CONSITEPLAN ? A MultiObjective Construction Site Utilization Planning Tool
by
Karthick Alagarsamy
A thesis submitted to the Graduate Faculty of
Auburn University
in partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the Degree of
Master of Science
Auburn, Alabama
May 7, 2012
Keywords: Construction site utilization planning, BIM, Genetic algorithms
Copyright 2012 by Karthick Alagarsamy
Approved by
Abhijeet Deshpande, Chair, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering
Larry Crowley, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering
Wesley Zech, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering
ii
Abstract
Construction Site Utilization Planning (CSUP) involves identifying, sizing, and
positioning the temporary construction facilities required during different stages of the project
within the available site boundaries and using available offsite facilities. CSUP has a significant
positive impact on worker productivity, costs, and duration of construction. An effectively
planned layout could potentially result in improvements in quality of work and safety of
operations. This research work presents a temporary facility layout planning tool aimed at
building on existing research on site layout planning. A user friendly, mathematically robust
optimization tool that enables the user to model geometric, temporal and project specific
requirements is presented in this thesis. This tool uses an optimization engine based on genetic
algorithms. The tool provides an option to conventional distance measurement formulas (i.e.,
Euclidean and Manhattan). The tool is designed to enable the user to specify project specific
constraints such as unusable areas, use of offsite locations for temporary facilities, eliminating
double handling of materials by locating the required temporary facilities (e.g., laydown areas)
within the reach of a user defined crane location. The tool also has the capability to use data
extracted from REVIT Building Information Modeling (BIM) models. This tool is designed to be
user friendly, mathematically robust and practical.
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Acknowledgments
I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Abhijeet Deshpande, for his guidance and support
throughout the research work. I would also like to thank Dr. Larry Crowley and Dr. Wesley Zech
for their inputs on my thesis work and for serving on my committee.
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Table of Contents
Abstract ........................................................................................................................................... ii
Acknowledgments.......................................................................................................................... iii
List of Tables ................................................................................................................................. ix
List of Figures ..................................................................................................................................x
List of Abbreviations .................................................................................................................... xii
1 Introduction ...............................................................................................................................1
1.1 Construction Site Utilization Planning ...............................................................................1
1.2 Problem Statement ..............................................................................................................4
1.3 Research Objectives ............................................................................................................6
1.4 Organization of the Study ...................................................................................................6
2 Literature Review......................................................................................................................9
2.1 Research in Layout Planning ..............................................................................................9
2.2 Research in Construction Site Utilization Planning..........................................................10
2.2.1 Classification of Construction Site Layout Research ...............................................10
2.2.2 Optimization Techniques ..........................................................................................10
v
2.2.3 Layout Optimization Using Population Based MetaHeuristics ...............................13
2.2.4 Layout Optimization Using Swarm Intelligence ......................................................15
2.2.5 Layout Optimization Using Trajectory based MetaHeuristics ................................16
2.2.6 Graphical Site Layout Methods ................................................................................17
2.2.7 Dynamic (Temporal) Site Layouts............................................................................18
2.2.8 Distance between Facilities: Euclidean or Manhattan ..............................................19
2.3 Review Summary ..............................................................................................................22
3 Evolutionary Algorithms ........................................................................................................26
3.1 Genetic Algorithms ...........................................................................................................26
3.1.1 TrailandError Optimization ................................................................................26
3.1.2 Temporal Optimization .........................................................................................26
3.1.3 Continuous Optimization ......................................................................................27
3.1.4 Constrained Optimization .....................................................................................27
3.1.5 Minimum Seeking Optimization...........................................................................27
3.2 Traditional Optimization Algorithms for Minimization ...................................................29
3.2.1 Exhaustive Search .....................................................................................................29
3.2.2 Analytical Optimization ............................................................................................30
3.2.3 NdelerMead Downhill Simplex Method ..................................................................31
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3.3 Genetic Algorithms ...........................................................................................................33
3.4 Genetic Operations............................................................................................................36
3.4.1 Selection ....................................................................................................................36
3.4.2 Mating .......................................................................................................................39
3.4.3 Mutation ....................................................................................................................40
3.4.4 Convergence ..............................................................................................................41
3.5 Summary ...........................................................................................................................42
4 Site Utilization Planning Algorithms ......................................................................................43
4.1 Introduction .......................................................................................................................43
4.2 Algorithms ........................................................................................................................43
4.2.1 Distance Measurement Algorithm ........................................................................43
4.2.2 Optimization Algorithms ......................................................................................51
4.2.2.1 Initial Solutions ......................................................................................52
4.2.2.2 Solutions Evaluation ..............................................................................60
4.2.2.3 Genetic Operations Algorithms: Crossover and Mutation.....................71
4.3 Summary ...........................................................................................................................75
5 CONSITEPLAN ? Architecture Review ................................................................................76
5.1 Introduction .......................................................................................................................76
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5.2 CONSITEPLAN ? Process Flow ......................................................................................76
5.3 CONSITEPLAN ? Input ...................................................................................................79
5.3.1 Site Parameters......................................................................................................79
5.3.2 Layout Parameters ................................................................................................81
5.4 CONSITEPLAN ? Optimization Components .................................................................89
5.4.1 SplitBoundary .......................................................................................................89
5.4.2 ExtractFreeArea ....................................................................................................89
5.4.3 ComputeDistance ..................................................................................................89
5.4.4 InitialPopulation ....................................................................................................90
5.4.5 EvaluateSolution ...................................................................................................90
5.4.6 GenerateSolutions .................................................................................................90
5.4.7 DrawDimensions...................................................................................................91
5.5 Summary ...........................................................................................................................91
6 CONSITEPLAN ? Illustrative Example .................................................................................92
6.1 Introduction .......................................................................................................................92
6.2 Illustrative Example ..........................................................................................................94
6.3 Analysis of the Impact of Optimization Parameters .........................................................99
6.3.1 Impact of the Number of Iterations on Objective Function Value ......................99
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6.3.2 Impact of the % of Probability of Mutation on Objective Function Value .......100
6.3.3 Impact of the selected Grid Size on the Objective Function Value ...................101
6.3.4 Number of Iterations, Grid Size vs Computation Time .....................................102
6.4 Summary .........................................................................................................................104
7 Summary and Scope for Future Research .............................................................................105
7.1 Introduction .....................................................................................................................105
7.2 Conclusion ......................................................................................................................111
References ....................................................................................................................................113
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List of Tables
Table 1.1 No. of fatal accidents in Construction from ?05?09 ........................................................3
Table 2.1 Literature Summary .......................................................................................................25
Table 3.1 Rank Weighting .............................................................................................................38
Table 4.1 Representation of Solution Chromosome ......................................................................56
Table 4.2 Objective Functions used in Literature ..........................................................................61
Table 4.3 Preferred Proximity Relationship Mapping ...................................................................63
Table 4.4.a Parent Chromosome I..................................................................................................72
Table 4.4.b Parent Chromosome II ................................................................................................72
Table 4.5.a Offspring Chromosome II ...........................................................................................72
Table 4.5.b Offspring Chromosome II ...........................................................................................72
Table 6.1 Case Study Example Temporary Facilities ....................................................................95
Table 6.2 Case Study Example Preferred Proximity .....................................................................96
Table 6.3 Case Study Example Optimization Parameters .............................................................96
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List of Figures
Figure 1.1 Time/Safety Influence Curve ........................................................................................4
Figure 2.1 Distance Measurement Formulation.............................................................................20
Figure 3.1 Flowchart for binary GAs .............................................................................................35
Figure 3.2 SinglePoint Crossover Example ..................................................................................40
Figure 4.1 Euclidean Distance Measurement Approach................................................................44
Figure 4.2 Manhattan Distance Measurement Approach (applicable scenario) ............................45
Figure 4.3 Manhattan Distance Measurement Approach (inapplicable scenario) .........................46
Figure 4.4 Improvised Distance Measurement Approach .............................................................47
Figure 4.5 Distance Measurement Strategy ...................................................................................48
Figure 4.6.a Horizontal Alignment ................................................................................................53
Figure 4.6.b Vertical Alignment ....................................................................................................54
Figure 4.7 Illustrative Example ......................................................................................................55
Figure 5.1 CONSITEPLAN Architecture Flow.............................................................................77
Figure 5.2 CONSITEPLAN GAs Optimization Process Flowchart ..............................................78
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Figure 5.3 Site Space Conceptualization .......................................................................................83
Figure 5.4 CONSITEPLAN ? Primary Screen ..............................................................................84
Figure 5.5 CONSITEPLAN ? Facilities Detail .............................................................................85
Figure 5.6 CONSITEPLAN ? Unusable Areas .............................................................................86
Figure 5.7 CONSITEPLAN ? Cost of Interaction among Facilities .............................................87
Figure 5.8 CONSITEPLAN ? Preferred Proximity among Facilities ...........................................88
Figure 6.1 Case Study Example Layout ........................................................................................94
Figure 6.2 CONSITEPLAN ? Site Utilization Plan 1 ...................................................................97
Figure 6.3 CONSITEPLAN ? Site Utilization Plan 2 ...................................................................97
Figure 6.4 CONSITEPLAN ? Site Utilization Plan 3 ...................................................................98
Figure 6.5 CONSITEPLAN ? Site Utilization Plan 4 ...................................................................98
Figure 6.6 Objective Function Value vs. No. of Iterations ..........................................................100
Figure 6.7 Objective Function Value vs. Percentage of Probability of Mutation ........................101
Figure 6.8 Objective Function Value vs. Grid Size .....................................................................102
Figure 6.9 Number of Solution Iterations vs. Computation Time ...............................................103
Figure 6.10 Grid Size vs. Computation Time ..............................................................................103
xii
List of Abbreviations
AI Artificial Intelligence
BIM Building Information Modeling
CSUP Construction Site Utilization Planning
GA Genetic Algorithms
GIS Geographic Information System
GSA General Services Administration
PTF Primary Time Frame
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Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 Construction Site Utilization Planning
Construction Site Utilization Planning (CSUP) is the determination of the layout of
temporary facilities, and is an integral and critical component of a project execution plan.
Temporary facilities are those facilities which occupy physical space within the site boundaries,
are not part of the permanent buildings/structure, and are only used to support the construction
process. CSUP can also be defined as a decision making process for positioning the temporary
facilities, which involves identifying problems and opportunities, developing solutions, choosing
the best alternative and implementing the plan (Ning et al. 2010a). Typical temporary facilities in
a construction project include material laydown areas, fabrication yards, concrete batching
plants, equipment storage areas, and temporary site offices used by various contractors
(Mawdesley et al. 2002).
Practitioners and researchers have recognized CSUP as a vital process in construction
planning, which essentially is a problem of utilizing the available site space efficiently. It is
widely accepted that the available site space on a construction project varies greatly based on
several project specific requirements (Ning et al. 2010a). Many construction projects performed
in urban areas have very limited working space at the site and do not have sufficient space for
positioning all the temporary facilities required for construction. Therefore, planning should
essentially be aimed at effectively utilizing the available smaller spaces within the site
boundaries to execute the construction activities efficiently. In construction projects on large
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sites, the project managers might tend to not focus on site layout planning at the beginning of
construction phase due to abundant availability of space. In such cases, the layout of temporary
facilities is done on an adhoc basis with no concern for optimality or layout efficiency. This
results in increased costs of transportation of materials, and inefficient labor movement. For
example, in extreme cases, decision on where to store the materials might only be made after the
delivery of the materials to the project site (Mawdesley et al. 2002). Evidently, the careful
planning of the layout of temporary facilities has a bearing on the success of construction
projects whether the site is confined with limited space, or it is a very large site where travel
between various facilities could be time consuming and slow down production (Li and Love
1998).
The location of temporary facilities and equipment is coupled with the sequence of
construction activities at the site. Poor planning of the temporary facilities layout could
potentially lead to work delays, temporary material storage, multiple handling of materials
resulting in reduced labor productivity, schedule delays, loss of time and money, and unsafe
working conditions (Mincks and Johnston 2010). For the construction process to flow smoothly
and efficiently, utilization of site space needs to be determined with great care. Site spaces could
be efficiently used by developing the site layout plan(s) which involve, i) defining the site
boundaries ii) identifying the temporary construction facilities to be laid out iii) identifying the
constraints between the facilities iv) determining the relative positions of the facilities that satisfy
the relationships between them, and allowing them to function efficiently (Zouein et al. 2002).
Consequently, a complete site layout should include the following aspects, i) identification of
temporary facilities that need to be established ii) locations of the temporary facilities and, iii)
3
timing of the establishment and removal of specific facilities during the project (Mawdesley et
al. 2002).
According to Szymberski (1997), consideration of safety in earlier project stages has
better potential to influence the outcome and its overall ability to influence safety decreases as
the project progresses from conceptual stage to project startup, which can be seen in Figure 1.1.
By extension, this theory is pertinent for individual project phases (e.g., construction) as well,
where the project manager can influence safety to a greater extent at the beginning of the
construction process through well planned layouts.
Figure 1.1: Time/Safety Influence Curve (Szymberski 1997)
Thus, CSUP which involves identifying the temporary construction facilities that are used
to support the project is a vital activity that greatly contributes in achieving the project
objectives. An efficiently planned site layout will result in one, some, or all of the following: i)
reduction in project cost ii) improvement in quality of work iii) improvement in safety of
operations on the project iv) improvement in project site environment (e.g., sequenced facilities
positioning, elimination of untidy material storage) (Anumba and Bishop 1997; Mawdesley et al.
2002).
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Layout Problem: Manufacturing, Architecture and Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI)
The layout planning problem involves the allocation of activities to space such that a set
of constraints (for example, area requirement, adjacency requirements) are met and an objective
function is optimized (usually transportation distance or cost) (Liggett 2000). It is encountered in
several industries which include architecture, manufacturing, chip design, and construction. In
manufacturing, a layout problem is typically concerned with an arrangement of physical facilities
(i.e., departments, machines) primarily accomplishing two optimization objectives: minimizing
the material handling cost, and maximizing some measure of closeness ratings (Rosenblatt
1986). In architecture, layout planning is characteristically defined as the assignment of
discrete space elements to their corresponding locations while the space elements have
relationships (topology, geometry) among each other. In solving this problem, the objective is
defined as identifying an optimal plan by considering the interaction and travel cost between
the space elements in the plan (Jo and Gero 1998).
VLSI is a technology for producing complex electronic circuits by combining a very
large number of transistors efficiently in a very small area. The layout planning in VLSI involves
identifying a layout that satisfies the required neighborhood relations (i.e., provide sufficient
interfaces, route the corresponding connections between transistors) among the component
rectangles and results in the smallest area, given a set of constraints on these rectangles (Heller et
al. 1982; Kozminski and Kinnen 1984).
1.2 Problem Statement
The layout of temporary facilities is unique in every construction project due to the
changing requirements on account of different site and building configurations, project specific
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location of adjacent roads and buildings, subsurface conditions, types of foundation systems
planned, construction execution approach, location of underground utilities at the site, schedule
requirements, types of construction methods being used, material delivery and storage
requirements, and the safety requirements at the site. Layout planning in construction can be
conceptualized as a multiobjective problem where an optimal layout of the temporary facilities
needs to be identified. This layout should incorporate the project specifications and constraints
while simultaneously minimizing the cost of resource flow and improving the construction
safety.
Moreover, the layout planning problem in construction also has a temporal aspect to it, in
which a particular layout may need to change over the course of the project to meet the unique
requirements of the construction process. In addition, several key, unique considerations need to
be accounted for in solving this problem, further compounding the complexity of the problem.
These considerations include offsite storage, worker safety, and areas that can?t be used to locate
temporary facilities. While addressing this multiobjective problem, a set of constraints specific
to the construction project also need to be considered. These considerations could include,
positioning the temporary facilities within the reachable radius of tower cranes, and avoiding
close proximity between the temporary facilities that store materials of hazardous nature.
Thus, the problem/complexity in solving the layout planning problem in construction is
that i) it needs to be defined as a multiobjective problem where an optimal layout to position the
temporary facilities should be identified, while addressing the safety requirements of the project
ii) temporal aspect of the construction projects should be accounted in solving the problem iii)
other identified project specific constraints (i.e., usage of tower crane, unusable areas, and offsite
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locations of temporary facilities) should also be imposed in addressing the layout planning
problem in construction.
1.3 Research Objectives
The primary objective of the research is to develop a multiobjective temporary facilities
layout planning tool that:
1. Makes a structured attempt to create an optimal site utilization plan based on the user
requirements and project specific requirements
2. Measures the potential travel distance among the temporary facilities in the
construction site
3. Considers project specific constraints
4. Provides a mechanism to address safety requirements in the layout planning process
5. Accounts for the temporal nature of the construction layout
6. Provides an interface with the BIM data from a given REVIT model
1.4 Organization of the Study
This thesis presents the development of a multiobjective optimization tool to address the
layout planning problem in construction. The optimization strategy presented in this tool is based
on Genetic Algorithms. This tool also addresses several shortcomings of the earlier studies which
include measuring potential travel distance, addressing safety, temporal aspect, tower crane
usage, and unusable areas while addressing the problem. Discussion of this thesis document is
organized as follows:
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Chapter 1 ? Introduction: This chapter provides detailed discussion about the CSUP, its
significance in successfully accomplishing the projects objectives, and when it should be done.
Subsequently, a brief introduction about the layout planning problem encountered in several
other sectors, and how this problem in construction is more unique and complex as compared to
other sectors is reviewed along with the problem statement and objectives of this research study.
Chapter 2 ? Literature Review: Several research studies have been performed during
the last two decades with the focus of addressing the layout planning problem. This chapter
reviews these studies on layout planning and provides a comprehensive, critical review of the
optimization models presented in the literature.
Chapter 3  Evolutionary Algorithms: This chapter provides an overview about the
several evolutionary algorithms used in the past to address the layout planning problem. Since
Genetic Algorithms is used in this study and is also prevalently used in the earlier studies
addressing layout planning problem, a detailed discussion about Genetic Algorithms is also
provided in this chapter.
Chapter 4 ? Site Utilization Planning Algorithm: This chapter provides an overview of
the optimization methodology incorporated in the tool developed in this study to solve the
problem under discussion.
Chapter 5 ? CONSITEPLAN ? Architecture Review: This chapter provides information
about the architecture of the programming developed in this study. It discusses the several
coding functionalities developed in this study and how they are organized to solve this
construction utilization planning problem.
Chapter 6 ? CONSITEPLAN: Illustrative Example: This chapter discusses the
implementation of the developed optimization tool in a case study project and its results.
