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Crew coordination modeling in wood-framing construction

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The wood-framing trade has not sufficiently been investigated to understand the work task sequencing and coordination among crew members. A new mental framework for a performing crew was developed and tested through four case studies. This framework ensured similar team

The wood-framing trade has not sufficiently been investigated to understand the work task sequencing and coordination among crew members. A new mental framework for a performing crew was developed and tested through four case studies. This framework ensured similar team performance as the one provided by task micro-scheduling in planning software. It also allowed evaluation of the effect of individual coordination within the crew on the crew's productivity. Using design information, a list of micro-activities/tasks and their predecessors was automatically generated for each piece of lumber in the four wood frames. The task precedence was generated by applying elementary geometrical and technological reasoning to each frame. Then, the duration of each task was determined based on observations from videotaped activities. Primavera's (P6) resource leveling rules were used to calculate the sequencing of tasks and the minimum duration of the whole activity for various crew sizes. The results showed quick convergence towards the minimum production time and allowed to use information from Building Information Models (BIM) to automatically establish the optimal crew sizes for frames. Late Start (LS) leveling priority rule gave the shortest duration in every case. However, the logic of LS tasks rule is too complex to be conveyed to the framing crew. Therefore, the new mental framework of a well performing framer was developed and tested to ensure high coordination. This mental framework, based on five simple rules, can be easily taught to the crew and ensures a crew productivity congruent with the one provided by the LS logic. The case studies indicate that once the worst framer in the crew surpasses the limit of 11% deviation from applying the said five rules, every additional percent of deviation reduces the productivity of the whole crew by about 4%.

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Date Created
2011

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Electronic Communication for Professionals—Challenges and Opportunities

Description

The 21st-century professional or knowledge worker spends much of the working day engaging others through electronic communication. The modes of communication available to knowledge workers have rapidly increased due to computerized technology advances: conference and video calls, instant messaging, e-mail,

The 21st-century professional or knowledge worker spends much of the working day engaging others through electronic communication. The modes of communication available to knowledge workers have rapidly increased due to computerized technology advances: conference and video calls, instant messaging, e-mail, social media, podcasts, audio books, webinars, and much more. Professionals who think for a living express feelings of stress about their ability to respond and fear missing critical tasks or information as they attempt to wade through all the electronic communication that floods their inboxes. Although many electronic communication tools compete for the attention of the contemporary knowledge worker, most professionals use an electronic personal information management (PIM) system, more commonly known as an e-mail application and often the ubiquitous Microsoft Outlook program. The aim of this research was to provide knowledge workers with solutions to manage the influx of electronic communication that arrives daily by studying the workers in their working environment. This dissertation represents a quest to understand the current strategies knowledge workers use to manage their e-mail, and if modification of e-mail management strategies can have an impact on productivity and stress levels for these professionals. Today’s knowledge workers rarely work entirely alone, justifying the importance of also exploring methods to improve electronic communications within teams.

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Date Created
2018

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Human-Centered Automation for Resilience in Acquiring Construction Field Information

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Resilient acquisition of timely, detailed job site information plays a pivotal role in maintaining the productivity and safety of construction projects that have busy schedules, dynamic workspaces, and unexpected events. In the field, construction information acquisition often involves three types

Resilient acquisition of timely, detailed job site information plays a pivotal role in maintaining the productivity and safety of construction projects that have busy schedules, dynamic workspaces, and unexpected events. In the field, construction information acquisition often involves three types of activities including sensor-based inspection, manual inspection, and communication. Human interventions play critical roles in these three types of field information acquisition activities. A resilient information acquisition system is needed for safer and more productive construction. The use of various automation technologies could help improve human performance by proactively providing the needed knowledge of using equipment, improve the situation awareness in multi-person collaborations, and reduce the mental workload of operators and inspectors.

Unfortunately, limited studies consider human factors in automation techniques for construction field information acquisition. Fully utilization of the automation techniques requires a systematical synthesis of the interactions between human, tasks, and construction workspace to reduce the complexity of information acquisition tasks so that human can finish these tasks with reliability. Overall, such a synthesis of human factors in field data collection and analysis is paving the path towards “Human-Centered Automation” (HCA) in construction management. HCA could form a computational framework that supports resilient field data collection considering human factors and unexpected events on dynamic job sites.

This dissertation presented an HCA framework for resilient construction field information acquisition and results of examining three HCA approaches that support three use cases of construction field data collection and analysis. The first HCA approach is an automated data collection planning method that can assist 3D laser scan planning of construction inspectors to achieve comprehensive and efficient data collection. The second HCA approach is a Bayesian model-based approach that automatically aggregates the common sense of people from the internet to identify job site risks from a large number of job site pictures. The third HCA approach is an automatic communication protocol optimization approach that maximizes the team situation awareness of construction workers and leads to the early detection of workflow delays and critical path changes. Data collection and simulation experiments extensively validate these three HCA approaches.

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Date Created
2017

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Predictive Control of Interpersonal Communication Processes in Civil Infrastructure Systems Operations

Description

Interpersonal communications during civil infrastructure systems operation and maintenance (CIS O&M) are processes for CIS O&M participants to exchange critical information. Poor communications that provide misleading information can jeopardize CIS O&M safety and efficiency. Previous studies suggest that communication contexts

Interpersonal communications during civil infrastructure systems operation and maintenance (CIS O&M) are processes for CIS O&M participants to exchange critical information. Poor communications that provide misleading information can jeopardize CIS O&M safety and efficiency. Previous studies suggest that communication contexts and features could be indicators of communication errors and relevant CIS O&M risks. However, challenges remain for reliable prediction of communication errors to ensure CIS O&M safety and efficiency. For example, existing studies lack a systematic summarization of risky contexts and features of communication processes for predicting communication errors. Limited studies examined quantitative methods for incorporating expert opinions as constraints for reliable communication error prediction. How to examine mitigation strategies (e.g., adjustments of communication protocols) for reducing communication-related CIS O&M risks is also challenging. The main reason is the lack of causal analysis about how various factors influence the occurrences and impacts of communication errors so that engineers lack the basis for intervention.

This dissertation presents a method that integrates Bayesian Network (BN) modeling and simulation for communication-related risk prediction and mitigation. The proposed method aims at tackling the three challenges mentioned above for ensuring CIS O&M safety and efficiency. The proposed method contains three parts: 1) Communication Data Collection and Error Detection – designing lab experiments for collecting communication data in CIS O&M workflows and using the collected data for identifying risky communication contexts and features; 2) Communication Error Classification and Prediction – encoding expert knowledge as constraints through BN model updating to improve the accuracy of communication error prediction based on given communication contexts and features, and 3) Communication Risk Mitigation – carrying out simulations to adjust communication protocols for reducing communication-related CIS O&M risks.

This dissertation uses two CIS O&M case studies (air traffic control and NPP outages) to validate the proposed method. The results indicate that the proposed method can 1) identify risky communication contexts and features, 2) predict communication errors and CIS O&M risks, and 3) reduce CIS O&M risks triggered by communication errors. The author envisions that the proposed method will shed light on achieving predictive control of interpersonal communications in dynamic and complex CIS O&M.

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Date Created
2020