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Cognitive Task Analysis of Superintendents' Work: A Case Study and Critique of Supporting Information Technologies

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PAGE 1

COGNITIVE TASK ANALYSIS OF SUPERINTENDENTS WORK: A CASE STUDY AND CRITIQUE OF SUPPORTING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES By MICHAEL JEROME HURLEY A THEISIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE IN BUILDING CONSTRUCTION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2005

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Copyright 2005 by Michael Jerome Hurley

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page LIST OF TABLES..........................................................................................................v LIST OF FIGURES........................................................................................................vi ABSTRACT..................................................................................................................vii CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION.......................................................................................................1 2 LITERATURE REVIEW............................................................................................3 Human Computer Interaction....................................................................................3 Cognitive Task Analysis...........................................................................................6 3 METHODOLOGY....................................................................................................11 Field Observations..................................................................................................12 Interviews...............................................................................................................14 Follow Up Observations and Interview...................................................................15 Summary of Methodology......................................................................................15 4 ANALYSIS...............................................................................................................17 Observed Project Description..................................................................................17 Superintendents Duties and Responsibilities...........................................................18 Functional Abstraction Hierarchy...........................................................................19 Decisions Requirements..........................................................................................20 Artifacts..................................................................................................................23 Information Requirements and Information Sources...............................................25 Superintendents Timeframe...................................................................................37 Critique of Existing Tools.......................................................................................41 Schedule..........................................................................................................41 Master Construction Schedule..........................................................................42 Divisional Schedule.........................................................................................47 Three-Week Look-Ahead Schedule.................................................................48 Drawings.........................................................................................................53 iii

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Realities and Theories.............................................................................................57 Recommendations for Design.................................................................................62 5 FINAL CONCLUSION.............................................................................................67 LIST OF REFERENCES...............................................................................................69 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.........................................................................................71 iv

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LIST OF TABLES Table page 4-1. Decision requirements for scheduling jobsite activities..........................................21 4-2. Artifacts that superintendents use, their use, and the benefit that they provide........24 4-3. Six types of spatial conflicts that can occur between activities................................26 4-4 Determining the amount of space an activity consumes..........................................27 4-5 Identifying activity prerequisites and exploring potential alternatives.....................31 4-6. Identifying the resources and equipment required for an activity............................32 4-7. Identifying activities that are impacted by the start or completion of an activity.....33 4-8. Addressing safety issues of an activity...................................................................34 4-9. Identifying who is responsible for an activity and what that subcontractor is responsible for......................................................................................................35 4-10. Understanding the impact an activity has on existing activities............................36 4-11. Identifying whether an activity will finish on time...............................................37 4-12. Identifying activities that can be expedited...........................................................38 4-13. Understanding the knowledge of the processes that are involved with an activity.................................................................................................................39 4-14. Establishing buffers for activities.........................................................................40 v

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LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 4-1. Sequence of analysis..............................................................................................18 4-3. A page from the master construction schedule.......................................................46 4-4. The 3-week look-ahead schedule...........................................................................51 4-5. Highlighted drawing that represents the sequence of the paving.............................57 vi

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Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Building Construction COGNITIVE TASK ANALYSIS OF SUPERINTENDENTS WORK: A CASE STUDY AND CRITIQUE OF SUPPORTING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES By Michael Jerome Hurley August 2005 Chair: William OBrien Cochair: R. Raymond Issa Major Department: Building Construction Construction superintendents have a demanding job. There is very little technology to support them in their job, and the technology that does exist is not being used to its full potential. Human Computer Interaction (HCI) is an area within the field of computer science that is focused on making computing more useful and usable. My study applied one of the HCI theories of use, Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA), to superintendents work. The purpose of this CTA was to identify the cognitively demanding parts of a superintendents job. By identifying the cognitive demands that a superintendent is faced with, we can then recommend better ways to address those demands with new technology. vii

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Construction projects today are becoming more complicated. Today we are expected to construct buildings faster and with fewer people. One reason we are able to accomplish this is the use of new computer technology. Most of the new technology is used to better plan and coordinate projects at management levels and at project design. We have software that aids in the scheduling, estimating, design, and management of construction documents. The computing power for construction is constantly growing and improving. Yet in my opinion, we are not asking ourselves what we need in computing and, more importantly, how we can take the technology that exists today and make it more useful. There is a specialization within the computer science field known as Human Computer Interaction (HCI). HCI practitioners look at how people work with computers, and find ways to maximize the experience between human and machine. Construction is a unique profession, with a unique work environment. Most computer programs and machines are designed for the office environment. While many construction jobs include the luxury of the office environment, many jobs in construction do not. Construction superintendents have a dynamic workspace. Traditional computing systems and devices do not fit well into superintendents dynamic work environment, and information used in the office environment may not transfer well into the field and vice versa. The construction industry must start to better explore the possibilities of computing for construction superintendents. 1

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2 Applying HCI models, theories, and frameworks to existing technology, and creating new technology, is a way to maximize and identify the potential of computing for construction superintendents. Superintendents have various duties and responsibilities required to complete their job; as a result their job can be extremely difficult at times. A Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA) is an HCI theory of use facilitates the design of better systems and devices for construction superintendents. A CTA is an analysis of the cognitive demands of complex tasks. This includes the knowledge, mental processes, and decisions needed to complete a task. A CTA helps to identify the demanding elements of a superintendents job. By identifying the demanding aspects of a superintendents job, we can then focus on specific areas of a superintendents job that could be better supported by using computers. A CTA also allows us to evaluate existing systems, and to identify what parts of those systems are working and what areas need improvement. 2

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CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Human Computer Interaction Human Computer Interaction (HCI), a field that emerged in the late 1970s, addresses usability issues for technology design. It [HCI] is concerned with understanding how people make use of devices and systems that embed computation, and how such devices and systems can be more useful and usable (Carroll 2003 page 1). Even though HCI is a young field, HCI practitioners have several models, theories, and frameworks to work with: understanding human performance, performance models, mental models, usage environments, and theories of use. Understanding human performance: entails looking at the capabilities and limitations of humans. By identifying the capabilities and limitations of human design, guidelines can be established not to exceed humans capabilities or limitations. Within the context of understanding human performance there is the theory of the human visual system. This theory assumes that humans process visual information in more or less the same manner. This enables us to develop a kind of perceptual and cognitive ergonomics with guidelines for display designed based on models of human sensory processing (Ware 2003 page 11). Understanding human performance also involves looking at other areas like human motor behavior to establish other guidelines. By understanding human performance, HCI practitioners can better design to the capabilities of humans. Performance models: help to investigate how humans will perform using a system or device. One performance model is Goals Operators Method and Selections 3

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4 (GOMS). GOMS is a method for describing a task and the users knowledge of how to perform the task in terms of Goals, Operators, Methods, and Selection rules (John 2003 page 59). GOMS analysis can be used to predict users outcomes in unexpected situations. GOMS analyses are useful in evaluating the effectiveness of design, in writing users manuals, and developing online tutorials. Performance models can be useful in determining how useable and useful an existing system will be. Mental models: have their roots in cognitive psychology. Mental models [theory] seems to hold strong appeal to HCI designers because it captures their intuitions about the ways users come to understand and perhaps misunderstand the devices that they use (Payne 2003 page 135). One mental model is cognitive engineering. So the goal of cognitive engineering is to come to understanding the issues, to show how to make better choices when they exist, and to show what the tradeoffs are when, as is the usual case, an improvement in one domain leads to deficits in another (Norman 1986 page 31). Mental models theory helps to look at how the mind works and tries to develop systems or devices that complement these models. Usage environment: helps in studying the environment in which a system is placed. Clarks theory of common ground is one example of a usage environment theory. Clarks theory is based around the concept of common ground that is, the things we know about what is known by the person we are talking to (Monk 2003 page 270). The theory of common ground implies that to be successful in communication, must know what is known by the person or persons one is communicating with. Common ground is a useful theory when developing collaborative or group systems. Usage environment is focused on designing for the environment in which the devices or system will be placed. 4

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5 Theories of use. One theory of use is activity theory. Activity theory understands human conduct as anchored in collective/shared practice, it addresses more than just individual skills, knowledge, and judgment, and it is not restricted to the generic human being (Bertelsen and Bodker 2003 page 294). Activity theory evaluates new artifacts, studies how they affect work practices and how work practices change the artifact. Another theory of use is distributed cognition (DCog). The aim of DCog is to understand how intelligence is manifested at a systems level and not at the individual level (Perry 2003 page 204). Cognitive Work Analysis (CWA), also known as Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA), is another theory of use. CWA has grown to be an effective force for describing that shape human cognitive work in real time environments (Sanderson 2003 page 226). CTA is useful in designing for unanticipated events and for systems that are the first of a kind. HCI theories of use are concerned with identifying items that would make a system or device useful. All of these HCI models, theories, and frameworks could help to improve computing in construction. Understanding human performance could possibly lead to the better development of visualization tools, and furthermore to the design of devices that would not interfere with existing practices. Performances models such as GOMS could lead to better training practices and might possibly refine existing software. Construction is a highly collaborative work environment, so usage environment theories such as common ground would be beneficial. The collaborative nature of construction would also indicate that DCog would be useful. Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA) is another theory of use that would be very useful in developing systems in construction that do not 5

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6 currently exist; furthermore, the real-time nature of construction makes CTA a good HCI theory of use to employ. Cognitive Task Analysis There is a need for new and better technology to help support superintendents. Many of the HCI models, theories, and frameworks would be useful in developing new devices and systems for specific aspects of a superintendents job, but to determine what superintendents need and to identify areas that need improvement a Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA) would be most beneficial for analyzing the work of a superintendent as a whole. A CTA works well for designing systems in which the users face unpredicted events. Constructions superintendents are constantly dealing with unanticipated events. CTA are also useful in developing first of a kind systems. Cognitive task analysis is an analysis of the cognitive demands of complex tasks. This includes the knowledge, mental processes, and decisions that are required to complete a task. Several authors have long promoted the idea that cognition is at the core of human work (Darse 2001 page 268). So it is practical when investigating the implementation of new technologies into a work environment that we consider the cognitive demands of that work: It is necessary to understand the cognitive demands of the domain and the sources of performance bottlenecks to ensure that the introduction of new technology will reduce mental workload rather than exacerbate it (Roth, Patterson et al. 2002 page 5). New technologies do not guarantee increased performance; poorly designed technologies can lead to an increase in the cognitive demands associated to the task. A CTA will help to identify and understand the demands on superintendents, and assist in the development of useful and usable systems and devices for them. 6

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7 HCI experts have used several variations of CTA to identify the cognitive demands and difficulties of tasks. There is not a standard method for extracting the cognitive demands that are associated with a task, but all CTAs have three main goals. The first goal is to identify the different factors that make a task cognitively difficult to perform. The second goal is to uncover the methods that are developed by the subject matter experts to complete cognitive tasks. The final goal is to develop ways to improve cognitive performance through the introduction of new technology. To the best of my knowledge there have not been any attempts to analyze the cognitive tasks of a construction superintendent. Yet CTAs have been performed in areas where the subjects face demands similar to that of a construction superintendent; for example, tasks that require monitoring the current situation, dealing with unexpected events, and planning what course of action to take. A few examples of these are Potter and colleagues (2002) CTA for military command decision making, Roth and colleagues (2001) CTA of train dispatchers, and Vicente and colleagues (2001) CTA between old and modern nuclear power plants control rooms. The Purpose of the CTA by Roth, Malsch, and colleagues was to examine how experienced dispatches managed and scheduled trains in todays environment (page 1). The objective of the analysis was to identify the demands of the job and to isolate the strategies that have been developed to meet these demands. The information that was gained from the study was then used in the development of a new computer system. Their CTA was conducted in four phases. The first phase was observations at a dispatch center for passenger and freight trains. The second phase was structured interviews with train dispatchers. The third phase was more observations at a dispatch center that mainly 7

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8 handled freight trains. For the final phase they went back to the original dispatch center for observations to verify their findings, and allow for additional probing. The goal of Vicente et al. (2001) research was to develop a better understanding of how operators monitor complex, dynamic systems under normal operations, (page 831) in new and old nuclear power plant control rooms. Their cognitive analysis consisted of two rounds of field observations with questions asked to gain understanding of the cognitive nature of the control room operators job. Their observations were centered on answering four questions: How do they monitor the plant? What makes it difficult and vulnerable? What is missing? What are the cognitive strategies used (Vicente et al. 2001 page 833)? The answers to these questions helped to identify the cognitive differences between the new and old control rooms. Potter et al. used a CTA analysis to aid in the creation of a decision aid for military command decision making. To improve the quality and usefulness of their results they developed a design artifact to help show and interpret the results of the cognitive analysis. Their design artifact has 5 components: the functional abstraction hierarchy (FAH), decision requirements (DR), information requirements (IR), display task description, and the display design concept. These design artifacts form a continuous design thread that provides a principled, traceable link from cognitive analysis to design (Potter et al. 2001 page 141). Their cognitive analysis still incorporates observations and interviews, but design artifact allows for a better understanding of the results. The first step in Potter and colleagues design artifact is the FAH. The purpose of the FAH is capturing the essential domain concepts and relationships that define the problem-space confronting the domain practitioners (Potter et al. 2001 page 140). The 8

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9 next step in their design artifact that builds on and directly relates to the FAH is the DR. The DR objective is identifying the cognitive demands/tasks/decisions that arise in the domain and require support (Potter et al. 2001 page 140). For every DR there is an IR. The IR identify the information requirements to successfully execute these cognitive demands/tasks/decisions (Potter et al. 2001 page 140). The IR are then used for the creation of the display task description, which addresses the visualization needs of the specific IR. The display task description is then used to create the rapid prototype display, which is a quick representation of the display concepts. It is important to note that even though there is an order to the design artifact, cognitive analysis is a process that tends to build upon itself. Militello and Hutton developed Applied Cognitive Task Analysis (ACTA) a streamlined CTA method intended for use by instructional designers and systems designs rather than knowledge engineers, cognitive psychologists, and human factors/ergonomics professionals (Militello and Hutton 1998). Their method is comprised of four components: a task diagram, a knowledge audit, and a simulation interview, all of which are used to create the cognitive demands table. The task diagram represents a decomposition of a task into the steps required to complete the task. The knowledge audit identifies ways in which expertise is used in a domain and provides examples based on actual experience (Militello and Hutton 1998 page 1619). During the simulation interviews subjects are presented with challenging scenarios and asked to identify major events, including judgments and decisions (Militello and Hutton 1998 page 1623). The cognitive demands table is created from the information that is gained in the prior steps. The table can be tailored to tasks that are being analyzed, but should 9

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10 identify the cognitive demands. Other categories in the cognitive demands table that the authors recommend be included are: why difficult, common errors, and cues and strategies used. Militello and Huttons ACTA method is similar to the design artifact of Potter et al. in the sense that they both have defined steps and methods for displaying results, but even more importantly, the methods that they introduce provide a framework that does not require that the user be an expert to practice. While all of these examples examine different tasks, the methods used to uncover the cognitive demands of those tasks do not differ greatly. To identify the cognitive difficulties of a task, the domain of that task needs to be identified; this is accomplished mainly through observation. Some cognitive demands may be uncovered during observation, but most will be uncovered by interviewing the subjects about tasks that were observed during the observations. There is no standard method for performing a CTA, and there is not a standard for displaying the results, but Militello and Hutton, and Potter et al. provide a framework that makes CTA more available to people that are not experts in cognitive psychology or human factors. 10

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CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY There are three main parts to performing a CTA of a superintendents tasks. First it is necessary to identify the factors that make a superintendents job cognitively difficult to perform. Some cognitive difficulties are uncovered through field observations and a work domain analysis. Next it is necessary to uncover the methods that the superintendent has developed to complete his or her tasks. Some of the superintendents methods may be found through simple observations; others are embedded in the artifacts that he or she uses; and some will be elicited through interviews. Interviews provide the opportunity to elicit more information about observed incidents, and to gain a better understanding of the superintendents job as a whole. After the interviews and initial observations there is a second round of observations to validate the information from the data collected. Finally the information that is gained from the observations and interviews is then used to identify ways to improve cognitive performance through the introduction of new or improved technology. The information that was gathered from the CTA is manifested in design artifact similar to the one that Potter et al. proposed. The data from the CTA will be represented using Potter et al.!s Functional Abstraction Hierarchy (FAH), Decision Requirements (DR), and the Information Requirements (IR). The FAH displays the results of the field observations and work domain analysis. The DR represent the cognitive demands with which the superintendent is faced. The IR represent the information that is necessary to meet the requirements of the DR. Information Sources (IS) were added to the design artifact to complement the 11

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12 IR. The design artifact is a useful tool for being able to process the information of the CTA. Field Observations The first phase was the field observations; the intention of the field observations was to gain an overview of the superintendents tasks and to identify difficult aspects of the job that could be further analyzed during the interviews. Understanding the work domain is important for several reasons: doing so helps to provides a framework for interpreting practitioners performance, help define the requirements for effective support, and understanding the task demands helps define the bounds of feasible support (Roth, Malsch et al. 2001 page 3). The observations took place over four consecutive days. There were two goals to the initial observations: to gain a broad overview of superintendents decision making, and the discovery of artifacts that aid the superintendent. During the observations only qualifying questions were asked. A construction superintendent has several artifacts or tools that help him or her manage a project. During observations all the artifacts that were used by the superintendent were noted. The added benefit of examining cognition within systems extending beyond the brain is that many of the representations are physically manifested in artifacts and do not require the indirect methods of examination that experimental psychology has to use (Perry 2003 page 212). In other words the cognition that an artifact embodies and supports is transparent once there is an understanding of how that artifact is used. It is important when designing a new system that the cognition that is embodied in the existing artifact that supports the tasks is preserved. Not all artifacts reduce cognition. In poorly designed artifacts the artifact can increase the cognitive

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13 nature of the task. The cognition that is embedded within these artifacts is easily uncovered once an understanding of how the artifact is used. Many of the functions of artifacts are apparent through observation, and can be easily explained during interviews. In addition many of the artifacts are information sources, which lead to a better understanding of the information requirements that support the decision requirements. Before starting of field observation, information about the superintendents duties and responsibilities was collected. I had previous work experience on construction sites. Prior work experience within the construction industry aided in understanding the terms and the processes that are required to perform a superintendents job. Without this prior background in the construction industry the amount of time to gather information about the superintendents job would have been greatly increased. Superintendents jobs can differ depending on the company, type of project and location; therefore, some initial observation was required to gain a broad understanding of the superintendents decision making. The information that was gathered from the observations lead to the creation of the FAH. The FAH provides a framework for making explicit the goals to be achieved in the domain and the alternative means available for achieving those goals (Potter et al. 2002 Page 143). The FAH is developed by performing a work domain analysis. Work domain analysis is based on observation and interaction with the superintendent; this represents the first step taken in a CTA. The FAH provides an outlet or framework to identify the cognitive activities that arise in the domain and the information needed to support those decisions (Potter et al. 2002 page 143). The creation of the FAH helped to better

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14 understand the work domain and was a useful tool in identifying the cognitive demands of DR during the interviews. Interviews The interview had six objectives: first, to elicit complicating factors that make maintaining the project duration difficult. Second, to identify activities that the superintendent performs on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Third, to identify and confirm methods or strategies superintendents have developed to maintain performance and maintain the awareness of events and progress of the project. Next, to confirm and identify artifacts, and discuss both their useful and frustrating aspects. Next, to elicit the superintendents suggestions for improvement, and finally, to identify specific incidents that portray the complexities that can arise, and the strategies developed to deal with them How the superintendent reacts and copes with the unexpected is a vital part of the CTA. Understanding the knowledge and the strategies that expert practitioners have developed in response to the domain demands provides a second window for uncovering what makes todays world hard and what are the effective strategies for dealing with the domain demands (Roth, Malsch et al. 2001 page 3). Addressing these six objectives will provide a better understanding of how superintendents operate. The purpose of the interview was to draw out the cognitive demanding aspects of a superintendents job. Potter et al. refer to the cognitive demands of the domain as Decision Requirements (DR). These DR are directly related to nodes on the FAH. Once the cognitive demands, or DR, were identified the superintendent was probed about how the demands were met. The information necessary to be able to successfully address a DR will be referred to as Information Requirements (IR).

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15 The interview helped to identify and document the information required for each decision to be made. IR are defined as the set of information elements necessary for successful resolution of the associated decision requirement (Potter et al. 2002 page 146). The decision requirements are the framework for the information requirements. The goal associated with IR is to identify all of the information required for decision making. Once the IR were uncovered the superintendent, during the interview, was asked the source of the information. Information Sources (IS) were added to the analysis to provide a better understanding of the IR and how certain artifacts are used. Follow Up Observations and Interview After the information from the interview was organized, the superintendent was asked to review and validate the information. The superintendent, at this time, was again asked if there was anything else that should be included. Furthermore during the follow up interview the superintendent was asked about the timeframe in which the DR were executed. After the follow up interview there was another day and a half of observation. This was done to verify the information from the interview and possibly to facilitate the discovery of more cognitive demands. Summary of Methodology The CTA of superintendent work has three parts: field observations, an interview, and follow up interview and observations. The field observations were conducted to gain understanding of the superintendents work domain. They also aid in the discovery of artifacts, and help to establish a timeline of superintendents task. The initial interview helped to draw out cognitive demands, the information requirements to meet those

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16 demands, and the information sources that supported the information requirements. The interview also provided a chance to identify and understand artifacts. The main function of the follow up interview and observations was to verify the results, but it also provided a chance to better understand the timeframe in which the superintendent performs tasks.