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Chapter 7 ? Summary and Scope for Future Research: An epilogue that summarizes the
research study, its unique attributes, and scope for further research is discussed in this chapter.
In this research, CONSITEPLAN, a windows based tool is developed to overcome the
limitations of the current layout planning tools. The main objective behind developing
CONSITEPLAN is to create a tool which addresses the practical requirements of layout planning
without sacrificing the mathematical robustness of the underlying optimization algorithm. The
main features of the tool include, space conceptualization, robust optimization engine, improved
efficiency of the genetic optimization algorithm, development of an improved distance
measurement algorithm, consideration of offsite temporary facilities, consideration of unusable
areas, consideration of tower crane access, implementation of safety constraints, consideration of
temporal nature of the CSUP problem, and ability to seamlessly interact with REVIT BIM files.
9
Chapter 2: Literature Review
2.1 Research in Layout Planning
Facility layout planning is encountered in several industries (e.g., architecture,
manufacturing, chip design, construction), which essentially is concerned with the allocation of
activities to space such that a set of constraints (e.g., area requirement, adjacency requirements)
are met and an objective function is optimized (usually transportation distance or cost) (Liggett
2000). It is a classic problem of combinatorial optimization. On account of the complexity and
importance of the layout problem, several researchers have significantly contributed in
addressing this planning problem by channelizing the problem to specific industrial sectors.
For example, in the manufacturing industry, due to high market demand for variegated
products, short product life cycles, and uncertain demand; layout planning has a significant
impact on the system efficiency (Rajasekharan et al. 1998). Many studies have been done by
several researchers since 1960s and numerous computerized packages have been developed to
solve the plant layout problem e.g. CRAFT (Buffa et al. 1964), MATCH (Montreuil et al. 1987),
FLEXBAY (Tate and Smith 1995), FACOPT (Balakrishnana et al. 2003). A body of the
published research in facility layout planning in the manufacturing, architecture sectors has also
been summarized and surveyed by many researchers. For example, (Singh 2006) provides a
detailed review of optimization methods proposed in the manufacturing sector, while (Liggett
2000) provides an excellent review of the algorithms proposed to solve the facility layout
problems in architecture.
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2.2 Research in Construction Site Layout Planning
2.2.1 Classification of Construction Site Layout Research
The research in construction site layout planning can be classified based on i) the
mathematical optimization algorithm used (e.g., population based evolutionary algorithms,
trajectory algorithms, hybrid algorithms, harmony optimization, dynamic programming, mixed
integer programming, etc.), ii) formulation of the problem (e.g., space as discrete objects, space
as area and shape), as suggested by (Liggett 2000), iii) whether temporal nature of layout
planning is considered to generate more than one layout for a project over the construction
phases (static vs. dynamic nature), iv) type of objective function used (e.g., single objective or
multiobjective) and v) types of constraints addressed. Due to the overlap in these categories, the
literature review is loosely organized on the basis of optimization techniques used and the
conceptualization of the layout problem.
2.2.2 Optimization Techniques
A substantial amount of research effort has been directed at developing robust methods to
identify optimal location of temporary facilities at construction sites. The conventional
optimization algorithms such as linear programming or integer programming can?t be applied to
the problem because of the complex, discrete nature of the problem. The layout problem is
usually characterized by a very large search space which also makes it infeasible to use
deterministic exact algorithms, such as ?branch and bound? to find a perfectly optimal solution
(Gholizadeh et al. 2010). The layout problems are known to be NPhard (Nondeterministic
polynomial time hard) wherein no known polynomial time algorithms exists and the
identification of a perfectly optimal solution may require exponential computation time
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(Arikaran et al. 2010). Due to these reasons, researchers have proposed several metaheuristic
methods to obtain acceptable solutions to the layout problems.
The solution strategies to solve the layout optimization problem can be classified into the
following categories, i) constructive initial placement strategies ii) iterative improvement
strategies iii) trajectory methods iv) population based strategies iv) hybrid strategies (Liggett
2000). A constructive initial placement strategy, similar to the strategy based on decision trees,
locates facilities one by one, building a solution from scratch in a stepbystep fashion. This
approach can be used to solve simple, direct optimization problems, but is of little practical value
in solving complex layout optimization problems. The iterative improvement, trajectory based
and population based optimization strategies belong to a class of optimization strategies known
as metaheuristics.
Metaheuristic Optimization Methods:
Metaheuristics are designed to search the solution space efficiently by generating
candidate solutions and evaluating the performance of these solutions with respect to a
predefined objective function. These algorithms are typically designed to enable the underlying
problem specific heuristic to escape local optima and efficiently search a very large solution
space by introducing an intelligently designed bias instead of randomly generating candidate
solutions in the iterative cycles. This bias can be defined in the form of a memory bias (based on
previously made decisions) or experience bias (based on prior performance of a candidate
solution) or as a descent bias introduced in the objective function (St?tzle 1999).
Iterative Local Search Method:
An iterative improvement solution strategy begins with an initial layout and attempts to
improve it incrementally (Liggett 2000). This strategy basically involves a pairwise exchange
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between the current layout and a layout selected from the current neighborhood that
demonstrates improvement based on some predetermined objective function. The performance of
these algorithms is heavily influenced by the selection of initial population, the initial
neighborhood, and the objective function. These strategies have the tendency to get trapped in
local optima.
Trajectory Methods:
Other trajectory methods such as Simulated Annealing and Tabu search have been
designed to enable the algorithms to escape local optima. Simulated Annealing allows for the
movements that result in worse layout than the current layout, thus increasing the probability of
escaping the local optima. Tabu Search, on the other hand uses short term memory in the form of
Tabu lists to enable the escape from local optima. Other metaheuristic explorative local search
methods include Greedy Randomized Adaptive Search Procedure (GRASP), Guided Local
Search, and Variable Neighborhood Search (Hansen and Mladenovic 1997; Pitsoulis and Resend
2002; Voudouris and Tsang 1999).
Population based Methods:
As compared to the previous strategies, population based search methods such as Genetic
Algorithms (GAs) deal with a set of layouts in each iteration instead of a single layout. In GAs,
an initial population of layouts is generated at the beginning and these layouts are manipulated
using strategies inspired by evolutionary processes to generate another, improved population of
layouts (Goldberg 1989; Holland 1992). Ant Colony Optimization is another population based
search method where artificial ants represent various layouts in an ant colony. These ants are
then guided to better layouts using pheromone trails.
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The optimization techniques used in the studies reviewed in this article include various
variants and hybrids of genetic algorithm, particle swarm algorithm, ant colony algorithm
variants, simulated annealing, Tabu search algorithm, and harmony search algorithm. In addition,
researchers have also attempted to solve the problem by applying Geographic Information
System (GIS) functionalities and artificial intelligence as well. The remainder of this chapter
provides a comprehensive, critical review of the optimization models presented in research
literature in solving the CSUP problem, barriers to application of the algorithms in practice and a
review summary.
2.2.3 Layout Optimization Using Population Based MetaHeuristics
Li and Love (1998) proposed a pioneering research in which a solution for the sitelevel
facilities layout problem using GAs was developed for the first time. They conceptualized the
CSUP problem as laying out predetermined facilities in predetermined locations, (e.g., laying out
11 facilities in 11 locations). This formulation has been adopted in most of the subsequent
studies (Gholizadeh et al. 2010), (Lam et al. 2009), (Tam et al. 2002), (Zhang and Wang 2008).
The GA optimization model developed in this study uses ?Strings? to represent the facilities
locations, over which the GA operations, edge recombination crossover operation (to preserve
genetic information from the parental strings) and symmetric gene exchange mutation operation
(to prevent the loss of good genes in crossover) are performed to identify an optimal solution. (Li
and Love 2000) later acknowledged that the representation of the problem as an equal?area
problem limited the utility of the algorithm and proposed an alternate model. In the latter study,
the problem is defined as an unequalarea problem by creating a subset of available locations
(which are smaller than rest of the locations, say Lp) and facilities (which cannot be
accommodated in Lp), and imposing a genetic constraint to govern the nonassignment
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requirement between those subsets. In both the studies, the authors? investigated the effect of the
size of initial population on convergence and recommended that an initial population of 100, and
90100 GA iterations could be used for effective optimization.
Due to the different functions of the temporary facilities and the space/topographic
conditions, the CSUP problem is often an unequalarea facility layout where the facilities and
locations have different sizes/areas. Harmanani et al. (2000) and Zouein et al. (2002) have
developed an algorithm in which several GA operators (in addition to the traditional crossover
and mutation) were used to solve the site layout problem with unequal size and constrained
facilities. These operators include inversion, swap, move, rotation, flip2edge, add missing
blocks, fix blocks, and aging. In this study, the layout problem is characterized as positioning a
few rectangular blocks (fixed dimensions) within the available site, where the layout objects can
take two orientations (0?, 90?) while satisfying the proximity, overlap, and orientation
constraints. A function, FindaSetofPossiblePositions (FindASPP), is used to generate a set
of feasible positions for a temporary facility in the neighborhood of a randomly selected location,
and is invoked by several GA operators to evolve an initial population. FindASPP takes a given
location as input and returns a set of four rectangles or less that describe feasible positions of the
centerpoint of the temporary facilities. The authors tested the tool?s performance for different
total objecttosizearea ratios (OSAR) in differing cases. The analysis results showed that the
tool performed well for smaller total objecttosizearea ratios (55% or less).
Hegazy and Elbeltagi (1999) have developed Evosite, a spread sheet based site utilization
planning tool, which allows the user to define the space requirement for each facility as a group
of unit areas (grids). These grids combine to take a userspecified shape (not limited to
rectangular or square), allowing for more flexibility in the placement of the facilities and a
15
realistic representation of the site geometry. This tool also provides users the option of having
unusable site areas by defining them as fixed facilities and thus excluding those spaces from
allocation of facilities. The objective function developed is designed to facilitate effective
placement of facilities within the site, while governing the desired closeness/proximity
relationships (project manager?s preference in positioning the facilities). The desired proximity
relationships are determined using a qualitative method in which a pairwise assessment of
numerical proximity weights is assigned to the facilities that are being considered for layout.
2.2.4 Layout Optimization Using Swarm Intelligence
Many efficient decentralized, selforganized systems that exist in nature (e.g., colonies of
ants, bee hives, schools of fish, etc). demonstrate an uncanny natural ability to find optimal
paths. Over the last three decades, researchers have developed optimization algorithms that
mimic these natural behaviors (Kennedy and Eberhart 2001). In particular, researchers have
developed the Ant Colony Optimization (ACO) algorithm which is designed to mimic ants?
foraging behavior and Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) algorithm which simulates schooling
behavior of birds and fish. Researchers have proposed site layout optimization solutions using
these algorithms.
Zhang and Wang (2008) have developed a solution to the unequalarea layout planning
problem using PSO algorithm that simulates social behaviors such as bird flocking together. In
the PSO based algorithm, a solution approach is developed using prioritybased particle
representation of the layout solutions, transformation to the specific layout in consideration of
nonoverlay and geometric constraints, and framework for implementation. A comparative study
with the solutions of GA based approach was also performed, and the results demonstrated that
16
PSO adopted solutions required fewer iterations to find the optimal solution than GA based
solutions.
Lam et al. (2009) used a hybrid maxmin ant systemgenetic algorithm (MMASGA) to
solve the layout planning problem, in which (ACO) and GAs were integrated. In this hybrid
approach, the MMAS is used to generate a better initial population than the population randomly
generated in GA and can lead to better optimal solutions with the objective of minimizing the
transportation flows among the facilities.
2.2.5 Layout Optimization Using Trajectory based MetaHeuristics
The main drawback of hill climbing optimization methods is that they tend to get trapped
in a local optimum. Simulated Annealing and Tabu Search algorithms are two methods
commonly used to enable the escape from a local optimum. Simulated Annealing is a
probabilistic optimization method which works by emulating the physical processes whereby a
solid is slowly cooled so that its structure is finalized at a minimum energy configuration. Yeh
(1995) used annealed neural networks to solve the site layout optimization problem. Liang and
Chao (2008) proposed an algorithm based on Tabu Search (TS) to layout temporary facilities.
They conceptualized it as a problem of allocating ?n? facilities to ?n? locations with the objective
of minimizing the travel distance among the facilities. To avoid local optima, the TS include two
main processes, intensification (to explore the solution space from similarity) and diversification
(to modify the move strategy to become more efficient in the solution search). Much like the
contemporary formulation of the problem, these studies formulated the optimization as a static,
oneto one (i.e., space as discrete objects) problem with the single objective of minimizing the
cost / distance traveled.
17
2.2.6 Graphical Site Layout Methods
The layout of temporary facilities is inherently graphical in nature due to the fact that the
site boundaries, existing permanent structures, the structure to be constructed, and temporary
facility locations all occupy space in three dimensions. Layout planning can be done effectively
graphically because of inherent human ability to conceptualize space and interrelationships
between spaces in two or three dimensions. Two notable studies have proposed solutions that
utilize this idea.
ArcSite, developed by Cheng and O'Connor (1997), utilized the capabilities of GIS
integrated with Database Management Systems (DBMS) to assist designers in solving the layout
planning problem. Based on the knowledge based information provided by the user, GIS
functionalities (e.g., buffer, erase, overlay) can be performed in the coverage files that identifies
a feasible layout to solve the problem. The key benefit of the tool proposed in this study is that
knowledgeable users can easily modify the project attributes and perform ?WhatIf? analysis with
little effort.
Osman et al. (2003) have developed a novel hybrid approach in which GA is integrated
within the computer aided design AutoCAD? environment to optimize the location of temporary
facilities onsite. While most systems that use mathematical techniques aim at achieving one or
more goals (typically minimization of cost) under problemspecific constraints, this hybrid
system, in contrast, performs the optimization based on the geometric data provided in the
AutoCAD? drawing (e.g., site boundaries, permanent facilities, obstacles). The drawing is used
to detect space and ensure constraint satisfaction (facilities placed within site boundaries and
nonoverlap). While the first task (space detection) is performed only once to identify the space
18
available for placing temporary facilities, the latter task (constraint satisfaction) is performed in
every cycle of the optimization process.
2.2.7 Dynamic (Temporal) Site Layouts
By its very nature, construction is a dynamic process that requires different temporary
facilities over its life cycle. Thus, the layout planning problem in construction has a temporal
aspect to it, in which a particular layout may need to change over the course of the project to
meet the unique requirements of the construction process. In many of the earlier solutions for
CSUP, the layout is considered to be static through the construction phase. But in ideal practice,
the space available for laying out temporary facilities may change during the construction phase.
For example, less space might be available during the substructure construction phase. As the
project progresses and superstructure is constructed, more space may become available. In some
cases, the building structure may be used to house some of the temporary facilities. This
increases the complexity and the computational effort in the optimization process.
Zouein and Tommelein (1999) addressed the temporal nature of the problem by dividing
the entire project duration into smaller time frames, termed as Primary Time Frames (PTFs), and
generating a sequence of layouts, each spanning a time interval corresponding to a PTF and in
combination corresponding to the duration of the project. Constraint Satisfaction and
Propagation algorithm (to identify the feasible positions) and Linear Programming (to
determine/evaluate the optimality of the identified layouts) were used for optimization in this
study. Mahachi (2001) proposed a solution that used the PTFs (Zouein and Tommelein 1999) in
conjunction with GAs to identify multiple layouts through the life of the project.
Mawdesley et al. (2002, 2003) recommended balancing the benefits and cost of moving a
facility from one location to another in different phases of construction using an appropriate
19
fitness function. They modeled the dynamic nature of a construction project by associating site
layout with the phase of construction and including facility setup and removal cost in the fitness
evaluation function for the GA. Elbeltagi et al. (2004) proposed a GA based solution that
accounted for the temporal nature of site layouts, which they defined as the reorganization of the
location/areas of the needed temporary facilities (TFs) onsite at various schedule intervals,
along project duration to suit the activities dynamic need of TFs. This was also the first study to
incorporate the safety aspects in the solution approach by defining safety related temporary
facilities needed onsite, defining safety zones around construction space, considering safety in
determining the optimum layout, and changing the TFs' uses to alleviate site congestion.
Ning et al. (2010a, 2010b) presented a site layout algorithm based on ACO, in which the
planning problem is conceptualized as a dynamic multiobjective optimization problem. The
authors chose to address the dynamic aspect of the problem by dividing the project duration into
smaller layout intervals and generating a layout for each of the layout interval. The evaluation
function is designed to find a layout that minimizes the likelihood of accidents (improve safety)
and minimizes the total handing cost of interaction flows between the facilities associated with
the construction site layout.
2.2.8 Distance between Facilities: Euclidean or Manhattan
Distance between facilities plays an important role in optimization because the objective
function is usually defined as a least cost or a least distance function with some constraints. In
facility layout problems, distances are usually measured using Manhattan (measuring the sum of
absolute differences of the coordinates of the points under consideration) or Euclidean
(measuring the diagonal distance between the points given by the Pythagorean formula) formula
20
(Mawdesley et al. 2002). For example, in a two dimensional space, the Euclidean distance
between two points p(x1, y1) and q(x2, y2) is measured using the formula:
d(p,q) = ?(x2x1)2 + (y2y1)2 (Eq. 1)
where,
d(p,q) = distance between the points p and q
x1 = X coordinate of the point p
x2 = X coordinate of the point q
y1 = Y coordinate of the point p
y2 = Y coordinate of the point q
Whereas, in the case of Manhattan distance, the distance between the two points is
measured using the formula:
d(p,q) = (y2y1 + x2x1) (Eq. 2)
Figure 2.1 graphically illustrates the idea behind measuring distance between two points
using Euclidean and Manhattan formula.
Figure 2.1: Distance Measurement Formulation
21
In most research studies reviewed in this article, the distance between facilities is
calculated using the Euclidean formula. While it may be appropriate to use Euclidean distance in
some cases, from a practical point of view, the Manhattan distance could better reflect the actual
operation on a construction site than the Euclidean distance. In the cases of facilities between the
presence of some interfering activity or object, Euclidean distance measurement does not
represent the actual travelling distance (Sanad et al. 2008). Perhaps, in order to model reality at
construction sites, it may be effective to incorporate these two types of measurements. It should
also be noted that the models based on the Manhattan and Manhattansquared distances are very
efficient, requiring only a few minutes to solve. This is because the Manhattan objective function
is piecewise linear and thus much easier to bound and the Manhattansquared objective function
is a convex function. On the other hand, the Euclidean objective function, despite of being
convex, is often treated as a convex power function imposed by another concave power function,
and therefore the solver may require a significant computational effort to prove the global
optimality.
