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A New Approach for Improving the Design Decision Making Process for Bridges

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Kim, MK 
McGovern, S 
Farmer, N 
Middleton, CR 


The design development, manufacture and construction process for a new bridge can be a lengthy and iterative process. The current design process through construction is virtually unmapped as the majority of structures in the built environment are unique. In many cases, reasonable assumptions and changes need to be made in the absence of the appropriate information and decisions at the appropriate time. However, the assumptions and changes made during the design process rely on the experience of engineers, making the process difficult to be analyzed and improved. There is therefore a need for a new approach to enable explicit mapping of the decision making process to facilitate efficient optimization through design. In order to address this problem, this study presents a novel approach to streamline the design decision making process of bridges. The key theme of this approach is to map the bridge design decision making processes and analyze them using digital engineering tools. Design Structure Matrix (DSM) is used in this study as a digital tool to map and optimize the current bridge design decision making process. As the means of validating the proposed approach, a real-life bridge project, which is a typical highway bridge of the UK, is identified for investigation. The result of the case study based on the proposed approach shows a promising potential that the current bridge design process can be potentially improved in an explicit and efficient way and the captured stages may be simulated through design automation tools



Bridge design, design decision making process, Design Structure Matrix (DSM)., standardized bridges

Journal Title

Proc. of the 17th Intl. Conf. on Computing in Civil and Building Engineering,

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17th Intl. Conf. on Computing in Civil and Building Engineering,

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Innovate UK part-funding