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CHAPTER 4 ANALYSIS The analysis of a superintendents work is a continuous thread was 8 parts: each part builds on those before it (Figure 4-1) First is the FAH, which maps out the domain of scheduling an activity. Next is the identification of the DR, or cognitive demands. Then the artifacts or tools that the superintendent uses that help support cognitive tasks are identified. Next the IR and IS are identified. A timeline is then established that identifies the frequency with which the superintendent is faced with the various cognitive demands. Next, there is a critique of construction drawings and schedules. This critique is based on observed usage which supports the identifications of the realities of these two artifacts, and theories that exist in the artifacts that should be preserved in any improvements. Finally there is the recommendation of what a system should embody based on the entire analysis. Observed Project Description The observed project was the University of Florida Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine Institute in Gainesville Florida. The project is a design-build project with an estimated cost of $21,427,000.00. Once complete, the facility will be a 110,000 gross-square-foot, 4-story structure. The building will serve multiple functions: it will be a teaching, research, and treatment facility. The expected duration for the project is 15 months. The General Contractor for the project is one of the nations leading general builders, and in 2004 recorded well over $6 billion in revenue, and annually works on over 1,500 projects a year. 17

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18 Figure 4-1. Sequence of analysis Superintendents Duties and Responsibilities Superintendents have an extremely demanding job. They are responsible for completing the project on time, within budget and to the contract specifications. The superintendents responsibilities and duties are: to review contract documents including subcontractor scope of work, estimates and schedules; conduct all preconstruction meetings with the project manager; inform all subcontractors of critical dates, and monitor their performance; provide project cost information to the project manager; update the construction schedule; assist in material status reports, personnel change

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19 request, and change orders; note design deficiencies, and notify the project manager of any potential change order. Superintendents must also coordinate with subcontractors for progress payments; maintain a back charge log; provide written communication of any job deficiency or improvement recommendations; ensure integrity and quality of materials and installation methods; establish a safe working environment and maintain through use of company safety policy. Furthermore, they must prepare safety and loss reports; produce and maintain a daily log; document any owner or subcontractor delay; administer performance evaluations of foremen, secretaries, field engineers, and project engineers; and coordinate the work of all subcontractors. Superintendents have a complex job, and what is amazing is that there is very little technology to support them in their daily activities. Functional Abstraction Hierarchy The Functional Abstraction Hierarchy (FAH) is the first part of the analysis. The FAH (Figure 4-2) represents the work domain for scheduling jobsite activities. The work domain was defined by a work domain analysis. A work domain analysis is the decomposition of a domain into its individual requirements. The work domain analysis was the first step in the cognitive task analysis. The work domain analysis was conducted to identify the steps that are necessary to meet the goals of the domain and to provide a structure of the work domain. Initial information about the work domain was gathered from personal experience, but the bulk of the information was gathered through observations and interviews with the domain practitioner, the superintendent. The intention of the development of the FAH is to represent the overall relation to the individual entities to that of the overall goal of jobsite scheduling of activities. The

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20 FAH shows, 11 factors that must be addressed to successfully schedule a jobsite activity. The FAH does not represent the any of the cognitive demands that are necessary to meet the requirements of the work domain, but the FAH, once created, was used to uncover the cognitive demands. Scheduling Jobsite Activities Resources Activity Sequence Who is responsible for the work DR3 DR4 DR6 Safety Prerequisites Space Requirements DR1 DR5 DR2 Effect on Other Activities Assessing Progress Activity Processes Buffers Alternative Methods DR7 DR8 DR9 DR10 DR11 Figure 4-2. Functional abstraction hierarchy of jobsite scheduling Decisions Requirements The next step in the process is to uncover or link the cognitive demands necessary to achieve the domain goals that are identified in the FAH (Table 4-1) The cognitive demands will be referred to as Decision Requirements (DR) (Potter et al. 2002). The decision requirements are the cognitive demands that are addressed while performing a

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21 task, in this case scheduling jobsite activities. The DR are represented in table 4-1, and each decision requirement supports a node on the FAH. The majority of the decision requirements were derived from CTA, and through artifact decomposition. Table 4-1. Decision requirements for scheduling jobsite activities DR1 Determine the amount of space that is required for the task (workspace and storage). (This decision is derived from the need to establish the impact that an activity will have on the entire project.) DR2 Determine what needs to be accomplishedfor the activity to start or if there is a way around this. (This decision evaluates the current situation and explores possible alternatives.) DR3 Determine the resources and the equipment that are required for an activity. DR4 Determine what activities rely on the start or the completion of this activity. DR5 Identify the safety concerns that are associated with this activity. DR6 Who is performing the activity and what is their scope of work. DR7 Determine the impact that this activity has on other activities. DR8 Determine if an activity is going to meet its scheduled duration. DR9 Identify activities that can be expedited to get the project back on schedule. DR10 Determine the processes that are required to complete an activity. DR11 Determine how much of a buffer needs to be in place for a linked activity to start. During an interview portion of the CTA, the superintendent was reminded of the some of the strategies that were revealed during the initial observation and was asked to identify specific incidents in which the strategies were used. In following the processes of Militello, Hutton et al.s simulation interview, once the incident was revealed the superintendent was asked to identify major events, including judgments and decisions (Militello, Hutton et al. 1997 page 4). Each event, judgment and decision that the superintendent identified was then probed further. This interview process aided in the

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22 discovery of the cognitive demands or decision requirements of the superintendents job by eliciting actual events. In addition to identifying decision requirements, the interviews helped to identify the supporting information requirements and the information sources. Strategies. During observations three expert strategies were discovered that the superintendent uses to support his decisions in scheduling activities on the jobsite. The discovery of strategies the superintendent uses is an effective way to uncover the cognitive demands this is supported by the Knowledge Audit portion of Militello, Hutton et al. applied cognitive task analysis. The strategies that are discovered during the knowledge audit portion of Militello, Hutton et al.s Applied Cognitive Task Analysis are used in the simulation interview. The simulation interview relies on an expert in the subject matter, in this case the superintendent, to recall and describe specific incidents in which these strategies were used. The first strategy uncovered can be summarized by this statement: Lowest to highest, largest to smallest. Lowest to highest means that when constructing a project one must to start with the lowest item on the plan (e.g. plumbing and electrical should be roughed in before you pour the slab). Largest to smallest implies that bigger items take precedence over smaller items (e.g. with mechanical, electrical and plumbing the mechanical should go first because it is the largest, then plumbing, and then electrical). This strategy helps the superintendent determine the sequence the activities should have. One of the incidents uncovered during the interviews, which is mentioned later in this paper, shows the importance of this strategy. The Lowest to highest; largest to smallest strategy aided in the discovery of several decision requirements, especially DR 2 establishing activities prerequisites and evaluating alternative solutions.

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23 The next strategy discovered dealt with one specific area: the bathrooms; but the concept behind it can be applied to the entire project. While talking with the superintendent about the schedule and what activities received precedence he offered this advice: You always want to start work in the bathrooms first. His reasoning for starting work in this area first was based on the amount of trade traffic that was involved in this area. A generalization of this strategy would be areas that involve many trades should receive top priority. This strategy was influential in the recognition of several decision requirements: DR4 establishing what activities rely on the start or completion of a task, DR7 determining the impact an activity has on the project as whole, and DR11 determining the amount of a buffer that an activity has. The final bit of advice received about schedule was, If you are planning activities for today then you are already behind schedule. This statement stresses the importance of being future-minded. This strategy can be seen in all of the DR: to schedule jobsite activities successfully the superintendent needs to be future-minded Artifacts The discovery of artifacts or tools used by the superintendent is an excellent way of uncovering aspects of a task that are cognitively demanding (Table 4-2) The added benefit of examining cognition within systems extending beyond the brain is that many of the representations are physically manifested in artifacts and do not require the indirect methods of examination that experimental psychology has to use (Perry 2003 page 212). In other words the cognition that an artifact embodies and supports is transparent once there exists an understanding of how that artifact is used. It is important when designing a new system that the cognition that is embodied in the existing artifact that supports the

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24 task is preserved. Not all artifacts reduce cognition. In poorly designed artifacts the artifact can increase the cognitive nature of the task. Table 4-2. Artifacts that superintendents use, their use, and the benefit that they provide. Artifact Use Cognitive benefit Construction Schedule Provides critical dates and an overall sequence of work. Provides a baseline. Identifies milestones. Identifies critical activities Three-week look-ahead Schedule. Accounts for the progress to date and identifies activities that need to be accomplished in the near future as well as activities that need to start in the near future. Two dimensional representations. Helps to identify the steps that need to be taken to achieve project goals. Helps spread cognitive load to other people. Represents what the outcome of the project should be. Drawings Site plan, Structural, Architectural (Floor plan, Elevations, Sections, Details, Door Schedules, Window, Schedules, Reflected ceiling plan), Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing Represents what, where, and quantity. Highlighted Drawings and Dry Erase Board Drawings Can be used to track progress of activities. Used to identify areas of concern. Used to coordinate work amongst the trades. Used to schedule work. Provides a source to offload information and reduce cognitive load. Aids in the communication of cognitive processes. Subcontracts Identify who is performing the work and what they are responsible for. Provides a record of what work the subcontractor is responsible for. Specifications Defines the type of material and standards of quality. (Specifications supersede drawings) Reference source. Superintendents daily report log Daily accounting of the people on the job. Work that was performed, and any situation that arose Identify the number of people on the job, the items that were worked on, and any problems that occurred or that are foreseen. It also records the ethnicity and gender of the workers. Area to offload memory. Reference source. Subcontractors daily report log. Reference source. Identifies problems. Submittal Log Track what submittals are approved and which ones are still pending. Reference source. The decomposition of these artifacts helped to identify the cognitive demands of a superintendents job and are directly related to the creation of some of the decision

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25 requirements. All of these artifacts are identified as information sources for the various information requirements. In some cases these artifacts help to discover many information requirements. Information Requirements and Information Sources After the decisions requirements have been established, the next step in the process is to identify the information that is necessary to support the decision: this information will be referred to as the information requirements. Information requirements are defined as the set of information elements necessary for the successful resolution of the associated decision requirements (Potter et al. 2002 page 146). Information sources were included along with the information requirements to provide a more detailed picture of how the superintendent derives his decision. DR 1 was derived from the need the superintendent has to establish the amount of space that the activity will consume and the effect that it has on the project (Table 4-4) According to Riley, four key space needs by crews are physical work space, storage areas for materials, paths for material movement, and access points for unloading materials onto building floors (Riley 2003 page 133). Riley identifies six types of spatial conflicts that can occur (Table 4-3) On the observed project the fire line and the electric utilities needed to be installed, but the installation could only proceeded if it did not disturb the brick layers. The masons had their scaffolding on the east side of the building (the same side as the fire line). The brick layers also required space for a crane that supplied the masons with material, bricks and mortar, and access for a forklift that supplied the crane with supplies. The fire line and electric utilities were located on the east side of the property about 40 feet from the building.

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26 Table 4-3. Six types of spatial conflicts that can occur between activities. (Riley 2003 page 139) Conflict type Represents conflict between Density Range Work (a)-Work (b) Activity (a) and Activity (b) work spaces Full Storage (a)-Storage (b) Activity (a) storage and Activity (b) work space Full Path (a)-Work (b) Activity (a) path and Activity (b) work space Variable Storage (a)-Storage (b) Activity (a) and Activity (b) storage areas Variable Path (a)-Path (b) Activity (a) path and Activity(b) path Variable Path (a)-Storage (b) Activity (a) path and Activity (b) storage areas. Variable Riley, D. (2003). The Role of 4D Modeling in Trade Sequencing and Production Planning. 4D CAD and Visualization in Construction: Developement and Applications R. Issa, I. Flood and W. O'Brien. The Netherlands, A. A. Balkema: 125-144. The fire line and electric utility area was limited by existing trees within a few feet to the east of that area, so all of the equipment and material had to be west of the trench. For the installation of the fire line and electric utilities this trench needed to be dug with a backhoe. The backhoe would have to work on the west side of the trench and slue and store the dirt to the west (towards the building). The activity also required an area to store the pipe and the conduit for the activities. For this activity the superintendent went out on the jobsite and located the area in which the fire line and the electric utilities were to be installed. Once the area was located, the superintendent quickly determined that the backhoe and all material would have to be place to the west of the trench because of the trees to the east. The superintendent then estimated the space that the backhoe and materials would consume. Next, the superintendent observed the crane and forklifts that were supporting the masons and determined that there was enough room for both activities to operate simultaneously. On the observed project the air handling units needed to be placed inside the building envelope on the third floor. The AHUs are large pieces of equipment that

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27 require the use of the crane to set them into place. The AHUs had a long lead time, and had the potential to hold up the progress on the project; without a roof on the building there was no way to start on the interior finishes. The superintendent was faced with a problem: he could wait the three weeks and have the project stall, or he could find an alternative method for installing the AHUs. Table 4-4 Determining the amount of space an activity consumes. DR1 Determine the amount of space that is required for the task (workspace and storage). (This decision is derived from the need to establish the impact that an activity will have on the entire project.) Information Requirements Information Source IR1.1 What is the area need for the task too be performed? Is the space dynamic? Drawings provide the location of the activity as well as the quantity of material. The schedule provides an estimate of the duration that will be required to complete an activity. Subcontractors communicate there need for space. Inspection of the intended space to identify any conflicts with other activities. IR1.2 Will storage space be needed for this activity? (Stored material can interfere with other activities; having material stores not in close proximity to the activity can increase the duration of the activity.) IR1.3 Drawings will provide the quantity of material needed for the activity. Subcontractors will state their need for storage. Specification may define how materials shall be stored. Will this activity create new space? (e.g. the addition of floors) IR1.4 Drawings indicate what the activity will create. Will this activity consume existing space? (e.g. once carpeting is in place that area is typically not used for storage) Drawings will identify what is being placed and what is left. Specification may place limits on what can be done once materials are in place. The schedule will provide durations and linked activities. IR1.5 What is the duration that the space will be consumed? The schedule will provide the duration for an activity. Subcontractors will communicate there needs

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28 Table 4-4. Continued IR1.6 Knowledge of the activity and the processes required to complete it. This knowledge is gained for experience, and from communication with the subcontractor. IR1.7 Identify the space that is available for work and for storage. An assessment of the overall project is necessary. Activities that are in progress as well as activities that are pending need to be considered. This information is gathered from visual inspection of the jobsite, the information that is gathered from the inspections can be recorded on highlighted drawing, dry erase boards, and / or written or mental notes. Activities that are pending can be determined by looking activities that are nearing completion. The project schedule can be used to identify dependent activities. The 3-week look-ahead schedule is useful in identify activities that are nearing completion as well as activities that are about to start. Drawings provide the location of the activity, this will help determine the method of delivery, and additional equipment required for the installation. IR1.8 Identify the space that is required for equipment. (e.g. crane roads, additional space for scaffolding, ect.) Drawings can also be used to identify the access paths for material and equipment. The schedule and the three week schedule will identify activities that are in progress or activities that will be starting. Highlighted drawing may indicate areas that have work in progress, and areas that work has been completed. Inspecting the actual area and visualizing the equipment in the area may be necessary. The superintendent developed a plan that allowed progress to continue with minimal impact. The plan involved leaving out a section of the exterior wall, in addition to framing of several interior walls to allow an air handling unit which had a long lead time to be installed without holding up progress. In this situation the AHU were lifted to the third floor and then inserted through the opening that was left in the exterior wall, and then maneuvered into place using carts. Traditionally placing the AHU would take at the most an hour; this placement took several hours. However, that is nothing compared to the three weeks that it took for the AHU to arrive. This was one of the incidents that led to the creation of DR 2, identifying activity prerequisites and identifying potential alternatives. This event also helped to identify many of the information requirements and information sources (Table 4-5) necessary to meet the demands of DR 2.

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29 The two incidents recorded during observations aided in the identification of DR 3 and the supporting information requirements and information sources (Table 4-6) During observations one of the field engineers mentioned to the superintendent that they need to order more steel angle for the job. The superintendent was positive that he had seen more than enough steel angle at various locations throughout the site. The superintendent walked around the site and identified four different locations of steel angle. The superintendent was correct in his assumption that there was more than enough steel angle to complete the job. The superintendent then decided that it would be best to consolidate the four stockpiles into one, even though the company for which the superintendent is working is not responsible for the materials, (they are subcontracted out). This scenario shows the importance of knowing what material is on the jobsite. Just as in the case of the material, the superintendent does not have any pieces of equipment on the job that he or she is responsible for. Equipment is a major expense, and in some cases the equipment is need for a very brief time period. Some activities that require the use of equipment for the duration of that activity. It is important for the superintendent to know who has what on the jobsite to keep the project progressing. A subcontractor may require the use of a piece of equipment for a short period of time. In situations like this the superintendent can tell the subcontractor which subcontractor has a particular piece of equipment on the jobsite and put them in contact with each other to arrange a deal. Three IR are associated to DR 4 activity dependents and relations (Table 4-7) These requirements were derived from the need to have activities performed in a logical order. During the observations and interviews it was discovered that when the

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30 superintendent is creating his 3-week look-ahead schedule for the project, the key element in this schedules creation is establishing where the project should have progresses in three weeks. Once he established where the project needs to be he worked backwards from that point, identifying everything that need to be accomplished to meet that goal. The superintendent stated that he preferred to schedule this way because it gave him a better understanding of the relation of the different activities and the impact that they had on one another. Decision requirement 5 has 6 IR related to safety issues ( Table 4-8) Safety is a major concern on a project. One of the conditions of the field observation was the completion of the companys safety training program to gain access to the jobsite. According to the superintendent under observation, you always have to be safety conscious on the job. While inspecting the jobsite, the superintendent was observed constantly correcting potential safety violations, or ordering others to address the problem. During one of the days of observations the companys safety inspector visited the site. There was one violation in which the guardrail had been removed and not replaced. Once the location of the guardrail was established the superintendent knew who was at fault, because the superintendent knew which subcontractor that was working in that area. Decision requirement 6, who is performing the work, and what they are responsible for, has 4 IR (Table 4-9) The observed project had two steel contractors on the job; each was responsible for different items. This required the contract to be more specific about what work was to be accomplished. The contracts were not specific about the installation of some steel angle, so neither contractor claimed responsibility for it. In this instance

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31 the contracts did not define who was responsible for the work; in most cases it does. Often on the jobsite subcontractors claim that they are not responsible for certain work; this problem is complicated because the people that sign the contracts are usually not on the site. It is important for the superintendent to know what work is in the contract so the entire contract is met. Table 4-5 Identifying activity prerequisites and exploring potential alternatives. DR2 Determine what needs to be accomplishedfor the activity to start or if there is a way around this. (This decision evaluates the current situation and explores possible alternatives.) Information Requirements Information Source IR2.1 Is this task dependent on the completion of other activities? (e.g. you cannot start sheet rocking until the mechanical and electrical are in place) The schedule should show what tasks are reliant on this activity. Lowest to highest; Largest to smallest strategy. Drawings provide details of what is required for an activity to start. IR2.2 How much of a buffer needs to be in place before the start? What is the rate of installation? How much space is required for the activity? What is the dependent activity, what is it rate of installation, and how much space does it require? IR2.3 Is there any way to start the activity without the prerequisite? (e.g. can walls be left out until equipment is in place.) IR2.4 Lowest to highest; Largest to smallest. Drawings are used to identify what needs to be where; they can also be used to identify what can be modified to allow progress to continue. Schedule may be used to analyze alternate sequences. Knowledge of the activity and the processes required to complete it. IR2.5 Drawings provide that material and the location of the activity. Communication with subcontractors and experience are used to determine the methods and processes. What is the status of the submittals? (Work should not begin until submittals have been approved). IR2.6 The submittal log identifies the status of all submittals. Communication with the field engineers may provide greater insight to the status of a submittal. Are there any pending change orders or request for information. Communication with the field engineer.

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32 Table 4-6. Identifying the resources and equipment required for an activity. DR3 Determine the resources and the equipment that are required for an activity. Information Requirements Information Source IR3.1 What if any equipment is needed for this activity? Drawings will identify where the activity is located and what materials are being used. This can be used to determine how the materials will be transported in addition to equipment (e.g. scaffolding) will be needed. Communication with subcontractors about their intentions. IR3.2 Will the equipment consume additional space or interfere with any other activities? (scaffolding takes up additional space and may interfere with activities below) Drawings and specification will identify the material that will be used in addition to where the material will be placed. Inspecting the area where the work is to be performed to identify what will be needed for the activity. Highlighted drawings that indicate where work is completed and being performed may be used to judge the impact that an activity may have. IR3.3 Will the equipment work within the limitations of the site? (Will a lift reach that high or will a crane be need, is the soil stable enough to support a crane.) Knowledge of limits of equipment. Inspecting the site to see if there is room for equipment use. IR3.4 What resources or equipment are we responsible for (dumpsters, water, electricity, etc.) IR3.5 Contracts will identify who is responsible for what. Knowledge of the activity and the processes required to complete it. IR3.8 Drawings and specification will identify the material that will be used. Communication with subcontractors will identify their intent. Knowledge of what equipment is on the job site and who is responsible for it and its use. This knowledge is gained from talking with the subs and inspecting the jobsite. It is also important for the superintendent to know the capabilities of the subcontractor. The majority of the subcontractors can perform their work with little or no guidance. In some cases the subcontractor may need help from the superintendent. The superintendent has no obligation to provide his assistance to subcontractors, but in some

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33 cases it is for the good of the project. The help that the superintendent can provide is in the sequencing of work, and recommendations on how to perform certain activities, but the superintendent does not want to take responsibility for any of their work. Table 4-7. Identifying activities that are impacted by the start or completion of an activity. DR4 Determine what activities rely on the start or the completion of this activity. Information Requirements Information Source IR4.1 What activities are reliant on the start or completion of this activity? The schedule will identify what activities are critical and their linked activities. Drawings indicate what is required. Assessment of the current progress on the project. IR4.2 Is the dependent activity reliant on the completion of the entire task or just part? IR4.3 Drawings are used to identify what goes where and the order in which they should be accomplished. Communication with subcontractors determines their needs. What task should receive priority? Drawings are used to determine which areas have several activities needed. The schedule indicates which activities have long durations, and which activities are critical. Decision requirement 7 is derived from the impact that an activity may have on other activities on the project. Four IR need to be met to address DR7 (Table 4-10) It is important for the superintendent to understand the impact that an activity has. A poorly planned activity could slow the progress of a project. The AHU example mentioned earlier in this paper also aided in the creation of DR 7. DR7 and DR4 are similar, but DR4 investigates activities that are directly related, while DR7 looks at the impact that an activity has on concurrent activities. It is important for a superintendent to know how an activity is progressing. This allows the superintendent to plan for future activities and to correct problems before they get out of control. Decision requirement 8 identifies the cognitive demand of determining if an activity will meet its schedule duration, to successfully address DR8, 5

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34 IR must be addressed (Table 4-11) Discussing and analyzing the 3-week look-ahead schedule with the superintendent aided in the identification of DR8 in addition to the information requirement and Information sources that are associated with it. Table 4-8. Addressing safety issues of an activity. DR5 Identify the safety concerns that are associated with this activity Information Requirements Information Source IR5.1 Are hazardous materials used in this activity? Specifications and drawings indicate what material is used. Subcontractors should provide hazardous material safety data sheets (MSDS) IR5.2 What are the risks associated with this activity? Drawings indicate the location of where the work is to be performed. Subcontractors provide their safety plan. IR5.3 Knowledge of the activity and the processes required to complete it. Previous experience. Communication with the subcontractor concerning their material and methods. IR5.4 What can be done to minimize the risk and who is responsible? (e.g. guardrails placed on a leading edge.) Subcontract may specify that safety concerns need to be addressed. IR5.5 What subcontractors are working where? IR5.6 This knowledge is gained from inspecting the jobsite and making note of where the different subcontractors are. Has the subcontractor provided their safety plan, and have their works gone through our companys safety program. Review checklist. The most important job of the superintendent is to complete the project on time. Throughout the course of the project the project may fall behind in schedule. Several factors can contribute to this. One of the duties of a superintendent is to get the project back on course. Decision requirement 9 has 6 IR (Table 4-12) necessary to get the project back on schedule.