Sanad et al. (2008), acknowledging the lack of precision in measuring Euclidean distance
(diagonal distance) between the facilities in evaluating a layout, proposed a multi objective
optimization model which measured Manhattan distance between the facilities that aids to
address the problem in a better aspect. In this study, Manhattan distance is measured between the
facilities by dividing the entire site area into smaller grids and traversing through the grids
between the facilities. The size of the grids dictates the number of possible locations for facility
placement. If the size of the grid is too large, it may result in a fewer possible combinations
while if the size of the grid is too small, it may generate a very large number of potential
locations, resulting in significantly increased computational effort.
22
2.3 Review Summary
In the last two decades, a significant amount of effort has been directed at developing
algorithms for identifying optimal construction site layouts. This section provides a brief
summary of the literature and the observations.
There are two prevailing schools of thought about formulation of the layout problem. The
first one involves making discrete onetoone assignments where facilities are assigned to
previously defined locations and the second one conceptualizes the site space as a continuous
domain, theoretically creating infinite layouts. Many researchers have defined the site layout as a
onetoone assignment problem where ?n? facilities are to be located in ?n? predefined locations.
While this definition may be limited in scope, it can be used to effectively model a situation
where space is limited and a limited number of locations are available for temporary facilities.
On the other hand, conceptualization of the site as a continuous space is computationally
intensive because it increases the potential locations for locating the facilities exponentially. This
has been overcome by dividing the site into grids and using available grids as discrete options for
the layout.
The layout planning problem is typically defined as efficiently positioning the temporary
facilities within the available site boundaries, while accomplishing an optimization objective.
While this definition might be suitable for many projects, construction projects in urban areas
tend to have limited working space at the site with fabrication carried out offsite. This aspect of
site layout planning has not been adequately addressed in the current research.
It is a common construction practice to use the additional covered areas that tend to
become available with the progress of construction for short spells for temporary fabrication and
material storage. This aspect has not been addressed in current research on site layout planning.
23
In order to control the complexity of the problem, most studies consider site layout
planning as a single objective problem involving minimization of cost or minimization of
distance travelled. Though this characterization can lead to ?good? layouts from the process
efficiency perspective, it is essential to consider safety implications of site layout right from the
beginning of the project. Hence, the problem should be defined as a multiobjective problem
where the optimization objectives would be to reduce layout cost while simultaneously meeting
safety requirements.
Most of the studies reviewed in this article have interpreted the site layout to be static
(single layout for the entire project duration). But by the very nature of the construction process,
the space available for laying out temporary facilities may change with time. It is important to
consider CSUP as a dynamic/temporal problem. This dynamic aspect of creating a layout has
been explicitly addressed by only a few researchers. However, it is worth noting that the existing
static algorithms can be given a dynamic nature by generating layouts for different phases,
including the facility setup cost, facility takedown cost, and unique unusable areas for every
phase.
As the objective function defined in all the studies involves minimizing the distance
travelled or transportation cost, the method used to measure distance between facilities plays a
critical role in giving validity to the results. A majority of the research studies used the
Euclidean formula to calculate the distance between facilities. This approximation may not be
accurate in projects where such travel is not possible due to the obstructions. In such cases,
Manhattan distance would provide a more realistic estimate of the distance travelled. The use of
either of these formulas should not be hard coded in the optimization algorithm. The user should
have the ability of choosing either or both based on the site specific conditions. This idea has not
24
been explored in any of the studies reviewed in this article. The review is summarized in Table
2.1. While several studies addressing the CSUP problem were reviewed in this chapter, the next
chapter discusses about the various evolutionary algorithms/optimization techniques used to
address this complex layout planning problem in construction.
25
Table 2.1 ? Literature Summary
Abbreviations:
ACO ? Ant Colony Optimization ADP ? Approximate Dynamic Programming
CSPA ? Constraint Satisfaction and Propagation Algorithm GA ? Genetic Algorithm
GIS ? Geographic Information System LP ? Linear Programming
MIP ? Mixed Integer Programming PSO ? Particle Swarm Optimization
Study Algorithm used Objective Problem formulation Layouts over the construction phase Distance measurement
(Li and Love 1998) GA Minimize traveling distance Space as discrete Single Euclidean
(Li and Love 2000) GA Minimize traveling distance Space as area Single Euclidean
(Harmanani et al. 2000),
(Zouein et al. 2002) GA Minimize layout cost Space as area Single Euclidean
(Hegazy and Elbeltagi
1999), (Osman et al.
2003)
GA Minimize layout cost Space as area Single Euclidean
(Zhang and Wang 2008) PSO Minimize layout cost Space as discrete Single Euclidean
(Lam et al. 2009) ACO, GA Minimize transportation flow Space as discrete Single Euclidean
(Cheng and O'Connor
1997) GIS
Minimize traveling
distance Space as area Single Euclidean
(Zouein and Tommelein
1999) CSPA, LP Minimize layout cost Space as area Multiple Euclidean
(Mahachi 2001),
(Mawdesley et al. 2002) GA Minimize layout cost Space as area Multiple Euclidean
(Mawdesley and Al
Jibouri 2003) GA Minimize layout cost Space as discrete Single Euclidean
(Elbeltagi et al. 2004) GA Minimize layout cost, Improve safety Space as area Multiple Euclidean
(Ning et al. 2010a) ACO Minimize layout cost, Improve safety Space as area Multiple Euclidean
(Sanad et al. 2008) GA Minimize layout cost, Improve safety Space as area Multiple Manhattan
(Wong et al. 2010) GA, MIP Minimize layout cost Space as discrete Single Euclidean
(Tommelein and Zouein
1993) None
Facilitate layout
planning Space as area Multiple 
(ElRayes and Said
2009) ADP
Minimize layout cost,
Improve safety Space as area Multiple Euclidean
26
Chapter 3: Evolutionary Algorithms
3.1 Genetic Algorithms
As discussed extensively in Chapters 1 and 2, optimization in CSUP involves searching
the transportation cost surface until a minimum value is found. Typically, optimization problems
can be classified in the following categories.
3.1.1 TrailandError Optimization
Trailanderror optimization refers to an iterative process in which the variables that
have an effect on the output are adjusted without knowing much about the process that produces
the output. Several prominent discoveries (for example, discovery and refinement of penicillin as
an antibiotic) resulted from the trialanderror approach to optimization (Haupt and Haupt 2004).
On the contrary, optimization based on mathematical formula defines an objective function in
function optimization and various mathematical manipulations are performed over the function
that leads to the optimal solution.
3.1.2 Temporal Optimization
Optimization problems can also be classified based on whether or not the objective
function should have a temporal aspect to it or not. Optimization functions which have temporal
aspect associated with it (i.e. output is a function of time) are termed as dynamic optimization.
Whereas, static optimization problems are those problems whose functions do not have a
temporal aspect to it and whose output is independent of time. The static problem is difficult to
27
solve for the best solutions, but the added dimension of time increases the challenge of solving
the dynamic problem (Haupt and Haupt 2004).
3.1.3 Continuous Optimization
Optimization problems can also be distinguished based on their approach in identifying
the solutions. Discrete optimization has only a finite number of possible values and searches for
optimality within the available set of predetermined solutions. Discrete variable optimization is
also known as combinatorial optimization, because the optimum solution consists of a certain
combination of variables from the finite pool of all possible variables. On the flipside,
continuous optimization has infinite number of possible variable values and does search for
optimality considering all possibilities. Thus, typically, optimization where continuous variables
are involved is computationally more challenging.
3.1.4 Constrained Optimization
Constrained optimization introduces equality and inequality restrictions to the variables
in the cost function. On the contrary, variables in unconstrained optimization problems are
allowed to take any value without restrictions. A constrained variable often converts into an
unconstrained variable through a transformation of variables (Haupt and Haupt 2004).
3.1.5 Minimum Seeking Optimization
The traditional optimization algorithms (based on calculus) generally try to minimize the
cost function by starting from an initial set of variable values. These minimum seekers easily get
stuck in local minima but tend to converge fast. In the minimum seeking approach, flow between
the variable sets is based on some predetermined sequence of steps. On the other hand, random
28
methods use some probabilistic calculations to find variable sets. They tend to be slower but
have greater success at finding the global minimum (Haupt and Haupt 2004).
The optimization of construction site layouts is a combination of all the categories
discussed above. Solving the CSUP problem requires an initial set of solutions which will
subsequently be iterated until an optimal layout is identified within the expected threshold
values. These initial populations are determined using the trialanderror approach, in which a set
of possible solutions are derived without knowledge of the output and are subsequently
optimized with the utilization of minimum seeking optimization strategy. Typically, in most of
the construction projects, the available site space varies significantly over the course of the
project. This scenario mandates adjustments to the layout of temporary construction facilities to
efficiently utilize the available site space during various construction stages. This
conceptualization utilizes the temporal aspect of the optimization categories.
CSUP can be conceptualized as i) discrete onetoone assignments where facilities are
assigned to previously defined locations, ii) a continuous domain. While the first definition may
be limited in scope, it can be used to effectively model a situation where space is limited and a
limited number of locations are available for temporary facilities. The second definition, which
theoretically creates an infinite number of layouts, increases the potential locations for locating
the facilities exponentially and results in increased optimality. Moreover, the layout planning
problem in construction inherently requires that several constraints be imposed in the
optimization process (for example, nonoverlap constraints). Solving the problem without any
optimization constraints restricts the applicability of the optimization algorithm to reallife
scenarios. Thus, an efficient CSUP optimization solution requires a constrained optimization
strategy.
29
3.2 Traditional Optimization Algorithms for Minimization
The optimization algorithms can be traced back to the days of Newton, Lagrange, and
Cauchy. Cauchy made the first application of the steepest descent method to solve unconstrained
optimization problems. The foundations of calculus of variations, dealing with the minimizations
of functions, were laid by Bernoulli, Euler, and Lagrange. Over the past several decades, several
optimization methods have been developed for finding the minima. The main characteristics of
these methods and their weaknesses are discussed in this section.
3.2.1 Exhaustive Search
The traditional approach to optimization iterates through sufficient samples of cost
function depending on the problem type to find the global minimum. Usually a list of function
values is generated over the sampled variables, and then the list is searched for the minimum
value. The exhaustive search goes through the appropriate sampling to produce a precise
solution. This approach requires checking an extremely large but finite solution space with the
number of combinations of different variable values given by iteration shown in the following
equation (Haupt and Haupt 2004).
where,
V = number of different variable combinations
Nvar = total number of different variables
Qi = number of different values that variable i can attain
E.q. 3.1
30
With the extensive sampling of the variables, this technique does not get trapped in local
optimal/minimal solutions and works well for both discrete and continuous conceptualization of
the optimization problem. However, the exhaustive sampling results in an extremely long time to
find global minimum. Another shortfall of this approach is that the global minimum may be
missed due to undersampling. It is easy to undersample when the cost function takes a long
time to calculate. These shortfalls restrict the applicability of exhaustive search approach to only
small number of variables in a limited search space (Haupt and Haupt 2004).
3.2.2 Analytical Optimization
Calculus provides the tools and elegance for finding the minimum of many cost
functions. The thought process can be simplified to a single variable for a moment, and then an
extremum is found by setting the first derivative of a cost function to zero and solving for the
variable value. If the second derivative is greater than zero, the extremum is a minimum, and
conversely, if the second derivative is less than zero, the extremum is a maximum. One way to
find the extrema of a function of two or more variables is to take the gradient of the function and
set it equal to zero, ?f(x,y) = 0 (Haupt and Haupt 2004).
When compared to exhaustive search approach, the analytical optimization technique is
mathematically sound and finds a single minimum solution relatively faster. Yet, it requires a
search scheme and continuous functions with analytical derivatives to find the global minimum.
Also, the gradient of the cost function serves as the compass head pointing to the steepest
downhill path. It works well when the minimum is nearby, but cannot deal well with cliffs or
boundaries, where the gradient cannot be calculated. Moreover, if there are too many variables,
then it is difficult to find all the extrema, which makes it an unfit strategy to solve the real world
31
optimization problems. Even though it is impractical, most numerical approaches are based on it.
A typical algorithm starts at some random point in the search space, calculates a gradient, and
then heads downhill to the bottom. These analytical approaches head downhill fast; however,
they often result in local optima instead of the global optima and do not work well with discrete
variables (Haupt and Haupt 2004).
3.2.3 NdelerMead Downhill Simplex Method
A downhill simplex method which does not require the calculation of derivatives was
studied by (Nelder and R.Mead 1965). A simplex is the most elementary geometrical figure that
can be formed in dimension N and has N + 1 sides (for example, a triangle in two dimensional
space). The downhill simplex starts at N + 1 points that form the initial simplex. The goal of this
method is to move the simplex until it surrounds the minimum, and then to contract the simplex
around the minimum until it is within an acceptable error. As this definition gets stuck in local
minima, it can be combined with the random search algorithm to find the minimum (Haupt and
Haupt 2004).
Though these optimization strategies apply the fundamental principle of heading
downhill from an arbitrary starting point, they differ in deciding in which direction to move and
how far to move. Successive improvements increase the speed of the downhill algorithms but do
not add to the algorithm?s ability to find a global minimum instead of a local minimum.
In the recent times, algorithms which generate new points in the vast solution space by
applying operators to current points and statistically move toward more optimal places in the
solution space have been developed. These include genetic algorithms (Holland 1975), simulated
annealing (Kirkpatrick et al. 1983), particle swarm optimization (Parsopoulos and Vrahatis
32
2002), ant colony optimization (Dorigo and Gambardella 1997), and evolutionary algorithms
(Schwefel 1995). These algorithms depend on an intelligent search of large but finite search
space using statistical approaches and do not require taking cost function derivatives, which
facilitates to deal with discrete variables and not continuous cost functions.
Of these recent algorithms, Genetic Algorithms (GAs) is an optimization and search
technique based on the principles of genetics and natural selection. GAs allow a population
composed of many individuals to evolve under a specified selection rules to a state that
maximizes the fitness. The natural selection of GAs pilot to several generalizations that lead to
the view of its origins and workings that includes i) highly diverse organisms ii) complexity level
in the organisms is striking iii) several of the organism features have an apparent usefulness.
Some of the key advantages of GAs include:
? The ability to optimize continuous or discrete variables
? Does not require derivative information
? Simultaneously searches from a wide sampling of the cost surface
? The ability to deal with a large number of variables
? Well suited for parallel computers
? Optimizes variables with extremely complex cost surface (they can jump out of a local
minimum)
? Provides a list of optimum variables, not just a single solution
? May encode the variables so that the optimization is done with the encoded variables
? Works with numerically generated data, experimental data, or analytical functions (Haupt
and Haupt 2004).
33
GAs represent processes in nature that are remarkably successful at optimizing natural
phenomena. Algorithms based on GAs have been successfully applied on several complex civil
engineering optimization problems. Hence, this research utilizes GAs to develop an algorithm for
site utilization planning. Genetic Algorithms are discussed in detail in this chapter.
3.3 Genetic Algorithms
Genetic Algorithms (GAs) is inspired from the theory explaining the origin of species, in
which weak and unfit individuals within their environment are faced with extinction by natural
selection, and the stronger ones have greater opportunity to pass their genes to future generations
via reproduction. In the long run, species carrying the correct combination in their genes become
dominant in their population. Sometimes, during the slow process of evolution, random changes
may occur in genes. If these changes provide additional advantages in the challenge for survival,
new species evolve from the old ones. Unsuccessful changes are eliminated by natural selection.
Genetic Algorithms is a population based metaheuristic optimization method that is
based on the evolutionary process which allows for the survival of the fittest. The main
advantage of using GAs is that the algorithm needs a welldefined objective function and a set of
constraints and doesn?t require any knowledge of the problem space. In GAs, a solution vector is
represented as ?Chromosome?. Each chromosome is made of several units called ?Genes?. Each
gene controls one or more features of the chromosome. GAs operates with a collection of
different chromosomes called ?Population?. The optimization starts with a population of
randomly selected individuals (chromosomes). The initial population contains a number of
potential solutions (chromosomes) which are combined and mutated using genetic operators to
ensure diversity and avoid premature convergence to local optima. From this generation, the
34
fitter layouts survive while the less fit are eliminated. Thus, as the optimization evolves, the
population includes the fitter solutions and eventually converges to a population dominated with
a single solution. The fitness of each individual of the population is evaluated based on some
predefined objective function. This process is repeated many times till either a predetermined
number of iterations are reached or an acceptable solution is found.
Several operators can be implemented in the GAs during the optimization process to
produce new solutions, ensure diversity among the population, and avoid premature convergence
to local optima. It includes selection, mating (crossover), mutation, inversion, swap, move,
rotation, flip2edge, add missing blocks, fix blocks, and aging (Harmanani et al. 2000; Zouein et
al. 2002). Due to their high flexibility and diverse applicability, the commonly used operators
include Crossover and Mutation (Deb 2009). Flow chart of a binary GAs process is illustrated in
Figure 3.1.
35
D e f i n e c o s t f u n c t i o n , c o s t v a r i a b l e s
S e l e c t G A s p a r a m e t e r s
G e n e r a t e i n i t i a l p o p u l a t i o n
D e c o d e c h r o m o s o m e s
F i n d c o s t f o r e a c h c h r o m o s o m e
S e l e c t m a t e s
M a t i n g
M u t a t i o n
C o n v e r g e n c e C h e c k
S o l u t i o n O b t a i n e d
Figure 3.1: Flowchart for binary GAs (Haupt and Haupt 2004)
While the above illustrates the flow of a GAs process, pseudo code of a common GAs
optimization process is provided in the section below (Deb 2009).
Step 1: Set t = 1. Randomly generate N solutions to form the first/initial population (Pt).
Evaluate the fitness of solutions in Pt.
Step 2: Generate an offspring population Qt (Crossover) as follows:
2.1. Choose two solutions x and y from Pt based on the fitness values.
36
2.2. Using a crossover operator, generate offspring and add them to Qt.
Step 3: Change the attributes of randomly selected solutions in Qt (Mutation) with a predefined
mutation rate.
Step 4: Evaluate and assign a fitness value to each solution in Qt based on its objective function
value and infeasibility.
Step 5: Select N solutions from Qt based on their fitness and copy them to Pt+1.
Step 6: If the stopping criterion is satisfied, terminate the search and return to the current
population, else, set t = t+1, and iterate the process from Step 2.
