Construction 4.0

A special issue of Buildings (ISSN 2075-5309). This special issue belongs to the section "Construction Management, and Computers & Digitization".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2022) | Viewed by 72432

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
UMR 9013-LaMcube-Laboratoire de Mécanique, Multiphysique, Multi-échelle, Centrale Lille, University of Lille, CNRS, 59000 Lille, France
Interests: construction 4.0; building materials; lean construction; sustainability; digitization in construction; construction automation; additive manufacturing; construction supply chain management
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Guest Editor
Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Trumpington Street, Cambridge CB2 1PZ, UK
Interests: construction management; lean construction

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The literature is full of research that states the low productivity of the construction sector that is accompanied by low margins. Indeed, many companies struggle to secure a positive revenue share, and the prediction is that those companies that don’t keep up with the latest trends in technology and productivity enhancements techniques will be out of the game. This Special Issue explores how industry 4.0 principles could be adapted to the construction sector, with the aims of improving safety, quality, and productivity. Construction 4.0 revolves around making the transition towards digitalized, decentralized, transparent, and safer construction. The construction includes all phases: from project development and design, to the construction and maintenance. Thus, construction 4.0 integrates the whole project lifecycle as well the operation and services. This issue also explores the future skills for this digital construction era, and the type of management needed to unlock the full benefits.

Prof. Dr. Zoubeir Lafhaj
Dr. Zakaria Dakhli
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Buildings is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • construction 4.0
  • industrialization
  • construction management
  • construction robotics
  • architectural design
  • blockchain in construction
  • technology in construction
  • lean construction
  • prefabrication
  • digital twins

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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17 pages, 5864 KiB  
Article
Framework for Computerizing the Processes of a Job and Automating the Operational Management on Site—A Case Study of Demolition and Reconstruction Construction Site
by Caterina Amici, Marianna Rotilio, Pierluigi De Berardinis and Federica Cucchiella
Buildings 2022, 12(6), 800; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12060800 - 10 Jun 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2216
Abstract
With regard to the topic of digitization for operational site control, it is clear that while there is an acceleration towards digitization of processes, especially complex ones, there are still clear research gaps to be filled. The present study is part of this [...] Read more.
With regard to the topic of digitization for operational site control, it is clear that while there is an acceleration towards digitization of processes, especially complex ones, there are still clear research gaps to be filled. The present study is part of this line of research and aims to respond to the current demand for digital and sustainable innovation of production processes. It, therefore, aims at defining a framework for the management of an order that takes place in real time. In order to improve the quality of information and organizational processes of an order in a project-oriented logic, a framework has been created: Model Smart Management. The framework integrates project management techniques with digital innovation tools and includes a computerized procedure to monitor and control the operational management of the site: SmartApp. In order to allow the interoperability of information, the platform can be used entirely in the cloud. From the processing of data in the planning phase, ad hoc checklists are developed that include a series of activities closely related to each other to ensure a continuity step by step, allowing users to have an immediate control of the project and of the relevant key performance indicators thanks to an advanced and fully customizable reporting. SmartApp, integrated with a cloud computing system, makes computerized and automated the operational control on site, creating a centralized archive of all company data, reducing time and costs for the management of documentation. Moreover, with the omnichannel system, paper documents are managed and archived through QR-code, optical character recognition on smart devices, so as to achieve a regime of maximum efficiency. This framework was then applied in a case study located in L'Aquila, Italy, represented by a post 2009 earthquake demolition and reconstruction site. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Construction 4.0)
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28 pages, 353 KiB  
Article
The Disruptive Adaptations of Construction 4.0 and Industry 4.0 as a Pathway to a Sustainable Innovation and Inclusive Industrial Technological Development
by Amusan Lekan, Aigbavboa Clinton and James Owolabi
Buildings 2021, 11(3), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11030079 - 24 Feb 2021
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 4719
Abstract
Construction 4.0 (C4.0) has tremendously impacted construction activities worldwide in recent times. This effect was made possible on account of innovations brought about by Industry 4.0 (I4.0). Industry 4.0 has the potential to create Construction 4.0 through the integration of the design, construction [...] Read more.
