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Thesis defences

PhD Oral Exam - Charles Nnsemeka Igwe, Building Engineering

A Process Based Approach for Integrating the Last Planner in 4D Modeling for Equipment Workspace Planning in Elevated Urban Highway Projects

Date & time
Monday, January 25, 2021 (all day)

This event is free


School of Graduate Studies


Daniela Ferrer



When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.

Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.


Transportation developments are shifting from the construction of new highways to the reconstruction of existing ones, especially in urban areas. The reconstruction of elevated urban highways typically requires substantial capital investments and long durations. The prevalence of non-value adding activities otherwise referred to as non-physical wastes according to the Lean Construction (LC) paradigm is one attributable reason for this. Another feature of urban highway projects is the use of heavy construction equipment. Planning the equipment workspace becomes very important to facilitate the reduction/elimination of non-physical wastes and ensure no delays to the project completion arising from spatio-temporal conflicts. Four-dimensional (4D) modelling techniques have proven benefits to effective construction planning. Still, some limitations exist in the lack of a practical approach to support construction planning and incorporate workspace modelling in the 4D model development process. Several studies with different perspectives have been carried out to describe the gains of using 4D models in workspace management. However, none of them considered the effects of the limited usable space in the reconstruction of elevated urban highways. Moreover, the requirements for multiple levels of detail (LOD) in scheduling large and complex projects present a new challenge. To counter these challenges, a considerable amount of time is required to ensure that the LOD of the 4D model is sufficient to account for the following: (1) micro-scheduling of heavy equipment typically used in these types of operations, and (2) producing a 4D model with a sufficient LOD to accommodate daily work plans.

The purpose of this study is to categorize and prioritize factors contributing to non-physical wastes using empirical data obtained from a questionnaire survey. The survey results identified ""planning"" as an important factor in promoting non-physical wastes in elevated urban highway projects. A hybrid Multi-Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) approach was proposed to formalize selecting project planning/scheduling methods applicable to elevated urban highway projects where micro-scheduling short duration activities involving heavy construction equipment is critical to project success. Equipment workspace planning was considered a vital aspect in the planning process as conventional planning methods fail to consider spatial planning for short duration activities, especially in highway projects. To facilitate the equipment workspace planning, a research initiative that involved developing a detailed 4D model by integrating the Last Planner System (LPS), a LC planning and scheduling technique in a 4D model with multiple LOD's was proposed. The development of this 4D model can help facilitate the reduction of non-physical wastes during the construction phase of elevated urban highways, improve the reliability of the planning process, and reduce the time waste associated with planning and scheduling urban highway projects subject to space constraints. The research method is described, and a case study is developed to demonstrate the proposed method's feasibility.

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