3.4 Genetic Operations
3.4.1 Selection
GAs start with a group of chromosomes called population (Npop), of which the
chromosomes with worst objective values will be discarded during the iterative process of
accomplishing an optimal solution. In this survival of the fittest theory, to retain the best
solutions in the mating pool (Nkeep) and discard the worst solutions, GAs uses the ?Selection?
operator which chooses two chromosomes from the mating pool (Nkeep) to produce two new
offspring. The selection process is iterated until an offspring population equal to the population
of discarded chromosomes is born. Several selection techniques are available to perform this
pairing process and are discussed in the following section.
i) Pairing from top to bottom:
This selection technique starts with pairing the top chromosomes from the population
pool (Npop) until the top Nkeep chromosomes are selected for mating. In this top down approach,
37
the odd rows are paired with the even rows, in which the mother has the odd row numbers (1, 3,
5,? ) from the population matrix and the father has the even row numbers (2, 4, 6,?) from the
population matrix (Haupt and Haupt 2004).
ii) Random pairing:
In this approach, instead of the top down technique for pairing, the chromosomes to be
paired are randomly identified from the population matrix (Npop). For example, the row numbers
of the parents to be paired from the population pool can be identified as,
mother chromosome = int[Nkeep * random(1, Nkeep)]
father chromosome = int[Nkeep * random(1, Nkeep)]
iii) Weighted random pairing:
In this selection technique, probabilities (inversely proportional to the objective value)
are assigned to the chromosomes in the mating pool. A chromosome with lowest objective value
has the highest probability of mating, whereas the chromosome with highest objective value has
the lowest probability of mating. A random number determines which chromosome is selected.
This type of weighting is often referred as roulette wheel weighting and there are two types in it
(Haupt and Haupt 2004).
a) Rank Weighting: This approach is problem independent and finds the probability
from the rank, n, of the chromosome:
For example, consider the example provided in Table 3.1 which shows the results for
Nkeep = 4 chromosomes. The cumulative probabilities listed in column 4 are used in selecting the
chromosome. A random number between zero and one is generated. Starting at the top of the list,
Eq. 3.2 (Haupt and Haupt 2004)
38
the first chromosome with a cumulative probability that is greater than the random number is
selected for the mating pool. For example, if the random number (r) is 0.577, then r lies between
0.4 and 0.7, so chromosome2 is selected. If a chromosome is paired with itself, there are several
alternatives. First, let it go. It means that there are three of these chromosomes in the next
generation.
Table 3.1: Rank Weighting (Haupt and Haupt 2004)
n Chromosome Pn i=n ? P
i
i=1
1 00110010001100 0.4 0.4
2 11101100000001 0.3 0.7
3 00101111001000 0.2 0.9
4 00101111000110 0.1 1.0
Second, randomly pick another chromosome. The randomness in this approach is more
indicative of nature. Third, pick another chromosome using the same weighting technique. In this
approach, small populations have a high probability of selecting the same chromosome and the
probabilities only have to be calculated once.
b) Cost Weighting: In this approach, the probability of selection is calculated based
on the cost of the chromosome, whereas the rank weighting approach is based on a
chromosome?s rank in the population. A normalized cost is calculated for each chromosome by
subtracting the lowest cost of the discarded chromosomes (cNkeep+1) from the cost of all the
chromosomes in the mating pool.
Cn = cn ? cNkeep+1 Eq. 3.3 (Haupt and Haupt 2004)
39
Subtracting cNkeep+1 ensures all the costs are negative. This approach tends to weight the
top chromosome more when there is a large spread in the cost between the top and bottom
chromosome. On the other hand, it tends to weight the chromosomes evenly when all the
chromosomes have approximately the same cost. The same issues as discussed in rank weighting
apply if a chromosome is selected to mate with itself. In this technique, the probabilities must be
recalculated for each generation (Haupt and Haupt 2004).
iv) Tournament selection:
This approach closely mimics mating competition in nature in which a random small
subset of the chromosomes is picked from the mating pool, and the chromosome with the lowest
cost in the subset becomes parent. The tournament repeats for every parent needed. Thresholding
and tournament selection make a nice pair, because the population never needs to be sorted. In
large populations, as sorting of population becomes timeconsuming, this technique works best
for larger population sizes (Haupt and Haupt 2004).
Each of the selection techniques results in a different set of parents, and the composition
of the next generation also varies for each selection scheme. Roulette wheel and tournament
selection are standard selection techniques in GAs (Haupt and Haupt 2004).
3.4.2 Mating
Mating is the process of creating one or more offspring from the parents selected in the
pairing process. The most common form of mating process is to crossover the involved parents
to produce offspring (Figure 3.2). A crossover point is randomly chosen from the length of the
chromosome and the parent1 passes its solution to the left of that crossover point to offspring1.
Similarly, parent2 passes its solution to the left of the same crossover point to offspring2. In a
40
like manner, solution from the right of parent1 and parent2 from the same crossover point goes
to offspring2 and offspring1 respectively. This mating process is termed as singlepoint
crossover (Haupt and Haupt 2004).
Parent1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0
Parent2 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 0
Offspring1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 0
Offspring2 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0
Figure 3.2: SinglePoint Crossover example
As the parents selected from the selection techniques are with preference towards better
fitness (better objective values), the offspring generated from the parents in the mating process
are expected to inherit good genes from the parents which make them fitter. By iteratively
applying the mating/crossover operation, genes of good chromosomes are expected to appear
more frequently in the population, eventually leading to convergence to an overall good solution
(Deb 2009).
3.4.3 Mutation
Mutation introduces random changes into the characteristics of chromosomes at a certain
percentage. Mutation is the second way the GAs explore a cost surface. It can introduce traits not
in the original population and keeps the GAs from converging too fast before sampling the entire
cost surface. Mutation points are randomly selected from the (Npop * Chromosome length) total
number of bits in the population matrix, and a single point binary mutation changes a 1 to a 0,
and vice versa (equation 3.4). Increasing the number of mutations increase the algorithm?s
41
freedom to search outside the current region of variable space. It also tends to distract the
algorithm from converging on a popular solution. As best solutions are designated as elite
solutions and destined to propagate unchanged, mutation is typically not allowed on best
solutions.
In typical GAs implementations, the mutation rate (probability of changing the properties
of a gene) is very small and depends on the length of the chromosome. Therefore, the new
chromosome produced by mutation will not be very different from the original one (Deb 2009).
This random mutation operation shall be implemented through several operators which include
swap (exchanges the positions of two randomly selected genes in a chromosome), inversion
(flips the attribute of a gene), move (moves the attribute of a randomly selected gene), rotation
(rotates the attribute of a gene in either clockwise or anticlockwise direction), and aging
(destroys a chromosome whose fitness did not change after a predefined number of iterations)
(Harmanani et al. 2000).
3.4.4 Convergence
The number of generations that evolve depends on whether an acceptable solution is
reached or a set number of iterations are exceeded. After a while, all the chromosomes and
# of mutations = ? * (Npop1) * length of chromosome
Mutate chromosome = (? * Npop) + Random (1, Npop)
Mutate gene = Random (?, 1) * Npop
where, ? = mutation probability/rate
Eq. 3.4
42
associated costs (objective value) would become the same if it were not for mutations. At this
point the algorithm should be stopped.
3.5 Summary
The layout planning problem is a hybrid of several categories of optimization including
temporal optimization, optimization in a continuous domain, constrained and minimum seeking
optimization. The traditional optimization algorithms for minimization like exhaustive search,
analytical optimization, and simplex methods often seek to identify locally minimal solutions
and have limited applicability in solving complex realtime optimization problems. Several
optimization strategies have been developed in the recent times and are contemporarily used in
engineering optimization problems. Genetic Algorithms (GAs), one of the commonly used
contemporary algorithm, is identified as a robust optimization technique that seek to improve
performance by sampling areas of the parameters space that are likely to lead better solutions
(Goldberg 1989), (Holland 1992). Also, it has the potential to move randomly from one feasible
solution to another without getting into to local optima, in which other algorithms often get
trapped (Li and Love 1998), and it has the highest potential to efficiently solve several
engineering and construction management problems (Elbeltagi et al. 2004).
43
Chapter 4: Site Utilization Planning Algorithm
4.1 Introduction
Site layout planning in construction is a complex optimization problem, in which the
layout of temporary facilities is unique in every construction project due to the changing
requirements on account of different site configurations and project requirements. A significant
amount of research effort has been made by academic research community over the last two
decades to develop a satisfactory optimization algorithm for layout of temporary facilities at
construction sites. Building on the existing research, a new and much improved site layout tool
has been developed in this research study. This tool overcomes some of the critical shortcomings
of the past research (e.g., distance measurement) and provides innovative means to model some
of the constraints commonly observed on construction projects. The open and modular
architecture of this tool also makes it an ideal platform for future improvements. The important
algorithms used in this tool are discussed in this chapter.
4.2Algorithms
4.2.1Distance Measurement Algorithm
The core objective of optimization in facility layout planning is to minimize the cost of
transportation of materials, workers, and equipment between temporary facilities. In other words,
the objective of optimization is essentially to minimize the distance travelled. Hence it is
imperative that the actual distance travelled between facilities be measured accurately and
realistically. Almost all of the optimization algorithms found in the literature measure distance
44
between facilities using the Euclidean formula. It is quite possible that the earlier studies have
adopted the Euclidean approximation to simplify the complexity of the problem. This may not be
accurate in projects where such travel is not possible and is likely to produce suboptimal layouts
(Sanad et al. 2008).
Measuring the Euclidean distance between the temporary facilities uses the Pythagorean
formula, which measures the diagonal distance between the points without considering any
obstructions. For example, consider the Figure 4.1. In a two dimensional space, the Euclidean
distance between the two points p(x1, y1) and q(x2, y2) is measured using the formula d(p,q) =
?(x2x1)2 + (y2y1)2. As illustrated in Figure 4.1, the distance between the points P1 and P2 is
measured as the diagonal distance between the points without taking into account of the building
between them. But such travel, between two temporary facilities, may not be possible in most
construction projects due to the presence of the permanent structure or the excavation for the
structure. Thus, measuring the Euclidean distance might not represent the actual distance
travelled on a construction site.
Figure 4.1 Euclidean Distance Measurement Approach
45
To overcome this shortcoming, many researchers have proposed the use of the Manhattan
distance, which measures the sum of absolute differences of the coordinates of the points under
consideration. Manhattan distance, also known as Rectilinear Distance, between two points
refers to the distance traveled between two points on a grid of streets in a downtown area (e.g.,
Manhattan). Manhattan distance between any two given points (x1, y1) and (x2, y2) is measured
using the formula:
d(p,q) = (y2y1 + x2x1) Eq. 4.1
While this type of distance measurement would provide a better estimate of the actual
distance travelled (as compared to Euclidean distance), in some cases, even measuring the
Manhattan distance might not represent the actual travel distance between the facilities. For
example, consider the Figure 4.2. In this case, measuring the Manhattan distance between the
points P1 and P2 represents the actual travel distance. But in this scenario the obstruction (i.e.,
building) does not interfere with the range of X coordinates of the points P1 and P2.
Figure 4.2 Manhattan Distance Measurement Approach (applicable scenario)
46
Now consider the Figure 4.3 where the obstruction (building) interferes with the range of
X coordinates of the points P1 and P2. In this scenario, as illustrated in Figure 4.3, measuring the
pure Manhattan distance between the points P1 and P2 also does not represent the actual travel
distance between the points. Thus, in solving the site utilization planning problem in
construction, measuring the pure Manhattan distance among the facilities might not be accurate
as it does not represent the accurate distance in some scenarios.
Figure 4.3 Manhattan Distance Measurement Approach (inapplicable scenario)
Hence, to overcome these shortcomings of the currently used Euclidean and Manhattan
distance measurement approaches, an improvised distance measurement algorithm is developed
in this study which would represent the actual travel distance among the construction facilities in
all scenarios. For example, for the scenario illustrated in Figure 4.4, the distance measurement
approach works as follows.
47
Figure 4.4 Improvised Distance Measurement Approach
The algorithm first identifies the vertices (of any obstruction) that could be accessed
directly from point p1 without passing through any obstruction (say, accessible vertices). For this
case, the accessible vertices would be V1 and V2. Then, for each of the identified accessible
vertices, it measures the distance to access point p2 from that vertex through other vertices in
both clockwise and anticlockwise directions and identifies the minimum distance. For example,
for the case under discussion, to measure the distance between the points p1 and p2, distance will
be measured for all the below listed feasible ways and the minimum distance (P1 > V1 > V4 >
P2) will be identified. Thus, the distance measurement models the likely movement and measures
the associated travel distance and thus improves the optimality of the layouts.
i) P1 > V1 > V2 > V3 > P2 (clockwise from V1)
ii) P1 > V1 > V4 > P2 (anticlockwise from V1) ? Optimal route
iii) P1 > V2 > V3 > P2 (clockwise from V2)
iv) P1 > V2 > V1 > V4 > P2 (anticlockwise from V2)
48
Thus, the distance measurement algorithm measures the actual travel distance and aids to
accomplish true optimal layouts.
In the developed optimization model, the site area is broken down into smaller grids of
size provided by the user (through user interface) and the available girds are identified first. The
distance measurement algorithm is then invoked to measure the distance between the centroid of
each of the available grid. For example, consider the Figure 4.5. The site area is first divided into
smaller grids of size 25?x25?, where 25? is the preferred grid size provided by the user. The
available grids (white colored grids) are identified and then the distance measurement algorithm
is invoked which measures the distance among the centroid of each of the available grid.
Figure 4.5 Distance Measurement Strategy
Pseudo code for distance measurement algorithm is provided in the following section.
49
Distance Measurement Pseudo Algorithm
Store the cells occupied by the corners of the building in an array variable ?BCC(n)? (Building Corner Cells)
Store the x coordinate of point1 in ?x1? and x coordinate of point2 in ?x2? (p1, p2  points between which the distance
need to be measured)
Store the y coordinate of point1 in ?y1? and x coordinate of point2 in ?y2?
Function Distance_Measurement ([x1,y1], [x2,y2])
Define a variable MinDistance
Call the function Has_Block([x1,y1], [x2,y2])
If Has_Block = ?False? Then
MinDistance = sqrt[(x2x1)^2 + (y2y1)^2]
Else
For i = 0 to n1 (n = number of vertices)
Call the function Has_Block([x1,y1], [BCC(i)])
If Has_Block = ?True? Then
i = i+1
Else
Call the function clockwise ([x1,y1], [BCC(i)], i)
Call the function anticlockwise ([x1,y1], [BCC(i)], i)
MeasuredDistance = Minimum(TotalDistanceC, TotalDistanceAC)
If MinDistance = 0 then
MinDistance = MeasuredDistance
Else
If MeasuredDistance < MinDistance then MinDistance = MeasuredDistance Else End
End
End
i = i+1
Loop
End function
Function Has_Block ([x1,y1], [x2,y2])
Store the cells occupied by the building in an array variable ?BC()? (Building Cells)
Define an array variable Path(p)
Set x = x1
For x = x1 to x2
y = [[(xx1) * (y1y2)] + y1(x1x2)] / (x1x2)
y = round(y,0)
Path(p) = (x,y)
p = p+1
x = x+1
Loop
For i = 0 to p1
If path(i) in BC() Then
Has_Block = ?True?
Exit Loop
Else
Has_Block = ?False?
i = i+1
End
Loop
Empty Path(p)
End function
Function clockwise ([x1,y1], [BCC(i)], i)
Define a variable PC (Present Cell) to store the x,y coordinate of the current vertex
Define an array Distance(v)
Define a variable newi
Define a variable TotalDistanceC
newi = i
Distance(v) = sqrt[(BCCnewixx1)^2 + (BCCnewiyy1)^2]
PC = BCC(newi)
v = v+1
50
Do until Has_Block[PC, (x2,y2)] = ?False?
If newi = 0 then newi = (n1) else newi = (newi1) End
Distance(v) = sqrt[(BCCnewixPCx)^2 + (BCCnewiyPCy)^2]
PC = BCC(newi)
v = v+1
Loop
Distance(v) = sqrt[(PCxx2)^2 + (PCyy2)^2]
TotalDistanceC = sum[distance(v)]
End Function
Function anticlockwise ([x1,y1], [BCC(i)], i)
Define a variable PC (Present Cell) to store the x,y coordinate of the current vertex
Define an array Distance(v)
Define a variable newi
Define a variable TotalDistanceAC
newi = i
Distance(v) = sqrt[(BCCnewixx1)^2 + (BCCnewiyy1)^2]
PC = BCC(newi)
v = v+1
Do until Has_Block[PC, (x2,y2)] = ?False?
If newi = n1 then newi = 0 else newi = (newi+1) End
Distance(v) = sqrt[(BCCnewixPCx)^2 + (BCCnewiyPCy)^2]
PC = BCC(newi)
v = v+1
Loop
Distance(v) = sqrt[(PCxx2)^2 + (PCyy2)^2]
TotalDistanceAC = sum[distance(v)]
End Function
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4.2.2 Optimization Algorithms
As discussed in Chapter 2 and 3, the optimization of layouts of temporary facilities in
construction projects is a complex, computationally intensive problem which can?t be solved
using analytical optimization methods on account of the vast size of the solution space. A
number of global optimization algorithms inspired by natural phenomena (e.g. ant colony
optimization, genetic algorithms) have been proposed as an effective alternate solution to
exploring an extremely vast solution space to identify a good layout. This research study has
adopted Genetic Algorithms (GAs) as an optimization tool because it has been used and proven
effective in solving complex engineering optimization problems. Furthermore, GAs have the
capability to explore the solution space without getting trapped in a local optimum. Genetic
Algorithms essentially provide an intelligent bias to random exploration of the solution space to
identify a good layout. The classic unconstrained GAs has limited applicability in modeling the
real life, temporally dynamic requirements of construction sites. This section will provide the
details of the essential elements of the algorithms used in the optimization tool. The optimization
tool developed in this study is designed to model the constraints typically observed at
construction sites. This tool consists of the following important algorithms:
? An algorithm to conceptualize the site and generate initial layouts
? An algorithm to evaluate the efficacy of each layout in meeting a predefined fitness
objective
? An algorithm to perform genetic operations of crossover (to improve the quality of
solutions) and mutation (to enable the algorithm to escape local optimum and search the
solution space more effectively through diversification)
52
4.2.2.1 Initial Solutions
As discussed in chapter 3, the GAs starts with a population of randomly generated initial
potential solutions (ie., chromosomes), which then undergo the optimization process through the
genetic operators (e.g., Crossover and Mutation) for several generations and the algorithm
eventually converges to a population dominated with a single solution. Several of the earlier
literature studies formulate the layout planning problem as discrete onetoone assignments,
where facilities are assigned to previously defined locations. In this conceptualization, as the
available positions are previously identified, it eases the process of generating the initial
population and leaves the initial population generation algorithm as just randomly assigning the
previously identified locations to the temporary facilities to be laid out without imposing any
constraints. This definition (onetoone assignment problem where ?n? facilities are to be located
in ?n? predefined location) is limited in scope and it can only be used to effectively model a
situation where space is limited and the number of locations available for locating the temporary
facilities is predetermined. But in reality, the available locations are not discrete and are not
predetermined aswell.
