The virtual prototype, like its real-world counterpart, is ultimately a model. Prototypes are used to evaluate physical form, design concepts, performance characteristics and manufacturability prior to, or in lieu of building a real-world product. Three-dimensional imagery derived from a building information model (BIM) based virtual prototype can be used to non-verbally communicate constructability information. This presentation describes a study that investigates BIM supported virtual prototyping in AEC as an approach for constructability analysis and a communicator of production’s means and methods. The research has been conducted in two phases: the first phase includes a pilot test for defining the format of assembly information that needs to be extracted from the virtual prototypes. The second phase benchmarks a level of efficacy in non-verbal assembly instruction to support construction procedures. Real world construction of a small scale mobile laboratory for the Building Envelope Systems Technology research group is used as a case study for the research. The structure was assembled by novice university student-labor utilizing industrialized building materials in an indoor environment. Project documentation along with the construction assembly observations conducted during the Lab’s assembly provide data for this research, and presents a unique opportunity for examination of its constructability through graphical instruction.
Dr. Bulbul is an Assistant Professor of Building Construction at the Virginia Tech Myers Lawson School of Construction. She has expertise in investigating information and communication technologies together with the development of formalized, model-based analysis approaches to deal with the complexities of the built environment. Her research areas include BuildingInformation Modeling (BIM); product and process modeling in AEC/FM; ontology based approaches for design, construction and maintenance of critical importance buildings; intelligent maintenance systems linking the building information to its content; and tracking building data for well-informed end-of-lifecycle decisions. Dr. Bulbul is currently teaching BIM and IT in design and construction topics in the Department of Building Construction.