COUPLING PATTERNS IN CIVIL ENGINEERING APPLICATIONS
Buildings can be divided into various types and described by a huge number of parameters. Within the life cycle of a building, especially during the design and construction phases, a lot of engineers with different points of view, proprietary applications and data formats are involved. The collaboration of all participating engineers is characterised by a high amount of communication. Due to these aspects, a homogeneous building model for all engineers is not feasible. The status quo of civil engineering is the segmentation of the complete model into partial models. Currently, the interdependencies of these partial models are not in the focus of available engineering solutions. This paper addresses the problem of coupling partial models in civil engineering. According to the state-of-the-art, applications and partial models are formulated by the object-oriented method. Although this method solves basic communication problems like subclass coupling directly it was found that many relevant coupling problems remain to be solved. Therefore, it is necessary to analyse and classify the relevant coupling types in building modelling. Coupling in computer science refers to the relationship between modules and their mutual interaction and can be divided into different coupling types. The coupling types differ on the degree by which the coupled modules rely upon each other. This is exemplified by a general reference example from civil engineering. A uniform formulation of coupling patterns is described analogously to design patterns, which are a common methodology in software engineering. Design patterns are templates for describing a general reusable solution to a commonly occurring problem. A template is independent of the programming language and the operating system. These coupling patterns are selected according to the specific problems of building modelling. A specific meta-model for coupling problems in civil engineering is introduced. In our meta-model the coupling patterns are a semantic description of a specific coupling design.