The site area can be conceptualized as a continuous domain, theoretically creating infinite
layouts. While this conceptualization can potentially result in evaluation of more solutions, it has
limited potential benefits when it comes to implementing the layout plan at the site. For example,
if the optimization process yields a layout that includes a facility which should be located exactly
102 feet and 11.78 inches from the left corner of the site, it may not be practical or possible to
layout the temporary facility with such precision. Hence, this study conceptualizes the site as a
discrete domain divided into grids.
53
The algorithm starts with dividing the entire site space into smaller grids of size provided
by the user. The vertices and the associated grids are numbered starting at the left bottom corner
of the site. It then identifies the available grids (girds which are not occupied by any
building/utilities and are available for temporary facilities allocation) and unavailable grids
(girds which are occupied by the building/utilities and are not available for temporary facilities
allocation), which are mutually exclusive. Once the available and unavailable grids are
identified, the distance measurement algorithm is used to measure the actual travel distance
among each of the identified available grids and is stored in an xml file.
This study limits the shape of the facilities to rectangular or square. The algorithm selects
a random grid number from the available grids to position the first facility that needs to be stored
onsite. Once a grid/node number is chosen, there are 8 possible different alignments (4
horizontal, 4 vertical) by which a rectangular facility can be placed, illustrated in Figure 4.6.a
and 4.6.b.
A l i g n m e n t T y p e 1
H o r i z o n t a l  R i g h t  A b o v e
A l i g n m e n t T y p e 3
H o r i z o n t a l  R i g h t  B e l o w
A l i g n m e n t T y p e 4
H o r i z o n t a l  L e f t  B e l o w
A l i g n m e n t T y p e 2
H o r i z o n t a l  L e f t  A b o v e
Figure 4.6.a ? Horizontal alignment
54
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Figure 4.6.b ? Vertical alignment
Of these eight possible alignment types, the algorithm randomly chooses an alignment
type for the selected facility and identifies the grid numbers required for that facility. If the
required grids for a facility are not available, the algorithm regenerates a different random grid
number and identifies the required grids. If the algorithm is not able to find a location to position
a facility for more than 100 iterations, it is supposed that there is not a feasible solution and the
user is informed with a message. This process is repeated until the location for all the temporary
facilities to be positioned onsite are identified. As the literature review on GAs inferred that an
initial population of 100 (100 randomly generated solutions) can lead to better optimal solutions
(Li and Love 1998), the algorithm identifies 100 different feasible solutions to position the
55
temporary facilities and assigns to the initial population pool, which will subsequently be
optimized through the GAs process. An example of how the algorithm identifies the required
grids for a facility is illustrated below.
Figure 4.7 ? Illustrative example
Consider a site space with 25 continuously available grids (Figure 4.7) in which a
rectangular facility of size 30x15 needs to be positioned. Assume that the user has provided the
preferred grid size as 10x10. Hence, to position this facility it requires 3 grids (30/10) along the
length side and 2 grids (round of 15/10) along the width side. Thus, the facility totally requires a
sum of 6 grids (3x2). Assume that grid number 12 and alignment type 1 (horizontalrightabove)
has been randomly chosen by the algorithm to position the facility. For this random grid number
and alignment type, the algorithm will identify the grids 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19 as the required
grids to position the facility.
Layout solutions/chromosomes generated from the initial population algorithms will have
the onsite stored facility numbers associated with their corresponding starting grid index number
and alignment type. For example, consider a case where six temporary construction facilities are
used in a construction project of which four are stored onsite (facilities 1, 3, 4, 5) and two in
offsite (facilities 2, 6). Assume that Table 4.1 represents one of the layout
20 22 23 24 25
16 17 18 19 20
11 12 13 14 15
6 7 8 9 10
1 2 3 4 5
56
solutions/chromosomes. The solution/chromosome reads as; facility 1 is located with starting
grid as 25 and alignment type as 7, facility 3 is located with starting grid as 100 and alignment
type as 6, facility 4 is located with starting grid as 5 and alignment type as 3, facility 5 is located
with starting grid as 215 and alignment type as 4. Since facilities 2 and 6 are stored in offsite
they are not represented in the solution chromosome.
Table 4.1: Representation of Solution Chromosome
Facility # 1 3 4 5
Alignment 7 6 3 4
Grid Position 25 100 5 215
Pseudo code for initial population algorithm is provided in the following section.
57
Initial Population Generation Pseudo Algorithm
Store the #?s of the grids occupied by the building (with safety boundary) and unusable areas in an array variable
?UG()? (Unusable Grids)
Store the #?s of the available grids in the site area in an array variable ?AG()? (Available Grids)
Store the # of rows available in the entire grid splitup in a variable ?Rows?
Store the # of columns available in the entire grid splitup in a variable ?Columns?
Store the grid size provided by the user (in UI) in a variable ?Grid_Size?
Function Initial Population ()
Define an array variable Solutions(i) // To store the different layout solutions
For i = 1to 100
Define a variable ?Temp_AG()? // To store the available grids locally for computations
Define a variable ?Temp_UG()? // To store the unavailable grids locally for computations
Temp_AG() = AG()
Temp_UG() = UG()
For j = 1 to n (n=number of facilities provided by the user)
Define a variable ?Position?
Position = Pick a random # from Temp_AG()
Define a variable ?Horz_Grid_Reqd? //To store the number of horizontal grids required
Define a variable ?Vert_Grid_Reqd? //To store the number of horizontal grids required
Define a variable ?Reqd_Grids? //To store grids #?s occupied by a facility
Horz_Grid_Reqd = int(Length(j)/Grid_Size )
Vert_Grid_Reqd = int(Breadth(j)/Grid_Size)
Define a variable Alignment
Alignment = int(random[1, 8])
Case When Alignment =1 // For the case Horizontal, Right, and Above
Define a variable Vert_Position
Reqd_Grids = Null //To empty the variable before starting the assignment for next facility
For m=0 to Vert_Grid_Reqd1
Vert_Position = Position + (m * Columns)
For n=1 to Horz_Grid_Reqd
If Vert_Position is not available in the array variable Temp_AG() then
Exit and Goto Step I (highlighted in Green+Bold) without incrementing facility #
Else
Reqd_Grids = Reqd_Grids + ?,? + Vert_Position
Vert_Position = Vert_Position +1
End
n=n+1
Loop
m=m+1
Loop
Grid #?s available in the variable ?Reqd_Grids? should be removed from the array variable Temp_AG()
and added to the array variable Temp_UG()
When Alignment =2 // For the case Horizontal, Left, and Above
Define a variable Vert_Position
Reqd_Grids = Null //To empty the variable before starting the assignment for next facility
For m=0 to Vert_Grid_Reqd1
Vert_Position = Position + (m * Columns)
For n=1to Horz_Grid_Reqd
If Vert_Position is not available in the array variable Temp_AG() then
Exit and Goto Step I (highlighted in Green+Bold) without incrementing facility #
Else
Reqd_Grids = Reqd_Grids + ?,? + Vert_Position
Vert_Position = Vert_Position 1
End
n=n+1
Loop
m=m+1
Loop
Grid #?s available in the variable ?Reqd_Grids? should be removed from the array variable Temp_AG()
and added to the array variable Temp_UG()
58
When Alignment =3 // For the case Horizontal, Right, and Below
Define a variable Vert_Position
Reqd_Grids = Null //To empty the variable before starting the assignment for next facility
For m=0 to Vert_Grid_Reqd1
Vert_Position = Position  (m * Columns)
For n=1to Horz_Grid_Reqd
If Vert_Position is not available in the array variable Temp_AG() then
Exit and Goto Step I (highlighted in Green+Bold) without incrementing facility #
Else
Reqd_Grids = Reqd_Grids + ?,? + Vert_Position
Vert_Position = Vert_Position +1
End
n=n+1
Loop
m=m+1
Loop
Grid #?s available in the variable ?Reqd_Grids? should be removed from the array variable Temp_AG()
and added to the array variable Temp_UG()
When Alignment =4 // For the case Horizontal, Left, and Below
Define a variable Vert_Position
Reqd_Grids = Null //To empty the variable before starting the assignment for next facility
For m=0 to Vert_Grid_Reqd1
Vert_Position = Position  (m * Columns)
For n=1to Horz_Grid_Reqd
If Vert_Position is not available in the array variable Temp_AG() then
Exit and Goto Step I (highlighted in Green+Bold) without incrementing facility #
Else
Reqd_Grids = Reqd_Grids + ?,? + Vert_Position
Vert_Position = Vert_Position 1
End
n=n+1
Loop
m=m+1
Loop
Grid #?s available in the variable ?Reqd_Grids? should be removed from the array variable Temp_AG()
and added to the array variable Temp_UG()
When Alignment =5 // For the case Vertical, Right, and Above
Define a variable Vert_Position
Reqd_Grids = Null //To empty the variable before starting the assignment for next facility
For m=0 to Horz_Grid_Reqd 1
Vert_Position = Position + (m * Columns)
For n=1to Vert_Grid_Reqd
If Vert_Position is not available in the array variable Temp_AG() then
Exit and Goto Step I (highlighted in Green+Bold) without incrementing facility #
Else
Reqd_Grids = Reqd_Grids + ?,? + Vert_Position
Vert_Position = Vert_Position +1
End
n=n+1
Loop
m=m+1
Loop
Grid #?s available in the variable ?Reqd_Grids? should be removed from the array variable Temp_AG()
and added to the array variable Temp_UG()
When Alignment =6 // For the case Vertical, Left, and Above
Define a variable Vert_Position
Reqd_Grids = Null //To empty the variable before starting the assignment for next facility
59
For m=0 to Horz_Grid_Reqd 1
Vert_Position = Position + (m * Columns)
For n=1to Vert_Grid_Reqd
If Vert_Position is not available in the array variable Temp_AG() then
Exit and Goto Step I (highlighted in Green+Bold) without incrementing facility #
Else
Reqd_Grids = Reqd_Grids + ?,? + Vert_Position
Vert_Position = Vert_Position 1
End
n=n+1
Loop
m=m+1
Loop
Grid #?s available in the variable ?Reqd_Grids? should be removed from the array variable Temp_AG()
and added to the array variable Temp_UG()
When Alignment =7 // For the case Vertical, Right, and Below
Define a variable Vert_Position
Reqd_Grids = Null //To empty the variable before starting the assignment for next facility
For m=0 to Horz_Grid_Reqd 1
Vert_Position = Position  (m * Columns)
For n=1to Vert_Grid_Reqd
If Vert_Position is not available in the array variable Temp_AG() then
Exit and Goto Step I (highlighted in Green+Bold) without incrementing facility #
Else
Reqd_Grids = Reqd_Grids + ?,? + Vert_Position
Vert_Position = Vert_Position +1
End
n=n+1
Loop
m=m+1
Loop
Grid #?s available in the variable ?Reqd_Grids? should be removed from the array variable Temp_AG()
and added to the array variable Temp_UG()
When Alignment =8 // For the case Vertical, Left, and Below
Define a variable Vert_Position
Reqd_Grids = Null //To empty the variable before starting the assignment for next facility
For m=0 to Horz_Grid_Reqd 1
Vert_Position = Position  (m * Columns)
For n=1to Vert_Grid_Reqd
If Vert_Position is not available in the array variable Temp_AG() then
Exit and Goto Step I (highlighted in Green+Bold) without incrementing facility #
Else
Reqd_Grids = Reqd_Grids + ?,? + Vert_Position
Vert_Position = Vert_Position 1
End
n=n+1
Loop
m=m+1
Loop
Grid #?s available in the variable ?Reqd_Grids? should be removed from the array variable Temp_AG()
and added to the array variable Temp_UG()
End Case
Solutions(i) = Solutions(i) + (Position, Alignment)
j = j+1
Loop
i = i+1
Loop
End Function // Initial Population
60
4.2.2.2 Solutions Evaluation
In order to converge from a population dominated with diverse solutions to a single
optimal solution, the initially generated random solutions have to be evaluated and their
objective function has to be refined through successive iterations of genetic operations. In the
majority of research papers reviewed in chapter 2, the objective function designed to evaluate the
fitness of each solution is defined as the sum of the products of distances between the facilities,
cost of transportation between the facilities, and preferred proximity weight between the
facilities, to which a penalty value for constraint violations, if any, is added (Osman and Georgy
2005). While using actual transportation costs in the objective function has the clear objective of
minimizing the total transportation costs among the temporary facilities, obtaining accurate
values for the actual interfacility transportation costs can become quite difficult, especially
during project planning stages. This limitation promotes the use of proximity weights instead of
transportation costs (Osman et al. 2003).
Osman et al. (2003) has presented a nice summary of the objective functions used in
several earlier studies. Table 4.2 provides the summary studied by (Osman et al. 2003).
61
Table 4.2: Objective functions used in literature (Osman et al. 2003)
S. No. Pseudo model of objective function Study
1 To minimize the frequency of trips made by construction personnel (Li and Love 1998)
2 To minimize the total transportation costs of resources between facilities (C.M. Tam 2001; S.O. Cheung 2002)
3 To minimize the cost of facility construction and the interactive cost between the facilities (Yeh 1995)
4
To minimize the total transportation costs of
resources between facilities (presented
through a system of proximity weights
associated with an exponential scale)
(Hegazy and Elbeltagi 1999)
5
To minimize the total transportation costs of
resources between facilities and the total
relocation costs (presented through a system
of proximity weights and relocation weights)
(Zouein and Tommelein
1999)
Objective function defined in this study (E.q. 4.1) has both cost and proximity parameters
integrated in it. This facilitates the flexibility of utilizing the cost parameters in project cases
where the data is available, and ignoring the cost aspect by defaulting to 1, where the data is not
available.
Objective Function = i=n1 i=n
? ? dij * cij * wij + Penalty value (Eq. 4.1)
i=1 j=i+1
Where, n = number of temporary construction facilities to be laid out
dij = actual route distance between the facilities i and j
cij = cost of moving the materials between the facilities i and j
wij = preferred proximity weight between the facilities i and j
 Smaller the objective function value, better the chromosome fitness.
62
In order to handle the hard constraints (overlap) and soft constraints (tower crane
accessibility) in the evaluation process, ?Penalty Approach? has been identified as an efficient
approach (Mahachi 2001). Hence, in this optimization, if a solution violates any of the hard/soft
constraints, an arbitrary high positive value (penalty) will be added to the objective function,
which reduces the fitness of that solution, leading to the elimination of that layout and better
optimal solutions in the successive iterations. Deb (2009) has suggested the following
considerations for assigning the penalty values.
i) Very small penalty values (compared to objective function value) have a small distortion
on the objective function, and the optimum F(x) may not be near the true constrained
optimum.
ii) Very large penalty values have a severe distortion on the objective function and may lead
to locally optimal solutions.
iii) Penalty value should be assigned in such a way that it is relative to the objective function
value.
In evaluating the objective function, as recommended by Osman and Georgy (2005), this
study uses the proximity weight to be defined as 0, 1, 3, 9, 37, or 81 (Table 4.3) and the penalty
function value as 10,000 for each constraint violation. The values in Table 4.3 represent the
user?s preference of the required proximity among the temporary construction facilities. As
illustrated in the table, if the user prefers two facilities to be located as close as possible for some
project specific constraints, it shall be represented by a high proximity value (e.g., 81). Similarly,
if project requirements prefer two facilities to be located as farthest as possible, it shall be
represented by a low proximity value (e.g., 0).
63
Table 4.3: Preferred proximity relationship mapping (Osman and Georgy 2005)
Desired proximity relationship
between the facilities
Proximity weight
Absolutely necessary (A) 81
Especially important (E) 37
Important (I) 9
Ordinary closeness (O) 3
Unimportant (U) 1
Undesirable (X) 0
The fitness evaluation algorithm developed in this study works as follows. For all the
solutions in the solution pool, the objective function is calculated as a cumulative value of
product of distance between each of the onsite stored temporary facilities (centroid to centroid)
and their corresponding proximity weight and interaction cost values. While this value represents
the unconstrained objective function value, a check for facilities overlap and violation of any
user defined constraints is performed aswell. If there is any constraint violation, an appropriate
penalty value is added to the unconstrained objective function value to reduce the fitness of that
solution.
In this study, constraints have been handled implicitly and explicitly. Implicit handling of
constraints includes ensuring not allocating temporary facilities within the boundaries of the
permanent structure and utility/unusable site areas, if any. It is implemented in the beginning of
the optimization model, where the nonavailable grids (grids occupied by permanent structure
64
including safety boundary and utility/unusable areas) are removed, and only the available grids
are considered for layout identification in the initial population algorithm.
Two types of constraints are handled explicitly in this study. First constraint is the crane
accessibility constraint which ensures that all the facilities that require access by the tower crane
are within the reachable radius of the crane. This constraint violation is checked at the facility
level, in which for each of the temporary facility in the solution that requires crane access, a
check is done to identify if the facility is within the reachable radius of the crane provided by the
user. If there is a constraint violation (not within the reachable radius), penalty value is added to
the unconstrained objective function value of the corresponding solution. If not, the
unconstrained objective function value is retained.
The second constraint handled in this study is the nonoverlap constraint through which a
check is done to ensure that none of the temporary facility overlaps with the position of other
temporary facilities and all the onsite temporary facilities are positioned within the available site
boundaries. The algorithm evaluates the nonoverlap of temporary facilities by analyzing their
position and alignment types that were identified during the solution generation process. If an
overlap or outofboundary violation is identified for a solution, penalty value is added to the
objective function value of the corresponding solution.
Offsite Facilities
Once the constrained objective function value is identified, the functional value is
recalculated to account the optimality of the facilities stored offsite. In this, an objective function
is calculated as a cumulative value of product of distance between the onsite facility and each of
the offsite stored temporary facilities and their corresponding proximity weight, interaction cost
65
values, and is then added to corresponding solution function. The distance between the onsite
facility and offsite facilities is measured as the sum of distance between the offsite location and
site gate (provided by user), and distance between the site gate and the facility centroid located
onsite.
