Mobile Augmented Reality to Influence Design and Constructability Review Sessions

Suleiman Alsafouri, Steven K. Ayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


In modern construction projects, architects, engineers, contractors, and owners who are actively involved in projects use different methods of visualization, such as building information modeling (BIM), physical mock-ups, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR), to support the conceptualizations, representations, and final appearances of their design ideas. These approaches can support design visualization for decision making before final construction. However, unlike BIM visualization where users can only interact with a virtual environment and physical mock-ups where the interaction is only with physical design components, AR can merge physical conditions with computer-generated visual information. This may aid professionals in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industries during design and constructability review sessions. This research studied the use of AR through a structured design review activity involving current industry practitioners in design and constructability review sessions and tested whether the combined virtual-physical nature of AR facilitates the same actions and outcomes suggested by prior work that used virtual reality-based mock-ups or physical mock-ups. In addition, this study identified and analyzed various actions such as decision making, problem solving, and design alternatives that occur as users interact with AR on different mobile computers. This analysis provides an understanding of how different mobile computers, such as wearables and handheld devices showing the same technical AR environment, can lead to different actions among users. This research found that AR can facilitate some of the actions of virtual reality and physical mock-ups in design and constructability review sessions, including decision making, design alternatives, and descriptive, explanative, and problem-solving actions. In addition, different mobile computers led to different observed actions during the design review sessions. For example, handheld devices between 15.24 cm (6 in.) and 25.5 cm (10 in.) enabled more decision-making actions than any other device tested. As additional testing is completed, future findings may be compared with those presented in this work to determine the actions that are consistently seen with AR in design and constructability review sessions. Eventually, this may provide a valuable tool to allow future researchers and practitioners to strategically plan for AR technology use based on what specific human actions are desirable for a given application.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04019016
JournalJournal of Architectural Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • Augmented reality
  • Building information modeling
  • Design and constructability review
  • Mobile computers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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