FYPs/Thesis/Journal from Higher Education Institutions in Hong Kong


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Institution Title Type Date Author(s) Abstract Link
HKUST Social BIMCloud – A Distributed Cloud-based BIM Framework for Object-based Lifecycle Information Exchange and Supply Chain Integration Thesis 08/2015 Moumita DAS Due to its fragmented and multi-domain architecture, the AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) industry faces the issues of data transfer efficiency and data consistency while exchanging large BIM files. In this thesis, a cloud based BIM framework, called Social BIMCloud is presented for building design and management of lifecycle activities. Social BIMCloud addresses the issue of data transfer efficiency by reducing the size of the BIM files being exchanged through dynamic splitting and merging mechanisms. Data consistency is also improved by hosting a common integrated BIM model which is updated partially instead of generating a new BIM file for every new change, which usually leads to data duplicity. This collaborative framework, Social BIMCloud is termed “Social” in particular, as it captures and manages the formal and informal social interactions that take place in a construction project. The methodology for capturing and managing social interactions through Social BIMCloud has been demonstrated in this thesis by integrating it with popular BIM software, Autodesk Revit.

Social BIMCloud provides the scope for extending and integrating it with external planning and analysis applications in a plug-and-play manner for lifecycle integration. In this thesis, methodologies and demonstrations have been presented for extending and integrating Social BIMCloud for – (1) construction supply chain (CSC), (2) green building design, and (3) construction site layout planning. For CSC integration, an ontology based web service framework is presented. Ontologies incorporate data semantics in the information exchanged. Therefore, the information exchanging parties, i.e. software applications in the case of automatic information exchange, comprehend the meaning of the information and therefore facilitate smooth flow of heterogeneous information. Two example ontologies have developed by studying the CSC and those ontologies have been used to enrich the data model of Social BIMCloud for accommodating and supporting CSC integration.

Popular energy simulation software were studied to design and extend the schema of Social BIMCloud in order to integrate it with standard simulation and analysis engines through a web service based framework. Social BIMCloud has also been extended for managing construction logistics by integrating it with a construction site layout planning (CSLP) engine. For this integration, the data model of Social BIMCloud has been extended for construction schedule information like activity start date, end date and the relation of each activity with one or more building elements and the vice versa. Finally this thesis discusses the scope of future extensions and improvements on Social BIMCloud for facilitating smooth flow of information in the construction industry.
HKUST Mapping of BIM and GIS for Interoperable Geospatial Data Management and Analysis for the Built Environment Thesis 08/2015 Yichuan DENG The Building Information Modeling (BIM) domain and the Geographic Information System (GIS) domain share a mutual need for information from each other. Information from GIS can facilitate BIM applications such as site selection and onsite material layout, while models from BIM help generate detailed models in GIS and achieve better utility management. The mapping between the key schemas in the BIM domain and the GIS domain is the most critical step towards interoperability between the two domains. In this research, Industry Foundation Classes (IFC) and City Geography Markup Language (CityGML) were chosen as the key schemas due to their wide applications in the BIM domain and the GIS domain, respectively. A review of previous studies on the integration between BIM and GIS reveals that so far there is no bi-directional mapping considering both geometric and semantic information between IFC and CityGML. Moreover, the transformation between different Levels of Detail (LoDs) in 3D GIS models has not been fully studied. The objective of this research is to develop techniques and tools to allow bi-directional mapping between key schemas in the BIM domain and the GIS domain considering transformation of geometry, semantic information and LoDs. Three use cases based on the integration between BIM and GIS are presented to show how the integration can facilitate problem solving in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry.

First, the sufficiency of the IFC schema for storing GIS data was evaluated using text analysis techniques and version different analysis. An extension for IFC 4 was developed to store data from CityGML. Then a linguistic-based semi-automatic mapping framework for IFC and CityGML was developed and evaluated, which showed promising results. The bi-directional mapping between IFC and CityGML was developed using instance-based mapping with reference ontology. The mapping framework was compared to previous studies to show its effectiveness.

Second, the transformation between LoDs in 3D GIS models was developed based on the LoD definitions in CityGML. This is a critical step for mapping between BIM and GIS as 3D GIS models are usually represented in different LoDs. An exterior shell extraction algorithm was proposed to facilitate the transformation between LoDs in CityGML. The algorithms of transformation from higher LoDs to lower LoDs were developed and validated using complex and large-scale 3D GIS models.