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35 It is important for the superintendent to have some knowledge of the activities that are performed on the project. It is not necessary for him or her to have a complete understanding of the activity, but the superintendent must have some knowledge of how long it will take and the area it will consume in order for him or her to plan for other activities, and assess the impact that an activity will have on other parts of the project. Decision requirement 10 addresses the impact that an activity has on other parts of the project, (Table 4-13) along with the information requirements and information sources that are related to processes required to complete a task. Table 4-9. Identifying who is responsible for an activity and what that subcontractor is responsible for. DR6 Who is performing the activity and what is their scope of work. Information Requirements Information Source IR6.1 Who is the subcontractor? Subcontractor contract will identify the subcontractor and have contact information. IR6.2 What is there reputation? (a weak sub may require more guidance) Word of mouth can provide insight to a subcontractors ability. Observing the subcontractor ability. IR6.3 What is there scope of work? IR6.3 Subcontractor contract. What is not in there scope and who is responsible for it? IR6.4 Contracts identify what is to be accomplished by whom. How many workers do they have on site? Subcontractors daily reports indicate the number of workers they had on site. During the observation and interviews this decision requirement was reinforced by some of the inaccuracies in the master schedule that was provided to the superintendent. Some of the activities that were scheduled had impossible durations assigned to them. The superintendent used the drywall activity as an example. He mentioned that the

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36 person that created the schedule failed to consider that to properly complete the specified finish for the drywall required, at the very least, three days. Table 4-10. Understanding the impact an activity has on existing activities. DR7 Determine the impact that this activity has on other activities. Information Requirements Information Source IR7.1 Will this activity interfere with other activities? An assessment of the current progress on the jobsite is necessary. This is done by inspecting what work is in place. This information can be stored and represented on highlighted drawings and or dry erase drawings. Inspection of jobsite to see if there is enough for the space to be completed. The 3-week look-ahead schedule identifies what activities are in progress, activities that are nearing completion and activities that are pending. IR7.2 What can be done to minimize interference? (better coordination) Drawings can be used to identify areas in which work is in progress. Schedule indicates what needs to be complete (critical and non critical). Inspecting the area that the activity is to take place may be necessary to identify any areas of conflict. The schedule and the three week schedule are used to determine what activities are linked to the activity. IR7.3 If this activity was delayed what would it do to the rest of the project? IR7.4 The drawings are also used to identify related activities. What is the area that this activity consumes? (work area, storage area, and access paths) Drawings indicate the area that activity consumes, and the possible access paths for the activity. Highlighted drawing can indicate areas that are in progress, this can be used to rule out the alternative access paths. Inspecting the site to conceptualize the best path may be necessary. Decision requirement 11 addresses instances during a construction project in which certain activities can be started prior to the completion of the preceding activity. This is done to get the project completed faster. The superintendent was observed planning the location and the direction in which architectural precast concrete should be erected. One reason that the superintendent insisted on this coordination was to avoid having the architectural precast crew interfere with other activities, but more notably he was able to establish a buffer for the brick masons to follow.

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37 Superintendents Timeframe To better understand how the superintendent processes the decision requirements it is necessary to establish a timeline in which he processes the decision requirements and information requirements. The timeline consists of three categories: daily, weekly, and intermittent, in which the superintendent addresses the decision requirements. Table 4-11. Identifying whether an activity will finish on time. DR8 Determine if an activity is going to meet its scheduled duration. Information Requirements Information Source IR8.1 What is the total amount of work that needs to be performed? Drawings provide the quantity of work. IR8.2 What is the amount of work that is already in place? Inspection of the work that is in place. This can be recorded on highlighted drawings. IR8.3 How long has that activity been in progress and how much time is left? The superintendents daily log should indicate on what day the activity started. The schedule indicates the overall duration of the activity. Communication with the subcontractor to determine the remaining duration. IR8.4 How many men have been on the job? Daily reports from the subcontractor indicate who was on the job for them. This sometimes needs to be verified. Communication with the subcontractor can indicate their availability of labor. IR8.5 What is the staffing intention of the subcontractor? This knowledge is gained from communication with the subcontractor. Some contractors may start an activity with little manpower and increase it once the activity is set up. Some subcontractors may send more manpower once they have completed other obligations. The superintendent, on a daily basis, performs many tasks that aid in addressing the decision requirements. The first thing the superintendent does each day is to meet with all of the subcontractor foremen to get an idea as to where and on what project they will be working that day. This daily meeting also gives the foremen the opportunity to disclose information regarding delays or conflicts. Daily, the superintendent walks the

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38 jobsite. During his inspection he makes mental notes of who is on the site, how much progress has been made, and identifies any potential safety problems. The superintendent, on a daily basis, receives a written daily report from the subcontractors. This daily subcontractor report identifies how many workers were on site, what they were working on, and identifies any problems or conflicts that occurred or that are foreseeable. Table 4-12. Identifying activities that can be expedited. DR9 Identify activities that can be expedited to get the project back on schedule. Information Requirements Information Source IR9.1 Knowledge of the activity and the processes required too complete it? (is it an activity that can be sped up by increasing the work force) IR9.2 What activity is on the critical path that could be expedited? The master schedule should identify what the critical activities are. The 3-week look-ahead schedule should identify the activities that need to be completed. IR9.3 Are additional resources available? (Does the subcontractor have more men?) Communication with the subcontractors might reveal additional resources. IR9.4 Will the decreased duration of this activity place other activities on the critical path? The 3-week look-ahead schedule should address the change in the schedule and the impact that it will have. IR9.5 What needs to be done to get to where the project needs to be? Work backwards from where you need to be and identify the processes that need to be complete to reach that destination. IR9.6 What are the different options? The drawings and the schedule can be used to determine if any other options exist. During inspection the superintendent is identifies the amount of space an activity is consuming (DR 1), establishes what resources and equipment are on site (DR 3),

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39 addresses safety concerns (DR 5), and identifies who is performing the work (DR 6). On an intuitive level the superintendent can establish whether activities are going to meet their scheduled duration (DR 8). In the daily meeting the superintendent addresses space requirements for an activity (DR 1); discussion of activity prerequisites and alternative solutions (DR 2); impacts that activities have on other activities can be brought to attention (DR 3), activity reliance can be established (DR 4 and DR 7); and discussions on activity expediting may be broached (DR 9). The subcontractors daily reports reiterate who is performing an activity (DR 7), and in determining whether an activity is going to meet its duration (DR 8). Table 4-13. Understanding the knowledge of the processes that are involved with an activity. DR10 Determine the processes that are required to complete an activity. Information Requirements Information Source IR10.1 What materials are used for this activity? Drawing and specifications identify the material that is required for the activity. IR10.2 What is the method of installation? IR10.3 Specifications may specify a specific method of installation. Experience with this specific activity. Communication with subcontractor about his or her plan. What steps are involved in that completion of the specified activity? IR10.4 A schedule may have the activity install drywall. Installing drywall involves hanging the drywall, taping the joints, and several passes of joint compound and sanding before the activity is complete. What equipment if any is required for this activity? Drawings will indicate the area of the activity; this will help determine if equipment is need for the delivery or installation of materials. Weekly, the superintendent performs tasks that deal with the DR in a more in-depth manner. The weekly tasks that the superintendent performs draw largely from the daily activities. The weekly tasks that the superintendent performs include highlighting progress on drawings, creating a 3-week look-ahead schedule, and conducting a more in-depth meeting with the subcontractor. The highlighted drawings have a vital role in the

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40 superintendents meeting the demands of the DR. The highlighted drawings are used in determining the space requirements for a task (DR 1), and establishing what needs to be accomplished for an activity to begin. In addition to identifying alternative solutions (DR 2), they help to establish what activities rely on the start or completion of an activity (DR 4). Highlighted drawings help to identify the impact an activity may have on other activities (DR 7); they help in establishing whether an activity is going to meet its duration (DR 8); they can be used to identify activities that can be expedited (DR 9); and they can be used to identify buffers (DR 11). Table 4-14. Establishing buffers for activities. DR11 Determine how much of a buffer needs to be in place for a linked activity to start. Information Requirements Information Source IR11.1 What is the rate of installation for both activities? Communication with subcontractor regarding duration. Observed work. Experience. IR11.2 How much space is required for both activities? Communication with subcontractor on his or her space requirement. Drawings indicate the area for the activity. IR11.3 How much time is available? Schedule. To create a successful 3-week look-ahead schedule, several of the DR must be met. For the superintendent to create a successful 3-week look-ahead schedule the amount of space an activity will consume needs to be addressed (DR 1); activity prerequisites need to be recognized (DR 2 ); the superintendent needs to know what resources and material are needed for an activity (DR 3); and what activities are dependent on existing activities (DR 4). The superintendent must address the impact a new activity will have on existing activities (DR 7); estimate when activities will be completed (DR 8); identify activities

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41 that can be expedited (DR 9); have basic knowledge of the processes that are involved in a task (DR 10); and to be able to establish buffers for certain activities (DR 11). The superintendent has tasks that he or she has to perform intermittently, such as reviewing subcontractors contracts and reviewing submittals. Reviewing the subcontractor documents helps the superintendent determine what resources are need for an activity (DR 3), identify who is performing the work and what is their scope (DR 6), and helps the superintendent identify the process that are required to complete an activity. Many of the routine tasks that a superintendent performs have underlying cognitive processes that help the superintendent manage the project. The superintendents job of walking the jobsite may seem simple, but while performing this task he or she gathers information that will aid in cognition later. Critique of Existing Tools Through analyzing the DR and the IR, it becomes apparent that maintaining an accurate assessment of the progress of the project is one of the most cognitively demanding and important aspects of a superintendents job. Analysis of the information sources reveal that maintaining an accurate assessment is supported by two main artifacts: the drawings and the schedule. A more detailed analysis of these two artifacts is necessary to uncover: the information that they contain, how they are used, how they are created, and if they could be better designed to support the superintendent. Schedule During observations of the superintendent three different types of schedules were identified that were used by the superintendent; he confirmed that these were the only schedules that he was aware of. Two of the three schedules were not created by the superintendent. These were the master construction schedule and the divisional schedule;

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42 these two schedules had identical activities, and the only difference between them was the order in which the activities were displayed. The third schedule identified was the 3-week look-ahead schedule. This was the only schedule that the superintendent created, and was probably the most useful. It is necessary to look at all three schedules, the information that they contain and how they are used by the superintendent in the actual scheduling of activities for the project. Understanding how they are created and some of the different functions of the software that was used to create them will help to identify the usefulness, the ineffectiveness, and the possible effect that the schedule could have on scheduling jobsite activities. Master Construction Schedule The master construction schedule (Figure 4-3) for the observed project has 650 line item activities, is eighteen pages in length, and was created in Primavera Project Planner (P3). The activities are not limited just to construction activities. The schedule includes activities like 60% drawing bid dates, procurement dates and submittal approval durations. The time scale for the schedule is broken down into years, months and weeks. A scheduled activity is given an activity number, duration, early start date, early finish date, and the total float. The duration of an activity is represented in a Gantt chart. The length of the bar is directly correlated to the duration of the activity. The color and or the shape of the bars on the Gantt vary depending on the type of activity. A critical activity is represented with a solid black bar, milestones are marked with a black diamond, a non-critical activity is represented in a light shade, progress is represented in a darker shade and a vertical line indicates the progress to date. The activities on the master construction schedule follow a logical sequence of the progression on the project.

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43 Schedule updating. The scheduling programs that created the master construction schedule have many powerful tools that are not being used. With P3 one can resource load an activity, one can enter in the quantity of material for an activity and one can enter in the number of man days that are required for an activity to be completed. One can set the start and finish date for an activity and depending on the resources you have entered it will tell one how much material should be placed daily and / or how many workers should be on the job. One can set limits on an activity with regards to when it needs to be completed if it is a critical activity, and if the activity is a non-critical activity the amount of float is automatically calculated. One can update the schedule in P3 in many ways: one can state whether an activity has been completed, the percent complete can be entered, one can enter in the number of workers that have been working on an activity (this information is in the daily reports that are gathered); and / or one can enter the amount of material that has been installed. When the schedule is updated, it can specify, for critical activities, how much material needs to be placed and / or how many workers need to be present every day to meet the schedule duration. If the activity is not a critical activity the duration will be recalculated based on the amount of workers or material that have been placed. When a schedule is updated the original time for an activity is still represented and the adjusted time for the activity is represented in a different colored bar, and the original time allotted for the activity still remains. The schedule for this particular project was not updated in any of these ways. For this project the schedule is updated by the date. There is no recalculation of the existing duration. The updated schedule only represents the original intention of the schedule,

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44 and provides no true indication of the actual progress on the project. Instead it displays what should have been accomplished by a certain date. One of the benefits to updating a schedule is to determine if an activity is going to meet its scheduled duration. The only way for the superintendent to establish whether a subcontractor is going to meet he or she scheduled duration is experience; he said he looks at how many people are on the job, how many days they work a week, and what they can accomplish in a day to gauge whether they will meet their expected duration. Reasons Schedules are not updated. A major problem with updating a schedule is the reliability of the information; production can vary from day to day, worker to worker, and from job to job. The advantage to using a system like this is that the more data that is gathered, the more reliable the initial assessment will be. Man days is probably one of the most effective ways to resource-load an activity. On most projects there is already a daily record of the workers that are on the job. On most projects the information in the daily records is already copied into a document management software like Prolog and Expedition. Scheduling programs are rarely used to their full potential. Instead of updating the schedule by entering in what has been accomplished, people will rewrite the schedule to reflect the current state of the project and leave out the initial estimate of when an activity will start. One explanation as to why it is done this way is to give the image that everything is fine; if you show an owner a schedule that has some of the activity starting and finishing late they are going to assume that the project is not meeting the expectations.

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45 To better understand why the update function for a P3 schedule is not being used; a GOMS (Goals, Operators, Methods, and Selection) models should be created. GOMS is a method for describing a task and the users knowledge of how to perform the task in terms of Goals, Operators, Methods, and Selection (John 2003 page 59). Goals are the users goal; in this instance it would be to update a scheduled activity. Operators are the procedures that the program allows the user to take (e.g. move the mouse, click the mouse button, type character). Methods are the learned sequence of sub-goals and operators that are need for accomplishing a goal (e.g. click mouse button to select intended activity, move mouse to edit button on menu bar, etc.). Selections exist if there is more than one method to achieve the goal and try to establish rule for the different selections. GOMS analysis should only be used in situations where the users already have the cognitive skills required to perform the task. Users need to have mastered the program so they know what the steps are ensuring that there is no searching for what actions to take next. The GOMS model identifies the processes that are necessary to complete a task. This model can then be used to determine if the processes are similar to other tasks (e.g. are there similar processes in the scheduling software and the document management software). The model can also be used to identify ineffective means of accomplishing a goal, and in some cases it will identify goals that are not supported. Another way that the GOMS model may be beneficial is in the development of training programs and tutorials. The GOMS model may be useful in the creation of wizards that guide the user through the necessary steps to complete a goal.

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46 Figure 4-3. A page from the master construction schedule. A GOMS model is not necessary, because the reason that schedules are not updated is not related to the difficulty in using the software. More schedules might be updated if the program was easier to use, but it is believed that schedules are not updated because there is no real benefit to updating them. For schedules to be updated there needs to be a value. The scheduling software can provide a good summary of the progress of a project, and it is useful to some of the parties involved in the project. Gantt chart schedules provide a good measure of the total progress on the project. This is useful to project managers, architects, engineers and owners, but they are of little use to the project superintendent. An updated Gantt schedule only indicates percentages of activities that

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47 have been completed, and fails to identify where the work is already in place and where it remains. It may be useful for the superintendent to know how much of an activity is completed, but superintendents need to know more than what percentage has been completed. They need to know the location of the work that has been completed as well as the location that still needs to be completed. If the schedule provided more details on the work that has been completed, in addition to work that is pending, then the value of the schedule as an artifact would increase. There was no schedule used as a measurement of progress by the observed superintendent. To record progress on the project the superintendent walked the jobsite, taking note of what has been accomplished and what still needed work. After walking the project, he returned to his office, grabbed a set of drawings and started highlighting all of the areas that work has been completed. He did not have one set of plans on which everything was recorded, because there were several activities that overlapped. There is a set of plans that represent the framing and drywall, there is a set that represents the room finishes, and so on. Once the entire drawing is colored in, that part of the project is finished. Areas that were not colored meant that that area had not been completed yet. The only problem with recording progress this way is that it does not show the relation to time that is provided in schedules. Divisional Schedule On the observed project there was a schedule that was referred to as the divisional schedule. This schedule had all of the same activities as the master schedule, and was created with the same software program as the master schedule. The only difference from the master schedule was that all of the activities were grouped according to an

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48 activity code that corresponded to the construction specification institute divisions. The divisional schedule is exactly the same schedule as the master schedule, and by using a function in the scheduling program all of the activities were sorted by the activity codes. The divisional schedule is useful in some aspects, but is confusing in others. It is useful because typically subcontractors perform work in only one division; therefore, all of the work that one subcontractor is to perform is located in one area of the schedule instead of spread throughout the entire schedule. The schedule is difficult to understand because the activities are out of sequence (e.g. the roof for the building will appear in the schedule before the steel erection). Both the master schedule and the divisional schedule were used very little by the superintendent. The information that the master schedule provided to the superintendent identified which activities were critical, milestones that needed to be met, and-to a very small degree--the order that activities should have. The divisional schedule helped the superintendent to better identify the subcontractors that were responsible for the work. The biggest difference between the master and the divisional schedules, and the 3-week look-ahead schedule is the length. In discussion about these schedules with the superintendent, it was mentioned that the people on the jobsite just do not understand the master and divisional schedules. It is hard for them to identify activities and it is more difficult for them to establish the relationship to other activities. Three-Week Look-Ahead Schedule The 3-week look-ahead schedule, (Figure 4-4) is a schedule completed by the superintendent that identifies the work that should take place over the next three weeks, as well as the parties that are responsible for the work. The 3-week look-ahead schedule includes the current week and the following three weeks activities. The major time scale

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49 for the schedule is in weeks and the minor time scale is in days. The schedule is set up as a matrix and an X indicates the day that the activity is supposed to take place. The only dates that are on the schedule are the dates on which the weeks start. For the scheduled activities there is no written start date or duration; this information can be gathered for reviewing the time scale at the top of the matrix. There is no indication of float for any of the activities. There is almost no relation between the master construction schedule and the 3-week look-ahead schedule; the only relation the schedules have is activities, and activities tend to be more simplified on the 3-week look-ahead schedule. Several factors need to be considered in creating the 3-week look-ahead schedule. The superintendent also must identify how much progress the project needs to have made in three weeks. Identifying the necessary progress over three weeks allows the superintendent to work backwards identify the activities that are necessary to meet this goal. The superintendent must also have an understanding of the progress on the project to date. This assessment of progress on the projects is gained by inspecting the work that is in place. Some of the information that is gathered can be offloaded from memory onto highlighted drawings, dry erase boards, or notes which will allow for quick retrieval of that information while the superintendent is creating the 3-week look-ahead schedule. Knowing at what stage the project is allows the superintendent to identify what activities are nearing completion. It also allows the superintendent to determine if any activities are behind schedule. Not all of the information about progress is gathered from visual inspections; communication between the superintendent and the subcontractors is another method to gather information, especially with regard to the duration remaining. The master schedule provides the overall plan for the project. Milestones from the

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50 master construction schedule can be used to set goals and evaluate progress. Having an idea of the current progress of the project is necessary for the superintendent to plan for future activities. The three week schedule establishes small goals that need to be accomplished to meet the overall goal of completing the project on time. Creating the 3-week schedule provides the superintendent with the opportunity to determine what activities are critical to the success of the project. It helps the superintendent identify activities that are not performing to the level that they should. It also helps the superintendent realize what activities need to be started for the project to meet its deadline. The 3-week schedule is an important tool that not only allows the superintendent to assess the current state of the project, but it provides a clearer communication to all of the people that are involved in the project of what needs to be accomplished in the near future. Even though the schedule does not link activities to each other it is simple to see the relation that activities have to one another. With the 3-week look-ahead schedule there is no need to filter out the activities that do not pertain to that specific period of time. The 3-week schedule identifies what activities will be starting and defines a start date for the activity that can be delivered to the proper subcontractor. The 3-week look-ahead schedule is a simple schedule. One of the biggest differences that it has from the master schedule is that it is typically only a page or two in length; whereas the master schedule for the observed project is eighteen pages long. The three week schedule does not indicate any milestones, or the critical path. The 3-week look-ahead schedule is the schedule most used by the people who are responsible for the work. The 3-week look-ahead schedule is a simple schedule. It is

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51 simplified because it only has activities that are going to take place during the current week and the following three weeks. The schedule is easy to interpret; it easy to see when an activity should start and finish; and more importantly, it is easy to establish the relation that other activities have with each other. Figure 4-4. The 3-week look-ahead schedule. The 3-week look-ahead schedule is a simple schedule. One of the biggest differences that it has from the master schedule is that it is typically only a page or two in length; whereas the master schedule for the observed project is eighteen pages long. The three week schedule does not indicate any milestones, or the critical path. The 3-week look-ahead schedule is the schedule most used by the people who are responsible for the work. The 3-week look-ahead schedule is a simple schedule. It is simplified because it only has activities that are going to take place during the current week and the following three weeks. The schedule is easy to interpret; it easy to see

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52 when an activity should start and finish; and more importantly, it is easy to establish the relation that other activities have with each other. The activities on the 3-week look-ahead schedule are grouped according to the subcontractor that is responsible for the activity, which is similar to the divisional schedule. The schedule mentions the subcontractor and then identifies all of the activities for which that subcontractor is responsible during the current weeks and the next three weeks. The completed 3-week look-ahead schedule is created using Sure Track. The observed superintendent did not use a computer at all. The schedule was created by the superintendent and then the secretary or the field engineer entered it into Sure Track. When the superintendent created the schedule, a blank schedule was used with the same format as the completed 3-week look-ahead schedule. The superintendent first established where the project needed to be in three weeks, using the master schedule to help establish where the project should be. Then a list of all of the activities that needed to be completed was created; next, the list was put in the order in which they would need to be accomplished, and activity durations to complete the schedule were assigned. Once the superintendent completed this initial schedule it was shared with the subcontractor to get their feedback about the durations that were assigned. Then the superintendent went back and made adjustments to the durations if the subcontractor had a valid reason for adjusting it. After that schedule was completed the superintendent then grouped the activities by those who were responsible for them. It is obvious that if the schedule was created in Sure Track it could be created faster; the superintendent was aware of this, but the superintendent preferred to create with pencil and paper.

