Dr. Carrie Sturts Dossick is a Professor of Construction Management at the University of Washington, College of Built Environment and the Executive Director of the Center for Education and Research in Construction (CERC). Dr. Dossick has over a decade of research and teaching experience primarily focused on emerging collaboration methods and technologies such as Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) and Building Information Modeling (BIM). She is an active member of both the National Institute of Building Sciences and buildingSMART Alliance. Current research projects include technology and collaboration strategies for green building design and construction; global team collaboration with Virtual Reality; operations applications of BIM and facilities data in maintenance management and life cycle planning; and rebaselining BIM and asset data for existing buildings. She has received funding from the National Science Foundation, U.S. Army, U.S. Department of Education, Mechanical Contractors Association of Western Washington, Sound Transit, Skanska USA Building, University of Washington Royalty Research Fund, University of Washington Capital Projects and Facilities services.


Projects Highlights

Integration At It’s Finest:  3 High Performance Projects in the General Services Administration portfolio

Team Matter:  A review of 11 cases from GSA Region 5 during ARRA.

CTOP: Collaboration, Technology and Organizational Practices Research Group focuses on questions of how teams of people work together with and through technology. Our current settings include US Green Buildings and the concerns of information security in digital practice. 

UW Innovation Research Award:  Engineering Communication in Data Rich Environments  (2016 – 2018)

Today’s engineers grapple with more data, more people and less time. Design theory suggests collaborative problem solving leads to innovation. But multidisciplinary projects often fall short of this potential because experts from different fields lack the communication and collaboration skills they need to translate their work across disciplinary boundaries. Joint problem solving requires teams to address differences in values, requirements and constraints, as happens when a structural engineer collaborates with an architect. Few engineers are trained explicitly in these skills, yet engineering problems – in areas as diverse as hardware, infrastructure, nanotechnology and the construction of skyscrapers – require engineers to work with teams of experts from different fields.

This project will study how engineers communicate with data and data visualizations for interdisciplinary innovation. We will study student teams to identify the key challenges and opportunities for collaboration. Our research to date suggests a paradox: more detailed visualizations make it easier for interdisciplinary teams to identify and agree upon problems while making it harder for them to generate solutions. One possible answer to this paradox, which we will test in this project, is in the communication strategies that engineers use with other professionals. Our goals are to inspire engineering innovation through the transformation of collaboration with data across disciplines; measure the impact of data communication on shared understanding; and train future engineers in the skills and techniques for communication and collaboration in data-rich environments.

IPDA/LCI Integrated Project Delivery Survey and Case Studies

In collaboration with Prof. Renee Cheng, Prof. Dossick is supporting a detailed case study of some of the most successful IPD projects in the US and Canada.

Previous Projects include:

Sound Transit: Project Data Exchange Strategies for ST OPS-DECM

Sound Transit, 12/15/2014 – 9/15/2015

In this project, Prof. Dossick and her team supported the development of Data requirements for asset planning and programing as well as deliverable specifications and processes for Building Information Modeling and asset data and information.

Building User Audit: Capturing Behavior, Energy, and Culture

University of Washington Green Seed Fund:  02/01/2014 – 1/31/2015   In collaboration with Heather Burpee (UW-IDL), Gina Neff and Carrie Sturts Dossick, this project sought to develop tools for auditing buildings in terms of the users’ impact on building energy consumption.  Collaborators included Ph.D. students Aran Osborn and Julie Kreigh as well as MS Student Ali Borhani.

Reduce Energy Consumption Through Integrated Design: How do engineers translate and teams synthesize energy modeling in successful high performance building design?

National Science Foundation, CMMI:ESD, Award #1300271, 08/15/2013 – 8/15/2016

This research helped scientists and practitioners understand how teams of engineers, architects and builders can design buildings that have better energy performance and are more habitable. Using a healthcare project as a test case, this research sought to explain under what conditions engineers best translate technical analysis of potential energy performance, and design teams best synthesize these results with competing constraints, to support decision making that leads to higher performance buildings. This research will advance our understanding of collaboration, especially in the new interdisciplinary and iterative design processes that use new energy modeling software. Often new technology becomes an occasion for organizational restructuring and the renegotiation of traditional work roles, relationships, and cultures. This project will advance knowledge of human-software-organizational interaction in a lived context, and contribute to the fields of engineering design and management, communication, and organizational behavior. Furthermore, healthcare infrastructure (e.g. hospitals, clinics) consumes nearly 4% of the total energy used in the U.S.  Across all sectors, many high performance buildings are not achieving their goals. High performance buildings require integrated and iterative design, which is at odds with current engineering design theory and practices that are dominated by analysis that occurs in disciplinary siloes. Through the understanding of the barriers to high performance building construction, and better use of analytical modeling and organizational innovation, this project seeks to improve the building process and maximize the ecological efficiency of buildings. Discovering how energy modeling software is actually used in the chaotic conditions of design and construction projects benefits the economy of the U.S. with further design theory for refining the technology and optimization tools used by engineers, architects, and builders to analyze, collaborate, and build.

Building Information Model (BIM) Data Extraction                                                 US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, 9/29/2015 – 9/30/2016

Collaborators Chris Lee, Laura Osburn and Carrie Sturts Dossick collaborated to address questions around information exchange between Design and construction datasets (in the form of Building Information Modeling) and those for operations and maintenance(generally known as CMMS and EAMS – Computerized Maintenance Management Systems and Enterprise Asset Management Systems).

