Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Faculty of Communications, Health and Science

First Advisor

Maurice Danaher


Preliminary structural design is an early stage in building design during which the engineer formulates and assesses a number of different structural schemes. It is conceptual in nature and involves decision making, which relies on heuristics. Whilst preliminary structural design has not been well supported by PC software, recent research has indicated the potential for knowledge-based, object-oriented systems to assist in the area. This thesis explores the issues that arise when object-oriented techniques arc used to develop knowledge-based software. lt reviews certain basic principles of structural design, methods of representing structural design knowledge and earlier approaches to the design of software to support preliminary structural design. The thesis describes how the writer created a software development methodology to apply object-oriented analysis and design techniques. It then describes the use of this methodology to develop a system for preliminary structural design, including the drafting of requirements, the creation of an object model for these requirements and their implementation in Kappa-PC software. The thesis proposes an approach to the development of Software to support preliminary design in buildings and has demonstrated this approach in a prototype design tool. It has also described some of the difficulties hindering the effective application of the object-oriented methods.