From Activity Recognition to Simulation: The Impact of Granularity on Production Models in Heavy Civil Engineering

Anne Fischer, Alexandre Beiderwellen Bedrikow, Iris D. Tommelein, Konrad Nübel, Johannes Fottner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


As in manufacturing with its Industry 4.0 transformation, the enormous potential of artificial intelligence (AI) is also being recognized in the construction industry. Specifically, the equipment-intensive construction industry can benefit from using AI. AI applications can leverage the data recorded by the numerous sensors on machines and mirror them in a digital twin. Analyzing the digital twin can help optimize processes on the construction site and increase productivity. We present a case from special foundation engineering: the machine production of bored piles. We introduce a hierarchical classification for activity recognition and apply a hybrid deep learning model based on convolutional and recurrent neural networks. Then, based on the results from the activity detection, we use discrete-event simulation to predict construction progress. We highlight the difficulty of defining the appropriate modeling granularity. While activity detection requires equipment movement, simulation requires knowledge of the production flow. Therefore, we present a flow-based production model that can be captured in a modularized process catalog. Overall, this paper aims to illustrate modeling using digital-twin technologies to increase construction process improvement in practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number212
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • activity recognition
  • deep learning
  • digital twin in construction
  • discrete-event simulation
  • heavy civil engineering equipment
  • process reference model


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