Characterizing the role of communications in teams carrying out building inspection

Yangming Shi, Jing Du, Pingbo Tang, Dong Zhao

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

9 Scopus citations


Building inspection plays a critical role in the quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) of building construction projects. In practice, collaborative inspection is encouraged where a team co-review the as-built information and coordinate searches for discrepancies. Communication is considered as indispensable in this process. However, no existing methods clearly define what level of communication is sufficient but not redundant in various building inspection scenarios. Too much communication may lead to information overload and group polarization. Information overload refers to cases where perceived input information exceeds human cognitive capacity that affects decision quality; group polarization refers to the tendency for a group of people to converge into a central opinion held by a dominant team member. This study tested a hypothesis that excessive communication in collaborative building inspection compromises the performance of building inspection. The authors conducted a human-subject experiment (n = 71) to compare the building inspection performances of groups that were allowed to exchange information via verbal communications against those of groups conducting review and inspection independently. A multi-user virtual reality (VR) model uses a real building on Texas A&M University campus as the testbed to facilitate the review session. The authors documented the number of identified discrepancies as the performance indicator, including architectural, structural, and MEP discrepancies. The research results showed that groups practicing independent reviews and inspections outperformed groups allowed to have verbal communications. While other factors (e.g., the experience level of test subjects in building inspection) were controlled, the observed distinct performance suggests that communication may compromise building inspection quality to some extent or certain "dominants" in teams tend to mislead the discussion. Another reason might be relevant with the complexity of inspected built assets. Future investigations are necessary to comprehend such team inspection performance deterioration further.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationConstruction Research Congress 2018
Subtitle of host publicationConstruction Project Management - Selected Papers from the Construction Research Congress 2018
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780784481271
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
EventConstruction Research Congress 2018: Construction Project Managemen, CRC 2018 - New Orleans, United States
Duration: Apr 2 2018Apr 4 2018


OtherConstruction Research Congress 2018: Construction Project Managemen, CRC 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction


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