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53 The superintendent stated that the schedule is created using pencil and paper, even though the superintendent knows how to use the scheduling program, because this is the way it has always been done and it is what the superintendent is comfortable with. The superintendent mentioned that there is no major difference between his scheduling method and using a computer. He is correct; the only difference between his method and the computer method is his method is hand-written and the computer method is typed. Using a computer to develop his schedule does not aid him in the actual act of scheduling. It does not help him identify conflicts, it does not alert him to activities that are out of sequence, and it does not help in the discovery of alternate solutions. Drawings Several categories of drawing for a construction project exist (e.g. site plan, structural, architectural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing). These drawings are a scaled representation of the plan for the building. They provide the location and the quantity of all of the materials and how the building should be assembled. Depending on the size of the project, the building is broken down into several different areas on the drawings. One floor of a build can be broken down into many different areas which will spread over many pages of the set of drawings; a key plan is usually located in the lower right of a page to show the relation of the displayed drawing to that of the overall plan. To further complicate the process of reviewing the drawings, the different categories of drawings have very minimal, if any, overlap between the different sections (e.g. the architectural drawings may show a sink, but it will not represent the plumbing required for that sink). So when reviewing the drawings for an activity there is not one page of the drawings that one needs to look at; several are needed. An area drawn on the floor plan has corresponding drawings on the mechanical, electrical, plumbing and

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54 structural drawings that need to be addressed when reviewing the plans. Since multiple corresponding drawings are required, this can cause conflict between the different drawings. The majority of the information for the activity may be represented on one page; that page could contain section cuts that refer to section details that provide drawings in greater detailed. All of the drawings are drawn to scale, but the scale can change form page to page and drawing to drawing. The drawings are scaled representations of the project, but there is not a uniform scale for all the drawings. The drawings are usually drawn on large sheets of paper. The drawing sets contain many pages; the architectural drawings for this project contained ninety-seven pages of drawings. An open set of drawings usually covers an entire desk. There exist half-set drawings that are smaller than the full set. The-half sets are easier to carry around and take up less space, but notations may be difficult to read. The half sets are still scaled drawings, but the scale may not be defined. If all of the different categories of drawings were combined into one drawing they would be illegible. It is necessary to have these categories separate to simplify the drawings and reduce clutter. The current system for drawings does work, and there may always be a need for it, but it could be improved upon. So many different drawings invite discrepancies. Information that is scattered throughout the drawing sets increases the cognitive memory load. In certain situations several different pages of the drawing set need to be referred to in order to make a decision. The floor plan may have several different section cuts that refer to different pages; the structural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing drawings may also need to be considered. To plan for one activity numerous drawings may need to be looked at that pertain to one specific area of the

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55 project. If the drawings were one Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) file comprised of different layers there would not be the burden of tracking down all of the different pages throughout the entire drawing sets that pertain to the area that is in question. A computer screen that represents an area of a drawing, and a paper drawing, are two entirely different artifacts. Notes cannot be easily added to computerized drawings and a computer is not as mobile as a piece of paper. With a paper-based drawing one can take it out on the job site to the area that the drawing represents and make quick notes or sketches on it. Paper is inexpensive, can easily be replicated and distributed, and requires no additional tools to use. A CAD file can be easily distributed to different parties faster than paper, but they require a computer and the software to view them. Notes can be made on a CAD file but not with the ease of pencil and paper. Computer technologies are becoming increasingly mobile, but with this mobility the size of displays is decreasing. Paper plans are large, while a computer screen displays only a small area. Superintendent modified drawings. The observed superintendent only used paper drawings and did not use any CAD drawings. During observations it was noted that the drawing could be used in many situations. Whenever a subcontractor came to the superintendent with a problem, the location of the problem was located on a drawing. If the problem could not be solved by the superintendent then he would make a note directly on the drawing and give it, or a copy of it, to the field engineer to write up a Request for Information (RFI). It was also observed that drawings were being used to determine the best sequence for an activity. The drawings took on an entirely new use when the superintendent colored them with a highlighter (Figure 4-5) There were three different categories of highlighted

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56 drawings observed; highlighted drawings that tracked the progress of an activity; highlighted drawings that represented the sequence of work; and highlighted drawings that identified difficult areas of the plan. According to the observed superintendent, once a week he walked the jobsite to assess the progress that had been made on the project. To record this progress for quick retrieval at a later time he highlights the different sets of plans to represent the work that completed. After the plans have been highlighted, they more importantly represent the work that has not been completed. These highlighted plans are useful in the scheduling of activities because they display areas that work has been completed and areas where work is still in progress. The second category of highlighted drawings is used to sequence work. Plans can be highlighted to represent the sequence in which work should be performed. On the observed project the contractor that was responsible for the slab was behind schedule and was holding up other activities. The superintendent highlighted a drawing of the slab and areas that were holding up the work of other were sequenced first. The third type of highlighted drawing observed identified sections of the plans that are difficult that the superintendent need to pay special attention to. The foundation plan for this project had several different types of grade beams. It was difficult to distinguish what grade beams were constructed in what way because the information was spread throughout several pages. Once the superintendent figured out all of the different grade beams he color coordinated them with the highlighters.

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57 Figure 4-5. Highlighted drawing that represents the sequence of the paving. Realities and Theories It is important when developing new technology that the specific purpose of that technology is identified, and the reasoning for that purpose be clarified. When designing a new artifact, the theories to be embodied need to be articulated (Bisantz and Ockerman 2002 page 249). Bisantz and Ockerman propose that artifacts embody theories of the user and the task. In the following the realities refer observed practice of a superintendents use of construction drawings and constructions schedules. The

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58 critique of the schedule and drawings, and the CTA, helped to develop theories that should be embodied into the design of a more useful schedules and drawings. In the following the realities represent the demands of the job, in addition to the observed use of the existing artifacts. The theories are elements that support cognition that should be embodied, or preserved in new artifacts. Realties and theories for drawings. Drawings are a relatively low-tech artifact or tool that superintendents use. There is a great potential to improve upon construction drawings. To improve drawings it is necessary to understand how they are currently being used and to identify their useful and frustrating aspects. Realities will show how drawings are being used, and theories will identify the useful or frustrating aspects that need to be considered when redeveloping this artifact. Reality 1. Superintendents reference drawings at various locations throughout the job site. Superintendents often need to verify that activities were completed according to the plans. Instead of writing down or memorizing the details on the drawings that need to be checked, the superintendent often, copies a section of the drawing or takes the drawing, to the location that needs to be verified. On the observed project there were several instances in which the superintendent took a set of drawings, or a copy of the drawing, out onto the jobsite for verification and / or reference. Theory 1. Drawings need to be mobile. Reality 2. Superintendents often take notes directly on the drawings. Superintendents note design discrepancies directly on the plan. They also highlight areas that work has been completed. They note areas where work is not satisfactory directly on the drawings. They even identify on the drawings areas of concern. Being able to highlight and place notes directly on the drawings is one way the superintendent is able to offload and display some of the cognitive information related to the project. Theory 2. Drawings must be easily noted and highlighted

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59 Reality 3. Drawings provide the superintendent with information about materials and their quantity. Drawings identify the materials for a project. Drawings are drawn to scale; therefore quantities of materials can be determined from the drawings. Theory 3. Drawings need to identify the different materials and there quantity. Reality 4. Drawings identify the material that is required for an activity and define its specific location in space. Drawings have dimensions and are drawn to scale, so the location of specific items can be identified. Theory 4. Drawings need to be scaled and easily dimensioned to identify the location of specific items. Reality 5. Drawings are easily and inexpensively copied and distributed and read by everyone. Drawings are often copied and used to aid in the communication of an idea or concern. On the observed project the site plan was copied and highlighted to represent the sequence that the work was to be performed, then distributed to the proper subcontractors. There was another occasion on the observed project when a drawing was copied and the areas that needed to be completed first were highlighted. Theory 5. Drawings need to be easily replicated and in a format that is accessible to everyone. Reality 6. Addenda are taped to their respected drawings to add the additional information that is required to complete the project and to keep all of the information in one location. Throughout the project architects issue addendum which contain corrections to the drawings as well as information that was left out. Superintendents post all of the addendums on a set of drawings. By posting all the addenda to a drawing set the superintendent does not have to refer to several documents for all of the relevant

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60 information. All of the addendum issues have notations that identify when they were issued. Theory 6. Drawings need to be updateable, and the updates need to be traceable. Reality 7. Drawings are rendered on large sheets of paper to show greater detail and area. Construction drawings are on large sheets of paper that show the relationship to other areas of the plan. The entire drawing is not on one sheet, but is divided into several areas. The areas that are divided typically have a key plan on the page that shows the relation of the divided area to the entire area. Theory 7. Drawings do not need to be large but they need to be readable, and relate to the other areas of the plan. Reality 8. Drawings are two-dimensional representations of three-dimensional objects; more than one two-dimensional drawing is needed to identify the complete three dimensional object. The floor plan, elevations, and section cuts are need to accurately picture and build a project. For a superintendent to understand what construction needs to take place to complete a room, he or she may have to look at the floor plan, wall section, reflected ceiling plans, structural plans, electrical plans, and mechanical plans. Theory 8. Three dimensional plans better represent the project. Reality 9. Drawings are colored in using highlighters to record the progress on the project. Highlighted drawings are used to record the progress on the project. These highlighted drawings represent areas that have been completed as well as the areas that still need to have work performed. Theory 9. Drawings need to be able to represent the work that has been performed and identify areas in which the work is still pending. Reality 10. Highlighted drawings are quick and easy to create. It is very simple to color the areas of concern on drawings. Theory 10. Drawings need to be easily marked to show areas of concern.

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61 These ten realities and theories should be considered when developing new technology that is intended to replace current drawings. Drawings are used in a variety of ways. If one is trying to improve drawings, all of the ways that drawings are used need to be considered in any improvement. Realities and theories for schedules. Superintendents are not using schedules to their full potential. By identifying the realities of why schedules are not being used to their potential, one can formulate theories that would help to make schedules more useful and usable. Reality 1. Superintendents do not follow the sequence that the schedule portrays. Construction schedules do not provide a realistic sequence of activities. In some cases all of the activities required for the project are not included in the project. The scheduled duration of an activity is an estimate of the time that it will take for an activity to be completed. An activity can finish early, on time, or late. Theory 1. Construction schedule need to be easily adapted to reflect the condition of the jobsite. Reality 2. Schedules are not updated to reflect the actual progress on the site. The preferred method of tracking the progress is done with highlighted drawings. Updated schedules only provide the superintendent with the percent completed, and do not represent what work has been completed. Theory 2. Updated schedules need to provide the location of where the work has been completed as well as the work that remains. Reality 3. Schedules that have a large amount of activities and cover a long time span are confusing to workers. The 3-week look-ahead schedule was the most useful to the workers because it was simple and easy to understand and dealt only with activities that were related to that specific time frame. Theory 3. Projects should be scheduled in several small phases.

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62 Reality 4. Drawings are used to track progress. Highlighted drawings are used to track the progress on the project, not the schedule. An updated schedule provides no indication of where the work is in place or what areas have work remaining. Theory 4. The schedule should be linked to the drawings. These four realities help to show why schedules are not being used to their intended potential. The four theories identified would help to make the schedule a more useful artifact. The major problem that was identified in the realities is that schedules only provide part of the information that is needed. The realities offer ideas that would make schedules more useful and usable. Recommendations for Design The analysis so far has helped us to better understand the superintendents job. When the goal is operationally effective systems, designers need to adopt the attitude of an experimenter trying to understand and model the interactions of task demands, artifacts, cognition, collaboration across agents, and organizational context (Woods 1998 page 170). The FAH, DR, IR, IS, the critique of existing tools, and the realities and theories of drawings and schedules have helped to better understand the superintendents job and to identify areas that new technologies could help to assist him or her. One of the biggest tasks that superintendents face is having to be aware of the progress on the jobsite. To execute several of the Decision Requirements it is necessary for a superintendent to be up to date on the progress of the project. To be able to determine whether an activity can start (DR2) the superintendent has to have knowledge of what is completed. To schedule an activity before the completion of its prerequisite (DR11) the superintendent has to be aware of the progress. To be able to predict the completion date of an activity (DR8) and to be able to identify ways to get an activity

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63 back on schedule (DR9) a superintendent must have knowledge of the progress on the site. To measure the amount of progress the superintendent has to walk the jobsite and take note of what is completed. One artifact that the superintendent created, to ease the cognitive demand of remembering what on the project was completed, was highlighted drawings to represent the progress on the jobsite. Highlighted drawings was the way in which progress was measured on for the project not the schedule. One of the reasons that highlighted drawings are so effective is that they are simple to understand, and they are easy to create. The ideas that are embedded in the highlighted drawings are something that needs to be preserved and expanded upon in the design of new technology. A system that modeled the entire construction project could be of great benefit to a superintendent. The model would have to be easy to navigate; it would also have to allow the superintendent to highlight areas of concern. The simulated project model would also have to allow the superintendent to represent the actual progress of the site. This is a task that should be no more difficult than highlighting drawings. The model would also have to be readily available to all the trades. A computer model that simulated the actual progress would also provide better understanding of where work was being performed, and more importantly, where it was not. It would allow the superintendent to better use the space that was available to her or him. This would assist the superintendent with DR1 identifying the space required for a task, DR7 determining the impact that an activity will have on other activities, DR6 identifying who is performing work and what they are responsible for, and DR3

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64 identifying an activities resource and equipment. The model could also assist DR2 in identifying what is necessary for an activity to start and identify possible alternatives. If the simulation model was object-oriented and provided the quantity of material required for activities, then it would be an even more powerful tool. The current practice for identifying the quantity of material is a long process; therefore, it is seldom performed by the superintendents. Having the quantity of material for an activity would help the superintendent with DR1, determining the amount of storage and workspace is required for an activity; DR3, identifying the resources and equipment; and DR10, understanding what is required to complete an activity. If the superintendent was then able to identify the quantity of material that was in place by updating the actual progress on the simulation model there would be an even greater benefit to the superintendent. The model would then be able to tell how much material was left to complete the project. If the subcontractors daily reports, specifically the number of laborers on the job, could be input into the system, then the system would be able to calculate the production rate for the work in place. Based on the production rate for the work in place, it would then be able to determine the remaining duration of the activity. This would be extremely useful for DR8, predicting if an activity will meet its durations; DR9, identifying what is required to get an activity back on schedule; and DR10, what is required to complete an activity. The superintendent lacks tools that enable him or her to be able to accurately estimate the completion date of a project. If progress was simulated on a computer model of a project it, would be possible to update the schedule automatically from the model. The schedule then would be able to represent the actual progress on the project and possibly the forecasted durations. One of

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65 the shortfalls of existing schedules is that they do not identify where on the project this work is completed. If the schedule was linked to the simulated computer model it would then be possible to identify where the completed work is located. If the computer model of the project was created in layers that represented activities on the schedule, then the schedule would be more usable. This would aid the superintendent in addressing DR1, activity space and storage requirements; DR2, identifying what needs to be in place for an activity and evaluating alternatives; DR3, identifying what activities are reliant on other activities; DR7, identifying the impact that an activity has on others; and DR11, determining if an activity can start while its prerequisite is still in progress. In summary, the results of the analysis indicate that superintendents would benefit by having a computer model that simulated the actual project. The computer model would have to allow the superintendent to easily allow the superintendent to identify and note work that has been completed. If the model was object-oriented and represented the actual materials that are used on the project, then the superintendent could easily identify the quantities of materials. This would allow him or her to be able to identify the amount of material that is in place as well as the amount of material that remains. If the system was able to input the size of the crew, it would then be able to establish a crew production rate, and therefore find the remaining duration based on the established production rate and remaining material. If the model was linked to activities on the schedule then the schedule would become a more useful tool. Superintendents would be able to visually see where an activity was to take place. If the schedule was linked to the model it could

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66 represent the actual progress, and it would be able to revise activity durations based actual production rates.

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CHAPTER 5 FINAL CONCLUSION Potter and colleagues modified design artifact was successful in translating the results of the CTA into a format that could easily be followed. The FAH provided a framework that identified the goals necessary for the superintendents domain of scheduling a construction activity. After the FAH was established, it was then possible to identify the cognitive demands, or DR, required to meet the demands of the domain. Identifying the IR that are associated with the DR provided a better understanding of the elements that are required to fulfill the DR. The IS of the IR provided more details about the IR, and provide more insight to the superintendents job. Understanding the timeframe in which the superintendent collected the IR and executed the DR also aided in better understanding his or her job. The superintendent was observed using several artifacts that aided in scheduling activities. The identification of these artifacts was useful in uncovering some of the cognitively demanding aspects of the job. It is also useful to study existing artifacts to identify parts of them that need to be preserved when designing new technology. For this reason, two of these artifacts, the drawings and the schedule, needed to be studied in greater detail. The drawings are an artifact that was modified into several different tools that made the superintendents job easier. The schedules were an artifact that was expected to aid in the superintendents work, yet they were used very little. It was necessary to critique these two artifacts, the drawings and schedule, to obtain a better understanding of them. 67

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68 The critique of the schedule and drawings allows for the establishment of realities and theories about those particular artifacts. The realities were actual observed uses of the artifacts. Based on these realities one is able to establish theories about an artifact that needs to be considered when modifying that artifact. Realities and theories look at how, and in what situations, existing technology is used. Realities and theories complement the entire analysis by addressing usability. The entire analysis leads to the recommendations for design. All of the recommendations are supported by the analysis. The design artifact that was used allows one to trace back and identify the reasoning for that recommendation. The application of the CTA to a superintendents job was useful. The CTA identified aspects of a superintendents job that can be cognitively demanding. By uncovering the demanding parts of the superintendents job we can hopefully develop better tools to support their job in the future.

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LIST OF REFERENCES Bertelsen, O. W. and S. Bodker (2003). Activity Theory. HCI Models, Theories, and Frameworks: Towards a Multidisciplinary science J. M. Carroll. San Francisco, Morgan-Kaufmann: 291-324. Bisantz, A. M. and J. J. Ockerman (2002). "Informing the evaluation and design of technology in intentional work environments through a focus on artefacts and implicit theories." International Journal Human-Computer Studies 56: 247-265. Carroll, J. (2003). Introduction: Towards a multidisciplinary science of human-computer interaction. HCI Models, Theories, and Frameworks: Towards a Multidisciplinary Science J. Carroll. San Francisco, Morgan-Kaufmann: 1-10. Darse, F. (2001). "Providing Practitioners with Techniques for Cognitive Work Analysis." Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science 2(3): 268-277. John, B. E. (2003). Information Processing and Skilled Behavior. HCI Models, Theories, and Frameworks: Towards a Multidisciplinary Science J. M. Carroll. San Francisco, Morgan-Kaufmann: 55-102. Militello, L. G. and R. J. B. Hutton (1998). "Applied cognitive task analysis (ACTA): a practitioner's toolkit for understanding cognitive demands." Ergonomics 41(11): 1618-1641. Militello, L. G., R. J. B. Hutton, R. M. Pilske, B. J. Knight, and G. Klein (1997). Applied Cognitive Task Analysis (ACTA) Methodology. Final Report prepared for Navy Personnel Research and Development Center, contract # N66001-94-C-7034. Fairborn, OH. Klein Associates, Inc. Monk, A. (2003). Common Ground in Electronically Mediated Communication: Clark's Theory of Language Use. HCI Models, Theories, and Frameworks: Towards a Multidisciplinary science J. M. Carroll. San Francisco, Morgan-Kaufmann: 265-290. Norman, D. A. (1986). Cognitive Engineering. User Centered System Design: New Perspectives on Human Computer Interaction D. A. Norman and S. W. Daper. Hillsdale, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: 31-61. Payne, S. J. (2003). User's Mental Models: The Very Ideas. HCI Models, Theories, and Frameworks: Towards a Multidisciplinary Science J. M. Carroll. San Francisco, Morgan-Kaufmann: 135-156. 69

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70 Perry, M. (2003). Distributed Cognition. HCI Models, Theories, and Frameworks: Towards a Multidisciplinary science J. Carroll. San Francisco, Morgan-Kaufmann: 193-224. Potter, S. S., W. C. Elm, E. M. Roth, J. W. Gualtiere, and J. R. Easter (2002). Bridging the Gap Between Cognitive Analysis and Effective Decision Aiding. State of the Art Report (SOAR): Cognitive Systems Engineering in Miltary Aviation Enviroments: Avoiding Cogminutia Fragmentosa! M. D. McNeese and M. A. Vidulich. Wright-Patterson AFB, Human Systems Information Analysis Center: 137-168. Riley, D. (2003). The Role of 4D Modeling in Trade Sequencing and Production Planning. 4D CAD and Visualization in Construction: Developement and Applications R. Issa, I. Flood and W. O'Brien. The Netherlands, A. A. Balkema: 125-144. Roth, E. M., N. Malsch, and J. Multer (2001). Understanding How Train Dispatchers Manage and Control Trains: Results of a Cognitive Task Analysis, U.S. Department of Transportation. Roth, E. M., E. S. Patterson, and R. J. Mumaw (2002). Cognitive Engineering: Issues in User-Centered System Design. Encyclopedia of Software Engineering J. J. Marciniak. New York, John Wiley & Sons. 2nd: 137-168. Sanderson, P. M. (2003). Cognitive Work Analysis. HCI Models, Theories, and Frameworks: Towards a Multidisciplinary science J. M. Carroll. San Francisco, Morgan-Kaufmann: 225-264. Vicente, K. J., E. M. Roth, R. J. Mumaw (2001). "How do operators monitor a complex, dynamic work domain? The impact of controll room technology." International Journal Human-Computer Studies 54: 831-856. Ware, C. (2003). Design as Applied Perception. HCI Models, Theories, and Frameworks: Towards a Multidisciplinary science J. M. Carroll. San Francisco, Morgan-Kaufmann: 11-26. Woods, D. D. (1998). "Designs are Hypotheses about How Artifacts Shape Cognition and Collaboration." Ergonomics 41: 168-173.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Michael Hurley was born February 22, 1978. He attended the University of Nebraska at Kearney for a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management, before attending to the University of Florida to pursue a Master of Science in Building Construction. 71


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COGNITIVE TASK ANALYSIS OF SUPERINTENDENTS' WORK: A CASE
STUDY AND CRITIQUE OF SUPPORTING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES















By

MICHAEL JEROME HURLEY


A THEISIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE IN BUILDING CONSTRUCTION

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2005

































Copyright 2005

by

Michael Jerome Hurley
















TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

L IST O F T A B L E S ...................................................... v

LIST O F FIG U RE S .......................................................................................... ........vi

A B S T R A C T .................................ii............................

