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PROCEEDINGS OF THE THIRD INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CIVIL AND STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING COMPUTING
Edited by: B.H.V. Topping
A Computer-Based System Model for Simulating Future National Construction Demand
M.A. Al-Mufty and S.R. Cochrane
Department of Civil Engineering, The Queen's University of Belfast, UK
M.A. Al-Mufty, S.R. Cochrane, "A Computer-Based System Model for Simulating Future National Construction Demand", in B.H.V. Topping, (Editor), "Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Civil and Structural Engineering Computing", Civil-Comp Press, Edinburgh, UK, pp 63-69, 1987. doi:10.4203/ccp.4.2.7
This paper describes the use of both in-house and commercial software in a research programme on the inter-relationships between the levels of activity in the national economy and the construction sector.
Economic and demographic data for 100 countries for a study period of 22 years have been assembled on an 'Appleworks' data-base, from United Nations and World Bank sources. Through a Data-Interchange-Format facility, raw data from individual country files is then processed in a spreadsheet format for the study of growth trends in the national economy and the construction sector of the countries included in the study.
Several data-base files are derived on the basis of classified data categories from individual country files which are then used to carry out international comparisons. Country-group patterns are observed and these are then subjected to extensive statistical analysis using the in-house 'Datan' statistical analysis suite.
Important correlations are shown to exist between national economic statistics and the levels of construction activity for both developing and fully industrialised countries throughout the world. Groups of countries with substantial similarities of construction activity have been identified and classified.
Mathematical relationships based on these correlation studies have been used to form a national development process system model, which from annual inputs of decision variables, can be used to predict future levels of construction demand in each country. The model parameters have been optimised over a wide range of possible scenarios of future economic growth, and predicted levels of construction activity can be estimated on a probability basis.
On the basis of the simulation model a 'Microsoft Multiplan' spreadsheet template has been designed as a decision-making support tool by which the effects of varying the levels of construct ion expenditure in any country can be investigated. Ready communication, using the electronic 'clip-board' facility, allows graphs and other data to be displayed using the 'Microsoft Chart' software. Reports may then be presented using 'Macwrite' word processing programme with insertions of graphs and tables from 'Multiplan' and 'Chart' directly.
The microcomputers used include an Apple IIe with 512K extended memory, and a 512K Macintosh. These are set up as a dual facility on specially constructed mobile trolleys which can support individual dot-matrix printers, paper, manuals, and work in progress.
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