UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Data visualization of requests for information to support construction decision-making Bhat, Achintya Sheela


The construction industry is dependent on effective communication among project team members. Construction data has varied formats and size, and are communicated through a variety of mediums over the course of the project. This often leads to potential discontinuity and delays in communication between project team members. Requests for Information (RFI) are the standard form of communication between the design team and the construction team. RFI’s are not just a means of construction communication; the fact that the RFI has been generated points out that there is something wrong, missing or unclear with the existing documents and designs. Past studies have suggested that RFI’s are an indicator of deficiency in design documentation. Current RFI management systems are not sufficient to provide project participants with a medium to analyze the problems, their cause or even to easily look for information required in these RFI documents. From past studies, we know that visualization helps humans to analyze complex and vast amounts of data easily. In this study, we develop visualizations of data in the RFI documents and investigate if it has potential benefits for construction project members. To extract and transform data from the semi-structured RFI documents, we develop a framework by employing the qualitative technique of content analysis. A case study approach was employed for this study. Approximately 1,400 RFI’s were analyzed from Project A and around 500 RFI’s were analyzed from Project B. In this framework, we identify several quantitative and qualitative dimensions including time (when), spatial context (where), actor (who), reason (why), RFI Type, Domain, Property, Attribute, Entity (what) that can be used to visualize the data for analyzing the information in the RFI’s. The RFI dashboard was developed with constant feedback from industry personnel who stated that the dashboard had promising benefits for both the consultants and the owners. The contribution of this research is the development of a framework to structure and organize the information in RFI documents, the creation of a prototype dashboard visualization of RFI data, and the assessment of the potential benefits of RFI data visualization for decision making in the construction industry.

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