Advancesin Engineering Software (1997) 97-101 28 0 1997 Elsevier ScienceLimited Printed in Great Britain. All rights reserved 0965-9978/97/$17.00
Audio/visual information in construction project control
Department of Construction Engineering, Material Engineering and Industrial Design, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, USA
(Received 11 July 1995; revised version received 24 July 1996; accepted 4 October 1996) The proper design of an information system in support of project management is crucial to the successful and effective management of the construction process. Particularly, the need for quality data and information pertaining to the performance of a construction project is well recognized. However, one such type of information, namely audio/visual (voice, pictures, videos), has not yet received adequate attention in the construction industry. Researchershave just begun to evaluate the role of such non-conventional data in construction applications. This paper discusses the development of a prototype system that deals with audio/ visual information along with other types of data in support of project management. 0 1997 Elsevier Science Limited. All rights reserved. Key words: audio data, visual data, construction management, database, information system, project management, pictorial information.
1 INTRODUCTION Adequate and effective management of construction projects depends on good access to and control of data, especially data pertaining to the performance of a construction project.‘12 Long recognizing the need for quality information, researchers have proposed data models to achieve the desired acquisition, storage and presentation of (data and information.3 However, one such type of information, namely audio/visual, has long been neglected or not appropriately acquired, stored, processed and ,presented. The proper design of an automated solution has been lacking that would provide access to audio/visual data in support of project management. Therefore, the primary objective of the research project discussed in this paper is to develop an automated audio/visual information management system that is integrated into the construction project control process, particularly performance evaluation and delay management, to improve the quality of information for project management. Pictorial information (pictures and video tapes) should play an important role in construction management. Some construction companies require that appropriate field personnel (a superintendent or a foreman) take pictures of layouts and situations (such as critical activity or an activity with a new construction method) 97
that the company feels need attention or special observation.4 A list of potential applications of pictorial information in construction can be found in Ref. 5. In analysing the benefits of such applications, it has become clear that visual information is very useful in construction. However, the acquisition or management of this type of information is lacking or inappropriate. Therefore, the proper design of an automated system for the data acquisition and storage of this type of data should encourage contractors and owners to take pictures more often than current practice. By such automation, pictures will become an important reported item. Performance evaluation will depend on both numeric and visual reports in contrast to current practice that depends on numerical reports only. Furthermore, adding digitally stored audio comments on the activities in the various control accounts should provide additional details to the different reports. This paper, therefore, addresses a key issue that is needed in achieving effective project control: the proper design of an automated system for the acquisition, storage and retrieval of audio/visual data. Additionally, integrating the audio/visual database...