Assessing Collaboration Across Organizational Boundaries in U.S. Green Construction: Does working together with new information technology result in better buildings?
National Science Foundation, Division of Social and Economic Sciences, Innovation & Organizational Sciences (IOS), Award No. SES-0823338 7/1/2008 – 6/30/2011

Collaborators Gina Neff and Carrie Sturts Dossick:  Building on the Principal Investigator and Co-Principal Investigator’s previous and current work in computer-mediated communication and technology for industrial and building construction, we will analyze the organizational process of commercial construction using case study ethnographic observations and interviews with 50 leaders in the field to augment our current research of two case study projects and 150 interviews on technology and communication. We will develop typologies of collaborative structures and technology use that reflect our rich ethnographic data. To test the theories we generate from this qualitative research, we will use and augment a national database of green building projects to analyze whether and how collaboration and the use of new technologies helps make buildings greener. Using the scorecards for the LEED green certification process for at least 100 projects in the database, we will measure which aspects of sustainable building design and construction required increased collaboration, the introduction of new IT, or on a combination of the two.

CyberGRID Networks – Cyber-enabled Global Research Infrastructure for Design Networks
National Science Foundation, Division of Information and Intelligent Systems, Award No. 0943069, 10/1/2009 – 9/30/2012

We are working in collaboration with John E. Taylor, Virginia Tech.  This research entails: (1) CyberGRID Net – developing a research data collection and analysis tool integrated into an existing global virtual engineering team working environment, and (2) CyberGRID Networks – utilizing that tool to develop fundamental insights into how globally distributed engineering teams enact complex design work together and with affordances in the virtual environment.  The CyberGRID Net will be a research tool that augments an existing virtual environment developed by the investigators for global design work. It will extend current pedagogical tool functionality with the following research-oriented features: (1) the existing TeamWall model-sharing display will detect and track locations of object referencing actions (e.g., pointing to a feature in a design) and functionality will be added for participants to self-indicate when phenomena of research interest occur, (2) virtual environment recordings will be time-stamped when researcher-specified interactions take place, (3) avatar-avatar and avatar-object interactions will be detected along with metadata about the interaction, and (4) functionality will be added for collaborative discussion, data analysis and annotation across a global virtual research team.

In a series of experiments, the CyberGRID Net research infrastructure will be used to engage critical organizational research questions: How are Building Information Models (BIM) in the virtual environment used as a boundary objects to resolve conflicts in the knowledge system of global virtual engineering teams? How do conflicts emerge in avatar-avatar interactions? How are conflicting obligations resolved in virtual teams by emergent virtual team leaders? How are boundary objects used in a cross-cultural context? How do leadership styles and community of practice formation vary when team members come from different countries representing different cultures and standards of practice?  These questions will be explored in three separate experiments employing a multi-method approach which includes ethnographic observation, social and interaction network analyses, and user reflection. They will involve international activities and will include graduate engineering students in the U.S., India and Finland, as well as industrial participants utilizing the CyberGRID in an industrial test case.

This research will utilize computational thinking to develop a new research tool to transform the way global virtual teams are researched, and to link avatar-object interactions into network analyses to transform approaches to modeling knowledge systems in global virtual teams. The CyberGRID Net tool will be used in experiments to expand knowledge system dynamics theory as well as theories of virtual team network formation and leadership. This research may lead to fundamental transformations in design pedagogy which, in turn, can provide new exciting engineering career paths. The research may also improve strategies of engineering firms and policymakers concerned about the leadership role of U.S. engineers in the global workforce.

Building Information MANAGEMENT:  The University of Washington’s Digital Transitions
UW Capital Projects,  6/1/2011 – 12/30/2011

Researchers and practitioners are working together to implement a BIM/COBie Pilot Case Study project at the University of Washington as part of a joint initiative by the Construction Owners Association of America (COAA) and buildingSMART alliance.  This pilot project is seen as part of a larger initiative by Capital Projects (design and construction) and Facilities Services (operations and maintenance) to create better hand-off processes for facilities and O&M information, and the creation of meaningful BIMs for the owner. The focus of the COAA COBie Pilot implementation is the Foster School of Business Phase II building which is currently under construction.

On the UW 150 year old campus, with over 50,000 people, 200 buildings and 22 million gross square feet, these initiatives include a pilot project to evaluate COBie as a data exchange between Capital Projects and Facilities Services, a lean initiative to evaluate data creation and exchange throughout the organization, the conversion of records from older formats to new web-based formats, as well as a space planning initiative to use CAD, BIM and GIS to map all of the floor plans for campus buildings.  This research addresses the technologies, the teams and expertise, as well as the managerial issues.

Previous Projects include:

BE Lab: Rapid Construction: Long Term Health  College of Built Environments BE Lab, 2010-2011

Developing Best Practice for Capturing As-Built Building Information for Existing Faculties, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center Construction Engineering and Research Laboratory, 2009

BE Lab: Cultural and Ecological Resilience in the Built Environment:  An Interdisciplinary Field Studio for Earthquake Recovery in Sichuan, China, College of Built Environments BE Lab, 2009

Generating Building Information Models (BIM) for Existing Facilities U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center Construction Engineering and Research Laboratory, 2008

Analyzing the Ramifications of New Communication Technologies for Collaboration in Architecture, Engineering, and Construction, University of Washington, Royalty Research Fund 2007-2008

Dean’s Development Award: The Impact of New Communication Technologies on Collaboration in Construction, University of Washington, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, 2007-2008

Collaborative Learning in Construction Management Through Situational Simulations, U.S. Department of Education, Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), 2007-2009

KMEW – Ceraclad Siding Comparative Study, Kubuto Matsushitodanko Exterior Works, PHase 1 2006-2007, PHase 2 2007-2008

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