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authors Mahdavi, A.
year 1998
title Computational decision support and the building delivery process: a necessary dialogue
source Automation in Construction 7 (2-3) (1998) pp. 205-211
summary The current critical discourse of computational design support systems (particularly building performance modeling tools) focuses more often than not on the `endogenous' system problems, that is deficiencies in user communication, absence of integration, and the `black-box' character of the underlying computational routines. As a result of this mostly valid criticism, work has been initiated in various quarters to improve modeling-based decision support environments. This paper argues that parallel efforts are needed to address other factors that go beyond the immediate technical realm of tool-making and involve matters pertaining to issues of building design and construction process at large. The building delivery process has traditionally been regarded as a discrete and sequential set of activities. This state of affairs is the result of a historical evolution driven by many factors, one of which might be the necessity to organize the activities for the purpose of establishing a professional fee structure that is commensurate with the scope of work and level of accountability or responsibility. However, within the context of rapidly changing building technologies, production processes, and knowledge transfer mechanisms, the existing procedural framework no longer seems capable of meeting the increasingly complex demands associated with the creation of the built environment. While the technical capabilities of decision support tools are expanding, they still fall short of challenging the very logic of the often nonintegrated processes they are designated to support. It may be understandable that, as compared to tools, processes tend to be more resilient to structural changes because of their inherent communicative nature, evolved over time through general acceptance and consensus. This paper argues, however, that careful study of the necessary conditions under which significant structural changes in the building delivery process would evolve, can effectively inform the developmental strategies in computational design support toward anticipation and encouragement of such changes.
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