ALICE Practice Exercises

This page contains 6 exercises to complete to help cement your understanding of the ALICE principles. Each exercise has a corresponding support page which provides further support and information on the topic covered in each exercise. 

Contents

Exercise Introduction

We have included a practice exercise prompt as part of ALICR support. They are meant to be one continuous exercise based on the “Leo 1” project. The “Leo 1” project is available under “Trial Projects” in your ALICE dashboard, titled “ALICE Essentials_Part 1_Grouping & Supports.”Exercises.jpg

If you want to download the 3D model used for the training project, follow the link here: ALICE Leo 1 Revit File: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1wQ7S7iYBMO9MGnUwOE3JEthxvKSJbnNR/view?usp=sharing.

 

Further Support with project setup can be found here:
Projects & Plans: Create Projects and Plans
Projects & Plans: Introduction to Plan / Prepare

Exercise #1: Creating Project Custom Properties

Support Page: Element Properties

In this exercise, we will create a “Zone” parameter to divide the 3D model into three zones: West, Central, and East. These zones will help us to:

  • Easily navigate and find the necessary elements / groups
  • Perform Automatic Grouping
  • Develop WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) for the Gantt viewExercises.svg

Note: Delete all Custom and Imported Properties previously created (see Section 3.2.1 and Section 3.2.2 for a refresher).

 

To create the “Zone” parameter:

  • Select the entire model: use the selection box or select everything from the Element Tree
  • Go to the “Propertiestab and “+ Add Custom
  • Create a parameter called “Zone” with a “0value. The reason this step is required is because a property cannot be created unless there is an associated value. Consider this “0” value as a dummy placeholder value for nowExercises_1.1.svg

 

  • Next, we must select each of the elements and apply the correct “Zone” parameter value
  • Let's start with the West side. Rotate the 3D view to select all the elements on the West side easily. Use the selection box from left to right to select.
  • Go to the Properties tab and type “West” in place of “0.” Click the checkmark to confirm the new value
  • Immediately hide the selected elements from the 3D view. This step is recommended so that you can focus on the remaining elements that have not been assigned a “Zone” parameter value yetExercises_1.2.svg
  • Repeat the same actions for the “Central” and “East” sidesExercises_1.3.svg
  • Finally, unhide all elements with the “Show All” command
  • Go to the “Propertiestab in the Element Tree and select the elements by the “Zone” parameterExercises_1.4.svg

Exercise #2: Creating Project Groups 

Support Page: Groups

The purpose of this exercise is to continue to develop our model and organize the elements by their “Zone,” “Category,” and “Level” parameters. 

Note:For this exercise, ungroup all elements.

Note:Always check the accuracy of the custom parameters or BIM parameters before performing the automatic grouping. 

  • Select all elements from the Element Tree or 3D View
  • Go to the “Group” tab on the upper right
  • Activate the Automatic Grouping tool
  • Select the Parameters in the following order: “Category” + “Zone” + “Level
  • Click on “Create GroupsExercises__5_.svg

 

  • Check the result of the group names in the Element Tree under the “Groups” category

 

Exercise #3: Assigning Project Supports

Support Page: Supports

The purpose of this exercise is to continue to develop our model and to develop a project-specific support sequence.

You can use “AutomaticSupports,” (see Section 5.3)Support as Chain,” (see Section 5.4)or manually assign supports (see Section 5.2) to develop your support strategy.

We will develop a specific support strategy for this exercise by keeping only the hard physical construction logic. The assigned supports will limit and constrain ALICE so that the sequence must be done in that order. We will allow flexibility when it comes to resource allocation. ALICE will suggest optimal alternatives based on the resources available in the resource pool.

To develop the support strategy: 

  • Select the entire model and remove all supports with the “C” shortcut key 
  • Use “Support as Chain” to assign the hard physical construction logic from the foundation to the top slab. What this means is that you cannot build the elements that are physically above it until that element is completed (i.e. you cannot build the top slab until the foundation is complete)
  • See the support strategy for this exercise: 

Footing → Column → Wall → Slab → Column → Slab → Column → Slab

  • Start to assign supports from the foundation to the top slab as shown in the animation belowExercises__6_.svg
  • Note: Always refresh the browser after using the “Automatic Supports” or “Support as Chain” function.

 

  • Continue to assign support to other elements
  • Use the support slider on the top middle part of the page to review the assigned supports
  • The final result is shown below (while clicking on the “>” icon in the support slider):Exercises__7_.svg

 

Exercise #4: Create Project Resources 

Support Page: Resources

The purpose of this exercise is to continue to develop our model and to create the project resources.

