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Title:Learning formal activities representation for automated quality control, alignment, and revision of construction schedules
Author(s):Amer, Fouad
Director of Research:Golparvar-Fard, Mani
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Golparvar-Fard, Mani
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Hockenmaier, Julia; El-Rayes, Khaled; Liu, Liang; El-Gohary, Nora
Department / Program:Civil & Environmental Eng
Discipline:Civil Engineering
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Construction Planning
Construction Scheduling
Natural Language Processing
Artificial Intelligence
Machine Learning
Data Mining
Abstract:Construction planning requires domain know-how, which is often ingrained with experienced construction planners through exposure to multiple projects over decades of work experience. Without explicit in-depth prior knowledge of the underlying processes, planning experts learn to form empirical associations between project problems and potential solutions. Almost in all situations, their experience is described through examples from previous projects as opposed to structured and principled knowledge. Given the lack of formal definitions and structured knowledge, transferring expert human planners' comprehensive knowledge to automated planning systems proves to be complex. And, while substantial research is conducted and many automated planning systems were developed, the complexities of actual construction projects on one hand, and the nuances between different construction approaches, on the other, have rendered the manual creation of explicit knowledge representations extremely tedious and, in many cases, entirely infeasible. Hence, most --if not all-- construction projects still rely on a single or a small group of experienced practitioners to manually perform their planning and scheduling activities. This dissertation presents a suite of machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) based methods and systems to learn formal construction planning and sequencing knowledge representations from existing construction records. The learned knowledge is leveraged to (1) generate lists of potential successor activities given a sequence of predecessors, (2) retrieve lists of predecessor activities required to enable the execution of a sequence of successors, (3) critique the quality of logic of an input construction schedule by identifying missing or wrong logical dependencies, (4) schedule a set of unordered activities, (5) align weekly work plans (WWPs) to master schedules following a semi-automated human-in-the-loop approach, (6) identify the implicit dependency constraints governing predecessor-successor relationships and their roles and flexibilities in an input construction schedule, and (7) revise lookahead plans to mitigate the effects of unavoidable activity delays. All the developed methods learn using free form activity descriptions and Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) tags only without any prior assumptions or requirements on the expressions used to represent construction activities. They are trained and tested on a dataset of 32 construction schedules collected from real projects from different industry segments and various construction companies. Quantitative and qualitative results are presented to show the validity and the potential of the proposed methods. Limitations and future work are discussed in detail.
Issue Date:2021-12-01
Rights Information:Copyright 2021 Fouad Amer
Date Available in IDEALS:2022-04-29
Date Deposited:2021-12

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