Integrated Virtual Parts Library—Parts List Definition


2013-2014 CIFE Seed Project

Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University

Principal Investigator(s): Martin Fischer, Calvin Kam, Guangbin Wang, Cheryl Chi

Researcher(s): Daniel Hall, Jieming Wei, Nanyu Zhao, Raj Padachuri, Sijia Tao

Chi Zhang, Kai Zha, Meiyan Fan, Peng Zhao, Tong Liu, Weihong Yuan, Xiao Ma, Xinghao Shen 

 Industry Collaborator(s): Ben Schwegler, Helen Chen

Engineering/Business Problem Scenario

A cloud-based or desktop-based Building Information Model (BIM) product database, referred to as virtual parts library, provides users with artifacts (referred to here as parts) to select and use for BIM. With the rapid growth of Virtual Design and Construction (VDC), a well-developed parts library can serve as a rich data resource, providing AEC stakeholders with information such as geometric properties, materials, applications, cost control, quality, warranty, and sustainability metrics that are relevant throughout a building’s lifecycle.

Project Proposal

The AEC industry does not have a powerful resource for a reliable and interoperable virtual parts library that is relevant to all stakeholders throughout the facility lifecycle. Current BIM parts libraries are limited within one discipline (mainly architectural), causing loss of efficiency and rework from design through operation stages. The single stakeholder approach is attributable to limitations in industry data standards. This project intends to critique current parts libraries and industry standards and provide a recommended framework for an Integrated Virtual Parts Library relevant across all phases of a building life cycle. Embedded multidisciplinary information, sourced from vendors, users, and third-party metrics, will provide relevant data with respect to the form, function, and behavior of the parts, which professionals can aggregate into components, assemblies, systems and overall building. This Integrated Virtual Parts Library will allow for a more efficient, collaborative, and data-driven decision-making process in Virtual Design and Construction.

Key Results

The research team defined Part as: any entity that comprises the final building product through acts of installation or application. This definition specifically focuses on the construction activity as it is the final “adding value” action in the project. The definition of a part creates a control variable that can be held constant for vertical compatibility (from start to finish of a project), horizontal coordination (across different AEC disciplines) and longitudinal comparison (across different types of projects).

There are also three key criteria for the virtual Part List defined as: organized, integrated, and dynamic. It requires the part list to provide comprehensive & accurate information for multi-discipline participants in an organized structure with flexibility. The system should also allow support the dynamic project design/construction changes and the next generation of BIM software.

Case Study

Using this operational definition, a comprehensive Part count estimate for a construction project was carried out. The Project case is a seven floor, 420-guest room hotel in the early construction stage, with a gross floor area of approximately 430,000 square feet. 60% Construction Documents BIMs, drawings of typical hotel sections, some specifications were used as major information source during the Part counting. The result shows a Part range between 3.2 million and 4.6 million. Given the building floor area, this result means an average of 9 Parts per square feet.

In addition to the hotel project, a hospital project in is also studied. The scope of that study specifically focused on its 440 prefabricated bathrooms. The bathrooms were particularly designed for prefabrication and fast construction and detail data were collected from the project contractor. The results shows that with the help of prefabrication, the Part count for one bathroom could reduce from 4,000 to about 60. For a total of 440 bathrooms in that project, the Part count is cut from about 1.7 million to 25,000, which is a 98.5% reduction in total number of onsite Parts. The contractor estimated that the bathroom prefabrication could resulted in 7 months of schedule saving, 150,000 hours or work moved from onsite to off-site, and about 3% overall cost saving. It is clear that there is a lot benefit in promoting prefabrication and a relationship between Part number and cost and schedule saving could be generated.

Future Research

This Seed Project study confirm the initial intuition: the AEC industry requires an integrated information platform to better serve the project needs. Should the future research successfully demonstrate that Parts could serve as the foundation of this integrated platform, the project team will study on other applications of Parts. Major tasks are: continue develop Part Ontology; apply Part Ontology in project management; and use Part as new metric for lean construction and multi-discipline optimization. 

Integrated Virtual Parts Library - CIFE Seed Proposal.pdf1.23 MB
Integrated Virtual Parts Library-Parts List Definition.pptx3.74 MB

Last modified Tue, 18 Aug, 2015 at 11:49