Document Detail

Title: RR152-11 - Three-Dimensional Computer Models and the Fully Integrated and Automated Project Process for the Man
Publication Date: 3/1/2000
Product Type: Research Report
Status: Reference
Pages: 205
Griffis, Sturts, Columbia Univ.
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The purpose of this research is to establish and document the state-of-the-art, develop procedures that will begin to develop a fully integrated and automated system for managing construction project processes. We define the three-dimensional computer model as it relates to the fully integrated and automated project process, develop methods to utilize the existing technology, and suggest new technology for the support of construction operations.

CII Research Team 152’s specific objectives were to:

  • Determine the state-of-the-art in integrating and automating construction processes.
  • Evaluate 3D CADD construction and commissioning information systems for process and information integration capability.
  • Develop procedures based on a case-study project for relating the input and output from the integrated information system to other segments of the overall process based on an actual project.
  • Integrate the best ideas into a process manual for the industry.


Today, databases can be seamlessly integrated so that the line between computer graphics and associated data is blurred. We define the three-dimensional computer model as the graphical and geometric data and distinguish this model from its associated databases. The associated databases are an equally important part of the design and construction software systems. Associated databases add valuable dimensions and functionality to the three-dimensional computer models. Associated databases can include information from P&IDs, estimation, scheduling, materials management, budget and cost projection and tracking, etc., and they enable automation and integration between different software packages and systems.

In this document, we discuss the applications of the three-dimensional computer models and their associated databases in each of the following phases of the project as defined by CII in its 1997 report, “Determining the Impacts of Process Change on the EPC Process”:

  • The pre-project planning phase
  • The design phase
  • The materials management phase
  • The construction phase
  • The start-up phase.


We propose that the three-dimensional computer model serve as an organizational and reference tool throughout the project process. The project information is organized and linked in terms of the design objects and can be accessed through the graphical three-dimensional computer model interface. Since the ideal system is automated and integrated, any change to a database is reflected throughout the system. Consequently, every project participant will have access to the most current data, and we suggest that this data be linked and arranged according to components or sections in the model.