Critical review of approaches to integrating virtual models and the physical construction

Abiola Akanmu, Chimay Anumba, John Messner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Virtual models have proven to be highly beneficial and of great significance to the building and construction industry. However, the full potential of virtual models, especially at the construction and operation phases, remains largely unrealized. With the developments in information and communication technology, a number of attempts have been made to extend the use of these models, through the development of integration approaches and technologies. An important aspect of integration not adequately addressed so far relates to that between the virtual model and physical construction such as to enable bi-directional coordination. Bi-directional coordination between virtual models and the physical construction has the potential to improve consistency maintenance, real-time progress monitoring and control of construction process/constructed facility, tracking of changes and model updates, information exchange between the design office and the real-time, documentation of as-built status, and sustainable practices. This paper presents a comprehensive and critical review of literature on the various integration approaches and technologies in AEC/FM. This paper provides value by identifying the key facets of an effective integration between virtual models and the physical construction. The paper outlines the limitations of existing systems in addressing these key facets, and discusses the opportunities for improvement by introducing the role of cyber-physical systems approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-282
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Construction Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Building and Construction
  • Architecture
  • Strategy and Management


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