Pseudo code for solutions evaluation algorithm is provided in the following section.
66
Solutions Evaluation Pseudo Algorithm
All the available solutions will be stored in the variable Solutions(i) // Generated from the initial solutions algorithm
Function Evaluate_Solutions ()
Define an array variable Objective_Function(s) // To store the objective function value of the different solutions
Define an variable TC_Reachable_Radius // To store the reachable radius of the tower crane
Define an variable TC_Coordinate_X // To store the X coordinate of tower crane position
Define an variable TC_Coordinate_Y // To store the Y coordinate of tower crane position
TC_Reachable_Radius = Value entered by the user in UI in the text box for reachable radius of tower crane
TC_Coordinate_X = Value before the comma entered by the user in the text box for TC position
TC_Coordinate_Y = Value after the comma entered by the user in the text box for TC position
Define an variable Penalty_Value // To store the penalty value that need to be added for each constraint violation
Penalty_Value = 10000// Can be changed later
Define a variable Offsite_Distance // To store the distance b/w Offsite storage and site gate
Define a variable Gate_Position // To store the coordinate of site gate
Define a variable Gate_Grid // To store the grid # of the site gate (to be manipulated)
Offsite_Distance = Value provided by the user in the text box for Offsite Distance
Gate_Position = Coordinate provided by the user in the text box for site gate position
Gate_Grid = Grid # of Gate_Position (to be manipulated based on the Gate_Position Value)
Store the #?s of the grids occupied by the building (with safety boundary) and unusable areas in an array variable
?Evlt_UG()? (Unusable Grids)
Store the #?s of the available grids in the site area in an array variable ?Evlt_AG()? (Available Grids)
Store the # of rows available in the entire grid splitup in a variable ?Rows?
Store the # of columns available in the entire grid splitup in a variable ?Columns?
For k = 1to i // Where i = number of available solutions, which will always be 100
Objective_Function(k) = 0 // To start with the objective function value as zero
Define a variable ?Evlt_Temp_AG()? // To store the available grids locally for computations
Define a variable ?Evlt_Temp_UG()? // To store the unavailable grids locally for computations
Evlt_Temp_AG() = Evlt_AG() //or AG()
Evlt_Temp_UG() = Evlt_UG() //or UG()
For j = 1 to n // Where n=number of facilities provided by the user
If Offsite_Stored(j) is Unchecked, then proceed further, else exit and increment j by 1
Define a variable Source_Position // To store the position of the jth facility of the current solution
iteration
Source_Position = Grid # assigned to the jth facility in the current solution iteration // To be read from
Solutions(k)
For m = j+1 to n // Where n=number of facilities provided by the user
If Offsite_Stored(m) is Unchecked, then proceed further, else exit and increment m by 1
Define a variable Target_Position // To store the position of the mth facility of the current solution
iteration
Target_Position = Grid # assigned to the mth facility in the current solution iteration
Objective_Function(k) = Objective_Function(k) + (Distance b/w Source_Position &
Target_Position * Interaction cost value of j,m * Proximity weight value of j,m)
m=m+1
End Loop // For m
// Start Penalty assignment
// Tower crane accessibility of each facility entered in UI
If facility j accessed by tower crane = True // To check if the jthfacility is accessible by tower crane
Define a variable Eucl_Dist // To store the Euclidean distance b/w tower crane and source position
Eucl_Dist = Sqrt(( TC_Coordinate_X ? X of Source_Position)2 + (TC_Coordinate_Y ? Y of
Source_Position)2)
If Eucl_Dist <= TC_Reachable_Radius
Objective_Function(k) = Objective_Function(k) +0 // Value not increased as it is reachable
Else
Objective_Function(k) = Objective_Function(k) + Penalty_Value // Value increased as it is not
reachable
End if // For reachable radius
Else
Objective_Function(k) = Objective_Function(k) +0 // Value not increased as it is not accessed by TC
End if // For TC access check
67
// to check overlap
Define a variable ?Source_Alignment?
Define a variable Evlt_Horz_Grid_Reqd
Define a variable Evlt_ Vert_Grid_Reqd
Source_Alignment = Alignment # assigned to the jth facility in the current solution iteration // To be read
from Solutions(k)
Evlt_Horz_Grid_Reqd = int(Length(j)/Grid_Size ) // Length(j) = Length of current facility
Evlt_Vert_Grid_Reqd = int(Breadth(j)/Grid_Size) // Breadth(j) = Breadth of current facility
Case When Source_Alignment =1 // For the case Horizontal, Right, and Above
Define a variable Evlt_Vert_Position
For m=0 to Evlt_Vert_Grid_Reqd1
Evlt_Vert_Position = Source_Position + (m * Columns)
For n=1to Evlt_Horz_Grid_Reqd
If Evlt_Vert_Position is not in Evlt_Temp_AG() or (if n>0 and
int(Evlt_Vert_Position/columns) <> int(Evlt_Vert_Position1/columns)) then
Objective_Function(k) = Objective_Function(k) + Penalty_Value // Facility has a
overlap
Evlt_Vert_Position should be removed from the array variable Evlt_Temp_AG()
and added to the array variable Evlt_Temp_UG()
Evlt_Vert_Position = Evlt_Vert_Position +1
Else
Evlt_Vert_Position should be removed from the array variable Evlt_Temp_AG()
and added to the array variable Evlt_Temp_UG()
Evlt_Vert_Position = Evlt_Vert_Position +1
End
n=n+1
Loop
m=m+1
Loop
When Source_Alignment =2 // For the case Horizontal, Left, and Above
Define a variable Evlt_Vert_Position
For m=0 to Evlt_Vert_Grid_Reqd1
Evlt_Vert_Position = Source_Position + (m * Columns)
For n=1to Evlt_Horz_Grid_Reqd
If Evlt_Vert_Position is not in Evlt_Temp_AG() or (if n>0 and
int(Evlt_Vert_Position/columns) <> int(Evlt_Vert_Position+1/columns)) then
Objective_Function(k) = Objective_Function(k) + Penalty_Value // Facility has a
overlap
Evlt_Vert_Position should be removed from the array variable Evlt_Temp_AG()
and added to the array variable Evlt_Temp_UG()
Evlt_Vert_Position = Evlt_Vert_Position 1
Else
Evlt_Vert_Position should be removed from the array variable Evlt_Temp_AG()
and added to the array variable Evlt_Temp_UG()
Evlt_Vert_Position = Evlt_Vert_Position 1
End
n=n+1
Loop
m=m+1
Loop
When Source_Alignment =3 // For the case Horizontal, Right, and Below
Define a variable Evlt_Vert_Position
For m=0 to Evlt_Vert_Grid_Reqd1
Evlt_Vert_Position = Source_Position  (m * Columns)
68
For n=1to Evlt_Horz_Grid_Reqd
If Evlt_Vert_Position is not in Evlt_Temp_AG() or (if n>0 and
int(Evlt_Vert_Position/columns) <> int(Evlt_Vert_Position1/columns)) then
Objective_Function(k) = Objective_Function(k) + Penalty_Value // Facility has a
overlap
Evlt_Vert_Position should be removed from the array variable Evlt_Temp_AG()
and added to the array variable Evlt_Temp_UG()
Evlt_Vert_Position = Evlt_Vert_Position +1
Else
Evlt_Vert_Position should be removed from the array variable Evlt_Temp_AG()
and added to the array variable Evlt_Temp_UG()
Evlt_Vert_Position = Evlt_Vert_Position +1
End
n=n+1
Loop
m=m+1
Loop
When Source_Alignment =4 // For the case Horizontal, Left, and Below
Define a variable Evlt_Vert_Position
For m=0 to Evlt_Vert_Grid_Reqd1
Evlt_Vert_Position = Source_Position  (m * Columns)
For n=1to Evlt_Horz_Grid_Reqd
If Evlt_Vert_Position is not in Evlt_Temp_AG() or (if n>0 and
int(Evlt_Vert_Position/columns) <> int(Evlt_Vert_Position+1/columns)) then
Objective_Function(k) = Objective_Function(k) + Penalty_Value // Facility has a
overlap
Evlt_Vert_Position should be removed from the array variable Evlt_Temp_AG()
and added to the array variable Evlt_Temp_UG()
Evlt_Vert_Position = Evlt_Vert_Position 1
Else
Evlt_Vert_Position should be removed from the array variable Evlt_Temp_AG()
and added to the array variable Evlt_Temp_UG()
Evlt_Vert_Position = Evlt_Vert_Position 1
End
n=n+1
Loop
m=m+1
Loop
When Source_Alignment =5 // For the case Vertical, Right, and Above
Define a variable Evlt_Vert_Position
For m=0 to Evlt_Horz_Grid_Reqd 1
Evlt_Vert_Position = Source_Position + (m * Columns)
For n=1to Evlt_Vert_Grid_Reqd
If Evlt_Vert_Position is not in Evlt_Temp_AG() or (if n>0 and
int(Evlt_Vert_Position/columns) <> int(Evlt_Vert_Position1/columns)) then
Objective_Function(k) = Objective_Function(k) + Penalty_Value // Facility has a
overlap
Evlt_Vert_Position should be removed from the array variable Evlt_Temp_AG()
and added to the array variable Evlt_Temp_UG()
Evlt_Vert_Position = Evlt_Vert_Position +1
Else
Evlt_Vert_Position should be removed from the array variable Evlt_Temp_AG()
and added to the array variable Evlt_Temp_UG()
Evlt_Vert_Position = Evlt_Vert_Position +1
End
n=n+1
Loop
m=m+1
Loop
69
When Source_Alignment =6 // For the case Vertical, Left, and Above
Define a variable Evlt_Vert_Position
For m=0 to Evlt_Horz_Grid_Reqd 1
Evlt_Vert_Position = Source_Position + (m * Columns)
For n=1to Evlt_Vert_Grid_Reqd
If Evlt_Vert_Position is not in Evlt_Temp_AG() or (if n>0 and
int(Evlt_Vert_Position/columns) <> int(Evlt_Vert_Position+1/columns)) then
Objective_Function(k) = Objective_Function(k) + Penalty_Value // Facility has a
overlap
Evlt_Vert_Position should be removed from the array variable Evlt_Temp_AG()
and added to the array variable Evlt_Temp_UG()
Evlt_Vert_Position = Evlt_Vert_Position 1
Else
Evlt_Vert_Position should be removed from the array variable Evlt_Temp_AG()
and added to the array variable Evlt_Temp_UG()
Evlt_Vert_Position = Evlt_Vert_Position 1
End
n=n+1
Loop
m=m+1
Loop
When Source_Alignment =7 // For the case Vertical, Right, and Below
Define a variable Evlt_Vert_Position
For m=0 to Evlt_Horz_Grid_Reqd 1
Evlt_Vert_Position = Source_Position  (m * Columns)
For n=1to Evlt_Vert_Grid_Reqd
If Evlt_Vert_Position is not in Evlt_Temp_AG() or (if n>0 and
int(Evlt_Vert_Position/columns) <> int(Evlt_Vert_Position1/columns)) then
Objective_Function(k) = Objective_Function(k) + Penalty_Value // Facility has a
overlap
Evlt_Vert_Position should be removed from the array variable Evlt_Temp_AG()
and added to the array variable Evlt_Temp_UG()
Evlt_Vert_Position = Evlt_Vert_Position +1
Else
Evlt_Vert_Position should be removed from the array variable Evlt_Temp_AG()
and added to the array variable Evlt_Temp_UG()
Evlt_Vert_Position = Evlt_Vert_Position +1
End
n=n+1
Loop
m=m+1
Loop
When Source_Alignment =8 // For the case Vertical, Left, and Below
Define a variable Evlt_Vert_Position
For m=0 to Evlt_Horz_Grid_Reqd 1
Evlt_Vert_Position = Source_Position  (m * Columns)
For n=1to Evlt_Vert_Grid_Reqd
If Evlt_Vert_Position is not in Evlt_Temp_AG() or (if n>0 and
int(Evlt_Vert_Position/columns) <> int(Evlt_Vert_Position+1/columns)) then
Objective_Function(k) = Objective_Function(k) + Penalty_Value // Facility has a
overlap
Evlt_Vert_Position should be removed from the array variable Evlt_Temp_AG()
and added to the array variable Evlt_Temp_UG()
Evlt_Vert_Position = Evlt_Vert_Position 1
Else
Evlt_Vert_Position should be removed from the array variable Evlt_Temp_AG()
and added to the array variable Evlt_Temp_UG()
Evlt_Vert_Position = Evlt_Vert_Position 1
End
70
n=n+1
Loop
m=m+1
Loop
End Case
// End Penalty assignment
// Offsite
For z = 1 to n // Where n=number of facilities provided by the user
If Offsite_Stored(z) is Checked, then proceed further, else exit and increment z by 1
Objective_Function(k) = Objective_Function(k) + ((Offsite_Distance + Distance b/w Gate_Grid &
Source_Position) * Interaction cost value of j,z * Proximity weight value of j,z)
z=z+1
End Loop // For z
j=j+1 // Step I
End Loop // For j
k=k+1
End Loop // For k
End Function Evaluate_Solutions
71
4.2.2.3 Genetic Operations Algorithms: Crossover and Mutation
This algorithm improves the solutions available in the population set by eliminating the
worst solutions and creating new solutions from the retained best solutions by utilizing the
genetic operators, crossover (to generate new offspring from parents), and mutation (to introduce
random changes to the solution set to ensure diversity). The algorithm works as follows.
Once the value of the objective function of each solution is determined, the solutions are
first sorted in ascending order (lowest to highest objective function value). In this sorted solution
set, half of the solutions with worst objective function value (highest objective value) are then
eliminated (Haupt and Haupt 2004). Thus, the solutions set is now left with half number of
solutions of that was initially started, which have the best objective function value.
Crossover
First two solutions from the reduced solution set are selected and a random crossover
point is chosen to swap the solution genes among the selected solutions and generate new
offspring. The crossover point is identified as a random number between 0 and number of
facilities stored onsite. This operation of generating new offspring using the crossover operator is
repeated for the next set (solutions 3 and 4) available in the solution set and is repeated until all
the best retained solutions are subjected to the crossover operation. Thus, at the end of the
crossover process, the number of solutions available in the solutions set will again be equal to
number of solutions that was initially started with.
For example, consider the example 4.2 discussed earlier where six temporary
construction facilities are used in a construction project of which four are stored onsite (facilities
1, 3, 4, 5) and two in offsite (facilities 2, 6). Assume there are two parent chromosomes (Tables
72
4.4.a, 4.4.b) over which the crossover operation is performed to generate new
offspring/solutions. Assume that the random crossover point is identified as 3. Hence, the
algorithms perform the crossover operation of the facilities represented after facility# 3 in the
parent chromosomes and generate the two offspring (represented in Tables 4.5.a, 4.5.b).
Table 4.4.a: Parent Chromosome I Table 4.4.b: Parent Chromosome II
Table 4.5.a: Offspring Chromosome I Table 4.5.b: Offspring Chromosome II
Mutation
Once the new offspring are generated using the crossover operation, the solution set is
subject to a random, yet directed change to ensure diversity among the generated solutions and
avoid premature suboptimal convergence. This change is introduced through the Mutation
operator, in which a random solution and a gene location is identified from the solution set and
the alignment type of the facility located in the corresponding gene location is substituted with a
new possible random alignment types. The random chromosome and random gene location is
identified using the equation 4.2 provided in the following section.
73
Based on the review of literature, this study uses a mutation probability/rate (?) of 1%
(Deb 2009).
Once new offspring and random changes are introduced to the population set, the
solutions are again evaluated using the evaluation algorithm and this process of solutions
evaluation and solutions generation is iterated for several times until the solution set is
dominated with one single optimal solution. (Li and Love 1998) has suggested that number of
solution iterations of 100 leads to better solutions with reasonable computational time. This study
also defines the number of solution iterations as 100. If the iteration is run for the last time (100th
time), the algorithm will not introduce the random changes to the solution set as it would have an
adverse effect on the objective value of the solution set (Haupt and Haupt 2004).
Pseudo code for solutions generation algorithm is provided in the following section.
Eq. 4.2
rC = int((? * numberOfSolutions) + random (1, numberOfSolutions ? 2))
rGL = int(random(? , 1) * (numberOfOnsitefacilities ? 1))
where, ? = mutation probability/rate
rC = random chromosome, rGL = random gene location
rGL = random gene location
74
All the available solutions with their corresponding rank (objective value) will be stored in the variable Solutions(i) //
Generated from the evaluate solutions algorithm
Function Generate_Solutions ()
Define a variable Solution_Iteration // To store the # of iterations to be done
Solution_Iteration = 100
Define a variable MutationProbability // To store the probability of mutation
MutationProbability = 0.01
Define a variable MutationCycle // To store for how many chromosomes mutation need to be done
MutationCycle = int(MutationProbability * numberOfSolutions)
Define a variable OnsiteStoredFacilities
Define a variable numberOfOnsiteStoredFacilities
numberOfOnsiteStoredFacilities = count of facilities for which ?Is Stored Offsite ? is not checked
OnsiteStoredFacilities = Facility #s of the facilities for which ?Is Stored Offsite ? is not checked
For s = 1 to Solution_Iteration
Sort the solutions available in Solutions(i) based on their rank (objective value) in ascending order
Discard the last (numberOfSolutions/2) from Solutions(i)
If s>= Solution_Iteration1 then Exit function // To check if last iteration
Else proceed
// Crossover
For t = 1 to numberOfSolutions/2
Define a variable ?Chromosome1?
Define a variable ?Chromosome2?
