Mass Customize Housing with Computation

Principal Investigator: Yan GAO
Funding body: Seed Funding Programme for Basic Research

Abstract

The proposed research project was the first to investigate open source design for high density housing in Hong Kong with computation and information modeling. It has the potential to change current model from mass standardization to mass customization, echoing the PRC State Council “Made in China 2025” strategy aimed at transforming China into a leading world manufacturing power. This research project proposes a new design methodology, entitled Intelligent Computational Design (ICD) with computational automation and information modeling. We aim to develop a proof of concept process for allowing future occupants to specify the design parameters for individual units, which are subject to mass design and industrial production. This project has applied the methods including but not limit to Relative Parametric Modeling, Negotiated Space Exploration, Evolutional Many-criteria Optimization, Graphic-based Fuzzy Computation, and Best Possible Solutions, at the scale of neighborhood, building and unit.

Objectives

  1. To develop a proof of concept process for allowing occupants to specify the parameters of designs for individual units that is subject to mass design and industrial production.
  2. To codify design expert knowledge into parametric information models so that design variations can respond to users’ customizations automatically according to the relationship defined between the data input and the geometric outputs.

Results

A series of Computational Models (CM) of housing capable of automatically generating unit aggregation based on collective rules. All the units must be aggregated in conjunction with a series of computational massing models, responding to the specific urban context as scenarios.

Outputs

  • Yan Gao, Chang Qiang, Lo Tiantian, Integrated Open Source Design for Architecture in High Density Housing Practice, Journal of Civil Engineering and Architecture, published by David Publishing Company, New York, 2015.9, ISSN Number: 1934-7359.
  • Yan Gao, Yunsheng Su, Computational Design Research for High Density Social Housing in China, Journal of Engineering Technology (JET), published by The Global Science and Technology Forum, Singarpore, Volume: 2, May 2013, ISSN Number: 2251-3701.
  • Tian Tian Lo, Marc Aurel Schnabel, Yan Gao, ModRule: A User-Centric Mass Housing Design Platform, CAAD Futures 2015 – The Next City, Sao Paulo, 2015
  • Tian Tian Lo, Marc Aurel Schnabel, Yan Gao, Collaborative Mass Housing Design Practice with Smart Model, Digital Infiltration, Digital Architecture: computation, Generation, Optimization, Fabrication, Construction and Management, The 1st International Conference of the Digital Architecture Design Association, Tsinghua University, 2013.
  • E-dot, The First Prize (Overall Category), in collaboration with Shanghai Tongji Urban Planning & Design Institute DODOV Chengdu, 1 Unit, 100 Families, 10,000 Residents, The Ideas Competition for Social Housing in Shen ,China, 2012.

Anticipated Impact

We hope to provide design methodologies and tool sets to substantiate the idea of mass customization in high-density housing, enabling the Hong Kong housing industry to lead an evolution in housing with a new housing supply model which transforms high-density housing design into a transparent evolutionary process from minority-controlled empirical patterns to majority participatory customization.

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‘Polluters or Stakeholders, Who Should Pay?’ Development of a More Effective Waste Charging Scheme in Hong Kong using System Dynamics

Principal Investigator: Wilson W.S. LU
Funding body: PPR

Abstract

Amongst the many construction waste management (CWM) policies, the Construction Waste Disposal Charging Scheme (CWDSC) enacted in 2006 has the largest magnitude in terms of genuinely reducing construction waste disposal of at landfills. This strengthens the belief that “attempts to significantly reduce waste generation would not be possible in the absence of major economic incentives to drive the requisite behavioral change” (HKEPD, 2012). Nevertheless, CWM remains a gloomy situation after the CWDCS was successfully implemented in Hong Kong. With the changing socio-economic background in Hong Kong, there is an acute need for Hong Kong to become a self-sustainable place for managing its construction waste. Raising the existing levels of waste disposal charging is high on the Government’s agenda. This project investigated how much stakeholders are willing to pay for enhancing CWM in Hong Kong. The research will provide a scientific foundation to the heated on-going debate on revisiting the construction waste disposal charges in Hong Kong.

