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Frontiers of Engineering Management

, Volume 7 Issue 1

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Airline planning and scheduling: Models and solution methodologies
Front. Eng. 2020, 7 (1): 1-26.
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The airline industry is a representative industry with high cost and low profitability. Therefore, airlines should carefully plan their schedules to ensure that overall profit is maximized. We review the literature on airline planning and scheduling and focus on mathematical formulations and solution methodologies. Our research framework is anchored on three major problems in the airline scheduling, namely, fleet assignment, aircraft routing, and crew scheduling. General formulation, widely used solution approaches, and important extensions are presented for each problem and integrated problems. We conclude the review by identifying promising areas for further research.

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A review of systematic evaluation and improvement in the big data environment
Feng YANG, Manman WANG
Front. Eng. 2020, 7 (1): 27-46.
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The era of big data brings unprecedented opportunities and challenges to management research. As one of the important functions of management decision-making, evaluation has been given more functions and application space. Exploring the applicable evaluation methods in the big data environment has become an important subject of research. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview and discussion of systematic evaluation and improvement in the big data environment. We first review the evaluation methods based on the main analytic techniques of big data such as data mining, statistical methods, optimization and simulation, and deep learning. Focused on the characteristics of big data (association feature, data loss, data noise, and visualization), the relevant evaluation methods are given. Furthermore, we explore the systematic improvement studies and application fields. Finally, we analyze the new application areas of evaluation methods and give the future directions of evaluation method research in a big data environment from six aspects. We hope our research could provide meaningful insights for subsequent research.

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Overview of research on carbon information disclosure
Yue-Jun ZHANG, Jing-Yue LIU
Front. Eng. 2020, 7 (1): 47-62.
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Against the background of addressing global climate change and carbon emission reduction, corporate carbon information disclosure (CID) has become an important measure to achieve carbon emission reduction worldwide and a research hotspot closely investigated by the academia. This study provides a systematic overview of literature on CID, including its research trend, theoretical basis, disclosing features, influencing factors, and consequences. Results indicate that, first, CID has been increasing in recent years, but the content and quality of the disclosure still need to be improved. Second, the main influencing factors of CID include company features, corporate governance, environmental performance, institutional characteristics, and stakeholders. Third, the consequences of CID are based mainly on company performance, ecological environment, and investors’ decision-making. Lastly, most studies have confirmed the positive effect of CID on company performance and investors’ decision-making, but the nexus of environmental performance and corporate CID remains to be investigated. Several important future research directions are also proposed based on these results.

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Risks of modular integrated construction: A review and future research directions
Ibrahim Yahaya WUNI, Geoffrey Qiping SHEN, Bon-Gang HWANG
Front. Eng. 2020, 7 (1): 63-80.
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Stakeholders remain skeptical in adopting modular integrated construction (MiC) because of the associated risks and uncertainties, although its benefits have been extensively documented. The unique business model of MiC nurtures several risks and uncertainties different from those of the conventional construction approach. Despite the growing attention on MiC with its market expansion, no systematic evaluation is in place to monitor its risks research progress. Accordingly, this research reviewed published literature addressing the risks associated with MiC from 1992 to 2019. Analysis reveals that the research publications on risks of MiC witnessed a steady growth, with considerable progress occurring in the last decade. Result implies that the risk of MiC has gained extra attention in the construction engineering and management domain in recent times. Existing empirical studies have focused heavily on perceived implementation risks, supply chain risks, schedule risks, investment risks, structural risks, ergonomic risks, and MiC risk management strategies, which indicate that MiC is associated with a host of risk events. The research further identified the critical risk events (CREs) in the application of MiC based on frequency of occurrence. The identified CREs contributes to the checklists of risk events in the implementation of offsite construction (OSC). The latter may be useful in risk planning, especially where the MiC is less developed, and fewer or no bespoke risk assessment exists. Research gaps in existing studies are highlighted in this research, and areas for further studies are then proposed. Thus, it makes a useful contribution to the scholarly literature on the risk of OSC and may prove useful to offsite construction researchers, industry practitioners, and project managers.

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Toward deep impacts of BIM on education
Front. Eng. 2020, 7 (1): 81-88.
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Building information models (BIM) provide a way to represent buildings and communicate about them. In teaching engineering, we also need representations of buildings and are communicating knowledge about them. While teaching engineering we refer to the very same real-world objects that have an explicit conceptualization in BIM. This explicit conceptualization did not exist in the age when design communication relied on drawings and documents. The question that this paper asks is this: due to BIM, communication in the industry has changed. Should communication of engineering knowledge – teaching – change as well and how? While much has been written about teaching BIM and incorporating BIM into the curricula, this paper is exploring the general impact of BIM on engineering education. It grounds earlier work (Turk, 2018) on insights from pedagogy. Five scenarios of the interplay between BIM-influenced engineering communication and teaching are presented. The paper argues that ignoring BIM may create a cognitive dissonance between academic learning and industrial work. We are finding that the impact of BIM is twofold: vertically there is a need to establish a reference between knowledge concepts (in teaching building) and information objects (in building information models). Horizontally BIM is an integration technology that allows for a more holistic design and planning. Both the language of individual courses as well as cross references and synergies among courses should change. A “T” style structure of the courses around BIM is proposed as a basis for integrated curriculum. Pedagogical approaches based on deep learning, model based learning and project based learning are suggested.

