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AUTOMATED CONSTRUCTION LAYOUT AND SIMULATION OF CONCRETE

FORMWORK SYSTEMS USING BUILDING INFORMATION MODELING


(CM-064)
Ramesh Kannan.M1* and Helen Santhi.M1
1

Department of Civil Engineering, VIT University Chennai Campus, Chennai, India


*e-mail : rameshkannan.m@vit.ac.in

ABSTRACT
The drafting of formwork systems for concrete structures is one of the most complex tasks in the formwork
construction than the design and selection of the formwork systems. The 2D Computer-Aided Design and
Drafting (CADD) is the most commonly used tool for drafting, however custom made programs such as
ELPOS, ForCAD and Tipos 7.0 was used later as separate software or add-ins to the 2D CADD software
so as to reduce the amount of time and complexity in drafting the formwork systems. However this
technique suffers seriously on the fact that it could not incorporate the actual site characteristics such
as the building shape, alignment of the formwork and construction sequence of the formwork, which is the
detrimental factors in the formwork construction, thus the sophisticated 3D CADD is preferred.
Moreover the 3D CADD is efficient in providing an optimum solution but it is not impartable, that is the
changes made on it could not be altered easily so as to coordinate with other construction personnel
involved in the project. Thus, there arises a need for an intriguing tool for enhancing the parametric
change characteristics besides the perfect layout of the system. The Building Information Modeling (BIM)
is one such techniques that is adopted in this research to overcome the shortcoming of the 3D CADD. This
research comprises of creating 3D BIM of the high-rise building (21 storey) and converting it into a wireframe model and set as reference for the impartibility of the already created 3D BIM family files of the
concrete formwork systems to perform the parametric change characteristics of the 3D BIM formwork
family files so as to verify the automated construction layout and simulation characteristics. A detailed
exploration of the 4D time scheduling and 5D cost are also investigated for the profitability of the formwork
construction.
Keywords: Automated layout, Building Information Modeling, formwork, high-rise building, simulation.
1.

INTRODUCTION

The layout of concrete formwork systems is the most important factor to be considered in the
formwork construction besides even the design and selection of the formwork systems. The layout of
formwork is the most influencing factors in determining the shape of the finished structure, thus a greater
degree of precision is considered in the drafting of the formwork systems (Lee et al 2009). Generally,
the2D Computer-Aided Design and Drafting (CADD) is used for the drafting of the layout of the formwork
systems. These 2D CADD are generally drawn manually for the light constructions and drawn using
software such as Autodesk AutoCAD 2012, Bricscad V12, for the more complex layout of the concrete
formwork systems in the heavy constructions. In all the above software, the formwork components and its
associated accessories are drawn first and then connected to form the finished formwork systems.
However this is time-consuming, thus later, the pre-drawn CAD elements known as Blocks was
developed to draw the commonly used formwork systems.
Sometimes custom made programs such as ELPOS developed by PERI GmbH, ForCAD by MEC CAD Slr
and Tipos 7.0 by Doka GmbH are used as a separate or an add-ins for the 2D CADD software so as to
reduce the amount of time in the drafting the formwork systems and its layout. Though these 2D CADD
are commonly used techniques in drafting the layout of the formwork systems, these could not
incorporate the site characteristics such as the building shape, schedule of materials, alignment of the
formwork and construction sequence of the formwork, which are the most essential components of the
formwork construction (Hurd 2005).
Instead 3D CADD were developed later to reduce the complexity of the formwork layout. Sometimes
custom-made software was developed for the complex projects or specialty constructions. These custom
made software developed are costlier and most of them could not account for some characteristics of the
construction site and formwork site safety. Though the 3D CADD is efficient in overcome the shortcomings
of the 2D CADD, it could not account for the parametric change characteristics required for the imparting
and coordination of the layout of formwork systems among the other construction site personnel. Thus a
rationalization of formwork layout is to be developed incorporating the actual site characteristics and

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imparting the parametric change during construction, this could be well achieved by a modern technique
known as the Building Information Modeling (BIM).
2.

METHODOLOGY

This research involves the creation of 3D BIM formwork in-place family files and 3D BIM structural
model for the 21 storey high-rise building and then impartation of formwork family files into the 3D BIM
structural model for the automated layout and simulation characteristics. The detailed methodology
adopted for this research is as follows.
2.1.

Creation of 3D BIM formwork in-place family files

The formwork components are drafted and saved as Revit in-place family files (.rfa files) using the
Revit 2012 Family Editor, which is similar to the Block in the AutoCAD 2012 (Stine, 2011). Figure 1 depicts
the creation of timber H-beam, wall formwork, props with tripods and beam forming support in Revit 2012.

Figure 1. Creating (a) H-Beam, (b) Wall, (c) Props, (d) Beam forming support, formwork family files
2.2.

Creation of 3D BIM model for high-rise building

The 2D drawing of the building should be drafted and validated in greater detail to generate the 3D BIM
model in the Revit 2012 (Kannan et al, 2012). The 2D floor plan and Elevation of the 3D BIM structural
model of 21 storey high-rise building considered for the purpose of this research are shown in Figure
2. The plan area of the building is 24.38 m x 24.38 m and the height of each storey is 2.80 m.

(a)

(b)

(c)

Figure 2. (a) Floor Plan, (b) Elevation (North), (c) 3D solid BIM model of the 21 storey high-rise building

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2.3.

Impartation of 3D BIM formwork family files into the 3D BIM

To incorporate formwork systems in the 3D BIM Model, the procedures adopted includes conversion of the
solid 3D BIM Model into a 3D BIM wireframe model (Kannan et al 2012) as in Figure 3, which acts as a
reference for insertion of created formwork family files as in Figure 4.

