Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil, Environmental & Architectural Engineering

First Advisor

Paul M. Goodrum

Second Advisor

Keith R. Molenaar

Third Advisor

Matthew R. Hallowell

Fourth Advisor

Tom Yeh

Fifth Advisor

Robert M. Leicht


Purpose: The main goal of this dissertation was to improve the effectiveness of construction craft workers in using the engineering information format when completing complex construction tasks.

Background: The construction productivity of craft workers can be negatively impacted by ineffective communication of the project’s design and information. Traditional information delivery relies on two-dimensional drawings for multiple views, which typically require workers to have high spatial cognitive abilities in order to effectively understand how to interpret and combine all views of the two-dimensional (2D) drawings. Advancements in three-dimensional (3D) computer-aided design (CAD), augmented reality, virtual reality, and 3D printing have provided new format options for delivering engineering information in a way that is easier to understand.

Intellectual Merit: The dissertation describes a set of field trials based on experimental designs and the use of eye tracking technology to explore the interrelation between spatial cognition, demographic traits, and engineering information formats in their impact on the performance of construction craft workers. The aim of the dissertation was to generate new knowledge in several respects by (1) introducing primary constructs regarding the information needs of construction craft workers; (2) quantifying the influence of various engineering information deliverables, demographics, and spatial cognition that captures the individual performance of craft workers; (3) reviewing the guidelines for providing tailored information systems to accommodate unique craft worker demographics and requirements of spatial cognition; and (4) revising proposals and additional recommendations to transform information systems implemented for craft workers.

Broader Impact: This dissertation opens channels for extensive transformative findings on how to more naturally incorporate information interfaces with people. Recognition of cognitive aspects of spatial information processing based on different information formats and craft worker demographics provides a better understanding of how to improve information systems and the performance of individuals engaged in frontline tasks in other industries. This is done by understanding how information format can be tailored for broader ranges of populations with diverse spatial cognition and demographics.