human responses to the changes. Finally, the successful realization of HCM for the rebar supply management emphasized the need for a reevaluation of the traditional contractual relationships as the large gains will not benefit all the participants evenly.
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