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Development of a BIM-based holonic system for real-time monitoring of building operational efficiency
Alessandro CARBONARI, Leonardo MESSI, Berardo NATICCHIA, Massimo VACCARINI, Massimiliano PIRANI
Front. Eng. 2020, 7 (1): 89-103.
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In the wide context of facility management, several processes, such as operations, maintenance, retrofitting, and renovations, ensure that buildings comply with the principles of efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and indoor comfort. Apart from ordinary operation, facility management is responsible for the renovation of and long-term performance improvement of building facilities. In such a scenario, the cyber–physical system (CPS) paradigm with holonic architecture, which is the focus of this study, can successfully guide the operation management and long-term refurbishment processes of buildings. Analogous to the manufacturing field, the developed CPS maximizes holons’ self-configuration and self-organization and overall throughput effectiveness metrics to detect the best corrective actions toward system improvements. Consequently, suggestions and lessons learned from the evaluation of building efficiency are redirected to the building information model. Hence, the digital model acts as a repository of currently available equipment for operations management and the history of diagnoses that support decision-making during the maintenance, retrofitting, and renovation processes. Evidently, the repeated detection of a specific issue, which is unaffected by operations management, should be considered an opportunity to act and enhance the performances of existing building components. Similar to a goods-producing industry, the building management system developed in this study applies the aforementioned methodology to provide services related to indoor comfort and building health. This approach indicates that a method for automatic real-time diagnosis is tested in a case study consisting of a multi-use and large public building. The current paper, which is an extended version of the one presented in the Creative Construction Conference 2018, deepens the decision support tool and the supervision policy. Moreover, the developed system is contextualized by providing an example of use case and highlighting the step forward in the field of smart buildings.

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Identifying stakeholders’ roles and relevant project documents for 4D-based collaborative decision making
Front. Eng. 2020, 7 (1): 104-118.
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To fully understand and effectively implement 4D building information modelling (BIM) models and methods, we need to develop a precise knowledge of which project digital documents should be used and how they influence the decision-making (DM) process. This article studies the convergence between uses of 4D BIM and digital project documents. We hypothesize that a clear visualization of the construction simulation through a 4D model is a useful source of information and a support for DM at collaborative meetings. Through this research, we continue to progress toward a new 4D-based collective decision device, so these elements will contribute to propose 4D BIM as DM support on architecture engineering construction (AEC) projects. Further, the present research will be complemented by results from questionnaires given at a later research stage. The article presents a brief review of BIM context to consider ways of fostering the implementation of all 4D BIM uses (not only visualization). It then introduces a proposition for 4D BIM uses implementation by the project development phase. It concludes by summarizing stakeholders’ roles and documents relevant to 4D BIM uses.

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Generic and SME-specific factors that influence the BIM adoption process: An overview that highlights gaps in the literature
Front. Eng. 2020, 7 (1): 119-130.
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Building information modeling/management (BIM) is an emerging technological and procedural shift in the architecture, engineering, construction and operation industry. In this study, we use an extensive state-of-the-art method to clarify the BIM adoption process and the factors that can influence the success or failure of BIM adoption, particularly during the implementation stage, which are not frequently found in the literature. As an innovation, the lexical field allocated to the spread of innovations is assigned to BIM (diffusion, adoption, and implementation). After recalling the definition of relevant terms and then removing the resulting inconsistencies in vocabularies, we investigate various studies to identify factors that influence BIM adoption and then unify all these studies in one coherent and consistent BIM adoption process model. We focus on factors that play a role in the adoption of BIM in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) because SMEs constitute the majority of companies in the construction sector. This research highlights and intends to fill in some gaps found in the current BIM adoption literature.

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Framework based on building information modeling, mixed reality, and a cloud platform to support information flow in facility management
Berardo NATICCHIA, Alessandra CORNELI, Alessandro CARBONARI
Front. Eng. 2020, 7 (1): 131-141.
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The quality of information flow management has a remarkable effect on the entire life cycle of buildings. Manual retrieval of technical specifications and features of building components and their performance assessment leads to increased cost and time and efficiency reduction, especially during the facility management (FM) stage. The introduction of building information modeling (BIM) in the construction industry can provide a valuable means of improving the organization and exchange of information. BIM tools integrate multiple levels of information within a single digital model of a building. Nevertheless, the support given by BIM to FM is far from being fully effective. Technicians can benefit from real-time communication with the data repository whenever the need for gathering contextual information and/or updating any data in the digital model arises. The framework proposed in this study aims to develop a system that supports on-site operations. Information requirements have been determined from the analyses of procedures that are usually implemented in the building life cycle. These studies set the standard for the development of a digital model of a building, which will be shared among various actors in charge of FM and accessed via a cloud platform. Moreover, mixed reality is proposed to support specific information that is relevant to geometric features and procedures to be followed by operators. This article presents three use-cases supported by the proposed framework. In addition, this research article describes the first proof of concept regarding real-time support for FM.

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Should medium-sized contractors still implement home-made information technologies on construction sites?
Front. Eng. 2020, 7 (1): 142-158.
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Despite the increasing dissemination of the Building Information Modeling (BIM) approach, many firms are still far from BIM and are only starting to adopt information technologies. We conducted an ethnographic action research with an industrial partner that implements information technologies on its construction sites, with a strong preference for home-made applications. Results show that the development of such applications faces difficulties and that multiple iterations and versions are necessary before achieving the expected goals because the required competencies are lacking among internal development teams. Moreover, initial needs evolve considerably throughout the application’s development and evaluation process. However, notwithstanding the difficulties encountered during the different application development phases, the industrial partner believes the decision to be worthwhile because of the desire to have internal control over the project data and the need to consider certain specificities related to business processes.

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West-East Gas Pipeline Project
Junqiang ZHANG, Honglong ZHENG, Wenyuan HE, Weihe HUANG
Front. Eng. 2020, 7 (1): 163-167.
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12 articles