CHAPTER

1 IN T R O D U C T IO N ............................................................................... 1

2 LITERA TU RE REV IEW ...................................................... 3

Human Computer Interaction............................. .............. ..............3
Cognitive Task A analysis ................................................................. ........ 6

3 M E T H O D O L O G Y ........................................................................ 11

Field Observations ............................................................................. 12
Interview s .................................................... 14
Follow Up Observations and Interview .........................................15
Summary of Methodology ................................. ........................... ....... 15

4 A N A L Y S IS ..................................................................... 17

Observed Project Description.......................... ....... ......... 17
Superintendents Duties and Responsibilities ........................................................... 18
Functional A bstraction H ierarchy ...................................................................... 19
D decisions R equirem ents................................................. ............................... 20
A rtifa cts........................................ .... ......................................2 3
Information Requirements and Information Sources ...........................................25
Superintendent's Tim efram e................................................................ ........ ...37
C critique of E existing T ools.................................................................... ................ 4 1
S chedu le ....................................................................................... 4 1
M aster Construction Schedule.......................................................... 42
D divisional Schedule ........................................................................... .............. 47
Three-Week Look-Ahead Schedule .................................... ................. 48
D raw in g s ....................................................................................... ........ 5 3









R ealities and T heories.................................................. ................................. 57
R ecom m endations for D esign ......................................................... ............ 62

5 FIN A L C O N CLU SIO N ........................................................................... ........67

LIST OF REFEREN CES ............................................................. .. .............. 69

BIO GRAPH ICAL SKETCH .................................................. ............................. 71















































iv
















LIST OF TABLES


Table page

4-1. Decision requirements for scheduling jobsite activities. .......................................21

4-2. Artifacts that superintendents use, their use, and the benefit that they provide........24

4-3. Six types of spatial conflicts that can occur between activities. ............ ..............26

4-4 Determining the amount of space an activity consumes. .............. ..............27

4-5 Identifying activity prerequisites and exploring potential alternatives. ..................31

4-6. Identifying the resources and equipment required for an activity.......................32

4-7. Identifying activities that are impacted by the start or completion of an activity.....33

4-8. Addressing safety issues of an activity. ........................................ .............. 34

4-9. Identifying who is responsible for an activity and what that subcontractor is
responsible for .............. ..... ..... ................ .......... ........ ............ 35

4-10. Understanding the impact an activity has on existing activities. .........................36

4-11. Identifying whether an activity will finish on time. ........................................37

4-12. Identifying activities that can be expedited................................... .... ............... 38

4-13. Understanding the knowledge of the processes that are involved with an
activity ...........................................................................39

4-14. Establishing buffers for activities............................. ...................40
















LIST OF FIGURES

Figure page

4-1. Sequence of analysis............ .. .. ...... .. .. ....................... ... ............ 18

4-3. A page from the master construction schedule. ................... ................46

4-4. The 3-week look-ahead schedule. ................................. .. ........................ .. 51

4-5. Highlighted drawing that represents the sequence of the paving........................... 57















Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Building Construction

COGNITIVE TASK ANALYSIS OF SUPERINTENDENTS' WORK: A CASE
STUDY AND CRITIQUE OF SUPPORTING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES

By

Michael Jerome Hurley

August 2005

Chair: William O'Brien
Cochair: R. Raymond Issa
Major Department: Building Construction

Construction superintendents have a demanding job. There is very little technology

to support them in their job, and the technology that does exist is not being used to its full

potential. Human Computer Interaction (HCI) is an area within the field of computer

science that is focused on making computing more useful and usable. My study applied

one of the HCI theories of use, Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA), to superintendents'

work. The purpose of this CTA was to identify the cognitively demanding parts of a

superintendent's job. By identifying the cognitive demands that a superintendent is faced

with, we can then recommend better ways to address those demands with new

technology.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Construction projects today are becoming more complicated. Today we are

expected to construct buildings faster and with fewer people. One reason we are able to

accomplish this is the use of new computer technology. Most of the new technology is

used to better plan and coordinate projects at management levels and at project design.

We have software that aids in the scheduling, estimating, design, and management of

construction documents. The computing power for construction is constantly growing

and improving. Yet in my opinion, we are not asking ourselves what we need in

computing and, more importantly, how we can take the technology that exists today and

make it more useful.

There is a specialization within the computer science field known as Human

Computer Interaction (HCI). HCI practitioners look at how people work with computers,

and find ways to maximize the experience between human and machine. Construction is

a unique profession, with a unique work environment. Most computer programs and

machines are designed for the office environment. While many construction jobs include

the luxury of the office environment, many jobs in construction do not. Construction

superintendents have a dynamic workspace. Traditional computing systems and devices

do not fit well into superintendents' dynamic work environment, and information used in

the office environment may not transfer well into the field and vice versa. The

construction industry must start to better explore the possibilities of computing for

construction superintendents.









Applying HCI models, theories, and frameworks to existing technology, and

creating new technology, is a way to maximize and identify the potential of computing

for construction superintendents. Superintendents have various duties and

responsibilities required to complete their job; as a result their job can be extremely

difficult at times. A Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA) is an HCI theory of use facilitates

the design of better systems and devices for construction superintendents.

A CTA is an analysis of the cognitive demands of complex tasks. This includes the

knowledge, mental processes, and decisions needed to complete a task. A CTA helps to

identify the demanding elements of a superintendent's job. By identifying the demanding

aspects of a superintendent's job, we can then focus on specific areas of a

superintendent's job that could be better supported by using computers. A CTA also

allows us to evaluate existing systems, and to identify what parts of those systems are

working and what areas need improvement.














CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW

Human Computer Interaction

Human Computer Interaction (HCI), a field that emerged in the late 1970s,

addresses usability issues for technology design. "It [HCI] is concerned with

understanding how people make use of devices and systems that embed computation, and

how such devices and systems can be more useful and usable" (Carroll 2003 page 1).

Even though HCI is a young field, HCI practitioners have several models, theories, and

frameworks to work with: understanding human performance, performance models,

mental models, usage environments, and theories of use.

Understanding human performance: entails looking at the capabilities and

limitations of humans. By identifying the capabilities and limitations of human design,

guidelines can be established not to exceed humans' capabilities or limitations. Within

the context of understanding human performance there is the theory of "the human visual

system." This theory assumes that humans process visual information in more or less the

same manner. "This enables us to develop a kind of perceptual and cognitive ergonomics

with guidelines for display designed based on models of human sensory processing"

(Ware 2003 page 11). Understanding human performance also involves looking at other

areas like human motor behavior to establish other guidelines. By understanding human

performance, HCI practitioners can better design to the capabilities of humans.

Performance models: help to investigate how humans will perform using a

system or device. One performance model is Goals Operators Method and Selections









(GOMS). "GOMS is a method for describing a task and the users' knowledge of how to

perform the task in terms of Goals, Operators, Methods, and Selection rules" (John 2003

page 59). GOMS analysis can be used to predict users' outcomes in unexpected

situations. GOMS analyses are useful in evaluating the effectiveness of design, in

writing users' manuals, and developing online tutorials. Performance models can be

useful in determining how useable and useful an existing system will be.

Mental models: have their roots in cognitive psychology. "Mental models

[theory] seems to hold strong appeal to HCI designers because it captures their intuitions

about the ways users come to understand and perhaps misunderstand the devices that they

use" (Payne 2003 page 135). One mental model is cognitive engineering. "So the goal

of cognitive engineering is to come to understanding the issues, to show how to make

better choices when they exist, and to show what the tradeoffs are when, as is the usual

case, an improvement in one domain leads to deficits in another" (Norman 1986 page

31). Mental models theory helps to look at how the mind works and tries to develop

systems or devices that complement these models.

Usage environment: helps in studying the environment in which a system is

placed. Clark's theory of common ground is one example of a usage environment theory.

"Clark's theory is based around the concept of common ground that is, the things we

know about what is known by the person we are talking to" (Monk 2003 page 270). The

theory of common ground implies that to be successful in communication, must know

what is known by the person or persons one is communicating with. Common ground is

a useful theory when developing collaborative or group systems. Usage environment is

focused on designing for the environment in which the devices or system will be placed.









Theories of use. One theory of use is activity theory. "Activity theory

understands human conduct as anchored in collective/shared practice, it addresses more

than just individual skills, knowledge, and judgment, and it is not restricted to the

'generic' human being" (Bertelsen and Bodker 2003 page 294). Activity theory

evaluates new artifacts, studies how they affect work practices and how work practices

change the artifact. Another theory of use is distributed cognition (DCog). "The aim of

DCog is to understand how intelligence is manifested at a systems level and not at the

individual level" (Perry 2003 page 204). Cognitive Work Analysis (CWA), also known

as Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA), is another theory of use. "CWA has grown to be an

effective force for describing that shape human cognitive work in real time

environments" (Sanderson 2003 page 226). CTA is useful in designing for unanticipated

events and for systems that are the first of a kind. HCI theories of use are concerned with

identifying items that would make a system or device useful.

All of these HCI models, theories, and frameworks could help to improve

computing in construction. Understanding human performance could possibly lead to the

better development of visualization tools, and furthermore to the design of devices that

would not interfere with existing practices. Performances models such as GOMS could

lead to better training practices and might possibly refine existing software. Construction

is a highly collaborative work environment, so usage environment theories such as

common ground would be beneficial. The collaborative nature of construction would

also indicate that DCog would be useful. Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA) is another

theory of use that would be very useful in developing systems in construction that do not









currently exist; furthermore, the real-time nature of construction makes CTA a good HCI

theory of use to employ.

Cognitive Task Analysis

There is a need for new and better technology to help support superintendents.

Many of the HCI models, theories, and frameworks would be useful in developing new

devices and systems for specific aspects of a superintendent's job, but to determine what

superintendents need and to identify areas that need improvement a Cognitive Task

Analysis (CTA) would be most beneficial for analyzing the work of a superintendent as a

whole. A CTA works well for designing systems in which the users face unpredicted

events. Constructions superintendents are constantly dealing with unanticipated events.

CTA are also useful in developing first of a kind systems.

Cognitive task analysis is an analysis of the cognitive demands of complex tasks.

This includes the knowledge, mental processes, and decisions that are required to

complete a task. Several authors "have long promoted the idea that cognition is at the

core of human work" (Darse 2001 page 268). So it is practical when investigating the

implementation of new technologies into a work environment that we consider the

cognitive demands of that work: "It is necessary to understand the cognitive demands of

the domain and the sources of performance bottlenecks to ensure that the introduction of

new technology will reduce mental workload rather than exacerbate it" (Roth, Patterson

et al. 2002 page 5). New technologies do not guarantee increased performance; poorly

designed technologies can lead to an increase in the cognitive demands associated to the

task. A CTA will help to identify and understand the demands on superintendents, and

assist in the development of useful and usable systems and devices for them.









HCI experts have used several variations of CTA to identify the cognitive demands

and difficulties of tasks. There is not a standard method for extracting the cognitive

demands that are associated with a task, but all CTAs have three main goals. The first

goal is to identify the different factors that make a task cognitively difficult to perform.

The second goal is to uncover the methods that are developed by the subject matter

experts to complete cognitive tasks. The final goal is to develop ways to improve

cognitive performance through the introduction of new technology.

To the best of my knowledge there have not been any attempts to analyze the

cognitive tasks of a construction superintendent. Yet CTAs have been performed in areas

where the subjects face demands similar to that of a construction superintendent; for

example, tasks that require monitoring the current situation, dealing with unexpected

events, and planning what course of action to take. A few examples of these are Potter

and colleagues' (2002) CTA for military command decision making, Roth and

colleagues' (2001) CTA of train dispatchers, and Vicente and colleagues' (2001) CTA

between old and modern nuclear power plants' control rooms.

The Purpose of the CTA by Roth, Malsch, and colleagues' "was to examine how

experienced dispatches managed and scheduled trains in today's environment" (page 1).

The objective of the analysis was to identify the demands of the job and to isolate the

strategies that have been developed to meet these demands. The information that was

gained from the study was then used in the development of a new computer system.

Their CTA was conducted in four phases. The first phase was observations at a dispatch

center for passenger and freight trains. The second phase was structured interviews with

train dispatchers. The third phase was more observations at a dispatch center that mainly









handled freight trains. For the final phase they went back to the original dispatch center

for observations to verify their findings, and allow for additional probing.

The goal of Vicente et al. (2001) research was "to develop a better understanding of

how operators monitor complex, dynamic systems under normal operations," (page 831)

in new and old nuclear power plant control rooms. Their cognitive analysis consisted of

two rounds of field observations with questions asked to gain understanding of the

cognitive nature of the control room operators' job. Their observations were centered on

answering four questions: "How do they monitor the plant? What makes it difficult and

vulnerable? What is missing? What are the cognitive strategies used" (Vicente et al.

2001 page 833)? The answers to these questions helped to identify the cognitive

differences between the new and old control rooms.

Potter et al. used a CTA analysis to aid in the creation of a decision aid for military

command decision making. To improve the quality and usefulness of their results they

developed a design artifact to help show and interpret the results of the cognitive

analysis. Their design artifact has 5 components: the functional abstraction hierarchy

(FAH), decision requirements (DR), information requirements (IR), display task

description, and the display design concept. "These design artifacts form a continuous

design thread that provides a principled, traceable link from cognitive analysis to design"

(Potter et al. 2001 page 141). Their cognitive analysis still incorporates observations and

interviews, but design artifact allows for a better understanding of the results.

The first step in Potter and colleagues' design artifact is the FAH. The purpose of

the FAH is "capturing the essential domain concepts and relationships that define the

problem-space confronting the domain practitioners" (Potter et al. 2001 page 140). The









next step in their design artifact that builds on and directly relates to the FAH is the DR.

The DR objective is "identifying the cognitive demands/tasks/decisions that arise in the

domain and require support" (Potter et al. 2001 page 140). For every DR there is an IR.

The IR identify "the information requirements to successfully execute these cognitive

demands/tasks/decisions" (Potter et al. 2001 page 140). The IR are then used for the

creation of the display task description, which addresses the visualization needs of the

specific IR. The display task description is then used to create the rapid prototype

display, which is a quick representation of the display concepts. It is important to note

that even though there is an order to the design artifact, cognitive analysis is a process

that tends to build upon itself.

Militello and Hutton developed Applied Cognitive Task Analysis (ACTA) a

streamlined CTA method "intended for use by instructional designers and systems

designs rather than knowledge engineers, cognitive psychologists, and human

factors/ergonomics professionals" (Militello and Hutton 1998). Their method is

comprised of four components: a task diagram, a knowledge audit, and a simulation

interview, all of which are used to create the cognitive demands table. The task diagram

represents a decomposition of a task into the steps required to complete the task. "The

knowledge audit identifies ways in which expertise is used in a domain and provides

examples based on actual experience" (Militello and Hutton 1998 page 1619). During

the simulation interviews subjects are presented with challenging scenarios and "... asked

to identify major events, including judgments and decisions" (Militello and Hutton 1998

page 1623). The cognitive demands table is created from the information that is gained

in the prior steps. The table can be tailored to tasks that are being analyzed, but should









identify the cognitive demands. Other categories in the cognitive demands table that the

authors recommend be included are: why difficult, common errors, and cues and

strategies used. Militello and Hutton's ACTA method is similar to the design artifact of

Potter et al. in the sense that they both have defined steps and methods for displaying

results, but even more importantly, the methods that they introduce provide a framework

that does not require that the user be an expert to practice.

While all of these examples examine different tasks, the methods used to uncover

the cognitive demands of those tasks do not differ greatly. To identify the cognitive

difficulties of a task, the domain of that task needs to be identified; this is accomplished

mainly through observation. Some cognitive demands may be uncovered during

observation, but most will be uncovered by interviewing the subjects about tasks that

were observed during the observations. There is no standard method for performing a

CTA, and there is not a standard for displaying the results, but Militello and Hutton, and

Potter et al. provide a framework that makes CTA more available to people that are not

experts in cognitive psychology or human factors.














CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY

There are three main parts to performing a CTA of a superintendent's tasks. First it

is necessary to identify the factors that make a superintendent's job cognitively difficult

to perform. Some cognitive difficulties are uncovered through field observations and a

work domain analysis. Next it is necessary to uncover the methods that the

superintendent has developed to complete his or her tasks. Some of the superintendent's

methods may be found through simple observations; others are embedded in the artifacts

that he or she uses; and some will be elicited through interviews. Interviews provide the

opportunity to elicit more information about observed incidents, and to gain a better

understanding of the superintendent's job as a whole. After the interviews and initial

observations there is a second round of observations to validate the information from the

data collected. Finally the information that is gained from the observations and

interviews is then used to identify ways to improve cognitive performance through the

introduction of new or improved technology. The information that was gathered from the

CTA is manifested in design artifact similar to the one that Potter et al. proposed.

The data from the CTA will be represented using Potter et al.'s Functional

Abstraction Hierarchy (FAH), Decision Requirements (DR), and the Information

Requirements (IR). The FAH displays the results of the field observations and work

domain analysis. The DR represent the cognitive demands with which the superintendent

is faced. The IR represent the information that is necessary to meet the requirements of

the DR. Information Sources (IS) were added to the design artifact to complement the









IR. The design artifact is a useful tool for being able to process the information of the

CTA.

Field Observations

The first phase was the field observations; the intention of the field observations

was to gain an overview of the superintendent's tasks and to identify difficult aspects of

the job that could be further analyzed during the interviews. Understanding the work

domain is important for several reasons: doing so helps to "... provides a framework for

interpreting practitioners performance, help define the requirements for effective support,

and understanding the task demands helps define the bounds of feasible support" (Roth,

Malsch et al. 2001 page 3).

The observations took place over four consecutive days. There were two goals to

the initial observations: to gain a broad overview of superintendent's decision making,

and the discovery of artifacts that aid the superintendent. During the observations only

qualifying questions were asked.

A construction superintendent has several artifacts or tools that help him or her

manage a project. During observations all the artifacts that were used by the

superintendent were noted. "The added benefit of examining cognition within systems

extending beyond the brain is that many of the representations are physically manifested

in artifacts and do not require the indirect methods of examination that experimental

psychology has to use" (Perry 2003 page 212). In other words the cognition that an

artifact embodies and supports is transparent once there is an understanding of how that

artifact is used. It is important when designing a new system that the cognition that is

embodied in the existing artifact that supports the tasks is preserved. Not all artifacts

reduce cognition. In poorly designed artifacts the artifact can increase the cognitive









nature of the task. The cognition that is embedded within these artifacts is easily

uncovered once an understanding of how the artifact is used. Many of the functions of

artifacts are apparent through observation, and can be easily explained during interviews.

In addition many of the artifacts are information sources, which lead to a better

understanding of the information requirements that support the decision requirements.

Before starting of field observation, information about the superintendent's duties

and responsibilities was collected. I had previous work experience on construction sites.

Prior work experience within the construction industry aided in understanding the terms

and the processes that are required to perform a superintendent's job. Without this prior

background in the construction industry the amount of time to gather information about

the superintendent's job would have been greatly increased. Superintendents' jobs can

differ depending on the company, type of project and location; therefore, some initial

observation was required to gain a broad understanding of the superintendent's decision

making. The information that was gathered from the observations lead to the creation of

the FAH.

"The FAH provides a framework for making explicit the goals to be achieved in the

domain and the alternative means available for achieving those goals" (Potter et al. 2002

Page 143). The FAH is developed by performing a work domain analysis. Work domain

analysis is based on observation and interaction with the superintendent; this represents

the first step taken in a CTA. The FAH provides an outlet or framework to identify "...

the cognitive activities that arise in the domain and the information needed to support

those decisions" (Potter et al. 2002 page 143). The creation of the FAH helped to better









understand the work domain and was a useful tool in identifying the cognitive demands

of DR during the interviews.

Interviews

The interview had six objectives: first, to elicit complicating factors that make

maintaining the project duration difficult. Second, to identify activities that the

superintendent performs on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Third, to identify and

confirm methods or strategies superintendents have developed to maintain performance

and maintain the awareness of events and progress of the project. Next, to confirm and

identify artifacts, and discuss both their useful and frustrating aspects. Next, to elicit the

superintendent's suggestions for improvement, and finally, to identify specific incidents

that portray the complexities that can arise, and the strategies developed to deal with

them How the superintendent reacts and copes with the unexpected is a vital part of the

CTA. "Understanding the knowledge and the strategies that expert practitioners have

developed in response to the domain demands provides a second window for uncovering

what makes today's world hard and what are the effective strategies for dealing with the

domain demands" (Roth, Malsch et al. 2001 page 3). Addressing these six objectives

will provide a better understanding of how superintendents operate.

The purpose of the interview was to draw out the cognitive demanding aspects of a

superintendent's job. Potter et al. refer to the cognitive demands of the domain as

'Decision Requirements' (DR). These DR are directly related to nodes on the FAH.

Once the cognitive demands, or DR, were identified the superintendent was probed about

how the demands were met. The information necessary to be able to successfully address

a DR will be referred to as Information Requirements (IR).









The interview helped "... to identify and document the information required for

each decision to be made. IR are defined as the set of information elements necessary for

successful resolution of the associated decision requirement" (Potter et al. 2002 page

146). The decision requirements are the framework for the information requirements.

The goal associated with IR is to identify all of the information required for decision

making.

Once the IR were uncovered the superintendent, during the interview, was asked

the source of the information. Information Sources (IS) were added to the analysis to

provide a better understanding of the IR and how certain artifacts are used.

Follow Up Observations and Interview

After the information from the interview was organized, the superintendent was

asked to review and validate the information. The superintendent, at this time, was again

asked if there was anything else that should be included. Furthermore during the follow

up interview the superintendent was asked about the timeframe in which the DR were

executed.

After the follow up interview there was another day and a half of observation. This

was done to verify the information from the interview and possibly to facilitate the

discovery of more cognitive demands.

Summary of Methodology

The CTA of superintendent work has three parts: field observations, an interview,

and follow up interview and observations. The field observations were conducted to gain

understanding of the superintendent's work domain. They also aid in the discovery of

artifacts, and help to establish a timeline of superintendent's task. The initial interview

helped to draw out cognitive demands, the information requirements to meet those






16


demands, and the information sources that supported the information requirements. The

interview also provided a chance to identify and understand artifacts. The main function

of the follow up interview and observations was to verify the results, but it also provided

a chance to better understand the timeframe in which the superintendent performs tasks.