Choromosome1 = Solutions(t)
Choromosome2 = Solutions(t+1)
Define a variable ?CrossoverPoint? // To store the random crossover point
CrossoverPoint = Random (from OnsiteStoredFacilities)
IntermediateSolutions(t) = Solution from Choromosome1 for until CrossoverPoint + Solution from
Choromosome2 after CrossoverPoint
IntermediateSolutions(t+1) = Solution from Choromosome2 for until CrossoverPoint + Solution from
Choromosome1 after CrossoverPoint
Add the solutions available in IntermediateSolutions (t) and IntermediateSolutions (t+1) to Solutions(i)
t = t+2
Loop // End Crossover
// Mutation (flip2edge)
For v = 1 to MutationCycle
Define a variable ?MutateChromosome? // To store the Chromosome # to be mutated
Define a variable ?MutateGene? // To store the gene/facility # to be mutated
Define a variable ?MutateValue? // To store the alignment type to be flipped
MutateChromosome = int[(MutationProbability * numberOfSolutions) + Random(1,
numberOfSolutions  2)]
MutateGene = int(Random(MutationProbability, 1) * numberOfOnsiteStoredFacilities  1)
MutateValue = int(Random (1,8))
For the Solution(MutateChromosome), and the facility of ?MutationGene? the alignment type should be
updated with the ?MutationValue?
v = v+1
Loop // End Mutation (flip2edge)
If s < Solution_Iteration then
Call Evauate_Solutions()
Else
Exit Loop
End if
s= s+1
Loop // End Generate Solutions function
75
4.3 Summary
CSUP problem that deals with accommodating the sitelevel temporary facilities that are
used to support the project is a vital resource, and greatly contributes in achieving the project
objectives. Solving the construction site layout planning problem is also inherently complex in
nature that presses the need for a computationally robust global optimization technique. As
researchers have identified that GAs has the potential to solve several engineering and
construction management problems without getting into to local optima in which other
algorithms often get trapped (Elbeltagi et al. 2004; Li and Love 1998), the optimization model
developed in this study is based on GAs. Also, to overcome the limitations of earlier studies
reviewed in the literature, four new algorithms were developed in this study that includes,
i) Improved distance measurement algorithm
ii) Initial solutions generation algorithm
iii) Solutions evaluation algorithm
iv) Solutions generation algorithm
The following chapter discusses in detail about the user interface and architecture of the
optimization tool developed in this research study.
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Chapter 5: CONSITEPLAN ? Architecture Review
5.1 Introduction
While a detailed discussion of the algorithms developed in this study was presented in
Chapter 4, a review of the architecture of the optimization tool (CONSITEPLAN) is discussed in
this chapter. CONSITEPLAN is a multiobjective optimization tool developed to solve the site
utilization planning problem encountered in construction projects. CONSITEPLAN has been
developed using the Microsoft Visual Studio platform. This chapter provides details of the
architecture of the tool.
5.2 CONSITEPLAN ? Process flow
A graphical illustration of flow of components of the developed optimization tool is
provided in Figure 5.1.
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Figure 5.1: CONSITEPLAN Architecture Flow
While Figure 5.1 illustrates the architecture of the tool graphically, and Figure 5.2
illustrates the GAs optimization process flow of the tool, the following discussion provides
detailed information about each of the components listed in the diagram.
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T o u r n a m e n t S e l e c t i o n
G e n e r a t i o n o f p o o l
p o p u l a t i o n ( 1 0 0 )
E v a l u a t e o b j e c t i v e f u n c t i o n
v a l u e o f e a c h s o l u t i o n
E l i m i n a t e h a l f o f t h e s o l u t i o n
w i t h w o r s t o b j e c t i v e v a l u e
S o r t t h e r e t a i n e d s o l u t i o n s
( a s c e n d i n g )
I d e n t i f y r a n d o m c r o s s o v e r p o i n t
G e o m e t r i c C o n s t r a i n t s
I s p o p u l a t i o n c o u n t =
i n i t i a l c o u n t ?
S e l e c t r a n d o m s o l u t i o n
C h a n g e a l i g n m e n t t y p e
N o
Y e s
I s t e r m i n a t i o n c r i t e r i a
r e a c h e d ?
S e l e c t b e s t s o l u t i o n f r o m
p o p u l a t i o n a s t h e o p t i m u m s o l u t i o n
Y e s
N o
G e n e r a t e o f f s p r i n g
A d d o f f s p r i n g t o s o l u t i o n p o o l
Figure 5.2: CONSITEPLAN GAs Optimization Process Flowchart
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5.3 CONSITEPLAN ? Input
The data required for identifying a good site layout plan includes geometric information
about the site, the final structure to be completed, the size of various temporary facilities, the
project manager?s preferences regarding the location of these facilities, areas of the site where
temporary facilities can?t be laid out and the location of tower crane if it is used in the project.
The data requirements of the tool are discussed in detail in the following sections.
5.3.1 Site Parameters
The primary input to the site utilization planning tool includes the site boundaries within
which the layout needs to be planned, and the layout of the building to be constructed. The
information can be obtained in two ways. If a BIM model using REVIT software is being used,
this tool provides some basic interfaces to extract information from the BIM model file. A
REVIT application programming interface has been integrated with CONSITEPLAN which can
extract geography of the property lines (site boundaries) and the building layout from a REVIT
model. In project cases where a REVIT model is not available, the user can always manually
provide the appropriate parameters in an Extensible Markup Language (Xml) file
(Sitedetails.xml), which extends the usability of the tool to a wide range of projects. Xml files
are a textual data format file which aids to define a set of rules for encoding documents in
formats that can be read by both humans and machine. As the xml files are simple to read, highly
generic, and are currently used in programming interfaces, CONSITEPLAN uses xml files for
data storage.
Following section provides a sample of how the site boundaries / property lines are stored
in the Sitedetails.xml file. As shown, the file starts with a main tag ?SiteDetails? beneath which
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the layout parameters (site boundaries, building layout) are stored under individual tags. The
provided example illustrates the data storage format for site boundaries, where all the site
boundary vertices are stored in clockwise direction under the subtag ?PropertyPoints?.
Solutions Evaluation Pseudo Algorithm
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0
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0
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71
0
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100
0
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5.3.2 Layout Parameters
To enhance the ease of using the tool, CONSITEPLAN is designed with a User Interface
(UI) screen through which details about the layout parameters can be provided by the user. The
UI is developed with one primary screen and four secondary screens which are discussed in
detail in the following section.
Primary Screen:
The primary screen is designed to collect the following information:
i) Phase of the project:
In reviewing the published literature, it was found that there is an agreement amongst
researchers that the construction site layout planning problem may be a dynamic problem, i.e.,
different facilities may be required during different phases of time during the life cycle of the
project based on the work being executed at the site. While one layout may be sufficient in some
projects, it is quite possible that various facilities get used during different time spans of a
project. This tool broadly breaks the project down in two phases, substructure construction
phase and superstructure construction phase. The architecture of the tool is modular and
extensible to allow for definition of additional user defined phases in the future revision of the
tool.
ii) Safety boundary around the permanent structure
OSHA recommends not to store materials within the free fall zone of the permanent
structure and to maintain a recommended buffer distance around the structure to improve
construction safety in site. For example, a buffer distance of 6 feet can be maintained around the
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permanent structure which eliminates material storage in those spaces and increases site safety.
This buffer distance need to be decided based on the construction activities going onsite and any
project specific constraints. For example, the safety buffer may be significantly wider than the
building?s footprint during the substructure phase on account of the need to construct
basements/foundations at a significant depth. Hence, CONSITEPLAN has been designed with
the option to request the user?s preference on the preferred safety boundary around the building
structure, and not utilizing that space for identifying optimal layouts.
iii) Preferred grid size
As discussed in the literature, layout planning on construction can be conceptualized as,
i) making discrete one to one assignments where facilities are assigned to previously defined
locations ii) continuous domain (implemented in CONSITEPLAN). The second
conceptualization theoretically creates infinite layouts and is computationally intensive as it
increases the potential locations for locating the facilities exponentially. To overcome this
complexity, CONSITEPLAN divides the site space into smaller grids and uses the available
grids as discrete options for the layout. For example, consider a case where the size of the site is
100 x 100 ft and the preferred grid size is provided as 10. In this case, the site space will be
divided into 100 smaller grids as illustrated in Figure 5.3. The size of the grids (the size of the
search space) has a direct correlation with the number of possible layout options as well as the
computational effort required.
(Cheng et.al, 2002)
where,
u = number of facilities
n = number of locations
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For example, the 100? x 100? site, divided into 10? x 10? grids has 100 vertices at which a
facility could be located. If, for example, we need to lay out 4 facilities on this site, we would
have a search space of 3,921,225. Thus, the smaller the grid size, the larger the search space and
the computational effort. For example, with a 1?X 1? grid size, the size of search space increases
exponentially to 416,416,712,497,500 (416.41 trillion).
Figure 5.3: Site Space Conceptualization
iv) Tower crane
In many building projects where space is confined, tower cranes are an effective
mechanism of transporting materials and equipment. If a tower crane is used in a project, it may
be efficient to enable it to access certain temporary facilities (such as rebar fabrication area). This
requirement / optimization constraint has been implemented in this tool.
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v) Temporary facilities, Offsite storage
In addition, the user provides the number of temporary facilities that need to be laid out
on the site. Construction projects in urban areas tend to have limited working space at the site
and tend to utilize the available offsite spaces, if any. Hence, if one or more facilities need to be
located offsite, the tool facilitates the user to provide information regarding the location of the
site gate, distance between the offsite location and the site, and identify the facilities to be
located offsite. Figure 5.4 shows a screen capture of the primary screen.
Figure 5.4: CONSITEPLAN ? Primary Screen
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Secondary Screen ? Facilities Details:
Facilities details screen facilitates the user to provide information about the temporary
facilities to be laid out for the selected project phase. These details of the facilities include,
facility description, length (measured in feet), breadth (measured in feet), tower crane access,
and offsite location of the facility. Figure 5.5 shows the screen shot of the data entry page.
Figure 5.5: CONSITEPLAN ? Facilities Detail
Secondary Screen ? Unusable Areas:
There may be some areas of the site where the project manager may not want to locate a
temporary facility. The unusable areas screen facilitates the user to define the unusable areas in
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the project site. The unusable area can be a utility area (for example, piping, sump), hazardous
area, or project manager?s preference of not utilizing specific onsite area(s) for laying out the
temporary facilities. In this screen, the user can provide details about the unusable areas at the
project including, unusable area description, geographical location, length (measured in feet),
and breadth (measured in feet). Figure 5.6 shows the image of the utility/unusable areas screen.
Figure 5.6: CONSITEPLAN ? Unusable Areas
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Secondary Screen ? Cost Interaction:
The cost interaction screen is designed to facilitate the user in providing the cost of
moving the materials among the temporary construction facilities provided in the facilities detail
screen. Cost details provided in this screen reflects the cost of moving the materials per unit
distance from one temporary facility to another temporary facility. As the cost of moving a
material from location1 to location2 will be the same as moving from location2 to location1, the
cost matrix is designed as a symmetric matrix in which the lower matrix will be disabled for user
input. Figure 5.7 shows the image of the cost interaction screen.
Figure 5.7: CONSITEPLAN ? Cost of Interaction among Facilities
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Secondary Screen ? Preferred Proximity:
The preferred proximity screen is designed to facilitate the user in providing his
preference on how close the facilities should be located based on the project requirements. As
discussed in chapter 4, the user shall provide the preferred proximity as 81, 37, 9, 3, 1 or 0 based
on the project preferences/requirements (Osman and Georgy 2005). The preferred proximity
screen is designed as symmetric matrix. Figure 5.8 shows the image of the preferred proximity
screen.
Figure 5.8: CONSITEPLAN ? Preferred Proximity among Facilities
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5.4 CONSITEPLAN ? Optimization Components
This section discusses about the various optimization components/computational
functions of the developed tool.
5.4.1 SplitBoundary
Once all the input parameters are provided and the user chooses the option to generate an
optimal site utilization plan, the function ?SplitBoundary? is invoked by CONSITEPLAN. This
function splits the entire site area into smaller grids of the preferred grid size provided by the
user in the primary screen. Splitting the entire site area into grids of smaller size facilitates the
idea of conceptualizing the site space as a continuous domain in solving the problem.
5.4.2 ExtractFreeArea
The function ?ExtractFreeArea? identifies the available grids (grids which are not
occupied by building and utility areas) from the total grids in the project site. To accomplish this,
the function first expands the layout out of the building by adding the preferred safety boundary
provided by the user. Then, the set of grids which are not in the zones of the expanded building
layout and the utility areas (unusable areas provided by the user) are identified as available grids.
These grids are used in the subsequent functions in identifying an optimal layout plan for the
temporary facilities.
5.4.3 ComputeDistance
Once the available grids are identified, the function ?ComputeDistance? calculates the
potential travel distance (improvised distance measurement) between all the available grids
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based on the algorithm discussed in chapter 4 (4.2.1). The distance measured between all the
available grids are written in a dataset format to the output file, DistanceMatrix.xml, which will
then be subsequently accessed in later part of the optimization algorithm.
5.4.4 InitialPopulation
This algorithm generates 100 random initial solutions to position the onsite temporary
construction facilities in the available grids in any of the possible 8 alignment types. The section
4.2.2 of this thesis document provides a detailed discussion about the algorithm and pseudo code.
5.4.5 EvaluateSolution
In optimizing layouts using Genetic Algorithms, the generated layouts need to be
evaluated for their fitness in meeting the objectives and constraints specified by the user. This
process is carried out for every solution in every generation. Then, typically, the worst solutions
(solutions with high objective function value) are eliminated and new solutions are created from
the best retained solutions using the genetic operators such as Crossover and Mutation. The
function ?EvaluateSolution? assesses each of the solution in the solution pool based on the
provided user preferences and constraints, and calculates their corresponding objective function
value. The detailed information about the objective function and evaluation processes is
presented in section 4.2.3 of this document.
5.4.6 GenerateSolutions
As discussed in section 5.4.5, genetic operations are performed on the evaluated
solutions. These include elimination of worst solutions and generation of new solutions from the
remaining high quality solutions. The function ?GenerateSolutions? identifies and eliminates the
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worst solutions (solutions with high objective function value) from the set of evaluated solutions
and then generates new solutions from the retained solutions by performing the crossover and
mutation operations. The functions ?EvaluateSolution? and ?GenerateSolutions? are iterated for
several times (100 times in this research study, (Li and Love 1998)) after which the best solution
from the solution pool (solution with minimum objective function value) is identified as the
optimal layout. The detailed information about the crossover and mutation operations with the
related pseudocode can be found in section 4.2.4.
5.4.7 DrawDimensions
The function ?DrawDimensions? is used to display the identified optimal solution in a
graphical format. It displays the building layout along with the utility and facilities areas
supplemented with a tooltip listing their dimensions, position, and alignment type.
5.5 Summary
CONSITEPLAN is a Microsoft Visual Studio based optimization tool and it comprises of
several functional modules. The code is developed in a modular fashion to facilitate the changes
for any future enhancements with minimal effort. It has a primary input screen that facilitates the
user to enter the phase specific details and four secondary screens to provide detailed layout
attributes (facilities, utility areas, cost of interaction, preferred proximity). It comprises of seven
major functional modules (SplitBoundary, ExtractFreeArea, ComputeDistance, InitialPopulation,
EvaluateSolution, GenerateSolutions, DrawDimensions) which are used in identifying an
optimal layout and displaying the output in a graphical format.
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Chapter 6: CONSITEPLAN Illustrative Example
6.1 Introduction
Several optimization tools have been created by researchers in an attempt to address the
site utilization planning problem. As each study has unique attributes, most of the researchers
have developed their own examples for implementing their algorithm, and no single example is
applied across several studies. In many cases, especially (Yeh 1995) and (Li and Love 1998)
have formulated the problem as a onetoone quadratic assignment problem where the locations
of temporary facilities were predefined. This problem was further modified and used by
Mawdesley and AlJibouri (2003) added an interactive cost criteria to it to evaluate the tool
developed in their study. (Sanad et al. 2008) applied this tool in ?Tanta University Educational
Hospital? project in Egypt. The project involved locating 18 temporary construction facilities
based on the provided proximity preferences in a site of area 28,500 sq.m., and does not impose
additional layout constraints.
(Harmanani et al. 2000) created their own example where the developed tool was used to
identify an optimal site utilization plan for a construction site of size 30? x 20? in which 10
temporary construction facilities of different size need to be laid out without considering any
additional layout constraints. Evosite, an excel based model developed by (Hegazy and Elbeltagi
1999) was implemented on a sample project in which 17 temporary construction facilities (each
800 sq.ft. average) were to be positioned in an available site space of 25500 sq. ft.. The tool
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identifies an optimal layout based on the proximity preference, and the example does not account
for any additional parameters.
(Elbeltagi and Hegazy 2001; Elbeltagi et al. 2004; Ning et al. 2010a; Ning et al. 2010b;
Osman et al. 2003) also evaluated the developed optimization tool by implementing against a
manipulated example. As the tools developed in these studies didn?t provide any geometric data
about the construction site or provide the option of accounting the usage of tower cranes,
excluding unusable areas, and utilization of offsite space, these examples were not suitable for
optimization using CONSITEPLAN.
Since most of the earlier studies which address the site utilization planning problem have
not considered several of the practical layout parameters (tower crane accessibility, offsite
storage, unusable areas), the hypothetical examples formulated to implement those models do not
provide any relevant information. Since CONSITEPLAN has the sophistication of defining those
additional parameters to identify an optimal layout, it becomes necessary to define those
parameters in the input for effective evaluations.
The new kinesiology building project, currently under construction at Auburn University
on Heisman drive was also evaluated for implementation of the tool. Unfortunately, project
execution strategy calls for extensive use of offsite area located at Hemlock Ave. for most
temporary facilities. The temporary facilities envisioned on the site include parking lot, site
trailers and a small rest area. This project would not have been sufficient to demonstrate the
abilities of CONSITEPLAN. Hence, a hypothetical example is used to demonstrate the
capabilities of the tool.
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6.2 Illustrative Example
This example involves locating 12 temporary construction facilities (11 onsite, 1 offsite)
in a site of size 600? x 400?, in which the permanent structure is of size 200? x 150? (Figure 6.1).
Figure 6.1: Case Study Example Layout
The example utilizes an offsite location that is assumed to be at a distance of 0.25 miles
(2640?) from the site gate location. The project site is assumed to have two unusable areas which
cannot be used for positioning the temporary facilities. It include, i) underground utilities (40? x
40?) ii) dewatering sump (20? x 10?). Typically, locating the parking space, site office, and rest
areas are not integrated with the layout process of temporary facilities, and are determined by the
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project manager. Hence, their locations are predetermined and are defined as fixed facilities (by
defining them as unusable areas) in this example. As they are generally located to the site gate
(to avoid unnecessary site congestion, enabling easy removal of waste from portapotties), the
example assumes them to be close to the site gate. Tower crane is assumed to be used in the
project (boom length of 150?) and is located within the permanent structure. A preferred safety
boundary of 10? is assumed around the building footprint.
Table 6.1 provides the list of facilities with their corresponding layout attributes, which
needs to be located for this case study example. Typically, as the reinforcement fabrication yard,
staging area for tower crane lifting, formwork contractor?s laydown area, and cladding
contractors laydown are accessed by tower crane, the tower crane accessibility option is enabled
for those facilities. Concrete batching plant of the example is assumed to be located offsite.
