CIVIL ENGINEERING 365 ALL ABOUT CIVIL ENGINEERING



AbstractThe construction industry is information-intensive, and building information modeling (BIM) has been proposed as an information source for supporting decision making by construction project team members in the architecture, engineering, construction, and operation (AECO) industry. Because building information models contain more building data, further use of the aggregated building information to support construction and operation activities has become important. In Industry 4.0, similar-to-real-life virtual assistants, e.g., Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant, are becoming ever more popular. This research developed a query-answering (QA) system for BIM information extraction (IE) by using natural language processing (NLP) methods to build a virtual assistant for construction project team members. The architecture of the developed QA system for BIM IE consists of three major modules: natural language understanding, IE, and natural language generation. A Python-based prototype application was developed based on the architecture of the QA system for BIM IE to evaluate functionalities of the developed QA system using several BIM/industry foundation classes (IFC) models. Seven building information models and 127 test queries were utilized to evaluate the accuracy of the developed QA system for BIM IE. The experimental results indicated that the developed QA system for BIM IE achieved an 81.9 accuracy score. The developed NLP-based QA system for BIM is valid to provide relatively accurate answers based on natural language queries. The contributions of this research facilitate the development of virtual assistants in the AECO industry, and the architecture of the developed QA system can be extended to queries in other areas.



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