Construction 4.0 (C4.0) has tremendously impacted construction activities worldwide in recent times. This effect was made possible on account of innovations brought about by Industry 4.0 (I4.0). Industry 4.0 has the potential to create Construction 4.0 through the integration of the design, construction and maintenance of infrastructure through useful component integration for industrial and technological development. Therefore, this study aimed to present a pathway for achieving sustainable innovations and inclusive technological and infrastructural developments. The following parameters were reviewed in this study as part of the goals and objectives set in the survey: identifying the adaptable areas of Construction 4.0 in design, planning, construction and maintenance as part of infrastructural innovation in order to study the industrial application drivers of I4.0 and C4.0 hindrances in achieving C4.0; achieving the automation dream through C4.0, benchmarking the social and economic implications of C4.0 and identifying the issues and challenges in achieving sustainable innovation through infrastructural development and documenting the disruptive tools of C4.0 in achieving a sustainable design through technological development and examining the critical factors influencing the effective adaptation of C4.0 in achieving growth. The authors utilised 200 construction firms for this study using the Cochran and Slovin’s formulas. In addition, the sample size of 150 respondents that constituted the study were construction professionals. The respondents used the simple percentage, relative index, Spearman’s rank, Mann–Whitney U test, Kendall’s Tau test, Student’s t-test, ANOVA and chi-square tools in the data processing. The study found out, among other things, the following as part of the parameters earlier proposed: the introduction of a circular economy by adopting intelligent innovation, engaging new tools, technological innovation diffusion and the vertical and horizontal integration of versatile tools like I4.0 and C4.0 for inclusive technological development. This study recommended the objective and effective adaptation of I4.0 tools to enhance C4.0 for technical development, circular economic integration and a framework for sustainable innovation and a system for the inclusive monitoring of innovations in the design and planning of construction maintenance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Construction 4.0)
15 pages, 4585 KiB  
Article
Proposal for Tower Crane Productivity Indicators Based on Data Analysis in the Era of Construction 4.0
by Thomas Danel, Zoubeir Lafhaj, Anand Puppala, Sophie Lienard and Philippe Richard
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010021 - 6 Jan 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4898
Abstract
This article proposes a methodology to measure the productivity of a construction site through the analysis of tower crane data. These data were obtained from a data logger that records a time series of spatial and load data from the lifting machine during [...] Read more.
This article proposes a methodology to measure the productivity of a construction site through the analysis of tower crane data. These data were obtained from a data logger that records a time series of spatial and load data from the lifting machine during the structural phase of a construction project. The first step was data collection, followed by preparation, which consisted of formatting and cleaning the dataset. Then, a visualization step identified which data was the most meaningful for the practitioners. From that, the activity of the tower crane was measured by extracting effective lifting operations using the load signal essentially. Having used such a sampling technique allows statistical analysis on the duration, load, and curvilinear distance of every extracted lifting operation. The build statistical distribution and indicators were finally used to compare construction site productivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Construction 4.0)
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22 pages, 2879 KiB  
Communication
Worker 4.0: The Future of Sensored Construction Sites
by Diego Calvetti, Pedro Mêda, Miguel Chichorro Gonçalves and Hipólito Sousa
Buildings 2020, 10(10), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10100169 - 23 Sep 2020
Cited by 53 | Viewed by 8477
Abstract
The digitalization of the construction industry (CI) has the aim—among others—to raise the bar of overall productivity. The craft workforce is very relevant on the overall value-chain. Therefore, a boost in this dimension impacts the entire sector. There is a gap in proper [...] Read more.
