Construction virtual prototyping: A survey of use

Ting Huang*, Heng li, Hongling Guo, Neo Chan, Stephen Kong, Greg Chan, Martin Skitmore

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose – The introduction of Building Information Model (BIM) tools over the last 20 years is resulting in radical changes in the architectural, engineering and construction industry. One of these changes concerns the use of virtual prototyping – an advanced technology integrating BIM with realistic graphical simulations. Construction virtual prototyping (CVP) has now been developed and implemented on ten real construction projects in Hong Kong in the past three years. The purpose of this paper is to report on a survey aimed at establishing the effects of adopting this new technology and obtaining recommendations for future development. Design/methodology/approach – A questionnaire survey was conducted in 2007 of 28 key participants involved in four major Hong Kong construction projects – these projects being chosen because the CVP approach is used in more than one stage in each project. In addition, several interviews are conducted with the project manager, planning manager and project engineer of an individual project. Findings – All the respondents and interviewees give a positive response to the CVP approach, with the most useful software functions considered to be those relating to visualisation and communication. The CVP approach is thought to improve the collaboration efficiency of the main contractor and sub-contractors by approximately 30 percent, and with a concomitant 30 to 50 percent reduction in meeting time. The most important benefits of CPV in the construction planning stage are the improved accuracy of process planning and shorter planning times, while improved fieldwork instruction and reducing rework occur in the construction implementation stage. Although project teams are hesitant to attribute the use of CVP directly to any specific time savings, it is also acknowledged that the workload of project planners is decreased. Suggestions for further development of the approach include incorporation of automatic scheduling and advanced assembly study. Originality/value – Whilst the research, development and implementation of CVP is relatively new in the construction industry, it is clear from the applications and feedback to date that the approach provides considerable added value to the organisation and management of construction projects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)420-433
Number of pages14
JournalConstruction Innovation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


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