Objectives

  1. To identify stakeholders in construction waste management.
  2. To analyse stakeholders’ interests, attitudes, and interactions in construction.
  3. To construct a system dynamics (SD) model for simulating stakeholders’ interests, attitudes, and interactions under different waste charging schemes.
  4. To validate the SD model and interpret its policy implications in Hong Kong studies.

Results

By considering the dynamic nature of CWM, the research team has examined stakeholders’ interests, attitudes, and interactions using system dynamics (SD). It is found that SD, if applied correctly, is very helpful in determining how much one SHOULD be charged to achieve a pre-set goal of CWM. However, it is difficult to use SD to determine how much one WOULD pay for better managing C&D waste in Hong Kong. The research team thus deviated from previous objectives but to (a) examine the effectiveness of the existing CWDCS, and (b) explore the willingness to pay (WTP) expressed by CWM stakeholders in Hong Kong.

Surprisingly, it is found that, in statistical sense, there is no significant difference between willingness to pay (WTP) expressed by different stakeholder groups. The average maximum WTP is around HK$232 per tonne for C&D waste disposal of at landfills, HK$186/t at off-site sorting facilities (OSFs), and HK$120/t at public fill reception facilities (OFRFs). These are higher than the existing charges (i.e. HK$125/t for landfilling, HK$100/t for OSFs, and HK$27/t for PFRFs) but much lower than the charges proposed by HKGBC and HKBEC to the government Environment Bureau (i.e. HK$125, HK$700 and HK$1,200 per tonne in 2015, 2020 and 2025 respectively). The PI was interviewed by New York Times, and was invited to join the JWG to contribute to CWM policy making directly. The research team has achieved much more than what proposed in the PPR project. 

Outputs
Selected peer-reviewed journal papers

  • Lu, W.S. (2013). Beyond the inert and non-inert dichotomy: towards ‘building a zero waste Hong Kong’. Build Journal, 13, 46-49.
  • Lu, W.S., and Yuan, H. (2013). Investigating waste reduction potential in the upstream processes of offshore prefabrication construction. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 28, 804-811.
  • Lu, W.S., and Tam, V. W. (2013). Construction waste management policies and their effectiveness in Hong Kong: A longitudinal review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 23, 214-223.
  • Yuan, H., Lu, W.S., and Hao, J. J. (2013). The evolution of construction waste sorting on-site. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 20, 483-490.
  • Lu, W., and Yuan, H. (2012). Off-site sorting of construction waste: What can we learn from Hong Kong?. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 69, 100-108.

Application of Hong Kong Construction Waste Management Experience in Mainland China: An Empirical Exploration

Principal Investigator: Wilson W.S. LU
Funding body: NSFC

Abstract

There is a huge demand for construction, which in turn generates a huge amount of construction waste. Various technical, economical, and managerial measures, which are largely based on the waste hierarchy including reduction, reuse, and recycle (3R), have been implemented in Hong Kong to deal with the construction waste. It is considered that the CWM experience provides valuable references to developing effective CWM practices in Mainland China. The aim is to identify effective policy, technical and economical CWM measures in Mainland China. It is envisaged that these measures, and waste generation, against the broader Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, and Legal (PESTEL) contexts, will form a complicatedly dynamic system. Based on the systems thinking, an artificial neural network (ANN) model is to be developed to mimic the system and embrace its complexity. A large set of longitudinal panel data of the factors will be gleaned from various sources to “train” the model. Academically, it links the various theories on CWM with the pressing CWM issues in China. It is anticipated that China’s characteristics such as large scale, massive volume, will lead to an improved understanding of how these CWM theories can be supported or refuted in a unique context. Practically, the project can assist various local authorities to develop more effective CWM measures in China.

Objectives

  1. To identify effective policy, technical and economical CWM measures in Mainland China.
  2. To link the various theories on CWM (e.g. stakeholder theory, “polluter pays principle”, 3R CWM hierarchy) with the pressing CWM issues in China.
  3. To improve the understanding of how these CWM theories can be supported or refuted in a unique context.
  4. To assist various local authorities to develop more effective CWM measures in China.

Results

  1. The project identified waste reduction potential in prefabrication and on-site sorting, off-site sorting, and suggested policies and strategies for improving CWM based on the inert and non-inert dichotomy of construction waste;
  2. The project linked various theories including stakeholder, polluter pays principle, and Coarse Theorem to improve CWM, and enhanced the understanding of how these theories can be supported and refuted in the context of Hong Kong and Mainland China;
  3. The project team transferred knowledge in CWM across countries, including China, Italy, and Spain.

