A Risk Based Approach to Module Tolerance Specification
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This research investigates tolerance strategies for modular systems on a project specific basis. The objective of the proposed research is to form a guideline for optimizing the construction costs/risks with the aim of developing an optimal design of resilient modular systems. The procedures for achieving the research objective included: (a) development of 3D structural analysis models of the modules, (b) strength/stability investigation of the structure, (c) developing the fabrication cost function, (e) checking elastic and inelastic distortion, and (f) constructing the site-fit risk functions. The total site-fit risk function minimizes the cost/risk associated with fabrication, transportation; alignment, rework, and safety, while maximizing stiffness in terms of story drift values for site re-alignment and fitting alternatives. The fabrication cost function was developed by collecting 61 data points for the investigated module chassis using the SAP2000 software while reducing the initial section sizes, in addition to the fabrication costs at each step (61 steps). With the reduction of the structural reinforcement, story drift values increase, therefore there will be a larger distortion in the module. This generic module design procedure models a trade-off between the amount of reinforcement and expected need for significant field alterations. Structural design software packages such as SAP2000, AutoCAD, and Autodesk were used in order to model and test the module chassis. This research hypothesizes that the influential factors in the site-fit risk functions are respectively: fabrication, transportation, alignment, safety, and rework costs/risks. In addition, the site-fit risk function provides a theoretical range of possible solutions for the construction industry. The maximum allowable modular out-of-tolerance value, which requires the minimum amount of cost with respect to the defined function, can be configured using this methodology. This research concludes that over-reinforced or lightly-reinforced designs are not the best solution for mitigating risks, and reducing costs. For this reason the site-fit risk function will provide a range of pareto-optimal building solutions with respect to the fabrication, transportation, safety, alignment, and rework costs/risks.
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