Towards a decision-support tool for selecting an appropriate structural frame

The selection of the appropriate structural frame for a building during the conceptual design stage is crucial to the overall performance and value delivered to clients. Although several attempts have been made to develop IT-based decision support tools to select the structural frame, these have failed to recognise the importance of ‘soft’ performance criteria, primarily because of the complexity inherent in the selection process. In reality, structural frame selection is usually based upon heuristic decision-making dominated by subjectivity and qualitative reasoning. Following a thorough review of literature in the building performance domain, a tool that incorporates both ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ performance metrics for selecting appropriate structural frame was developed. The tool requires a systematic evaluation of the importance of each criterion and the likely performance achieved using various structural frame options. A worked example is provided to demonstrate how a project team can use this tool. This tool essentially helps to make explicit the most important issues to be considered during the selection process, which should demonstrably lead to improved performance and added value for clients.