Create the following resources for this project: 

Labor Resource: see Section 6.2 on how to create a labor resource

Name

Available

Prs / Crew

$ / Prs / Hr

$ / Crew / Hr

Calendar

Carpenter Crew

1

3

25

75

Default Calendar

Concrete Crew 

1

2

30

60

Default Calendar

Steel Crew

1

3

35

105

Default Calendar

 

Equipment Resource: see Section 6.3 on how to create an equipment resource

Name

Available

$ / Hr

Concrete Pump

1

100

Excavator 

2

150

 

Crane Resource: see Section 6.4 on how to create a crane resource. We recommend brushing up on Section 6.4.1 as well to understand the distinction between an equipment resource and a crane resource

Name

Type

Radius

Move Time - Hrs

Qty of Cranes

$ / Hr

Tower Crane #1

Moveable

25

2

1

50

Exercises__8_.svg

 

  • Create three locations for the building's East, Central, and West areas. Notice the 3 circles in the image above.

Materials: see Section 6.5 on how to create a material resource.

Material

Type

Qty Available

$ / Unit

Concrete

Consumable

100

Formwork Sets

Consumable

1

150

 

Milestone: see Section 6.6 on how to create a milestone.

Name

Type

Constraint Date

Key Dates

Interior Completion

End

None

Yes

Stair Completion

End

None

Yes

Structure Completion

End

None

Yes

 

Production Rates: see Section 6.7 and Section 6.7.1 on how to create a production rate.

Name

Qty / Hr

Steel Fixing

7.5

Excavation

375

 

Calendars: see Section 6.8 on how to create a workweek and how to create a calendar.

Name

Workweek

Overtime

Default

40 Working Hours

No

Overtime

60 Working Hours

Yes

 

Exercise #5: Create Project Recipes

Support Page: Recipes

The purpose of this exercise is to continue to develop our model and create project recipes for the model elements.

For our project, we have to create 4 recipes for: 

  • Foundation Footings
  • Concrete Walls
  • Concrete Columns
  • Concrete Slabs and Stairs

 

7.5.1 Foundation Footings

For foundation footings we need to create the following tasks:
1. Excavation → 2. Lean Concrete → 3. Drop Rebar → 4. Setup Formwork → 5. Pour Concrete → 6. Cure → 7. Strip Formwork

Tasks

Crew

Min-Max

Equipment 

Qty

Material 

Qty

Rate

Qty

Duration (Hr)

Excavation

Excavation Crew

1-2

Excavator

1

Earthwork

26000

Excavation

350

Material / Rate / Crews

Lean Concrete

Concrete Crew

1-1

Concrete Pump

1

Concrete

N/A

N/A

N/A

8

Drop Rebar

Steel Crew

1-2

Tower Crane 

1

Rebar

el.volume*0.1

Steel Fixing 

0.375

el.volume*0.2 / Rate / Crews

Setup Formwork

Carpenter Crew

1-2

N/A

N/A

Formwork Set

1

N/A

N/A

40 / Crews

Pour Concrete

Concrete Crew

1-1

Concrete Pump 

1

Concrete

el.volume*0.9

N/A

N/A

8

Cure

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

72

Strip Formwork

Carpenter Crew

1-2

N/A

N/A

Formwork Set

1

N/A

N/A

32 / Crews

 

  • On the Plan page, go to Recipes and click “+ New Recipe
  • Name the recipes: “Foundation Footings
  • Create all the tasks listed in the Recipe Matrix listed above with all the resources
  • In the Setup Formwork” operation, select “Require” as material type, and in “Strip Formwork,” select “SupplyExercises__9_.svg
  • Create any new / missing resources in the Resource pool
  • Duration Error” will be fixed after assigning the recipes to elements 
  • Use only FS relationship types without lag 

Use FaS relationship only for the “Cureoperation, and ALICE will prioritize the start of this operation.

 

7.5.2 Formwork Tracking and Usage 

Formwork is used like a mold in which wet concrete is poured. Once the concrete dries and reaches an appropriate strength, the forms can be removed (stripped) and reused on other concrete elements.

Formwork can be tracked in units of surface area (square feet), units of length for walls (lineal feet), and sometimes in sets of forms (for example, when most slabs are of similar size).

Since one activity, “Setup Formwork,” takes away a piece of Formwork from the available resource pool, and another one, “Strip Formwork,” gives it back to the resource pool, we can model formwork as a consumable resource and use “require” and “supply” to manage it.