CHAPTER 4
ANALYSIS

The analysis of a superintendent's work is a continuous thread was 8 parts: each

part builds on those before it (Figure 4-1). First is the FAH, which maps out the domain

of scheduling an activity. Next is the identification of the DR, or cognitive demands.

Then the artifacts or tools that the superintendent uses that help support cognitive tasks

are identified. Next the IR and IS are identified. A timeline is then established that

identifies the frequency with which the superintendent is faced with the various cognitive

demands. Next, there is a critique of construction drawings and schedules. This critique

is based on observed usage which supports the identifications of the realities of these two

artifacts, and theories that exist in the artifacts that should be preserved in any

improvements. Finally there is the recommendation of what a system should embody

based on the entire analysis.

Observed Project Description

The observed project was the University of Florida Orthopedic Surgery and Sports

Medicine Institute in Gainesville Florida. The project is a design-build project with an

estimated cost of $21,427,000.00. Once complete, the facility will be a 110,000

gross-square-foot, 4-story structure. The building will serve multiple functions: it will

be a teaching, research, and treatment facility. The expected duration for the project is 15

months. The General Contractor for the project is one of the nation's leading general

builders, and in 2004 recorded well over $6 billion in revenue, and annually works on

over 1,500 projects a year.







18















SIO









O -





F -or



Figure 4-1. Sequence of analysis

Superintendents Duties and Responsibilities

Superintendents have an extremely demanding job. They are responsible for

completing the project on time, within budget and to the contract specifications. The

superintendents' responsibilities and duties are: to review contract documents including

subcontractor scope of work, estimates and schedules; conduct all preconstruction

meetings with the project manager; inform all subcontractors of critical dates, and

monitor their performance; provide project cost information to the project manager;

update the construction schedule; assist in material status reports, personnel change









request, and change orders; note design deficiencies, and notify the project manager of

any potential change order.

Superintendents must also coordinate with subcontractors for progress payments;

maintain a back charge log; provide written communication of any job deficiency or

improvement recommendations; ensure integrity and quality of materials and installation

methods; establish a safe working environment and maintain through use of company

safety policy. Furthermore, they must prepare safety and loss reports; produce and

maintain a daily log; document any owner or subcontractor delay; administer

performance evaluations of foremen, secretaries, field engineers, and project engineers;

and coordinate the work of all subcontractors. Superintendents have a complex job, and

what is amazing is that there is very little technology to support them in their daily

activities.

Functional Abstraction Hierarchy

The Functional Abstraction Hierarchy (FAH) is the first part of the analysis. The

FAH (Figure 4-2) represents the work domain for scheduling jobsite activities. The work

domain was defined by a work domain analysis. A work domain analysis is the

decomposition of a domain into its individual requirements. The work domain analysis

was the first step in the cognitive task analysis. The work domain analysis was

conducted to identify the steps that are necessary to meet the goals of the domain and to

provide a structure of the work domain. Initial information about the work domain was

gathered from personal experience, but the bulk of the information was gathered through

observations and interviews with the domain practitioner, the superintendent.

The intention of the development of the FAH is to represent the overall relation to

the individual entities to that of the overall goal of jobsite scheduling of activities. The











FAH shows, 11 factors that must be addressed to successfully schedule a jobsite activity.

The FAH does not represent the any of the cognitive demands that are necessary to meet

the requirements of the work domain, but the FAH, once created, was used to uncover the

cognitive demands.


Scheduling

Jobsite

Activities

DR1-
DR3
D/ DR5 \ DR11
Space DR DR9 --
Requirements / D DR6 -
Resources
/Safety Activity
Processes
Assessing
Who is Progress
Activity responsible for
Sequence the work

/DR2-
DR10
SPrerequisites
Alternative
Methods
DR7
DR8

Effect on Other
Activities
Buffers



Figure 4-2. Functional abstraction hierarchy ofjobsite scheduling

Decisions Requirements

The next step in the process is to uncover or link the cognitive demands necessary

to achieve the domain goals that are identified in the FAH (Table 4-1). The cognitive

demands will be referred to as "Decision Requirements (DR)" (Potter et al. 2002). The

decision requirements are the cognitive demands that are addressed while performing a










task, in this case scheduling jobsite activities. The DR are represented in table 4-1, and

each decision requirement supports a node on the FAH. The majority of the decision

requirements were derived from CTA, and through artifact decomposition.

Table 4-1. Decision requirements for scheduling jobsite activities
DR1
Determine the amount of space that is required for the task (workspace and storage). (This
decision is derived from the need to establish the impact that an activity will have on the entire
project.)
DR2
Determine what needs to be accomplished for the activity to start or if there is a way around this.
(This decision evaluates the current situation and explores possible alternatives.)
DR3
Determine the resources and the equipment that are required for an activity.
DR4
Determine what activities rely on the start or the completion of this activity.
DR5
Identify the safety concerns that are associated with this activity.
DR6
Who is performing the activity and what is their scope of work.
DR7
Determine the impact that this activity has on other activities.
DR8
Determine if an activity is going to meet its scheduled duration.
DR9
Identify activities that can be expedited to get the project back on schedule.
DR10
Determine the processes that are required to complete an activity.
DR11
Determine how much of a buffer needs to be in place for a linked activity to start.

During an interview portion of the CTA, the superintendent was reminded of the

some of the strategies that were revealed during the initial observation and was asked to

identify specific incidents in which the strategies were used. In following the processes

ofMilitello, Hutton et al.'s simulation interview, once the incident was revealed the

superintendent was asked "... to identify major events, including judgments and

decisions" (Militello, Hutton et al. 1997 page 4). Each event, judgment and decision that

the superintendent identified was then probed further. This interview process aided in the









discovery of the cognitive demands or decision requirements of the superintendent's job

by eliciting actual events. In addition to identifying decision requirements, the interviews

helped to identify the supporting information requirements and the information sources.

Strategies. During observations three expert strategies were discovered that the

superintendent uses to support his decisions in scheduling activities on the jobsite. The

discovery of strategies the superintendent uses is an effective way to uncover the

cognitive demands this is supported by the Knowledge Audit portion ofMilitello, Hutton

et al. applied cognitive task analysis. The strategies that are discovered during the

knowledge audit portion ofMilitello, Hutton et al.'s Applied Cognitive Task Analysis are

used in the simulation interview. The simulation interview relies on an expert in the

subject matter, in this case the superintendent, to recall and describe specific incidents in

which these strategies were used.

The first strategy uncovered can be summarized by this statement: Lowest to

highest, largest to smallest. Lowest to highest means that when constructing a project

one must to start with the lowest item on the plan (e.g. plumbing and electrical should be

roughed in before you pour the slab). Largest to smallest implies that bigger items take

precedence over smaller items (e.g. with mechanical, electrical and plumbing the

mechanical should go first because it is the largest, then plumbing, and then electrical).

This strategy helps the superintendent determine the sequence the activities should have.

One of the incidents uncovered during the interviews, which is mentioned later in this

paper, shows the importance of this strategy. The 'Lowest to highest; largest to smallest'

strategy aided in the discovery of several decision requirements, especially DR 2

establishing activities prerequisites and evaluating alternative solutions.









The next strategy discovered dealt with one specific area: the bathrooms; but the

concept behind it can be applied to the entire project. While talking with the

superintendent about the schedule and what activities received precedence he offered this

advice: "You always want to start work in the bathrooms first." His reasoning for

starting work in this area first was based on the amount of trade traffic that was involved

in this area. A generalization of this strategy would be 'areas that involve many trades

should receive top priority.' This strategy was influential in the recognition of several

decision requirements: DR4 establishing what activities rely on the start or completion of

a task, DR7 determining the impact an activity has on the project as whole, and DR11

determining the amount of a buffer that an activity has.

The final bit of advice received about schedule was, "If you are planning activities

for today then you are already behind schedule." This statement stresses the importance

of being future-minded. This strategy can be seen in all of the DR: to schedule jobsite

activities successfully the superintendent needs to be future-minded

Artifacts

The discovery of artifacts or tools used by the superintendent is an excellent way of

uncovering aspects of a task that are cognitively demanding (Table 4-2). "The added

benefit of examining cognition within systems extending beyond the brain is that many of

the representations are physically manifested in artifacts and do not require the indirect

methods of examination that experimental psychology has to use" (Perry 2003 page 212).

In other words the cognition that an artifact embodies and supports is transparent once

there exists an understanding of how that artifact is used. It is important when designing

a new system that the cognition that is embodied in the existing artifact that supports the










task is preserved. Not all artifacts reduce cognition. In poorly designed artifacts the

artifact can increase the cognitive nature of the task.

Table 4-2. Artifacts that superintendents use, their use, and the benefit that they provide.


Artifact
Construction
Schedule

Three-week look-
ahead Schedule.




Drawings






Highlighted
Drawings and Dry
Erase Board
Drawings


Subcontracts


Specifications


Superintendent's
daily report log

Subcontractor's
daily report log.




Submittal Log


Provides critical dates and an overall
sequence of work.

Accounts for the progress to date and
identifies activities that need to be
accomplished in the near future as well
as activities that need to start in the near
future.
Two dimensional representations.
Site plan, Structural, Architectural
(Floor plan, Elevations, Sections,
Details, Door Schedules, Window,
Schedules, Reflected ceiling plan),
Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing
Can be used to track progress of
activities.
Used to identify areas of concern.
Used to coordinate work amongst the
trades.
Used to schedule work.
Identify who is performing the work
and what they are responsible for.

Defines the type of material and
standards of quality. (Specifications
supersede drawings)
Daily accounting of the people on the
job. Work that was performed, and any
situation that arose
Identify the number of people on the
job, the items that were worked on, and
any problems that occurred or that are
foreseen. It also records the ethnicity
and gender of the workers.

Track what submittals are approved and
which ones are still pending.


Cognitive benefit
Provides a baseline.
Identifies milestones.
Identifies critical activities
Helps to identify the steps that
need to be taken to achieve
project goals.
Helps spread cognitive load to
other people.
Represents what the outcome of
the project should be.
Represents what, where, and
quantity.


Provides a source to offload
information and reduce
cognitive load.
Aids in the communication of
cognitive processes.

Provides a record of what work
the subcontractor is responsible
for.
Reference source.


Area to offload memory.
Reference source.

Reference source.
Identifies problems.




Reference source.


The decomposition of these artifacts helped to identify the cognitive demands of a

superintendent's job and are directly related to the creation of some of the decision









requirements. All of these artifacts are identified as information sources for the various

information requirements. In some cases these artifacts help to discover many

information requirements.

Information Requirements and Information Sources

After the decisions' requirements have been established, the next step in the

process is to identify the information that is necessary to support the decision: this

information will be referred to as the information requirements. "Information

requirements are defined as the set of information elements necessary for the successful

resolution of the associated decision requirements" (Potter et al. 2002 page 146).

Information sources were included along with the information requirements to provide a

more detailed picture of how the superintendent derives his decision.

DR 1 was derived from the need the superintendent has to establish the amount of

space that the activity will consume and the effect that it has on the project (Table 4-4).

According to Riley, "... four key space needs by crews are physical work space, storage

areas for materials, paths for material movement, and access points for unloading

materials onto building floors" (Riley 2003 page 133). Riley identifies six types of

spatial conflicts that can occur (Table 4-3).

On the observed project the fire line and the electric utilities needed to be installed,

but the installation could only proceeded if it did not disturb the brick layers. The

masons had their scaffolding on the east side of the building (the same side as the fire

line). The brick layers also required space for a crane that supplied the masons with

material, bricks and mortar, and access for a forklift that supplied the crane with supplies.

The fire line and electric utilities were located on the east side of the property about 40

feet from the building.









Table 4-3. "Six types of spatial conflicts that can occur between activities." (Riley 2003
page 139)
Conflict type Represents conflict between Density Range
Work (a)-Work (b) Activity (a) and Activity (b) work spaces Full
Storage (a)-Storage (b) Activity (a) storage and Activity (b) work Full
space
Path (a)-Work (b) Activity (a) path and Activity (b) work Variable
space
Storage (a)-Storage (b) Activity (a) and Activity (b) storage areas Variable
Path (a)-Path (b) Activity (a) path and Activity(b) path Variable
Path (a)-Storage (b) Activity (a) path and Activity (b) storage Variable
areas.
Riley, D. (2003). The Role of 4D Modeling in Trade Sequencing and Production Planning. 4D
CAD and Visualization in Construction: Developement and Applications. R. Issa, I. Flood and
W. O'Brien. The Netherlands, A. A. Balkema: 125-144.

The fire line and electric utility area was limited by existing trees within a few feet

to the east of that area, so all of the equipment and material had to be west of the trench.

For the installation of the fire line and electric utilities this trench needed to be dug with a

backhoe. The backhoe would have to work on the west side of the trench and slue and

store the dirt to the west (towards the building). The activity also required an area to

store the pipe and the conduit for the activities.

For this activity the superintendent went out on the jobsite and located the area in

which the fire line and the electric utilities were to be installed. Once the area was

located, the superintendent quickly determined that the backhoe and all material would

have to be place to the west of the trench because of the trees to the east. The

superintendent then estimated the space that the backhoe and materials would consume.

Next, the superintendent observed the crane and forklifts that were supporting the masons

and determined that there was enough room for both activities to operate simultaneously.

On the observed project the air handling units needed to be placed inside the

building envelope on the third floor. The AHUs are large pieces of equipment that










require the use of the crane to set them into place. The AHUs had a long lead time, and

had the potential to hold up the progress on the project; without a roof on the building

there was no way to start on the interior finishes. The superintendent was faced with a

problem: he could wait the three weeks and have the project stall, or he could find an

alternative method for installing the AHUs.

Table 4-4 Determining the amount of space an activity consumes.
DR1
Determine the amount of space that is required for the task (workspace and storage). (This
decision is derived from the need to establish the impact that an activity will have on the entire
project.)


Information Requirements
IR1.1
What is the area need for
the task too be performed?
Is the space dynamic?



IR1.2
Will storage space be
needed for this activity?
(Stored material can
interfere with other
activities; having material
stores not in close
proximity to the activity
can increase the duration of
the activity.)
IR1.3
Will this activity create
new space? (e.g. the
addition of floors)
IR1.4
Will this activity consume
existing space? (e.g. once
carpeting is in place that
area is typically not used
for storage)
IR1.5
What is the duration that
the space will be
consumed?


Information Source
Drawings provide the location of the activity as well as the
quantity of material.
The schedule provides an estimate of the duration that will be
required to complete an activity.
Subcontractors communicate there need for space.
Inspection of the intended space to identify any conflicts with
other activities.
Drawings will provide the quantity of material needed for the
activity.
Subcontractors will state their need for storage.
Specification may define how materials shall be stored.







Drawings indicate what the activity will create.



Drawings will identify what is being placed and what is left.
Specification may place limits on what can be done once
materials are in place.
The schedule will provide durations and linked activities.


The schedule will provide the duration for an activity.
Subcontractors will communicate there needs










Table 4-4. Continued
IR1.6
Knowledge of the activity
and the processes required to
complete it.
IR1.7
Identify the space that is
available for work and for
storage. An assessment of
the overall project is
necessary. Activities that are
in progress as well as
activities that are pending
need to be considered.

IR1.8
Identify the space that is
required for equipment. (e.g.
crane roads, additional space
for scaffolding, ect.)


This knowledge is gained for experience, and from
communication with the subcontractor.


This information is gathered from visual inspection of the jobsite,
the information that is gathered from the inspections can be
recorded on highlighted drawing, dry erase boards, and / or
written or mental notes.
Activities that are pending can be determined by looking
activities that are nearing completion.
The project schedule can be used to identify dependent activities.
The 3-week look-ahead schedule is useful in identify activities
that are nearing completion as well as activities that are about to
start.
Drawings provide the location of the activity, this will help
determine the method of delivery, and additional equipment
required for the installation.
Drawings can also be used to identify the access paths for
material and equipment.
The schedule and the three week schedule will identify activities
that are in progress or activities that will be starting.
Highlighted drawing may indicate areas that have work in
progress, and areas that work has been completed.
Inspecting the actual area and visualizing the equipment in the
area may be necessary.


The superintendent developed a plan that allowed progress to continue with

minimal impact. The plan involved leaving out a section of the exterior wall, in addition

to framing of several interior walls to allow an air handling unit which had a long lead

time to be installed without holding up progress. In this situation the AHU were lifted to

the third floor and then inserted through the opening that was left in the exterior wall, and

then maneuvered into place using carts. Traditionally placing the AHU would take at the

most an hour; this placement took several hours. However, that is nothing compared to

the three weeks that it took for the AHU to arrive. This was one of the incidents that led

to the creation of DR 2, identifying activity prerequisites and identifying potential

alternatives. This event also helped to identify many of the information requirements and

information sources (Table 4-5) necessary to meet the demands of DR 2.









The two incidents recorded during observations aided in the identification of DR 3

and the supporting information requirements and information sources (Table 4-6).

During observations one of the field engineers mentioned to the superintendent that they

need to order more steel angle for the job. The superintendent was positive that he had

seen more than enough steel angle at various locations throughout the site. The

superintendent walked around the site and identified four different locations of steel

angle. The superintendent was correct in his assumption that there was more than enough

steel angle to complete the job. The superintendent then decided that it would be best to

consolidate the four stockpiles into one, even though the company for which the

superintendent is working is not responsible for the materials, (they are subcontracted

out). This scenario shows the importance of knowing what material is on the jobsite.

Just as in the case of the material, the superintendent does not have any pieces of

equipment on the job that he or she is responsible for. Equipment is a major expense, and

in some cases the equipment is need for a very brief time period. Some activities that

require the use of equipment for the duration of that activity. It is important for the

superintendent to know who has what on the jobsite to keep the project progressing. A

subcontractor may require the use of a piece of equipment for a short period of time. In

situations like this the superintendent can tell the subcontractor which subcontractor has a

particular piece of equipment on the jobsite and put them in contact with each other to

arrange a deal.

Three IR are associated to DR 4 activity dependents and relations (Table 4-7).

These requirements were derived from the need to have activities performed in a logical

order. During the observations and interviews it was discovered that when the









superintendent is creating his 3-week look-ahead schedule for the project, the key

element in this schedule's creation is establishing where the project should have

progresses in three weeks. Once he established where the project needs to be he worked

backwards from that point, identifying everything that need to be accomplished to meet

that goal. The superintendent stated that he preferred to schedule this way because it

gave him a better understanding of the relation of the different activities and the impact

that they had on one another.

Decision requirement 5 has 6 IR related to safety issues (Table 4-8). Safety is a

major concern on a project. One of the conditions of the field observation was the

completion of the company's safety training program to gain access to the jobsite.

According to the superintendent under observation, "you always have to be safety

conscious on the job." While inspecting the jobsite, the superintendent was observed

constantly correcting potential safety violations, or ordering others to address the

problem.

During one of the days of observations the company's safety inspector visited the

site. There was one violation in which the guardrail had been removed and not replaced.

Once the location of the guardrail was established the superintendent knew who was at

fault, because the superintendent knew which subcontractor that was working in that area.

Decision requirement 6, who is performing the work, and what they are responsible

for, has 4 IR (Table 4-9). The observed project had two steel contractors on the job; each

was responsible for different items. This required the contract to be more specific about

what work was to be accomplished. The contracts were not specific about the installation

of some steel angle, so neither contractor claimed responsibility for it. In this instance










the contracts did not define who was responsible for the work; in most cases it does.

Often on the jobsite subcontractors' claim that they are not responsible for certain work;

this problem is complicated because the people that sign the contracts are usually not on

the site. It is important for the superintendent to know what work is in the contract so the

entire contract is met.

Table 4-5 Identifying activity prerequisites and exploring potential alternatives.
DR2
Determine what needs to be accomplished for the activity to start or if there is a way around this.
(This decision evaluates the current situation and explores possible alternatives.)


Information Requirements
IR2.1
Is this task dependent on
the completion of other
activities? (e.g. you cannot
start sheet rocking until the
mechanical and electrical
are in place)
IR2.2
How much of a buffer
needs to be in place before
the start?
IR2.3
Is there any way to start the
activity without the
prerequisite? (e.g. can
walls be left out until
equipment is in place.)
IR2.4
Knowledge of the activity
and the processes required
to complete it.
IR2.5
What is the status of the
submittals? (Work should
not begin until submittals
have been approved).
IR2.6
Are there any pending
change orders or request
for information.


Information Source
The schedule should show what tasks are reliant on this activity.
Lowest to highest; Largest to smallest strategy.
Drawings provide details of what is required for an activity to
start.



What is the rate of installation?
How much space is required for the activity?
What is the dependent activity, what is it rate of installation, and
how much space does it require?
Lowest to highest; Largest to smallest.
Drawings are used to identify what needs to be where; they can
also be used to identify what can be modified to allow progress to
continue.
Schedule may be used to analyze alternate sequences.

Drawings provide that material and the location of the activity.
Communication with subcontractors and experience are used to
determine the methods and processes.

The submittal log identifies the status of all submittals.
Communication with the field engineers may provide greater
insight to the status of a submittal.


Communication with the field engineer.










Table 4-6. Identifying the resources and equipment required for an activity.
DR3
Determine the resources and the equipment that are required for an activity.


Information Requirements
IR3.1
What if any equipment is
needed for this activity?


IR3.2
Will the equipment
consume additional space
or interfere with any other
activities? (scaffolding
takes up additional space
and may interfere with
activities below)
IR3.3
Will the equipment work
within the limitations of the
site? (Will a lift reach that
high or will a crane be
need, is the soil stable
enough to support a crane.)
IR3.4
What resources or
equipment are we
responsible for (dumpsters,
water, electricity, etc.)
IR3.5
Knowledge of the activity
and the processes required
to complete it.
IR3.8
Knowledge of what
equipment is on the job site
and who is responsible for
it and its use.


Information Source
Drawings will identify where the activity is located and what
materials are being used. This can be used to determine how the
materials will be transported in addition to equipment (e.g.
scaffolding) will be needed.
Communication with subcontractors about their intentions.
Drawings and specification will identify the material that will be
used in addition to where the material will be placed.
Inspecting the area where the work is to be performed to identify
what will be needed for the activity.
Highlighted drawings that indicate where work is completed and
being performed may be used to judge the impact that an activity
may have.

Knowledge of limits of equipment.
Inspecting the site to see if there is room for equipment use.






Contracts will identify who is responsible for what.





Drawings and specification will identify the material that will be
used.
Communication with subcontractors will identify their intent.

This knowledge is gained from talking with the subs and
inspecting the jobsite.


