Conference Paper

Radio Frequency Identification and Building Information Modeling: Integrating the Lean Construction Process

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Abstract

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is an emerging technology that is beginning to receive attention in the construction industry. From asset and progress management, to the locating of underground and in-wall utilities/objects, to the integration of RFID with building information modeling (BIM), the potential benefits of RFID to the construction industry will be a topic that receives more and more attention in the future. RFID, in conjunction with BIM, shows great promise in the promotion of lean construction techniques in the construction industry. As the technology becomes more readily accessible and the cost of implementation decreases, this will be used on more and more construction projects. Once contractors start adventuring into the potential that RFID has, the greater the construction industry will benefit.

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... The concept of RFID tagging has already been applied to the construction process to promote lean construction (Taylor et al., 2009;Taylor, 2010) 2011) showed how tagging could enable tracking or 'traceability' of forestry products, and hence monitoring of environmental performance. Sørensen et al. (2008Sørensen et al. ( , 2010 have also reviewed existing ontologies for creating a digital link between virtual models and physical components. ...
... Traditionally, the application of technologies for 3D CAD have been to enhance visual representations such as bitmaps and colour maps generically for the purpose of what could be termed sales or marketing purposes, and relatively less effort has been put into information specifically for the reuse of materials. Despite this, it is possible to create intelligent connections between RFID tags and CAD-based databases and the virtual world of BIMs (see Taylor et al., 2009). The unique ID assigned via an RFID tag to a structural steel element may be linked to a parallel BIM to account for where a tagged element may be found. ...
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When reconfigured into a cohesive system, a series of existing digital technologies may facilitate disassembly, take back and reuse of structural steel components, thereby improving resource efficiency and opening up new business paradigms. The paper examines whether Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology coupled with Building Information Modelling (BIM) may enable components and/or assemblies to be tracked and imported into virtual models for new buildings at the design stage. The addition of stress sensors to components, which provides the capability of quantifying the stress properties of steel over its working life, may also support best practice reuse of resources. The potential to improve resource efficiency in many areas of production and consumption, emerging from a novel combination of such technologies, is highlighted using a theoretical case study scenario. In addition, a case analysis of the demolition/deconstruction of a former industrial building is conducted to illustrate potential savings in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions (GGE) from reuse when compared with recycling. The paper outlines the reasoning behind the combination of the discussed technologies and alludes to some possible applications and new business models. For example, a company that currently manufactures and 'sells' steel, or a third party, could find new business opportunities by becoming a 'reseller' of reused steel and providing a 'steel service'. This could be facilitated by its ownership of the database that enables it to know the whereabouts of the steel and to be able to warrant its properties and appropriateness for reuse in certain applications.
... In order to enhance the capability of the RFID system, the entire activities within the site should be covered with a network of RFID readers to collect the data from the tagged objects and then transmit these data to a database system that can translate these codes to activities [23]. Many researchers proposed integrating RFID with BIM to automatically update the site activities [23,25]. This initiative seen promising, however it is compounded with challenges that deters its potentiality. ...
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