Setplan: A Computer Tool to Aid in Set-Based Design

John-Michael Wong1, Kristen Parrish2, Iris D. Tommelein3 & Bozidar Stojadinovic4

1Designer, KPFF Consulting Engineers, 1160 Battery St., Suite 300, San Francisco, CA, 94111, Phone +1 415/989-1004,
2Project Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 1 Cyclotron Road Mail Stop 90R1116, Berkeley, CA, 94720-1116,
3Director, Project Production Systems Laboratory ( and Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, 215-A McLaughlin Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1712, Phone +1 510/643-8678, FAX +1 510/643-8919,
4Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, 721 Davis Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1710, Phone +1 510/643-7035, FAX +1 510/643-8928,


This paper describes a computer tool named SetPlan that works with Building Information Modelling (BIM) software to aid in set-based design. It captures information from a BIM model and displays it in a ‘dashboard’ that supports project participants in developing shared understanding of rebar objects as the design unfolds. In turn, updates from SetPlan help to colour code the BIM. We engaged practicing structural engineers, rebar fabricator-placers, and general contractors from the San Francisco Bay Area in workshops to determine the need and use cases for SetPlan. This paper illustrates SetPlan’s use for designing a shear wall. SetPlan compares three shear wall reinforcement schemes (representing various wall shapes with different boundary reinforcement). It extracts information from a BIM in Tekla 14.0 about the shear wall reinforcement, enabling information sharing across the project team. The tool eliminates some of the jargon issues that may arise in crossdisciplinary design conversations by displaying data graphically and it is a first step in making set-based design easier to implement using current design software.


Set-based design, rebar, building information modelling (BIM), reinforced concrete.



Wong, J. , Parrish, K. , Tommelein, I.D. & Stojadinovic, B. 2009, 'Setplan: A Computer Tool to Aid in Set-Based Design' In:, Cuperus, Y. & Hirota, E.H., 17th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Taipei, Taiwan, 15-17 Jul 2009. pp 235-244

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