ALICE will use the formwork from “Setup Formwork” to “Strip Formwork” and then make it available for other operations. Exercises__10_.svg

7.5.3 Concrete Walls 

For concrete walls, we need to create the following tasks:

  1. Install Rebar → 2. Setup Formwork → 3. Pour Concrete → 4. Cure → 5. Strip Formwork

 

Tasks

Crew

Min-Max

Equipment 

Qty

Material 

Qty

Rate

Qty

Duration (Hr)

Install Rebar

Steel Crew

1-2

Tower Crane 

1

Rebar

el.volume*0.1

Steel Fixing 

0.375

el.volume*0.2 / Rate / Crews

Setup Formwork

Carpenter Crew

1-2

N/A

N/A

Formwork Set

1

N/A

N/A

32 / Crews

Pour Concrete

Concrete Crew

1-1

Concrete Pump 

1

Concrete

el.volume*0.9

N/A

N/A

8

Cure

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

72

Strip Formwork

Carpenter Crew

1-2

N/A

N/A

Formwork Set

1

N/A

N/A

24 / Crews

Note:Use the same approach for formwork tracking as described in Section 7.5.2.

 

7.5.4 Concrete Columns

For concrete columns, we need to create the following tasks: 

  1. Install Rebar → 2. Setup Formwork → 3. Pour Concrete → 4. Cure → 5. Strip Formwork

 

Tasks

Crew

Min-Max

Equipment 

Qty

Material 

Qty

Rate

Qty

Duration (Hr)

Install Rebar

Steel Crew

1-2

Tower Crane 

1

Rebar

el.volume*0.1

Steel Fixing 

0.375

el.volume*0.2 / Rate / Crews

Setup Formwork

Carpenter Crew

1-2

N/A

N/A

Formwork Set

1

N/A

N/A

48 / Crews

Pour Concrete

Concrete Crew

1-1

Concrete Pump 

1

Concrete

el.volume*0.9

N/A

N/A

8

Cure

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

72

Strip Formwork

Carpenter Crew

1-2

N/A

N/A

Formwork Set

1

N/A

N/A

40 / Crews

Note:Use the same approach for formwork tracking as described in Section 7.5.2.

 

7.5.5 Concrete Slabs & Stairs

For concrete slabs and stair, we need to create the following tasks: 

  1. Install Rebar → 2. Setup Formwork → 3. Pour Concrete → 4. Cure → 5. Strip Formwork

 

Tasks

Crew

Min-Max

Equipment 

Qty

Material 

Qty

Rate

Qty

Duration (Hr)

Install Rebar

Steel Crew

1-2

Tower Crane 

1

Rebar

el.volume*0.1

Steel Fixing 

0.375

el.volume*0.2 / Rate / Crews

Setup Formwork

Carpenter Crew

1-2

N/A

N/A

Formwork Set

1

N/A

N/A

56 / Crews

Pour Concrete

Concrete Crew

1-1

Concrete Pump 

1

Concrete

el.volume*0.9

N/A

N/A

8

Cure

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

72

Strip Formwork

Carpenter Crew

1-2

N/A

N/A

Formwork Set

1

N/A

N/A

48 / Crews

Note:Use the same approach for formwork tracking as described in Section 7.5.2.

 

7.5.6 Assign Recipes to elements or groups 

The final step of the ALICE planning process is to assign the recipes to elements or groups. See Section 7.4.1 on how to assign a recipe.

In the “Recipe List” view, you might see this sign:

This sign will appear if: 

  • There is no duration defined in that task
  • There is a mistake in the duration formula 
  • The parameters cannot be read because the recipe is not assigned to any elements

For example, in the Concrete Column recipe, we have two errors: 

  • Duration and Material error in “Install Rebar” task
  • Material error in “Pour Concrete” taskExercises__11_.svg

Both of these errors appear because we are using the “el.volume” parameter for material and duration calculation. This will be fixed automatically after assigning the recipe to elements. 

 

To assign the recipe:

  • Close the Recipe List
  • From the “Element Tree” or “3D view,” select all the columns 

Note: You can use the search option in the “Element Tree” to find and select the elements by name or other parameters.

  • On the right-hand side, click “Assign RecipeExercises__12_.svg
  • In the opened “Recipe List” window, click “Assign” to assign the recipeExercises__13_.svg

 

  • Repeat the same for the all elements
  • Go to the “Recipe List” to make sure all the errors have been resolved

 

Exercise #6: Run Scenarios 

Support Page: Explore Page / Running Scenarios

The purpose of this exercise is to continue to run different scenarios to analyze and pick the best solution. 