Outputs

Selected peer-reviewed journal papers

  • Lu, W.S., Webster, C., Peng Y., Chen, X., and Zhang, X.L. (2016). Estimating and calibrating the amount of building-related construction and demolition waste in urban China. International Journal of Construction Management, Forthcoming.
  • Lu, W.S., Chen, X., Ho, D.C., and Wang, H.D. (2016). Analysis of the construction waste management performance in Hong Kong: the public and private sectors compared using big data. Journal of Cleaner Production, 112, 521-531.
  • Lu, W.S., Peng, Y., Webster, C., and Zuo, J. (2015). Stakeholders’ willingness to pay for enhanced construction waste management: A Hong Kong study. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 47, 233-240.
  • Lu, W.S. and Tam, V.W.Y. (2013). Construction waste management policies and their effectiveness in Hong Kong: A longitudinal review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 23, 214-223.

RFID-Enabled Building Information Modeling (BIM) Platform for Prefabrication Housing Production in Hong Kong

Principal Investigator: G.Q. HUANG (PI), Wilson W.S. LU (Co-I), S.T. NG (Co-I), Q.P. SHEN (Co-I)
Funding body: ITP/045/13LP

Abstract

This project proposes to develop an RFID-enabled service-oriented BIM platform for enhancing prefabrication housing production in Hong Kong. The proposal is firmly built upon R&D strengths accumulated among the applicant and collaboration organizations including The University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and Hong Kong Housing Authority. The platform provides three sets of innovative technical deliverables. The first set includes core technologies that help creating smart construction infrastructure where real-time construction data are captured using advanced ubiquitous devices. The second set includes service-oriented decision support systems for facilitating decisions and operations at three key stages of the house construction project lifecycle (prefab production, prefab logistics and house construction with prefabs). The third set includes real-time information traceability, visibility and interoperability tools that integrate and interact with existing information systems. The use of the platform will facilitate (1) seamless communication and coordination among multiple stakeholders throughout the project lifecycle, (2) more efficient cross-border prefabrication logistic and supply chain management (LSCM), and (3) better coordination at construction sites for Just-In-Time (JIT) housing production.

Objectives

  1. Seamless communication and coordination among multiple stakeholders through improved information interoperability between processes.
  2. More efficient cross-border prefabrication logistic and supply chain management (LSCM) through improved its real-time information visibility and traceability.
  3. Seamless communication and coordination around construction site to enable a Just-in-Time (JIT) housing production.

Results

  1. Smart construction objects (SCOs) and gateway are developed to capture the real-time construction data.
  2. The RBIMP traceability tool allows identification of objects in a fully automated manner. The RFID tags are embedded in the prefab parts and goes through the whole lifecycle of construction projects.
  3. RBIMP-DSIS works as an information sharing adapter so that all the heterogeneous data sources could be seamlessly integrated.

Outputs

Selected peer-reviewed journal papers

  • Chen, K., Lu, W., Peng, Y., Rowlinson, S., and Huang, G. Q. (2015). Bridging BIM and building: From a literature review to an integrated conceptual framework. International journal of project management, 33(6), 1405-1416.
  • Niu, Y., Lu, W., Chen, K., Huang, G. G., and Anumba, C. (2015). Smart Construction Objects. Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering, 04015070.
    Flanagan, R., Jewell, C., Lu, W.S., and Pekericli, K. (2014) Auto-ID – Bridging the physical and the digital on construction projects. Chartered Institute of Building. ISBN 1853800191. 38p.

Selected international conference papers

  • Chen, K. and Lu, W.S. (2015). A BIM-Centred System for Buffer Management. In Proceedings of Going north for sustainability: Leveraging knowledge and innovation for sustainable construction and development, 23-25 Nov 2015, London.
  • Chen, K., Lu, W.S., Peng, Y., Zheng, L.Z., Niu, Y.H., and Rowlinson, S. (2015). An investigation of the latent barriers to BIM adoption and development. In Proceedings of the 20th International Symposium on Advancement of Construction Management and Real Estate, 23-25 Oct 2015, Hangzhou, China.