Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

OntoAgency: An agency-based ontology for tracing control, ownership and decision-making in smart buildings

Bleil de Souza, Clarice ORCID:, Badyina, Anna and Golubchikov, Oleg ORCID: 2024. OntoAgency: An agency-based ontology for tracing control, ownership and decision-making in smart buildings. Building and Environment 256 , 111489. 10.1016/j.buildenv.2024.111489

[thumbnail of 1-s2.0-S0360132324003317-main (1).pdf]
PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (7MB) | Preview
License URL:
License Start date: 6 April 2024


This article proposes an agency-based design ontology (OntoAgency) to systematically trace the relationships between stakeholders who own, control, and decide upon the benefits and experiences provided by smart building services. The ontology associates ‘smartness’ to different building operation domains and assigns their functionalities to agents involved in the flow of data and decision making. It enables control paths to be traced back to specific people, machines, and companies behind smart operations – including those that appear to be ‘external’ to a smart building. Based on Actor-Network Theory (ANT), the ontology connects knowledge from the social sciences to technical knowledge from building design, construction, operation and controls. The need in developing this ontology originates from the limits of conventional design and engineering ontologies, particularly with respect to their unproblematic take on the interplay between different social and technical systems and their neglect to model the varied abilities of stakeholders to exert control over, and benefit from, the technical systems and operations. The proposed ontology addresses these gaps by offering a more realistic and versatile model of inter-agents relationships. It can also highlight points of consented and unconsented data leakage and associated security issues. This knowledge becomes critical for designing and managing increasingly more complex smart building systems.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Architecture
Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:, Start Date: 2024-04-08
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0360-1323
Funders: ESRC, AHRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 9 April 2024
Date of Acceptance: 3 April 2024
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2024 12:03

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics