Date of Award

Fall 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Karshenas, Saeed


A construction project requires collaboration of different organizations such as owner, designer, contractor, and resource suppliers. These organizations need to exchange information to improve their teamwork. Understanding the information created in other organizations requires specialized human resources. Construction cost estimating is one of the processes that requires information collected from several sources including a building information model (BIM) created by designers, estimating assembly and work item information maintained by contractors, and construction resource cost information provided by resource suppliers. Currently, it is not easy for computers to integrate the information for construction cost estimating over the Internet. This study discusses a new approach to construction cost estimating that uses the Semantic Web technology. The Semantic Web technology provides a data modeling format and the required infrastructure that enables accessing, combining, and sharing information over the Internet in a machine processable format. The estimating approach presented in this study relies on BIM, estimating knowledge, and construction material cost data to be represented in the Semantic Web. The approach presented in this study makes the various sources of cost estimating data accessible as Simple Protocol and Resource Description Framework Query Language (SPARQL) endpoints or semantic web services. This study presents an estimating approach that integrates distributed information provided by project designers, contractors, and material suppliers for preparing cost estimates. The purpose of this study is not to fully automate the estimating process but to streamline it by reducing human involvement in repetitive cost estimating activities.


Dissertation director:

Dr. Saeed Karshenas
Professor of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering
Marquette University

Dissertation committee:

Dr. Iqbal Ahamed
Professor of Computer Science
Director, Ubicomp Lab
Marquette University

Dr. Mani Golparvar-Fard
Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Computer Science
Chief Technology Officer at PARWorks Inc.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Javier Irizarry
Associate Professor of School of Building Construction
Director, CONECTech Lab
Chair, Residential Construction Development Track
Georgia Institute of Technology