Document Detail

Title: RS183-1 - Design Practices to Facilitate Construction Automation
Publication Date: 5/1/2003
Product Type: Research Summary
Status: Supporting Product
Pages: 38
Although construction has not kept pace in using automation compared to other industries, opportunities do exist. This publication describes recommended design practices that may facilitate use of automation, including design-phase constructability reviews, standardization, and use of electronic documents, especially by the contractor.
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Automation in the construction industry involves the use of mechanical and electronic means to achieve automatic operation or control to reduce exposure, time, or effort while maintaining or improving quality. Contractors use automation to reduce costs and schedule, improve production, quality, and safety, and gain related project benefits.

Automation in construction, however, has not kept pace with other industries and remains a predominantly labor-intensive activity. Many factors limit its use. Cost, availability, and applicability of automated technologies, along with the knowledge and training required to operate the technologies, are obstacles to implementation. The design of permanent features and the means used to communicate the design may either inhibit or prohibit its use in construction.

CII created the Design Practices to Facilitate Construction Automation Project Team to investigate this issue. The resulting research has identified design practices that facilitate the implementation of automated technologies and exposed barriers to and limitations of addressing automation in design. Some recommended design practices to facilitate the use of construction automation include:

  • Conduct constructability reviews during the design phase that incorporate consideration of construction automation.
  • Standardize design features and elements.
  • Prioritize design objectives and compare design alternatives.
  • Use e-documents and make them available to the contractor.

This research summary provides an overview of the research effort. Readers are encouraged to take the findings and put them to use on real world projects.