Finally, three use cases were developed to show how BIM and GIS can facilitate problem solving in the AEC industry. The first use case aimed to build 3D noise maps for urban environments using data from BIM and GIS. The Italian C.N.R. model was used for noise prediction. The highlight of this use case study is that by using BIM and GIS integration, the noise mapping can be performed at room level and the design models can be flexibly updated. The second use case considered construction supply chain management (CSCM) using BIM and GIS integration. The allocation of consolidation centers for multiple construction sites, which is a problem seldom studied by previous literature, is formulated and solved by integrating BIM and GIS. The third case aimed to develop a 3D underground utility management system for urban environments. The system uses modeling functions in BIM as data sources for utility management. Moreover, an algorithm was developed to allow transforming 2D CAD drawings into 3D utility lines.
HKUST Development of Approaches in Embodied Carbon of Buildings: From Construction Materials to Building Structural Design Thesis 08/2016 Jielong GAN Global warming has been considered as a major environmental challenge nowadays. Among various sources of anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the building sector is one of the major contributors to global warming, in which a substantial amount of the GHG emissions are embodied carbon from construction material production and transportation. Embodied carbon can account for 50% of the life cycle GHG emissions in buildings, and this percentage can become more significant for those buildings with shorter service life or higher energy efficiency. Therefore, reducing the embodied carbon in buildings is critically important and can help decrease the life cycle GHG emissions in buildings, thereby pushing human’s living environment towards a sustainable and low carbon future.

This thesis uses two approaches to reducing the embodied carbon in buildings. The first approach focuses on the construction material aspect and aims to reduce the embodied carbon from the manufacturing processes and transportations of construction materials. In this thesis, only the cement-based material (i.e., concrete) and quarried material (i.e., aggregate) are studied using the construction materials approach, as they account for more than 60% of the embodied carbon in a reinforced concrete (RC) building. Methods to the reduction of embodied carbon of aggregate and concrete are proposed, considering the feature of each material. Aggregate is very heavy and generates a large amount of emissions during transportation, therefore the aggregate study presents a mathematical model based on life cycle assessment (LCA) and multi-objective optimization (MOO) in order to plan the optimal amount of aggregate from different supply sources. The model can help stakeholders formulate sustainable material supply strategies that minimize the embodied carbon and material cost. For the concrete study, embodied carbon from concrete mix proportions is more important. Thus, a systematic embodied carbon quantification and mitigation framework is proposed for low carbon concrete mix design. The parameters that significantly affect the mix design and embodied carbon of concrete, namely the compressive strength class, the cement type, the supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs) and the maximum aggregate size, are considered. The proposed framework can be used to identify the low carbon mix design for concrete, and the results serves as a basis for reducing the embodied carbon emissions in buildings.

Another approach to reducing the embodied carbon in buildings considers different kinds of construction materials together, and focuses on building design aspect in order to minimize the total amounts of construction materials and embodied carbon in buildings. While the previous studies in this particular stream concentrated on low-rise building, they overlooked the analysis on high-rise buildings. However, the structural forms, construction materials and component designs in high-rise buildings are different from those in low-rise buildings, which can cause a large variability in the embodied carbon estimates. Therefore, an embodied carbon accounting methodology based on building information modeling (BIM) for high-rise buildings is proposed in this thesis, and relationships between embodied carbon and the critical parameters in high-rise building design are evaluated through BIM and CFD technologies. A 60-story composite core-outrigger building is designed based on the structure of a typical high-rise building in Hong Kong (i.e., Cheung Kong Center), and then used as a reference for the comparative studies. The results of embodied carbon are expressed in terms of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e). The first comparative study focuses on the material procurement strategies. The embodied carbon in the reference building is evaluated with different assumptions for the material manufacturing processes, the amounts of recycled scrap and cement substitutes, and the transportation distance. It is found that structural steel and rebar from traditional blast furnace account for 76% of the embodied carbon in high-rise buildings. If a contractor chooses to use steel from electric arc furnace (with 100% recycled scrap as the feedstock), the embodied carbon of a high-rise building can be decreased by 60%. As for concrete, 10-20% embodied carbon reduction is achieved by using 35% fly ash (FA) or 75% ground granulated blast-furnace slag (GGBS) in mix design. Comparative studies are also carried out to determine the embodied carbon associated with different construction materials, building heights and structural forms. The 60-story composite core-outrigger reference building has a unitary embodied carbon of 557 kg CO2-e/m2 gross floor area (GFA). If the construction material changes to structural steel, the unitary embodied carbon increases to 759 kg CO2-e/m2 GFA, while the value of embodied carbon decreases to 537 kg CO2-e/m2 GFA if RC is used in construction. Core-frame structures are suitable for buildings of 40 stories or below, with the minimum embodied carbon at 525 kg CO2-e/m2 GFA. The optimal height range for core-outrigger structures is from 50-story to 70-story with 530 kg CO2-e/m2 GFA, whereas tubular structures are in the range between 70-story and 90-story at 540 kg CO2-e/m2 GFA. The results serve as a basis for more environmentally friendly building design, thereby improving our built environment towards a sustainable and low carbon future.