It is also important for the superintendent to know the capabilities of the

subcontractor. The majority of the subcontractors can perform their work with little or no

guidance. In some cases the subcontractor may need help from the superintendent. The

superintendent has no obligation to provide his assistance to subcontractors, but in some









cases it is for the good of the project. The help that the superintendent can provide is in

the sequencing of work, and recommendations on how to perform certain activities, but

the superintendent does not want to take responsibility for any of their work.

Table 4-7. Identifying activities that are impacted by the start or completion of an
activity.
DR4
Determine what activities rely on the start or the completion of this activity.

Information Requirements Information Source
IR4.1 The schedule will identify what activities are critical and their
What activities are reliant linked activities.
on the start or completion Drawings indicate what is required.
of this activity? Assessment of the current progress on the project.
IR4.2 Drawings are used to identify what goes where and the order in
Is the dependent activity which they should be accomplished.
reliant on the completion of Communication with subcontractors determines their needs.
the entire task or just part?
IR4.3 Drawings are used to determine which areas have several
What task should receive activities needed.
priority? The schedule indicates which activities have long durations, and
which activities are critical.

Decision requirement 7 is derived from the impact that an activity may have on

other activities on the project. Four IR need to be met to address DR7 (Table 4-10). It is

important for the superintendent to understand the impact that an activity has. A poorly

planned activity could slow the progress of a project. The AHU example mentioned

earlier in this paper also aided in the creation of DR 7. DR7 and DR4 are similar, but

DR4 investigates activities that are directly related, while DR7 looks at the impact that an

activity has on concurrent activities.

It is important for a superintendent to know how an activity is progressing. This

allows the superintendent to plan for future activities and to correct problems before they

get out of control. Decision requirement 8 identifies the cognitive demand of

determining if an activity will meet its schedule duration, to successfully address DR8, 5










IR must be addressed (Table 4-11). Discussing and analyzing the 3-week look-ahead

schedule with the superintendent aided in the identification ofDR8 in addition to the

information requirement and Information sources that are associated with it.

Table 4-8. Addressing safety issues of an activity.
DR5
Identify the safety concerns that are associated with this activity

Information Requirements Information Source
IR5.1 Specifications and drawings indicate what material is used.
Are hazardous materials Subcontractors should provide hazardous material safety data
used in this activity? sheets (MSDS)
IR5.2 Drawings indicate the location of where the work is to be
What are the risks performed.
associated with this Subcontractors provide their safety plan.
activity?
IR5.3 Previous experience.
Knowledge of the activity Communication with the subcontractor concerning their material
and the processes required and methods.
to complete it.
IR5.4 Subcontract may specify that safety concerns need to be
What can be done to addressed.
minimize the risk and who
is responsible? (e.g.
guardrails placed on a
leading edge.)
IR5.5 This knowledge is gained from inspecting the jobsite and making
What subcontractors are note of where the different subcontractors are.
working where?
IR5.6 Review checklist.
Has the subcontractor
provided their safety plan,
and have their works gone
through our company's
safety program.

The most important job of the superintendent is to complete the project on time.

Throughout the course of the project the project may fall behind in schedule. Several

factors can contribute to this. One of the duties of a superintendent is to get the project

back on course. Decision requirement 9 has 6 IR (Table 4-12) necessary to get the

project back on schedule.









It is important for the superintendent to have some knowledge of the activities that

are performed on the project. It is not necessary for him or her to have a complete

understanding of the activity, but the superintendent must have some knowledge of how

long it will take and the area it will consume in order for him or her to plan for other

activities, and assess the impact that an activity will have on other parts of the project.

Decision requirement 10 addresses the impact that an activity has on other parts of the

project, (Table 4-13) along with the information requirements and information sources

that are related to processes required to complete a task.

Table 4-9. Identifying who is responsible for an activity and what that subcontractor is
responsible for.
DR6
Who is performing the activity and what is their scope of work.

Information Requirements Information Source
IR6.1 Subcontractor contract will identify the subcontractor and have
Who is the subcontractor? contact information.
IR6.2 Word of mouth can provide insight to a subcontractor's ability.
What is there reputation? Observing the subcontractor ability.
(a weak sub may require
more guidance)
IR6.3 Subcontractor contract.
What is there scope of
work?
IR6.3 Contracts identify what is to be accomplished by whom.
What is not in there scope
and who is responsible for
it?
IR6.4 Subcontractor's daily reports indicate the number of workers they
How many workers do they had on site.
have on site?

During the observation and interviews this decision requirement was reinforced by

some of the inaccuracies in the master schedule that was provided to the superintendent.

Some of the activities that were scheduled had impossible durations assigned to them.

The superintendent used the drywall activity as an example. He mentioned that the










person that created the schedule failed to consider that to properly complete the specified

finish for the drywall required, at the very least, three days.

Table 4-10. Understanding the impact an activity has on existing activities.
DR7
Determine the impact that this activity has on other activities.


Information Requirements
IR7.1
Will this activity interfere
with other activities?








IR7.2
What can be done to
minimize interference?
(better coordination)

IR7.3
If this activity was delayed
what would it do to the rest
of the project?
IR7.4
What is the area that this
activity consumes? (work
area, storage area, and
access paths)


Information Source
An assessment of the current progress on the jobsite is necessary.
This is done by inspecting what work is in place. This
information can be stored and represented on highlighted
drawings and or dry erase drawings.
Inspection ofjobsite to see if there is enough for the space to be
completed.
The 3-week look-ahead schedule identifies what activities are in
progress, activities that are nearing completion and activities that
are pending.
Drawings can be used to identify areas in which work is in
progress.
Schedule indicates what needs to be complete (critical and non
critical).
Inspecting the area that the activity is to take place may be
necessary to identify any areas of conflict.
The schedule and the three week schedule are used to determine
what activities are linked to the activity.
The drawings are also used to identify related activities.

Drawings indicate the area that activity consumes, and the
possible access paths for the activity.
Highlighted drawing can indicate areas that are in progress, this
can be used to rule out the alternative access paths.
Inspecting the site to conceptualize the best path may be
necessary.


Decision requirement 11 addresses instances during a construction project in which

certain activities can be started prior to the completion of the preceding activity. This is

done to get the project completed faster. The superintendent was observed planning the

location and the direction in which architectural precast concrete should be erected. One

reason that the superintendent insisted on this coordination was to avoid having the

architectural precast crew interfere with other activities, but more notably he was able to


establish a buffer for the brick masons to follow.










Superintendent's Timeframe

To better understand how the superintendent processes the decision requirements it

is necessary to establish a timeline in which he processes the decision requirements and

information requirements. The timeline consists of three categories: daily, weekly, and

intermittent, in which the superintendent addresses the decision requirements.

Table 4-11. Identifying whether an activity will finish on time.
DR8
Determine if an activity is going to meet its scheduled duration.

Information Requirements Information Source
IR8.1 Drawings provide the quantity of work.
What is the total amount of
work that needs to be
performed?
IR8.2 Inspection of the work that is in place. This can be recorded on
What is the amount of work highlighted drawings.
that is already in place?
IR8.3 The superintendent's daily log should indicate on what day the
How long has that activity activity started.
been in progress and how The schedule indicates the overall duration of the activity.
much time is left? Communication with the subcontractor to determine the
remaining duration.
IR8.4 Daily reports from the subcontractor indicate who was on the job
How many men have been for them. This sometimes needs to be verified.
on the job? Communication with the subcontractor can indicate their
availability of labor.
IR8.5 This knowledge is gained from communication with the
What is the staffing subcontractor. Some contractors may start an activity with little
intention of the manpower and increase it once the activity is set up. Some
subcontractor? subcontractors may send more manpower once they have
completed other obligations.

The superintendent, on a daily basis, performs many tasks that aid in addressing the

decision requirements. The first thing the superintendent does each day is to meet with

all of the subcontractor foremen to get an idea as to where and on what project they will

be working that day. This daily meeting also gives the foremen the opportunity to

disclose information regarding delays or conflicts. Daily, the superintendent walks the










jobsite. During his inspection he makes mental notes of who is on the site, how much

progress has been made, and identifies any potential safety problems. The

superintendent, on a daily basis, receives a written daily report from the subcontractors.

This daily subcontractor report identifies how many workers were on site, what they were

working on, and identifies any problems or conflicts that occurred or that are foreseeable.

Table 4-12. Identifying activities that can be expedited.
DR9
Identify activities that can be expedited to get the project back on schedule.

Information Requirements Information Source
IR9.1
Knowledge of the activity
and the processes required
too complete it? (is it an
activity that can be sped up
by increasing the work
force)
IR9.2 The master schedule should identify what the critical activities
What activity is on the are.
critical path that could be The 3-week look-ahead schedule should identify the activities that
expedited? need to be completed.
IR9.3 Communication with the subcontractors might reveal additional
Are additional resources resources.
available? (Does the
subcontractor have more
men?)
IR9.4 The 3-week look-ahead schedule should address the change in the
Will the decreased duration schedule and the impact that it will have.
of this activity place other
activities on the critical
path?
IR9.5 Work backwards from where you need to be and identify the
What needs to be done to processes that need to be complete to reach that destination.
get to where the project
needs to be?
IR9.6 The drawings and the schedule can be used to determine if any
What are the different other options exist.
options?

During inspection the superintendent is identifies the amount of space an activity is

consuming (DR 1), establishes what resources and equipment are on site (DR 3),









addresses safety concerns (DR 5), and identifies who is performing the work (DR 6). On

an intuitive level the superintendent can establish whether activities are going to meet

their scheduled duration (DR 8). In the daily meeting the superintendent addresses space

requirements for an activity (DR 1); discussion of activity prerequisites and alternative

solutions (DR 2); impacts that activities have on other activities can be brought to

attention (DR 3), activity reliance can be established (DR 4 and DR 7); and discussions

on activity expediting may be broached (DR 9). The subcontractors' daily reports

reiterate who is performing an activity (DR 7), and in determining whether an activity is

going to meet its duration (DR 8).

Table 4-13. Understanding the knowledge of the processes that are involved with an
activity.
DR10
Determine the processes that are required to complete an activity.

Information Requirements Information Source
IR10.1 Drawing and specifications identify the material that is required
What materials are used for for the activity.
this activity?
IR10.2 Specifications may specify a specific method of installation.
What is the method of Experience with this specific activity.
installation? Communication with subcontractor about his or her plan.
IR10.3 A schedule may have the activity 'install drywall.' Installing
What steps are involved in drywall involves hanging the drywall, taping the joints, and
that completion of the several passes of joint compound and sanding before the activity
specified activity? is complete.
IR10.4 Drawings will indicate the area of the activity; this will help
What equipment if any is determine if equipment is need for the delivery or installation of
required for this activity? materials.

Weekly, the superintendent performs tasks that deal with the DR in a more in-depth

manner. The weekly tasks that the superintendent performs draw largely from the daily

activities. The weekly tasks that the superintendent performs include highlighting

progress on drawings, creating a 3-week look-ahead schedule, and conducting a more in-

depth meeting with the subcontractor. The highlighted drawings have a vital role in the









superintendent's meeting the demands of the DR. The highlighted drawings are used in

determining the space requirements for a task (DR 1), and establishing what needs to be

accomplished for an activity to begin. In addition to identifying alternative solutions (DR

2), they help to establish what activities rely on the start or completion of an activity (DR

4). Highlighted drawings help to identify the impact an activity may have on other

activities (DR 7); they help in establishing whether an activity is going to meet its

duration (DR 8); they can be used to identify activities that can be expedited (DR 9); and

they can be used to identify buffers (DR 11).

Table 4-14. Establishing buffers for activities.
DR11
Determine how much of a buffer needs to be in place for a linked activity to start.

Information Requirements Information Source
IR11.1 Communication with subcontractor regarding duration.
What is the rate of Observed work.
installation for both Experience.
activities?
IR11.2 Communication with subcontractor on his or her space
How much space is requirement.
required for both activities? Drawings indicate the area for the activity.
IR11.3 Schedule.
How much time is
available?

To create a successful 3-week look-ahead schedule, several of the DR must be met.

For the superintendent to create a successful 3-week look-ahead schedule the amount of

space an activity will consume needs to be addressed (DR 1); activity prerequisites need

to be recognized (DR 2 ); the superintendent needs to know what resources and material

are needed for an activity (DR 3); and what activities are dependent on existing activities

(DR 4). The superintendent must address the impact a new activity will have on existing

activities (DR 7); estimate when activities will be completed (DR 8); identify activities









that can be expedited (DR 9); have basic knowledge of the processes that are involved in

a task (DR 10); and to be able to establish buffers for certain activities (DR 11).

The superintendent has tasks that he or she has to perform intermittently, such as

reviewing subcontractor's contracts and reviewing submittals. Reviewing the

subcontractor documents helps the superintendent determine what resources are need for

an activity (DR 3), identify who is performing the work and what is their scope (DR 6),

and helps the superintendent identify the process that are required to complete an activity.

Many of the routine tasks that a superintendent performs have underlying cognitive

processes that help the superintendent manage the project. The superintendent's job of

walking the jobsite may seem simple, but while performing this task he or she gathers

information that will aid in cognition later.

Critique of Existing Tools

Through analyzing the DR and the IR, it becomes apparent that maintaining an

accurate assessment of the progress of the project is one of the most cognitively

demanding and important aspects of a superintendent's job. Analysis of the information

sources reveal that maintaining an accurate assessment is supported by two main

artifacts: the drawings and the schedule. A more detailed analysis of these two artifacts

is necessary to uncover: the information that they contain, how they are used, how they

are created, and if they could be better designed to support the superintendent.

Schedule

During observations of the superintendent three different types of schedules were

identified that were used by the superintendent; he confirmed that these were the only

schedules that he was aware of. Two of the three schedules were not created by the

superintendent. These were the master construction schedule and the divisional schedule;









these two schedules had identical activities, and the only difference between them was

the order in which the activities were displayed. The third schedule identified was the 3-

week look-ahead schedule. This was the only schedule that the superintendent created,

and was probably the most useful. It is necessary to look at all three schedules, the

information that they contain and how they are used by the superintendent in the actual

scheduling of activities for the project. Understanding how they are created and some of

the different functions of the software that was used to create them will help to identify

the usefulness, the ineffectiveness, and the possible effect that the schedule could have on

scheduling jobsite activities.

Master Construction Schedule

The master construction schedule (Figure 4-3) for the observed project has 650 line

item activities, is eighteen pages in length, and was created in Primavera Project Planner

(P3). The activities are not limited just to construction activities. The schedule includes

activities like 60% drawing bid dates, procurement dates and submittal approval

durations. The time scale for the schedule is broken down into years, months and weeks.

A scheduled activity is given an activity number, duration, early start date, early finish

date, and the total float. The duration of an activity is represented in a Gantt chart. The

length of the bar is directly correlated to the duration of the activity. The color and or the

shape of the bars on the Gantt vary depending on the type of activity. A critical activity

is represented with a solid black bar, milestones are marked with a black diamond, a non-

critical activity is represented in a light shade, progress is represented in a darker shade

and a vertical line indicates the progress to date. The activities on the master construction

schedule follow a logical sequence of the progression on the project.









Schedule updating. The scheduling programs that created the master construction

schedule have many powerful tools that are not being used. With P3 one can resource

load an activity, one can enter in the quantity of material for an activity and one can enter

in the number of man days that are required for an activity to be completed. One can set

the start and finish date for an activity and depending on the resources you have entered it

will tell one how much material should be placed daily and / or how many workers

should be on the job. One can set limits on an activity with regards to when it needs to be

completed if it is a critical activity, and if the activity is a non-critical activity the amount

of float is automatically calculated. One can update the schedule in P3 in many ways:

one can state whether an activity has been completed, the percent complete can be

entered, one can enter in the number of workers that have been working on an activity

(this information is in the daily reports that are gathered); and / or one can enter the

amount of material that has been installed. When the schedule is updated, it can specify,

for critical activities, how much material needs to be placed and / or how many workers

need to be present every day to meet the schedule duration. If the activity is not a critical

activity the duration will be recalculated based on the amount of workers or material that

have been placed. When a schedule is updated the original time for an activity is still

represented and the adjusted time for the activity is represented in a different colored bar,

and the original time allotted for the activity still remains.

The schedule for this particular project was not updated in any of these ways. For

this project the schedule is updated by the date. There is no recalculation of the existing

duration. The updated schedule only represents the original intention of the schedule,









and provides no true indication of the actual progress on the project. Instead it displays

what should have been accomplished by a certain date.

One of the benefits to updating a schedule is to determine if an activity is going to

meet its scheduled duration. The only way for the superintendent to establish whether a

subcontractor is going to meet he or she scheduled duration is experience; he said he

looks at how many people are on the job, how many days they work a week, and what

they can accomplish in a day to gauge whether they will meet their expected duration.

Reasons Schedules are not updated. A major problem with updating a schedule

is the reliability of the information; production can vary from day to day, worker to

worker, and from job to job. The advantage to using a system like this is that the more

data that is gathered, the more reliable the initial assessment will be. Man days is

probably one of the most effective ways to resource-load an activity. On most projects

there is already a daily record of the workers that are on the job. On most projects the

information in the daily records is already copied into a document management software

like Prolog and Expedition.

Scheduling programs are rarely used to their full potential. Instead of updating the

schedule by entering in what has been accomplished, people will rewrite the schedule to

reflect the current state of the project and leave out the initial estimate of when an activity

will start. One explanation as to why it is done this way is to give the image that

everything is fine; if you show an owner a schedule that has some of the activity starting

and finishing late they are going to assume that the project is not meeting the

expectations.









To better understand why the update function for a P3 schedule is not being used; a

GOMS (Goals, Operators, Methods, and Selection) models should be created. "GOMS is

a method for describing a task and the user's knowledge of how to perform the task in

terms of Goals, Operators, Methods, and Selection" (John 2003 page 59). Goals are the

user's goal; in this instance it would be to update a scheduled activity. Operators are the

procedures that the program allows the user to take (e.g. move the mouse, click the

mouse button, type character). Methods are the learned sequence of sub-goals and

operators that are need for accomplishing a goal (e.g. click mouse button to select

intended activity, move mouse to edit button on menu bar, etc.). Selections exist if there

is more than one method to achieve the goal and try to establish rule for the different

selections. GOMS analysis should only be used in situations where the users already

have the cognitive skills required to perform the task. Users need to have mastered the

program so they know what the steps are ensuring that there is no searching for what

actions to take next.

The GOMS model identifies the processes that are necessary to complete a task.

This model can then be used to determine if the processes are similar to other tasks (e.g.

are there similar processes in the scheduling software and the document management

software). The model can also be used to identify ineffective means of accomplishing a

goal, and in some cases it will identify goals that are not supported. Another way that the

GOMS model may be beneficial is in the development of training programs and tutorials.

The GOMS model may be useful in the creation of wizards that guide the user through

the necessary steps to complete a goal.


















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A GOMS model is not necessary, because the reason that schedules are not updated



is not related to the difficulty in using the software. More schedules might be updated if



the program was easier to use, but it is believed that schedules are not updated because



there is no real benefit to updating them. For schedules to be updated there needs to be a



value.



The scheduling software can provide a good summary of the progress of a project,



and it is useful to some of the parties involved in the project. Gantt chart schedules



provide a good measure of the total progress on the project. This is useful to project



managers, architects, engineers and owners, but they are of little use to the project



superintendent. An updated Gantt schedule only indicates percentages of activities that


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have been completed, and fails to identify where the work is already in place and where it

remains.

It may be useful for the superintendent to know how much of an activity is

completed, but superintendents need to know more than what percentage has been

completed. They need to know the location of the work that has been completed as well

as the location that still needs to be completed. If the schedule provided more details on

the work that has been completed, in addition to work that is pending, then the value of

the schedule as an artifact would increase.

There was no schedule used as a measurement of progress by the observed

superintendent. To record progress on the project the superintendent walked the jobsite,

taking note of what has been accomplished and what still needed work. After walking

the project, he returned to his office, grabbed a set of drawings and started highlighting

all of the areas that work has been completed. He did not have one set of plans on which

everything was recorded, because there were several activities that overlapped. There is

a set of plans that represent the framing and drywall, there is a set that represents the

room finishes, and so on. Once the entire drawing is colored in, that part of the project is

finished. Areas that were not colored meant that that area had not been completed yet.

The only problem with recording progress this way is that it does not show the relation to

time that is provided in schedules.

Divisional Schedule

On the observed project there was a schedule that was referred to as the divisional

schedule. This schedule had all of the same activities as the master schedule, and was

created with the same software program as the master schedule. The only difference

from the master schedule was that all of the activities were grouped according to an









activity code that corresponded to the construction specification institute divisions. The

divisional schedule is exactly the same schedule as the master schedule, and by using a

function in the scheduling program all of the activities were sorted by the activity codes.

The divisional schedule is useful in some aspects, but is confusing in others. It is

useful because typically subcontractors perform work in only one division; therefore, all

of the work that one subcontractor is to perform is located in one area of the schedule

instead of spread throughout the entire schedule. The schedule is difficult to understand

because the activities are out of sequence (e.g. the roof for the building will appear in the

schedule before the steel erection).

Both the master schedule and the divisional schedule were used very little by the

superintendent. The information that the master schedule provided to the superintendent

identified which activities were critical, milestones that needed to be met, and-- to a very

small degree--the order that activities should have. The divisional schedule helped the

superintendent to better identify the subcontractors that were responsible for the work.

The biggest difference between the master and the divisional schedules, and the 3-week

look-ahead schedule is the length. In discussion about these schedules with the

superintendent, it was mentioned that the people on the jobsite just do not understand the

master and divisional schedules. It is hard for them to identify activities and it is more

difficult for them to establish the relationship to other activities.

Three-Week Look-Ahead Schedule

The 3-week look-ahead schedule, (Figure 4-4), is a schedule completed by the

superintendent that identifies the work that should take place over the next three weeks,

as well as the parties that are responsible for the work. The 3-week look-ahead schedule

includes the current week and the following three week's activities. The major time scale









for the schedule is in weeks and the minor time scale is in days. The schedule is set up as

a matrix and an 'X' indicates the day that the activity is supposed to take place. The only

dates that are on the schedule are the dates on which the weeks start. For the scheduled

activities there is no written start date or duration; this information can be gathered for

reviewing the time scale at the top of the matrix. There is no indication of float for any of

the activities. There is almost no relation between the master construction schedule and

the 3-week look-ahead schedule; the only relation the schedules have is activities, and

activities tend to be more simplified on the 3-week look-ahead schedule.

Several factors need to be considered in creating the 3-week look-ahead schedule.

