PhD Defense by Leonardo Garcia Bottia

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Ph.D. Dissertation Defense – Leonardo Garcia Bottia – College of Design, School of Building Construction, Georgia Institute of Technology


Date: Monday, April 18, 2022

Time: 3:30 PM – 5:30 PM EST

Location: Caddell Building, Second Floor Conference Room (212)


Advising Committee


Daniel Castro-Lacouture, Ph.D., PE, Advisor

Professor, School of Building Construction

Georgia Institute of Technology


Javier Irizarry, Ph.D., PE

Professor, School of Building Construction

Georgia Institute of Technology


Baabak Ashuri, Ph.D.

Professor, School of Building Construction, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Georgia Institute of Technology


Russell Gentry, Ph.D., PE

Professor, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, School of Architecture

Georgia Institute of Technology


Christopher Brown, SE

Senior Director HyperWorks AEC

Altair Engineering



Product Model Exchange Standards for Cast-in-Place Reinforced Concrete: Implementation Methods, Value Considerations, and Application to Design Indicators 



Building Information Modeling (BIM) has changed the way information in design and construction is communicated by allowing the possibility of exchanging project models and data together. To optimize the process, standards have been developed to define what is required in each exchange and how to represent it. For several years Cast-in-Place (CIP) reinforced concrete (RC), one of the most important construction materials worldwide, has been subject to considerable efforts toward the development of its standards. However, the monolithic nature of the material and its complex supply chain makes it difficult for this development to be properly carried out. This dissertation presents the results of a study with four key aims: (1) identify how exchange standards for CIP RC fit into current engineering and construction practices, (2) develop the requirements and methods for implementation, (3) study the value considerations of implementing the standards in practice, and (4) apply the information available in exchange standards to enhance the design and construction processes through the estimation of design indicators. This research is developed in the context of the undergoing efforts of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) to develop industry-wide standards for CIP RC concrete. To map the current engineering practices and challenges regarding CIP RC model exchanges, the dissertation presents the results of an ethnographic-action study performed to allow a description of current behaviors, the acquisition of qualitative data regarding the advantages of implementing BIM standards on a practical level, and to inform of potential additional requirements for standardization. To assist the implementation of standards in practice, this dissertation presents a set of methods for implementation that adapt to current tools and practices. To study the value considerations of implementing exchange standards, the same CIP RC processes captured in the ethnographic study are reproduced using the methods developed for model exchange standards. Finally, the study presents the results of a logistic regression model developed to use the parametrized information made available through these exchanges, to estimate indicators that improve the design and construction processes. In conclusion, this research provides recommendations to further develop CIP RC modeling and exchange standards, studies how design and construction practice aligns with new CIP RC standard workflows, provides methods for implementation, and develops a model useful to predict design indicators during early stages using the valuable information embedded in CIP RC exchange standards.


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