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The predominant knowledge-based approach to automated model construction, compositional modelling, employs a set of models of particular functional components. Its inference mechanism takes a scenario describing the constituent interacting components of a system and translates it into a useful mathematical model. This paper presents a novel compositional modelling approach aimed at building model repositories. It furthers the field in two respects. Firstly, it expands the application domain of compositional modelling to systems that can not be easily described in terms of interacting functional components, such as ecological systems. Secondly, it enables the incorporation of user preferences into the model selection process. These features are achieved by casting the compositional modelling problem as an activity-based dynamic preference constraint satisfaction problem, where the dynamic constraints describe the restrictions imposed over the composition of partial models and the preferences correspond to those of the user of the automated modeller. In addition, the preference levels are represented through the use of symbolic values that differ in orders of magnitude.