The superintendent also must identify how much progress the project needs to have made

in three weeks. Identifying the necessary progress over three weeks allows the

superintendent to work backwards identify the activities that are necessary to meet this

goal. The superintendent must also have an understanding of the progress on the project

to date. This assessment of progress on the projects is gained by inspecting the work that

is in place. Some of the information that is gathered can be offloaded from memory onto

highlighted drawings, dry erase boards, or notes which will allow for quick retrieval of

that information while the superintendent is creating the 3-week look-ahead schedule.

Knowing at what stage the project is allows the superintendent to identify what

activities are nearing completion. It also allows the superintendent to determine if any

activities are behind schedule. Not all of the information about progress is gathered from

visual inspections; communication between the superintendent and the subcontractors is

another method to gather information, especially with regard to the duration remaining.

The master schedule provides the overall plan for the project. Milestones from the









master construction schedule can be used to set goals and evaluate progress. Having an

idea of the current progress of the project is necessary for the superintendent to plan for

future activities.

The three week schedule establishes small goals that need to be accomplished to

meet the overall goal of completing the project on time. Creating the 3-week schedule

provides the superintendent with the opportunity to determine what activities are critical

to the success of the project. It helps the superintendent identify activities that are not

performing to the level that they should. It also helps the superintendent realize what

activities need to be started for the project to meet its deadline. The 3-week schedule is

an important tool that not only allows the superintendent to assess the current state of the

project, but it provides a clearer communication to all of the people that are involved in

the project of what needs to be accomplished in the near future.

Even though the schedule does not link activities to each other it is simple to see

the relation that activities have to one another. With the 3-week look-ahead schedule

there is no need to filter out the activities that do not pertain to that specific period of

time. The 3-week schedule identifies what activities will be starting and defines a start

date for the activity that can be delivered to the proper subcontractor.

The 3-week look-ahead schedule is a simple schedule. One of the biggest

differences that it has from the master schedule is that it is typically only a page or two in

length; whereas the master schedule for the observed project is eighteen pages long. The

three week schedule does not indicate any milestones, or the critical path.

The 3-week look-ahead schedule is the schedule most used by the people who are

responsible for the work. The 3-week look-ahead schedule is a simple schedule. It is









simplified because it only has activities that are going to take place during the current

week and the following three weeks. The schedule is easy to interpret; it easy to see

when an activity should start and finish; and more importantly, it is easy to establish the

relation that other activities have with each other.

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Figure 4-4. The 3-week look-ahead schedule.

The 3-week look-ahead schedule is a simple schedule. One of the biggest

differences that it has from the master schedule is that it is typically only a page or two in

length; whereas the master schedule for the observed project is eighteen pages long. The

three week schedule does not indicate any milestones, or the critical path.

The 3-week look-ahead schedule is the schedule most used by the people who are

responsible for the work. The 3-week look-ahead schedule is a simple schedule. It is

simplified because it only has activities that are going to take place during the current

week and the following three weeks. The schedule is easy to interpret; it easy to see









when an activity should start and finish; and more importantly, it is easy to establish the

relation that other activities have with each other.

The activities on the 3-week look-ahead schedule are grouped according to the

subcontractor that is responsible for the activity, which is similar to the divisional

schedule. The schedule mentions the subcontractor and then identifies all of the activities

for which that subcontractor is responsible during the current weeks and the next three

weeks.

The completed 3-week look-ahead schedule is created using Sure Track. The

observed superintendent did not use a computer at all. The schedule was created by the

superintendent and then the secretary or the field engineer entered it into Sure Track.

When the superintendent created the schedule, a blank schedule was used with the same

format as the completed 3-week look-ahead schedule. The superintendent first

established where the project needed to be in three weeks, using the master schedule to

help establish where the project should be. Then a list of all of the activities that needed

to be completed was created; next, the list was put in the order in which they would need

to be accomplished, and activity durations to complete the schedule were assigned. Once

the superintendent completed this initial schedule it was shared with the subcontractor to

get their feedback about the durations that were assigned. Then the superintendent went

back and made adjustments to the durations if the subcontractor had a valid reason for

adjusting it. After that schedule was completed the superintendent then grouped the

activities by those who were responsible for them. It is obvious that if the schedule was

created in Sure Track it could be created faster; the superintendent was aware of this, but

the superintendent preferred to create with pencil and paper.









The superintendent stated that the schedule is created using pencil and paper, even

though the superintendent knows how to use the scheduling program, because this is the

way it has always been done and it is what the superintendent is comfortable with. The

superintendent mentioned that there is no major difference between his scheduling

method and using a computer. He is correct; the only difference between his method and

the computer method is his method is hand-written and the computer method is typed.

Using a computer to develop his schedule does not aid him in the actual act of

scheduling. It does not help him identify conflicts, it does not alert him to activities that

are out of sequence, and it does not help in the discovery of alternate solutions.

Drawings

Several categories of drawing for a construction project exist (e.g. site plan,

structural, architectural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing). These drawings are a

scaled representation of the plan for the building. They provide the location and the

quantity of all of the materials and how the building should be assembled. Depending on

the size of the project, the building is broken down into several different areas on the

drawings. One floor of a build can be broken down into many different areas which will

spread over many pages of the set of drawings; a key plan is usually located in the lower

right of a page to show the relation of the displayed drawing to that of the overall plan.

To further complicate the process of reviewing the drawings, the different

categories of drawings have very minimal, if any, overlap between the different sections

(e.g. the architectural drawings may show a sink, but it will not represent the plumbing

required for that sink). So when reviewing the drawings for an activity there is not one

page of the drawings that one needs to look at; several are needed. An area drawn on the

floor plan has corresponding drawings on the mechanical, electrical, plumbing and









structural drawings that need to be addressed when reviewing the plans. Since multiple

corresponding drawings are required, this can cause conflict between the different

drawings. The majority of the information for the activity may be represented on one

page; that page could contain section cuts that refer to section details that provide

drawings in greater detailed. All of the drawings are drawn to scale, but the scale can

change form page to page and drawing to drawing. The drawings are scaled

representations of the project, but there is not a uniform scale for all the drawings.

The drawings are usually drawn on large sheets of paper. The drawing sets contain

many pages; the architectural drawings for this project contained ninety-seven pages of

drawings. An open set of drawings usually covers an entire desk. There exist half-set

drawings that are smaller than the full set. The-half sets are easier to carry around and

take up less space, but notations may be difficult to read. The half sets are still scaled

drawings, but the scale may not be defined.

If all of the different categories of drawings were combined into one drawing they

would be illegible. It is necessary to have these categories separate to simplify the

drawings and reduce clutter. The current system for drawings does work, and there may

always be a need for it, but it could be improved upon. So many different drawings

invite discrepancies. Information that is scattered throughout the drawing sets increases

the cognitive memory load. In certain situations several different pages of the drawing

set need to be referred to in order to make a decision. The floor plan may have several

different section cuts that refer to different pages; the structural, mechanical, electrical

and plumbing drawings may also need to be considered. To plan for one activity

numerous drawings may need to be looked at that pertain to one specific area of the









project. If the drawings were one Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) file comprised of

different layers there would not be the burden of tracking down all of the different pages

throughout the entire drawing sets that pertain to the area that is in question.

A computer screen that represents an area of a drawing, and a paper drawing, are

two entirely different artifacts. Notes cannot be easily added to computerized drawings

and a computer is not as mobile as a piece of paper. With a paper-based drawing one can

take it out on the job site to the area that the drawing represents and make quick notes or

sketches on it. Paper is inexpensive, can easily be replicated and distributed, and requires

no additional tools to use. A CAD file can be easily distributed to different parties faster

than paper, but they require a computer and the software to view them. Notes can be

made on a CAD file but not with the ease of pencil and paper. Computer technologies

are becoming increasingly mobile, but with this mobility the size of displays is

decreasing. Paper plans are large, while a computer screen displays only a small area.

Superintendent modified drawings. The observed superintendent only used

paper drawings and did not use any CAD drawings. During observations it was noted

that the drawing could be used in many situations. Whenever a subcontractor came to the

superintendent with a problem, the location of the problem was located on a drawing. If

the problem could not be solved by the superintendent then he would make a note

directly on the drawing and give it, or a copy of it, to the field engineer to write up a

Request for Information (RFI). It was also observed that drawings were being used to

determine the best sequence for an activity.

The drawings took on an entirely new use when the superintendent colored them

with a highlighter (Figure 4-5). There were three different categories of highlighted









drawings observed; highlighted drawings that tracked the progress of an activity;

highlighted drawings that represented the sequence of work; and highlighted drawings

that identified difficult areas of the plan.

According to the observed superintendent, once a week he walked the jobsite to

assess the progress that had been made on the project. To record this progress for quick

retrieval at a later time he highlights the different sets of plans to represent the work that

completed. After the plans have been highlighted, they more importantly represent the

work that has not been completed. These highlighted plans are useful in the scheduling

of activities because they display areas that work has been completed and areas where

work is still in progress.

The second category of highlighted drawings is used to sequence work. Plans can

be highlighted to represent the sequence in which work should be performed. On the

observed project the contractor that was responsible for the slab was behind schedule and

was holding up other activities. The superintendent highlighted a drawing of the slab and

areas that were holding up the work of other were sequenced first.

The third type of highlighted drawing observed identified sections of the plans that

are difficult that the superintendent need to pay special attention to. The foundation plan

for this project had several different types of grade beams. It was difficult to distinguish

what grade beams were constructed in what way because the information was spread

throughout several pages. Once the superintendent figured out all of the different grade

beams he color coordinated them with the highlighters.







57


SAN4FARY SCIE PRCFILE


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Figure 4-5. Highlighted drawing that represents the sequence of the paving.

Realities and Theories

It is important when developing new technology that the specific purpose of that

technology is identified, and the reasoning for that purpose be clarified. "When

designing a new artifact, the theories to be embodied need to be articulated" (Bisantz and

Ockerman 2002 page 249). Bisantz and Ockerman propose "that artifacts embody

theories of the user and the task." In the following the realities refer observed practice of

a superintendent's use of construction drawings and constructions schedules. The









critique of the schedule and drawings, and the CTA, helped to develop theories that

should be embodied into the design of a more useful schedules and drawings. In the

following the realities represent the demands of the job, in addition to the observed use of

the existing artifacts. The theories are elements that support cognition that should be

embodied, or preserved in new artifacts.

Realties and theories for drawings. Drawings are a relatively low-tech artifact or

tool that superintendent's use. There is a great potential to improve upon construction

drawings. To improve drawings it is necessary to understand how they are currently

being used and to identify their useful and frustrating aspects. Realities will show how

drawings are being used, and theories will identify the useful or frustrating aspects that

need to be considered when redeveloping this artifact.

Reality 1. Superintendents reference drawings at various locations throughout the job

site.

S Superintendents often need to verify that activities were completed according to the
plans. Instead of writing down or memorizing the details on the drawings that need
to be checked, the superintendent often, copies a section of the drawing or takes the
drawing, to the location that needs to be verified. On the observed project there
were several instances in which the superintendent took a set of drawings, or a copy
of the drawing, out onto the jobsite for verification and / or reference.

Theory 1. Drawings need to be mobile.

Reality 2. Superintendents often take notes directly on the drawings.

* Superintendents note design discrepancies directly on the plan. They also highlight
areas that work has been completed. They note areas where work is not
satisfactory directly on the drawings. They even identify on the drawings areas of
concern. Being able to highlight and place notes directly on the drawings is one
way the superintendent is able to offload and display some of the cognitive
information related to the project.

Theory 2. Drawings must be easily noted and highlighted









Reality 3. Drawings provide the superintendent with information about materials and

their quantity.

* Drawings identify the materials for a project. Drawings are drawn to scale;
therefore quantities of materials can be determined from the drawings.

Theory 3. Drawings need to identify the different materials and there quantity.

Reality 4. Drawings identify the material that is required for an activity and define its

specific location in space.

* Drawings have dimensions and are drawn to scale, so the location of specific items
can be identified.

Theory 4. Drawings need to be scaled and easily dimensioned to identify the location of

specific items.

Reality 5. Drawings are easily and inexpensively copied and distributed and read by

everyone.

* Drawings are often copied and used to aid in the communication of an idea or
concern. On the observed project the site plan was copied and highlighted to
represent the sequence that the work was to be performed, then distributed to the
proper subcontractors. There was another occasion on the observed project when a
drawing was copied and the areas that needed to be completed first were
highlighted.

Theory 5. Drawings need to be easily replicated and in a format that is accessible to

everyone.

Reality 6. Addenda are taped to their respected drawings to add the additional

information that is required to complete the project and to keep all of the information in

one location.

* Throughout the project architects issue addendum which contain corrections to the
drawings as well as information that was left out. Superintendents post all of the
addendums on a set of drawings. By posting all the addenda to a drawing set the
superintendent does not have to refer to several documents for all of the relevant









information. All of the addendum issues have notations that identify when they
were issued.

Theory 6. Drawings need to be updateable, and the updates need to be traceable.

Reality 7. Drawings are rendered on large sheets of paper to show greater detail and area.

* Construction drawings are on large sheets of paper that show the relationship to
other areas of the plan. The entire drawing is not on one sheet, but is divided into
several areas. The areas that are divided typically have a key plan on the page that
shows the relation of the divided area to the entire area.

Theory 7. Drawings do not need to be large but they need to be readable, and relate to

the other areas of the plan.

Reality 8. Drawings are two-dimensional representations of three-dimensional objects;

more than one two-dimensional drawing is needed to identify the complete three

dimensional object.

* The floor plan, elevations, and section cuts are need to accurately picture and build
a project. For a superintendent to understand what construction needs to take place
to complete a room, he or she may have to look at the floor plan, wall section,
reflected ceiling plans, structural plans, electrical plans, and mechanical plans.

Theory 8. Three dimensional plans better represent the project.

Reality 9. Drawings are colored in using highlighters to record the progress on the

project.

* Highlighted drawings are used to record the progress on the project. These
highlighted drawings represent areas that have been completed as well as the areas
that still need to have work performed.

Theory 9. Drawings need to be able to represent the work that has been performed and

identify areas in which the work is still pending.

Reality 10. Highlighted drawings are quick and easy to create.

* It is very simple to color the areas of concern on drawings.

Theory 10. Drawings need to be easily marked to show areas of concern.









These ten realities and theories should be considered when developing new

technology that is intended to replace current drawings. Drawings are used in a variety of

ways. If one is trying to improve drawings, all of the ways that drawings are used need to

be considered in any improvement.

Realities and theories for schedules. Superintendents are not using schedules to

their full potential. By identifying the realities of why schedules are not being used to

their potential, one can formulate theories that would help to make schedules more useful

and usable.

Reality 1. Superintendents do not follow the sequence that the schedule portrays.

* Construction schedules do not provide a realistic sequence of activities. In some
cases all of the activities required for the project are not included in the project.
The scheduled duration of an activity is an estimate of the time that it will take for
an activity to be completed. An activity can finish early, on time, or late.

Theory 1. Construction schedule need to be easily adapted to reflect the condition of the

jobsite.

Reality 2. Schedules are not updated to reflect the actual progress on the site.

* The preferred method of tracking the progress is done with highlighted drawings.
Updated schedules only provide the superintendent with the percent completed, and
do not represent what work has been completed.

Theory 2. Updated schedules need to provide the location of where the work has been

completed as well as the work that remains.

Reality 3. Schedules that have a large amount of activities and cover a long time span

are confusing to workers.

* The 3-week look-ahead schedule was the most useful to the workers because it was
simple and easy to understand and dealt only with activities that were related to that
specific time frame.

Theory 3. Projects should be scheduled in several small phases.









Reality 4. Drawings are used to track progress.

* Highlighted drawings are used to track the progress on the project, not the
schedule. An updated schedule provides no indication of where the work is in
place or what areas have work remaining.

Theory 4. The schedule should be linked to the drawings.

These four realities help to show why schedules are not being used to their intended

potential. The four theories identified would help to make the schedule a more useful

artifact. The major problem that was identified in the realities is that schedules only

provide part of the information that is needed. The realities offer ideas that would make

schedules more useful and usable.

Recommendations for Design

The analysis so far has helped us to better understand the superintendent's job.

"When the goal is operationally effective systems, designers need to adopt the attitude of

an experimenter trying to understand and model the interactions of task demands,

artifacts, cognition, collaboration across agents, and organizational context" (Woods

1998 page 170). The FAH, DR, IR, IS, the critique of existing tools, and the realities and

theories of drawings and schedules have helped to better understand the superintendent's

job and to identify areas that new technologies could help to assist him or her.

One of the biggest tasks that superintendents face is having to be aware of the

progress on the jobsite. To execute several of the Decision Requirements it is necessary

for a superintendent to be up to date on the progress of the project. To be able to

determine whether an activity can start (DR2) the superintendent has to have knowledge

of what is completed. To schedule an activity before the completion of its prerequisite

(DR11) the superintendent has to be aware of the progress. To be able to predict the

completion date of an activity (DR8) and to be able to identify ways to get an activity









back on schedule (DR9) a superintendent must have knowledge of the progress on the

site.

To measure the amount of progress the superintendent has to walk the jobsite and

take note of what is completed. One artifact that the superintendent created, to ease the

cognitive demand of remembering what on the project was completed, was highlighted

drawings to represent the progress on the jobsite. Highlighted drawings was the way in

which progress was measured on for the project not the schedule. One of the reasons that

highlighted drawings are so effective is that they are simple to understand, and they are

easy to create. The ideas that are embedded in the highlighted drawings are something

that needs to be preserved and expanded upon in the design of new technology.

A system that modeled the entire construction project could be of great benefit to a

superintendent. The model would have to be easy to navigate; it would also have to

allow the superintendent to highlight areas of concern. The simulated project model

would also have to allow the superintendent to represent the actual progress of the site.

This is a task that should be no more difficult than highlighting drawings. The model

would also have to be readily available to all the trades.

A computer model that simulated the actual progress would also provide better

understanding of where work was being performed, and more importantly, where it was

not. It would allow the superintendent to better use the space that was available to her or

him. This would assist the superintendent with DR1 identifying the space required for a

task, DR7 determining the impact that an activity will have on other activities, DR6

identifying who is performing work and what they are responsible for, and DR3









identifying an activities resource and equipment. The model could also assist DR2 in

identifying what is necessary for an activity to start and identify possible alternatives.

If the simulation model was object-oriented and provided the quantity of material

required for activities, then it would be an even more powerful tool. The current practice

for identifying the quantity of material is a long process; therefore, it is seldom performed

by the superintendents. Having the quantity of material for an activity would help the

superintendent with DR1, determining the amount of storage and workspace is required

for an activity; DR3, identifying the resources and equipment; and DR10, understanding

what is required to complete an activity.

If the superintendent was then able to identify the quantity of material that was in

place by updating the actual progress on the simulation model there would be an even

greater benefit to the superintendent. The model would then be able to tell how much

material was left to complete the project. If the subcontractors' daily reports, specifically

the number of laborers on the job, could be input into the system, then the system would

be able to calculate the production rate for the work in place. Based on the production

rate for the work in place, it would then be able to determine the remaining duration of

the activity. This would be extremely useful for DR8, predicting if an activity will meet

its durations; DR9, identifying what is required to get an activity back on schedule; and

DR10, what is required to complete an activity. The superintendent lacks tools that

enable him or her to be able to accurately estimate the completion date of a project.

If progress was simulated on a computer model of a project it, would be possible to

update the schedule automatically from the model. The schedule then would be able to

represent the actual progress on the project and possibly the forecasted durations. One of









the shortfalls of existing schedules is that they do not identify where on the project this

work is completed. If the schedule was linked to the simulated computer model it would

then be possible to identify where the completed work is located.

If the computer model of the project was created in layers that represented activities

on the schedule, then the schedule would be more usable. This would aid the

superintendent in addressing DR1, activity space and storage requirements; DR2,

identifying what needs to be in place for an activity and evaluating alternatives; DR3,

identifying what activities are reliant on other activities; DR7, identifying the impact that

an activity has on others; and DR11, determining if an activity can start while its

prerequisite is still in progress.

In summary, the results of the analysis indicate that superintendents would benefit

by having a computer model that simulated the actual project. The computer model

would have to allow the superintendent to easily allow the superintendent to identify and

note work that has been completed. If the model was object-oriented and represented the

actual materials that are used on the project, then the superintendent could easily identify

the quantities of materials. This would allow him or her to be able to identify the amount

of material that is in place as well as the amount of material that remains. If the system

was able to input the size of the crew, it would then be able to establish a crew production

rate, and therefore find the remaining duration based on the established production rate

and remaining material. If the model was linked to activities on the schedule then the

schedule would become a more useful tool. Superintendents would be able to visually

see where an activity was to take place. If the schedule was linked to the model it could






66


represent the actual progress, and it would be able to revise activity durations based

actual production rates.














CHAPTER 5
FINAL CONCLUSION

Potter and colleagues' modified design artifact was successful in translating the

results of the CTA into a format that could easily be followed. The FAH provided a

framework that identified the goals necessary for the superintendent's domain of

scheduling a construction activity. After the FAH was established, it was then possible to

identify the cognitive demands, or DR, required to meet the demands of the domain.

Identifying the IR that are associated with the DR provided a better understanding of the

elements that are required to fulfill the DR. The IS of the IR provided more details about

the IR, and provide more insight to the superintendent's job. Understanding the

timeframe in which the superintendent collected the IR and executed the DR also aided in

better understanding his or her job.

The superintendent was observed using several artifacts that aided in scheduling

activities. The identification of these artifacts was useful in uncovering some of the

cognitively demanding aspects of the job. It is also useful to study existing artifacts to

identify parts of them that need to be preserved when designing new technology. For this

reason, two of these artifacts, the drawings and the schedule, needed to be studied in

greater detail. The drawings are an artifact that was modified into several different tools

that made the superintendent's job easier. The schedules were an artifact that was

expected to aid in the superintendent's work, yet they were used very little. It was

necessary to critique these two artifacts, the drawings and schedule, to obtain a better

understanding of them.









The critique of the schedule and drawings allows for the establishment of realities

and theories about those particular artifacts. The realities were actual observed uses of

the artifacts. Based on these realities one is able to establish theories about an artifact

that needs to be considered when modifying that artifact. Realities and theories look at

how, and in what situations, existing technology is used. Realities and theories

complement the entire analysis by addressing usability.

The entire analysis leads to the recommendations for design. All of the

recommendations are supported by the analysis. The design artifact that was used allows

one to trace back and identify the reasoning for that recommendation.

The application of the CTA to a superintendent's job was useful. The CTA

identified aspects of a superintendent's job that can be cognitively demanding. By

uncovering the demanding parts of the superintendent's job we can hopefully develop

better tools to support their job in the future.
















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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Michael Hurley was born February 22, 1978. He attended the University of

Nebraska at Kearney for a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management, before

attending to the University of Florida to pursue a Master of Science in Building

Construction.