Research methods associated with situational simulations in construction

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering; Department of Computer Science


Situational simulations create temporally dynamic clinical exercises of construction project scenarios that expose participants to rapidly unfolding events and the pressures of decision-making. They further construction research and education, by providing an interactive simulation platform that can be used to explore "what-if" construction scenarios, estimate risks and contingencies, test alternative plans during construction, and support the capture and analysis of real-time project data to support expert decision-making. The design, development, and use of situational simulations calls upon an inter-disciplinary approach which includes methodologies that are rooted in modeling of discrete event systems, intelligent planning, statistical data mining and cognitive psychology. We trace the development of two related situational simulation systems, the Virtual Coach and the Interactive Construction Decision-Making Aid (ICDMA) that have been developed by research groups at University of Washington and Michigan Tech. with technical support from industry. Over the last five years, the simulations have significantly evolved in their abilities to represent and reason about construction projects, as tools that enhance construction education and as experimental test beds that can be used to study construction decision-making. The research efforts have resulted in different aspects of this research to be funded by two funding agencies.

Publisher's Statement

© ASCE 2009. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1061/41020(339)148

Publication Title

Building a Sustainable Future - Proceedings of the 2009 Construction Research Congress