The digitalization of the construction industry (CI) has the aim—among others—to raise the bar of overall productivity. The craft workforce is very relevant on the overall value-chain. Therefore, a boost in this dimension impacts the entire sector. There is a gap in proper methodologies to measure and model productivity. Construction 4.0 novelties provide new approaches for its evaluation and progress. This communication presents a review of workforce productivity assessment and delivers methods focusing primarily on craft workers motion monitoring. Products and services opportunities from Construction 4.0 in the spectrum of craft workforce management include support by embedded sensors for data collection that allow near real-time monitoring. The work developed led to the systematization of a framework to standardize craft workers’ motion productivity. The craft workforce motion productivity framework, Worker 4.0, tenders nine processes integrated on a flowchart to streamline task processes assessment and mechanization level. It also sets up a two-handed/two-legged chart system to model craft workers’ activities and operations. The contributions to the body of knowledge are substantiated on the framework creation with the ability to model and assess craft workforce performance. This approach is meant to serve as base point for different stakeholders focusing on skills, efficiency, mechanization and productivity improvements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Construction 4.0)
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21 pages, 972 KiB  
Article
Investigating U.S. Industry Practitioners’ Perspectives towards the Adoption of Emerging Technologies in Industrialized Construction
by Bing Qi, Mohamad Razkenari, Jiaxuan Li, Aaron Costin, Charles Kibert and Shuyu Qian
Buildings 2020, 10(5), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10050085 - 30 Apr 2020
Cited by 29 | Viewed by 5463
Abstract
In recent years, a growing amount of research has focused on improving the performance of industrialized construction using emerging technologies. It is still necessary to have an in-depth understanding of the industry practitioners’ perspectives on the application of emerging technologies. Thus, a well-designed [...] Read more.
In recent years, a growing amount of research has focused on improving the performance of industrialized construction using emerging technologies. It is still necessary to have an in-depth understanding of the industry practitioners’ perspectives on the application of emerging technologies. Thus, a well-designed survey was distributed to industry practitioners who have been involved in industrialized construction projects. Then, a set of data analysis methods were utilized on the collected data to address the proposed four specific research questions. Results indicate that 3D and nD models, sensing techniques, and business information models are the technologies with the highest current utilization level. Extended reality, additive manufacturing, and advanced data analytics are the technologies with the highest development potential. Project inputs (e.g., cost, time, and labor), as well as implementation cost and software constraints (e.g., capital costs, software upgrading, and compatibility), are the main factors that affect practitioners’ decisions to adopt emerging technologies in industrialized projects. Inter-group comparison results indicate that company background has little significant influence on practitioners’ perspectives, while personal career profiles can significantly affect practitioners’ perspectives. Significantly, by uncovering the suggestions and viewpoints of practitioners, this paper aligns academic research with industry needs, ultimately providing guidance on future research directions and applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Construction 4.0)
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Review

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28 pages, 1964 KiB  
Review
Adoption of Blockchain Technology through Digital Twins in the Construction Industry 4.0: A PESTELS Approach
by Benjamin Teisserenc and Samad Sepasgozar
Buildings 2021, 11(12), 670; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11120670 - 20 Dec 2021
Cited by 66 | Viewed by 10482
Abstract
The key challenges of the building, engineering, construction, operations, and mining (BECOM) industries are the lack of trust, inefficiencies, and the fragmentation of the information value chain into vulnerable data silos throughout the lifecycle of projects. This paper aims to develop a novel [...] Read more.
