Construction with digital twin information systems

Rafael Sacks, Ioannis Brilakis, Ergo Pikas, Haiyan Sally Xie, Mark Girolami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The concept of a digital twin as a model for data-driven management and control of physical systems has emerged over the past decade in the domains of manufacturing, production, and operations. In the context of buildings and civil infrastructure, the notion of a digital twin remains ill-defined, with little or no consensus among researchers and practitioners of the ways in which digital twin processes and data-centric technologies can support design and construction. This paper builds on existing concepts of Building Information Modeling (BIM), lean project production systems, automated data acquisition from construction sites and supply chains, and artificial intelligence to formulate a mode of construction that applies digital twin information systems to achieve closed loop control systems. It contributes a set of four core information and control concepts for digital twin construction (DTC), which define the dimensions of the conceptual space for the information used in DTC workflows. Working from the core concepts, we propose a DTC information system workflow-including information stores, information processing functions, and monitoring technologies-according to three concentric control workflow cycles. DTC should be viewed as a comprehensive mode of construction that prioritizes closing the control loops rather than an extension of BIM tools integrated with sensing and monitoring technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA32
JournalData-Centric Engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - 27 Nov 2020


  • Building Information Modeling
  • construction planning and control
  • data-centric construction
  • digital twin
  • lean construction

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Computer Science Applications


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