Overview of Decision Support Systems Applied to Construction

Overview of Decision Support Systems Applied to Construction

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9873-4.ch004
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The domain of construction is a very knowledge-intensive domain with so many factors involved. This implies undertaking any action requires an understanding of the different factors and how best to combine them to achieve a favourable and optimal outcome. Thus decision-making has been extensively used in the domain of construction. The aim of this chapter is to undertake a review of various decision support systems and to provide insights into their applications in the domain of construction. Specifically, the principle of cost index, sub-work chaining diagram method, linear regression and cost over-runs in time-overrun context (CCOTOV) model and Markov decision processes (MDP), ontology and rule-based systems have been reviewed. Based on the review the Markov decision processes (MDP), ontology and rule-based systems were chosen as the more suitable for the cost control case considered in this study.
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Although the concepts of decision support systems has been around for centuries, researchers actually began to systematically study and use decision-making and planning systems in the 1960’s (Raymond, 1966; Turban, 1967; Urban, 1967). Decision support systems have been applied to various industries including health, banking, aviation, motor, economy, construction, etc. There is a substantial amount of evidence that suggests human intuitive judgment and decision-making can be far from optimal and deteriorates even further with complexity and stress. With regards to construction, the domain is very knowledge intensive. Decisions are often made about the different construction materials, equipment/plants, manpower, and methods to be used in a given construction projects. Furthermore, the decision making process is exacerbated by often too many occurring problems on construction sites. A summary of the different parameters that affect decision making on construction sites are presented in Table 1.

Table 1.
A summary of decisions and uncertainties encountered in a construction site
Building ElementsDecision-Making ProblemsKey Uncertainties
MaterialsChoice of suppliersavailability (deficiency), losses, quality, site containment
stock management
Materials type
EquipmentAcquisition typeFailures, unknown yield, uncertain financial means
Storage facilities and location
ManpowerArbitrary recruitmentAccidents, illness, strikes, unavailability, poorly Controlled performance.
composition of teams per trade poorly controlled
Lack of adequate understanding of the training and the real market needs.
MethodsTasks schedulingPractices, regulations, attitudes
Fabrication technique

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