Research News

International Workshop on Use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) in Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects

An industry workshop was organised by the Centre for Smart Modern Construction (c4SMC) on 16, November 2018 at Parramatta City Campus, Western Sydney University. The workshop titled “Use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) in Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects” was organised as part of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Research Trust funded research project. It aimed at understanding the practice of BIM in Australia, UK, and China with respect to estimating in PPP projects. The purpose of the workshop was to bring academic and industry experts together to discuss and share ideas on how BIM can be effectively used in PPP projects and to disseminate the findings of the research project. International industry practitioners from China, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, UK and Australia participated in the workshop while providing a platform for networking with the people who have real time exposure to the use of BIM in PPP projects. The workshop attracted over 80 delegates and concluded successfully with deliberations on future research collaborations. Among the activities of the day included a demonstration of the use of BIM and a panel discussion on drivers and barriers for use of BIM in different countries.

The workshop was chaired by Professor Srinath Perera who welcomed the delegates and introduced the project. Researchers from the Centre for Smart Modern Construction, Dr Robert Osei-Kyei presented international case studies on PPP projects while Dr Ali Alashwal and Amer Hijazi presented on the use of BIM. Professor Yilin Yin from Tianjin University of Technology, Dr Lei Zhou from Shanghai Dragonboat Investment Management Co., Ltd and Mr. Qian Liu, CEO of Glodon Company presented the use of BIM in China while Professor Chitra Weddikkara (past president of the Institute of Quantity Surveyors Sri Lanka) presented on the use of BIM in Sri Lanka. The c4SMC researcher Buddhini Ginigaddara delivered the vote of thanks and was the MC for the event. The WSU research team included Dr Robert Osei-Kyei, Dr Xiaohua (Sean) Jin, Dr Yingbin Feng and Ms Sadhana De Silva led by Professor Srinath Perera who was the overall Principal Investigator for the project.

This research was an international collaboration between four universities and an Industry Partner: Western Sydney University, Australia, University of Salford, UK, Tianjin University of Technology, China, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria and Shanghai Dragonboat Investment Management Co., Ltd, China. The research was funded by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Glodon Software Company in China.

The workshop started with a presentation by Professor Srinath Perera, the director of Centre for Smart Modern Construction which was under two sections. First he delivered insights of the Centre and Western Sydney University to the gathering; about the Centre aim, objectives, research initiatives under the concept of Industry 4.0, various industry collaborative activities taken place and also the funding partners. Next section of the presentation was on the research project; BIM enabled early stage estimating for PPP. An overview to the research was provided by the Professor introducing the research team, aim, objectives, methodology and the literature review followed by the critical research findings. The Process Protocol model for using BIM in PPP projects was one of the significant research outcomes which gave the audience valuable inputs about the complex and lengthy procedure in using BIM in PPP projects. Then the research findings on drivers and barriers of estimating BIM in PPP projects were presented, concerning the research focus countries of China, United Kingdom and Australia. Finally, the presentation was concluded by presenting the best practices of BIM estimating which summed up the findings of the research project.

The next speaker for the day was Dr. Robert Osi-Kyei who is a lecturer at the Centre and who has vast research exposure to the practice of PPP worldwide. His presentation incorporated many PPP case studies including Cross Harbour Tunnel (Hong Kong), Sydney Cross City Tunnel (Australia) and Euro/channel Tunnel (UK). The presentation provided information on the evolution of the use of PPP investments from its concept development stage to the current international practice. In conclusion of his presentation, global research trends in PPP was discussed followed by the focal points of PPP in the past, present and future.

Next session of the workshop was dedicated to the Chinese partners of the workshop who represented both academic and the industrial practitioners of China. Initially, Mr. Qian Liu, CEO of Glodon Softwre and Ms. Qingni Liu, Vice President of Glodon Software gave an introductory session to the Glodon Software company and presented about Digital Construction Building. The presentation included interesting thoughts on how the digital construction age can be achieved through the three combinations of Unconscious world (the mind), Digital world and the Physical world. The presentation was concluded by mentioning the possibilities in winning the world through collaboration and creative thinking via construction projects and also transforming the business logic to match the digital world requirements.

Then, Professor Yilin Yin from Tianjin University of Technology, who is a co-investiogator of the project presented about the PPP practice in China. This was followed by the presentation by Dr Lei Zhou from Shanghai Dragonboat Investment Management Co., Ltd who is also a co-investigator of the research in terms of Chinese collaboration of BIM enabled estimating in PPP projects. This presentation indicated the current status of PPP in China and why Chian needs PPP with a focus on the healthcare sector. Dr. Lei ended the Chinese partner’s session of the workshop, by describing the developed PPP framework and also the procedure in how to enter the Chinese PPP market.

Followed by the Chinese partners of the workshop, the next presenters of the workshop were Dr. Ali Alashwal and Amer Hijazi of the Centre for Smart Modern Construction at Western Sydney University who focussed on the practice of BIM and PPP in the United Kingdom under technological perspective and organizational perspective respectively. The presentation was covered three sections where BIM framework, BIM standards for PPP in the UK and use of BIM in PPP projects were discussed. Key points covered by the presenters were the BIM maturity levels in the UK, potential for BIM implementation in Australia due to the policies made by the Australian government, the framework for implementing BIM in PPP projects and finally the demonstration of BIM usage in real time scenario where many stakeholders can work on the same project at the same time.