The key challenges of the building, engineering, construction, operations, and mining (BECOM) industries are the lack of trust, inefficiencies, and the fragmentation of the information value chain into vulnerable data silos throughout the lifecycle of projects. This paper aims to develop a novel conceptual model for the implementation of blockchain technology (BCT) for digital twin(s) (DT) in the BECOM industry 4.0 to improve trust, cyber security, efficiencies, information management, information sharing, and sustainability. A PESTELS approach is used to review the literature and identify the key challenges affecting BCT adoption for the BECOM industry 4.0. A review of the technical literature on BCT combined with the findings from PESTELS analysis permitted researchers to identify the key technological factors affecting BCT adoption in the industry. This allowed offering a technological framework—namely, the decentralized digital twin cycle (DDTC)—that leverages BCT to address the key technological factors and to ultimately enhance trust, security, decentralization, efficiency, traceability, and transparency of information throughout projects’ lifecycles. The study also identifies the gaps in the integration of BCT with key technologies of industry 4.0, including the internet of things (IoT), building information modeling (BIM), and DT. The framework offered addresses key technological factors and narrows key gaps around network governance, scalability, decentralization, interoperability, energy efficiency, computational requirements, and BCT integration with IoT, BIM, and DT throughout projects’ lifecycles. The model also considers the regulatory aspect and the environmental aspect, and the circular economy (CE). The theoretical framework provides key technological building blocks for industry practitioners to develop the DDTC concept further and implement it through experimental works. Finally, the paper provides an industry-specific analysis and technological approach facilitating BCT adoption through DT to address the key challenges and improve sustainability for the BECOM industry 4.0. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Construction 4.0)
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17 pages, 1182 KiB  
Review
Review of the Construction Labour Demand and Shortages in the EU
by Belinda Brucker Juricic, Mario Galic and Sasa Marenjak
Buildings 2021, 11(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings11010017 - 2 Jan 2021
Cited by 45 | Viewed by 12673
Abstract
This paper reviews the recent literature on skill and labour shortages in the labour market with special emphasis on the construction sector in the European Union Member States, foreseeing the Construction 4.0 era. The free movement of people is one of the rights [...] Read more.
This paper reviews the recent literature on skill and labour shortages in the labour market with special emphasis on the construction sector in the European Union Member States, foreseeing the Construction 4.0 era. The free movement of people is one of the rights of all citizens of the EU which also includes the free movement of workers. Labour shortages in the EU are expected to increase in the future due to a declining population and an ageing workforce. In order to recognize and forecast labour shortages, EU Member states use a variety of instruments but they do not answer as to whether it is possible to use migrant labour to appease those shortages. There are several systems used to classify labour shortages in the EU Member states. Most of the countries classify labour shortages in relation to different sectors or occupation groups as well as by skill levels, but in some Member States, classification is made according to the type of employment. Instruments used to measure labour shortages significantly differ from country to country. Several criteria are used for creating lists of shortage occupations and most of the criteria include demand side and supply side criteria. A majority of the Member States are facing labour and skill shortages in various sectors and the construction sector is not an exception. As total employment in the construction sector decreased, so did the share of employed migrants. Labour shortages in the construction sector can be eased by the availability of a labour supply willing to accept unqualified and low-paying jobs. The construction sector seeks low-, medium-, and high-skilled individuals and is most likely the sector where most of the incoming migrants will be working, which has an impact on the development and implementation dynamic of Construction 4.0. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Construction 4.0)
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29 pages, 3260 KiB  
Review
A Systematic Review of Digital Technology Adoption in Off-Site Construction: Current Status and Future Direction towards Industry 4.0
by Mudan Wang, Cynthia Changxin Wang, Samad Sepasgozar and Sisi Zlatanova
Buildings 2020, 10(11), 204; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings10110204 - 13 Nov 2020
Cited by 176 | Viewed by 21763
Abstract
Off-site construction (OSC) is known as an efficient construction method that could save time and cost, reduce waste of resources, and improve the overall productivity of projects. Coupled with digital technologies associated with the Industry 4.0 concept, OSC can offer a higher rate [...] Read more.
Off-site construction (OSC) is known as an efficient construction method that could save time and cost, reduce waste of resources, and improve the overall productivity of projects. Coupled with digital technologies associated with the Industry 4.0 concept, OSC can offer a higher rate of productivity and safety. While there is a rich literature focusing on both OSC and Industry 4.0, the implementation of associated digital technologies in the OSC context has not been fully evaluated. This paper intends to evaluate the current literature of digital technology applications in OSC. Scientometric analyses and a systematic review were carried out evaluating fifteen typical digital technologies adopted by OSC projects, including building information modelling (BIM), radio frequency identification devices (RFID), global positioning systems (GPS), the Internet of Things (IoT), geographic information systems (GIS), sensors, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), photogrammetry, laser scanning, artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printing, robotics, big data, and blockchain. This review formulates a clear picture of the current practice of these digital technologies and summarizes the main area of application and limitations of each technology when utilized in OSC. The review also points out their potential and how they can be better adopted to improve OSC practice in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Construction 4.0)
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