Figure 3. Conversion of 3D solid BIM structural model to 3D wireframe BIM structural model

Figure 4. Impartation of 3D BIM formwork family files into the 3D BIM model

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3.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS

The 3D BIM model with all the 3D formwork families incorporated in it are a great tool in the layout of
formwork systems. Nevertheless, its importance could be also enhanced by the further parameters
such as parametric change characteristics, automated layout and simulation of concrete formwork systems
(Kannan et al 2012) and are described in detail as follows.
3.1.

Automated Construction Layout of Concrete Formwork Systems

The 3D BIM formwork families developed are incorporated into the Ground Floor plan and since all are inplace family files it gets aligned to the similar structural elements present in the entire building irrespective
of variation in the shapes and sizes of the structural element as shown in Figure 5. The Figure 5.(f) shows
the parametric change characteristics of this model as the entire formwork systems are completely
swapped from conventional to system formwork without any misalignment.

Figure 5. Automated layout of concrete formwork system

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3.2.

Automated Construction Simulation of Concrete Formwork Systems

The dynamic in-place formwork family files have the capabilities to adjust itself to the confined structural
component (Meadati et al 2011). The parametric change characteristics of the formwork systems are
verified earlier in greater detail. However the BIM has additional advantage that is the generation of
automatic simulation of the concrete systems.
The 3D formwork family files incorporated in the entire floor of the 3D BIM structural model is the basis for
conducting the simulation. Since formwork are temporary structures and there rise a question of repetition
of formwork systems, thus the incorporation of 3D formwork family files incorporated in the entire floor
of the 3D BIM structural model is little subtle, however when this model from Revit gets exported to .dwf
file and imported in Navisworks, the masking of the different floors is possible so as to provide a
sequencial progress of the formwork construction from the start to finish. It is also used to consider the
repetition characteristics of formwork systems as well in the model during simulation.
Once the scheduling of the formwork construction is done using any scheduling software such as oracle
Primavera, Microsoft Project 2010, etc, the schedule data is imported into the Navisworks 2012 and the
automated simulation is done as in Figure 6 so as to obtain the 4D time and 5D cost values of
the formwork systems in Microsoft Excel 2010 as in Figure 7.

Figure 6. Simulation of Concrete Formwork System using Navisworks 2012

(a)

(b)

Figure 7. (a) 4D Time schedule and (b) 5D Cost of formwork systems from Navisworks 2012

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4.

CONCLUSION

The 3D BIM formwork system and its associated automated layout and simulation characteristics are well
illustrated in this paper. This paper also provides the background concepts and techniques to adopt
the BIM as a simplified and intriguing tool to carry out the 4D Schedule and 5D Cost of the concrete
formwork systems.
The major limitation of this technique is that the 3D BIM formwork family files generated gets automatically
aligns with the respective structural system, however the duct, cut-outs or opening present in the structural
systems are completely ignored by the formwork. Thus a rationalize formwork layout systems
incorporating the constructability considerations has to be developed based on this techniques. Beside this
limitation it is one of the intriguing techniques for the layout and simulation of concrete formwork systems.
4.1.

Further Research

The 3D BIM model of structural components considered in this paper is a generalized model however for
advanced research on formwork systems, more complex 3D BIM models are to be developed for studying
additional incurring parameters.
The formwork systems presented in this paper are custom made for the purpose of this research, thus
for a detailed study on the actual formwork systems, the readers are advised to incorporate the available
patented formwork systems. The other types of formwork systems such as climbing formwork system,
slipform and other movable type of formwork systems can also be incorporated into the 3D BIM model for
verifying the automatic layout and simulation characteristics (Kannan et al 2012).
Besides the formwork, the falsework associated with the construction of formwork such as scaffolding,
shoring and other formwork accessories can also be incorporated to study the temporary structures of the
construction project as a whole (Chi et al 2012).
5.

REFERENCES

[1]

Chi, S., et al. Using BIM for smarter and safer scaffolding and formwork construction: a
preliminary methodology. Modelling and Building Health and Safety, Singapore, 2012

[2]

th
Hurd, M.K., Formwork for concrete. 7 edition, Special Publication No.4, American Concrete
Institute (ACI), Michigan, 2005

[3]

Kannan, M.R., et al. Automatic Climbing Formwork Systems The Emerging trend in Forming
High- rise buildings in India. National conference on Quest on Civil Engineering, Chennai, 2012,
pp.88-93

[4]

Kannan, M.R., et al. Climbing Formwork Technology The Panorama in Forming Residential
and Commercial High-rise buildings in India. National conference on Advanced Trends in
Civil Engineering, Chennai, 2012, pp.1-12

[5]

Kannan, M.R., et al. Constructability The Paradigm Shift in the Construction Engineering
and Management. International conference on Emerging Technology Trends in Advanced
Engineering Research, Kerala, 2012, vol. 2, pp.1- 8

[6]

Lee, C., et al. The Development of Automatic Module for Formwork Layout using the
BIM. ICCEM/ICCPM 2009, Jeju, Korea, v.3, pp. 1266-1271.

[7]

Meadati, P., et al. BIM and Concrete Formwork Repository. 47


Conference Proceedings, 2011

[8]

Stine, D.J., Design Integration Using Revit 2012. 1st edition, SDC Publications, 2011

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The 4th International Conference of EACEF (European Asian Civil Engineering Forum)
National University of Singapore, SINGAPORE, June 26-28, 2013