Table 6.1: Case Study Example Temporary Facilities
Facility # Facility Description Length Breadth TC access Offsite
1 Reinforcement Fabrication yard 30 30 Yes No
2 Reinforcement Contractor's Tool Shed 10 10 No No
3 Warehouse 40 30 No No
4 Area for plumbing contractor 60 60 No No
5 Staging Area for Tower Crane lifting 20 20 Yes No
6 Formwork Contractor's laydown area 50 50 Yes No
7 HVAC Contractor's work area 100 60 No No
8 Cladding Contractor's laydown area 40 40 Yes No
9 Formwork Contractor's tool trailer 15 10 No No
10 Cladding Contractor's tool trailer 15 10 No No
11 Electrical Contractor's Storage Shed 30 20 No No
12 Concrete Batching Plant 200 200 No Yes
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Table 6.2 provides the preferred proximity among the listed temporary facilities, in which
a lower value signifies a least preference and vice versa.
Table 6.2: Case Study Example Preferred Proximity
CONSITEPLAN was run several times for this example with the optimization parameters
in Table 6.3. Li and Love (1998) have recommended an initial solution pool of 100 with 90
iterations to get satisfactory results using Genetic Algorithms. Most of the past research studies
have used a 1% probability of mutation. The same is used for optimization here.
Table 6.3: Case Study Example Optimization Parameters
Optimization Parameter Case Study Value
Number of Iterations 90
Number of Solutions 100
Percentage of Probability of Mutation 1%
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The optimal layouts suggested by CONSITEPLAN during the several runs are shown in
the Figures 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, and 6.5.
Figure 6.2: CONSITEPLAN ? Site Utilization Plan 1
Figure 6.3: CONSITEPLAN ? Site Utilization Plan 2
Legend:
1 ? Reinforcement Fabrication Yard
2 ? Reinforcement contractor tool shed
3 ? Warehouse
4 ? Area for plumbing contractor
5 ? Staging area for tower crane lifting
6 ? Formwork contractor laydown area
7 ? HVAC contractor work area
8 ? Cladding contractor laydown area
9 ? Formwork contractor tool trailer
10 ? Cladding contractor tool trailer
11 ? Electrical contractor storage shed
Legend:
1 ? Reinforcement Fabrication Yard
2 ? Reinforcement contractor tool shed
3 ? Warehouse
4 ? Area for plumbing contractor
5 ? Staging area for tower crane lifting
6 ? Formwork contractor laydown area
7 ? HVAC contractor work area
8 ? Cladding contractor laydown area
9 ? Formwork contractor tool trailer
10 ? Cladding contractor tool trailer
11 ? Electrical contractor storage shed
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Figure 6.4: CONSITEPLAN ? Site Utilization Plan 3
Figure 6.5: CONSITEPLAN ? Site Utilization Plan 4
Legend:
1 ? Reinforcement Fabrication Yard
2 ? Reinforcement contractor tool shed
3 ? Warehouse
4 ? Area for plumbing contractor
5 ? Staging area for tower crane lifting
6 ? Formwork contractor laydown area
7 ? HVAC contractor work area
8 ? Cladding contractor laydown area
9 ? Formwork contractor tool trailer
10 ? Cladding contractor tool trailer
11 ? Electrical contractor storage shed
Legend:
1 ? Reinforcement Fabrication Yard
2 ? Reinforcement contractor tool shed
3 ? Warehouse
4 ? Area for plumbing contractor
5 ? Staging area for tower crane lifting
6 ? Formwork contractor laydown area
7 ? HVAC contractor work area
8 ? Cladding contractor laydown area
9 ? Formwork contractor tool trailer
10 ? Cladding contractor tool trailer
11 ? Electrical contractor storage shed
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On analyzing the layouts created by the tool, one can notice that the location of the
formwork contractor?s trailer is not close to their laydown area. Upon examining the proximity
preference, it can be seen that the user stated that their proximity is ?Especially Important?. One
of the reasons for the anomaly in layouts 2 and 4 could be the effect of the proximity
relationships between the tool trailer and rest of the facilities. Thus, it becomes clear that careful
evaluation of the required proximity is especially important in achieving a useful utilization plan.
6.3 Analysis of the impact of Optimization Parameters
To analyze the impact of optimization parameters on the objective function value and
computation time, CONSITEPLAN was run for several iterations for the above example with
differing optimization parameters. The following section discusses about the results.
6.3.1 Impact of the Number of Iterations on Objective Function Value
To study the impact of number of iterations on the objective function value,
CONSITEPLAN is run for several times with different solution iteration values. Figure 6.6
illustrates the variation in objective function value based on the number of solution iterations. As
plotted, as the number of solutions iteration increases, the objective function value decreases
(improved solution quality). But if the number of iterations is increased there seems to be
disruption in the objective function value. Literature review suggested that a number of solution
iterations between 90 to 100 could yield better optimization results. In this study, as a solution
iteration of 90 yields the best objective function value, suggestion from the literature holds good.
100
Figure 6.6: Objective function value vs. No. of iterations
6.3.2 Impact of the Percentage of Probability of Mutation on Objective Function Value
The mutation component of the genetic algorithms is designed to enable the escape of a
solution from a local optimum. As discussed earlier, the typical value of mutation is 1%, i.e. 1%
of the solutions are randomly changed. In order to impact of this on the quality of the resulting
solutions, CONSITEPLAN was run for several times with different percentage of probability of
mutation values, and Figure 6.7 illustrates the results. It can be seen that up to 5% of mutation
probability, there is a decrease in objective function value with an increase in percentage of
probability of mutation. However, with higher percentage of probability of mutation (i.e., greater
than 5%), the objective function value does not seem to have a continuous trend, as illustrated in
Figure 6.7.
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Objective Function Value vs No. of Iterations
Objective Function Value
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Figure 6.7: Objective function value vs. Percentage of probability of mutation
6.3.3 Impact of the selected Grid Size on the Objective Function Value
It was hypothesized that smaller size of grids will improve the quality of the solution
while impacting the computation time negatively. In order to evaluate this, CONSITEPLAN was
run for several times with different grid size values, and the results are plotted in Figure 6.8. As
it can be seen in Figure 6.8, an increase in grid size value results increases the objective function
value (less optimal solutions). This is because of the fact that as the grid size increases, the
number of potential available locations decreases. But, a very low grid size value (as compared
to the site space) seems to have disruptive impact in the objective function value, as with the grid
size 10.
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Objective Function Value vs % Mutation Probability
Objective Function Value
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Figure 6.8: Objective function value vs. Grid size
6.3.4 Number of Iterations, Grid Size vs Computation Time
Figures 6.9 and 6.10 depict the impact of number of solution iterations and grid size on
the computation time respectively. The computation time increases with an increase in number of
solution iterations and grid size. The optimization was carried out using a Windows 7 PC
powered by an Intel Core2Quad Q9400 @ 2.66 GHz with 4GB memory.
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Figure 6.9: Number of solution iterations vs. Computation time
Figure 6.10: Grid size vs. Computation time
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6.4 Summary
The illustrative examples presented in published literature don?t specify many of the
parameters used in CONSITEPLAN. The dimensions of site, permanent structure are notably
absent in all the studies reviewed in literature. None of the studies provide the option of
considering offsite areas, tower crane accessibility for facilities or unusable areas on the site.
Hence, the algorithm couldn?t have realistically been implemented on these examples. Hence,
CONSITEPLAN was applied to a hypothetical project. The tool was also run for several
iterations for the above example with differing optimization parameters to analyze the impact of
optimization parameters on the objective function value and computation time. The results
suggest that the number of solution iterations of 90, with 1% mutation probability, grid size as
20, and 100 initial solutions yield better solutions. Also, the analysis results generically suggest
the following.
? Optimality of solutions increase with increase in number of iterations
? Optimality of solutions decrease with increase in grid size
? Up to 5% of mutation probability, optimality of the solutions increases with
increase in percentage of mutation probability. However, this trend is not
followed for higher mutation probability values (i.e., greater than 5%).
? Computation time increases with increase in number of iterations
? Computation time decreases with increase in the grid size
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Chapter 7: Summary and Scope for Future Research
7.1 Introduction
Construction Site Utilization Planning, which primarily deals with accommodating the
sitelevel temporary construction facilities that are used to support the construction process, is a
vital aspect of construction operation planning which greatly contributes in achieving the project
objectives. Typical temporary facilities in a construction project include material laydown areas,
fabrication yards, concrete batching plants, equipment storage areas, and temporary site offices
used by various contractors. A poor planning of laying out the temporary facilities could
potentially lead to work delays, temporary material storage only to move it subsequently,
multiple handling of materials resulting in reduced labor productivity, schedule delays, loss of
time and money, and unsafe working conditions. For the construction process to flow smoothly
and efficiently, utilization of site space need to be determined with great care.
Many construction projects carried out in urban areas have very limited working space at
the site and don?t have sufficient space for positioning all the temporary facilities required for
construction. Therefore, planning is essentially aimed at effectively utilizing the available
smaller spaces within the site boundaries to execute the construction activities efficiently. In
construction projects on large sites, the project managers might tend to not focus on site
utilization planning at the beginning of construction phase due to abundant availability of space,
and the layout of temporary facilities is done on an adhoc basis with no concern for optimality
or layout efficiency. This results in increased costs of transportation of materials and inefficient
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labor movement. For example, in extreme cases, decision on where to store the materials might
only be made after the delivery of the materials to the project site. Evidently, the careful planning
of the layout of temporary facilities has a bearing on the success of construction projects whether
the site is confined with limited space, or it is a very large site where travel between various
facilities could be time consuming.
The layout planning problem in construction can be conceptualized as a multiobjective
problem where an optimal layout to position the temporary facilities need to be identified, which
incorporates the project requirements and constraints while simultaneously minimizing the cost
of resource flow and improving construction safety. The layout of temporary facilities is unique
in every construction project due to the changing process requirements on account of different
site configurations and project specific conditions. Moreover, the layout planning problem in
construction also has a temporal aspect to it, in which a particular layout may need to change
over the course of the project to meet the unique requirements of the construction process. In
addition, several key, unique considerations such as crane access to certain facilities also need to
be accounted for in solving this problem. This further compounds the complexity of the problem.
In attempt to address this complex, multiobjective problem, a significant amount of
research effort has been directed worldwide in the last two decades at developing algorithms for
identifying optimal construction site layouts. Due to the combinatorial and computationally
intensive nature of the problem, researchers have increasingly used metaheuristics solutions
inspired by evolution and other natural phenomena. These include population based strategies
such as Genetic Algorithms (GAs), Ant Colony Optimization, Particle Swarm Optimization, and
trajectory based strategies such as Simulated Annealing, Tabu lists etc. GAs is the most
commonly used optimization strategy in recent research in this area. GAs is favored by most
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researchers because of its capacity to move randomly in the fitness landscape from one feasible
solution to another without getting trapped into local optima.
Layout planning in construction can be conceptualized as, i) making discrete one to one
assignments where facilities are assigned to previously defined locations ii) assigning facilities to
a continuous space. The first definition, where n facilities are to be located in n predefined
locations, is limited in scope, and it can be effectively used only in situations where space is
limited and the number of available locations is predetermined, which may not be applicable in
many projects.
CONSITEPLAN
While many tools and algorithms can be found in the review literature, the practical
applicability of these algorithms is fairly limited due to quadratic assignment (predetermining
locations and then simply assigning facilities to those locations), distance measurement (using
Euclidean or Manhattan distance measurement formulas which can have severe limitations), lack
of consideration of the availability of offsite spaces for locating temporary facilities, lack of a
mechanism to implement a variable transportation constraint for certain facilities (location,
radius of a crane, access to certain temporary facilities ), lack of a mechanism to explicitly ensure
that facilities are not located at certain locations within the site, and lack of flexibility in
specifying a certain size and shape (rectangular/square) for the proposed temporary facility.
In this research, CONSITEPLAN, a windows based tool was developed to overcome
these limitations of the current layout planning tools. The main objective behind developing
CONSITEPLAN was to create a tool which addresses the practical requirements of layout
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planning without sacrificing the mathematical robustness of the underlying optimization
algorithm. The main features of the tool are as follows:
1. Space conceptualization
Unlike requiring predefined locations for temporary facilities, CONSITEPLAN
conceptualizes the site as continuous domain, which it divides into smaller grids and uses the
available grids as discrete options for the layout. Thus, the entire available area is considered
for layout purposes. The tool gives the user flexibility in choosing the size of the grid that
they would like to use for layout purposes. Thus, it is flexible enough to handle very small or
very large construction sites.
2. Robust Optimization Engine
CONSITEPLAN uses genetic algorithms as an optimization engine to search the fitness
landscape for a good layout based on the project requirements, site geometry, permanent
facility location and dimensions, and as well as other constraints that the user might want to
impose. Genetic Algorithms allow for a very transparent implementation of the constraints to
locating the temporary facilities.
3. Improved Efficiency of the Genetic Optimization Algorithm
Typically, the optimization algorithms found in literature use the entire site space
(including the final structure) to locate temporary facilities and impose a penalty on any
solution that uses the occupied areas for locating temporary facilities. CONSITEPLAN
improves the efficiency of the underlying genetic algorithm by initially creating a list of
locations that are not available for laying out temporary facilities and then ensuring that the
random process of solution generation doesn?t consider these locations as options. This could
109
potentially reduce number of infeasible solutions in a great manner, which would have to be
eliminated in the optimization process.
4. Distance Measurement
The distance measurement algorithms conventionally used in research literature, i.e.
Euclidean (diagonal distance between the facilities using Pythagorean formula) and
Manhattan (sum of absolute differences of the coordinates of the points under consideration),
have significant limitations on account of the obstruction placed by the excavated area or the
superstructure, which may realistically not allow for such movement (direct or rectilinear).
As the objective function in identifying an optimal construction site layout involves
minimizing the distance travelled, the method used to measure distance between facilities
plays a critical role in giving validity to the results. To overcome these limitations, an
improvised distance measurement algorithm is developed in this study. This algorithm
accounts for the obstruction caused by the permanent facility or the excavated areas for
foundation and measures the likely travel distance among the construction facilities.
5. Modeling offsite temporary facilities
Another unique feature of CONSITEPLAN is that it allows the user to specify the use of
temporary facilities at offsite locations. The distance between these offsite facilities and the
construction site (provided by the user) and the facility?s relationship with other temporary
facilities is used as a factor in the optimization process.
6. Modeling Unusable Areas
On construction sites, some areas could potentially be unusable on account of
underground utility work, storm drainage connections etc. The size, geographic, and
temporal location of these areas may change from project to project. Ideally, the project
110
manager may not want to locate a temporary facility on such a location because it may
require removing and reinstalling that temporary facility at a later date. CONSITEPLAN
allows for the definition and location of unusable areas at the site. A constraint is added to
the optimization algorithm to ensure that the temporary facilities are not located in these
unusable areas.
7. Modeling Crane Access
At a construction site, a tower crane may be used or a large crane may be permanently
stationed to perform the erection / lifting activities. The project manager may want to ensure
that certain temporary facilities, e.g. reinforcement steel fabrication area are accessible by the
crane to eliminate the inefficiencies caused by double handling of materials.
CONSITEPLAN allows the user to define the crane location, crane radius and the facilities
that will be accessed by the crane. These factors form an additional constraint to the
optimization process.
8. Safety Considerations
Safety is one of the important factors in construction projects and is widely accepted that
considering safety factors in developing a site utilization plan has a notable impact in
improving the site safety. For example, OSHA recommends not to store any materials within
the free fall zone of the permanent structure, and to maintain recommended buffer distance
around the permanent structure, which is a safety factor that could be considered while
creating a site utilization plan. CONSITEPLAN has been designed with the option to request
the user?s preference on the preferred safety boundary around the building structure, and not
utilizing that space for identifying optimal layouts.
111
9. Dynamic Planning
Construction site utilization planning problem can be defined as a dynamic problem,
where different facilities may be required during different phases of time during the life cycle
of the project. Hence, it is quite possible that different site utilization plans are being used
during different time spans of a project. This tool broadly breaks the project down in two
phases, substructure construction phase and superstructure construction phase, and provides
the flexibility of generating multiple site utilization plans based on the project requirements.
10. Ability to seamlessly interact with REVIT BIM files
CONSITEPLAN provides initial interfaces to extract essential geometric data about the
site and permanent structure using the application programming interface (API) provided by
Autodesk REVIT? products. This lays a foundation for exciting future developments in the
development of site utilization plans.
7.2 Conclusion
The site utilization planning problem has been subject to a significant body of work by
wellrespected researchers over the last two decades. This study addresses the layout planning
problem in construction in a very novel and sophisticated manner by developing the tool
?CONSITEPLAN?. CONSITEPLAN has been developed in a modular fashion on a purpose to
allow for improvements and additions in the future. This research lays a foundation for future
development of a site utilization planning tool which could be useful to the construction
community. The efficiencies envisaged through the use of this tool could help the owner and the
contractor to save money, while simultaneously improving safety at the constructions site. There
is ample scope for further improving this tool. This tool can be improved in the following ways.
112
Currently, the tool limits the project phase to two broader phases (substructure and
superstructure). Future research shall target to allow for definition of additional user defined
phases. In construction projects, it is quite possible to use the additional covered areas (that are
part of the permanent structure) for short spells for temporary fabrication and material storage,
which tend to become available for contractors with the progress of construction. This aspect has
not been addressed in the current research and can be extended for future research.
In construction projects that use tower cranes, the lifting capacity of the tower cranes can
vary based on the distance accessed. Currently, this attribute is not included in the tool, and the
tool assumes a constant lifting capacity for any distance accessed within the reachable radius of
the crane. The tool can be enhanced to facilitate this attribute which enables the option of
providing varying reachable distance based on the weight of the accessed temporary facility. The
tool can also be provided with an interactive layout plan, which allows the user to modify the
layout provided by the tool as per his/her preference, based on which the proximity rating among
the facilities can be updated and the optimality of the modified layout can be evaluated. The tool
has some basic capabilities to interact with the Autodesk REVIT?. This capability can be
enhanced even further in the future as more robust programming APIs become available. Ideally,
CONSITEPLAN could become independent of BIM products used i.e., it could allow for
seamless interaction with TEKLA, VICO BIM models as well. The seamless cost, estimating,
scheduling, and geometric data integration into a centralized BIM model could provide even
more opportunities of making CONSITEPLAN user friendly while staying mathematically
robust.
113
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