The final presenter of the workshop was Professor Chitra Weddikkara from the Institute of Quantity Surveyors Sri Lankan delivering her presentation on the importance of BIM for the Sri Lankan construction industry. Her presentation involved details on how Sri Lanka is currently starting to use BIM in various projects from the industry perspective. Further, she mentioned the research initiatives taken by the academics in the Sri Lanka on BIM usage and the implementation of BIM for construction projects.

The final activity of the workshop was the panel discussion where all the presenters were invited to be a part and share their valuable thoughts and comments on the workshop theme. The panel discussion was chaired by Professor Srinath Perera directing the participants to deliver useful points in relevant areas. Major outcomes of the panel discussion were the thought mentioned by Mr. Amer Hijazi on how the BIM language needs to be changed to suit all the professionals who are involved in construction projects. He mentioned how university education needs to be changed to teach engineering professionals how to use BIM in order to futureproof the industry by matching the industry requirements. Adding to the same, Dr. Robert Osei-Kyei stated the need to engage in more research on PPP and the use of BIM in the construction industry which is a key responsibility of an academic.

The ideas put forth by Professor Chitra Weddikkara was on how the developing countries can reach the next stage of BIM implementation by learning from other giant global construction markets such as China which has strong PPP influence in Sri Lanka as well. Also, she pointed the importance of concepts like Swiss challenge which increases the transparency and the quality of design proposals derived at the initial stage of a construction project. The views of Professor Yilin Yin from Tianjin University of Technology was to focus more on specific construction projects (Ex: hospitals) to make international databases to estimate costs for PPP projects at early stages. Further, the presenters highlighted the requirement of more integration between industry and universities for the betterment of the use of BIM in PPP projects.

Followed by the Vote of Thanks delivered by the MC, Buddhini Ginigaddara, the participants were invited for lunch and refreshments along with more quality and value-adding networking time.

Presentations

  1. Prof. Srinath Perera - BIM Enabled Early Stage Estimating for PPP
  2. Dr. Robert Osei-Kyei - International Practice of PPP
  3. Mr. and Ms. Liu - Introduction of Glodon & Digital Construction Building
  4. Dr. Lei Zhou - PPP Development in China
  5. Dr. Ali and Mr. Amer - The Use of BIM in PPP Projects
  6. Prof. Chitra Weddikkara - Importance of BIM for SL Construction Industry

Blockchain with EOS

A workshop titled “Blockchain with EOS” was organised by the School of Computing Engineering & Mathematics in association with the Centre for Smart Modern Construction (c4SMC) on 16th January 2019 at its Construction Informatics laboratory in Kingswood (Penrith) Campus. The purpose of the workshop was to support the PhD students who are applying blockchain technology to their research projects and to those who are interested to know more about blockchain technology with EOS and to train them to be more conversant with the application of Blockchain in their research areas. Ralf Weinand, CTO from GENEREOS which is a block producer candidate, focused on building infrastructure and software for the EOS network, directed this detailed workshop. The workshop was preceded by a preparatory session conducted by Samudaya who is a PhD student of c4SMC on 11th of January at Kingswood Campus.

Altogether, 11 people attended this workshop including 9 PhD students: 7 students from Kingswood Campus, 1 student from Campbelltown Campus and 1 student from Parramatta South Campus as a remote participant and 2 staff members (Professor Srinath Perera and Dr. Ali Alashwal). Andrew Leahy, form Wonderama Lab of WSU provided IT support for both preparation session and workshop.

The workshop covered concepts but focused on practical application including comparing consensus mechanisms, EOS blockchain(s) and smart contract development, deployment and testing. All the participants got the opportunity to develop and deploy a smart contract on blockchain network during the workshop. The workshop was highly rated by all the attendees and the Centre is planning to organise more workshops on Blockchain in the near future.

On behalf of the c4SMC, Director of the centre Professor Srinath Perera and all PhD students take this opportunity to greatly acknowledge Associate Professor Dongmo Zhang, Director HDR, School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics (SCEM) of WSU for his encouragement and immense support in initiating this workshops with GenerEOS. The Centre also acknowledges PhD candidate, Shiyamini Ratnasabapathy for coordinating and organising this workshop on behalf of the Centre and the school.

An article from the workshop published in GenerEOS website can be read here (opens in a new window).

Blockchain for Construction Supply Chains: A Literature Synthesis

A research paper, titled “Blockchain for Construction Supply Chains: A Literature Synthesis” published by Navodana Rodrigo, Srinath Perera, Sepani Senaratne and Xiaohua Jin has been accepted for presentation and publication at the forthcoming ICEC PAQS Conference 2018 (opens in a new window) held in Sydney, Australia in November, 2018. The ICEC PAQS Conference is a world renowned peer-reviewed annual conference where a majority of local and international construction managers and quantity surveyors participate to demonstrate their research work.