According to our baseline solution, the structure completion date is 29 May 2023. Our goal is to recover the project and bring back the structure completion to 01 Dec 2022 (save ~6 months).

For our project, we need to run five scenarios: 

  • Scenario #01: Saturate all crews 
  • Scenario #02: Increase critical crews by 1
  • Scenario #03: Increase the Concrete Pump and Concrete Crew by 1
  • Scenario #04: Apply 50 Working Hour calendar to Carpenter Crew

Note: Before starting the exercise, make sure to delete all previous scenarios and keep only the “Base Parameter” run


8.6.1 Scenario #01: Saturate all crews

To run the first scenario:

  • Click on the “Run a Scenario” button to open a new scenario and name it “Scenario #01 - Saturate all crews” 
  • Click “Maximize all resources” in only the Labor tab and select “Run ScenarioExercises__14_.svg

Note: Resource Saturation helps to identify the critical resources of the project. It does not necessarily generate the best possible scenario.

When the run is complete, pick the fastest dots with the lowest total duration to review the milestones. According to the fastest dot, it’s possible to complete the structure on 16 August 2022. However, we always need to compare the schedule with the “Base Parameterrun to understand the resource usage difference. Exercises__15_.svg

Following the steps described in Section 8.5 , compare the fastest solutions between the “Base Parameter” and “Scenario #01” solutions. 

In the Parameters tab, we can clearly see that ALICE tries to use 4 Carpenter crews, 4 Excavation crews, 4 Steel crews, and only 1 Concrete crew. This gives us an indication that the Concrete crew is non-critical. While ALICE is utilizing 4 crews of each for the Carpenter crew, Excavation crew, and Steel crew, we want to optimize further and figure out if there is a lower number of crews required to still meet the project objectives.Exercises__16_.svg

 

8.6.2 Scenario #02: Increase critical crews by 1

To run the second scenario:

  • Click on the “Create New Scenario” button to open a new scenario and name it “Scenario #02 - Increase critical crews by 1” 
  • Increase Carpenter, Excavation, and Steel Gangs by 1 each under the Labor tab Exercises__17_.svg

Note: The criticality of certain resources may be connected to the number of equipment or number of materials available for this project as well.  

When the run is complete, pick the fastest dots with the lowest total duration to review the milestones. According to the fastest dot, it’s possible to complete the structure on 14 December 2022.Exercises__18_.svg

This is a more realistic output taking into account the number of resources available compared to “Scenario #01 - Saturate all crews” option. 

However, it is not enough to meet our project objective: Structure Completion on 01 December 2022.In the next scenario, we need to increase the number of equipment to see if there is an impact. 

 

8.6.3 Scenario #03: Copy #02 + Increase Concrete Gang and Pump by 1 

In the third scenario, we need to copy “Scenario #02and increase the number of concrete gangs and concrete pumps

To run Scenario #03: 

  • Copy Scenario #02 
  • Name it “Scenario #03 - Copy #02 + Increase Concrete Gangs and Pump by 1
  • Increase Concrete Gang and Concrete Pump quantity available by 1 Exercises__19_.svg

When the run is complete, pick the fastest dots with the lowest total duration to review the milestones. According to the fastest dot, it’s possible to complete the structure on 07 December 2022. Exercises__20_.svg

 

We still need to optimize the program by 7 days to achieve our objective of Structure Completion on 01 December 2022. However, we assume we reached the maximum limit of resources we can add to the project because of the site or logistic constraints. 

The next step is to use overtime calendars to accelerate the program.

 

8.6.4 Scenario #04: Copy #03 + Assign 50 Working Hour Calendar to Carpenter Gang

Similar to the previous example, to run the fourth scenario:

  • Copy Scenario #03 
  • Name it “Scenario #04 - Copy #03 + Assign 50 Working Hour Calendar to Carpenter Gang
  • Assign “50 Working Hour Calendar” to Carpenter GangExercises__21_.svg

When the run is complete, pick the fastest dots with the lowest total duration to review the milestones. According to the fastest dot, it’s possible to complete the structure on 15 November 2022. Exercises__22_.svg

The exercises in Section 8.6 describes a simple example of the workflow for ALICE optimization, starting from the baseline case and running through different scenarios, finding the optimum number of resources, production rates, and calendars to achieve the project objectives.

 

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