The Communication, Technology and Organizational Practices (CTOP) lab focuses on how teams of people work together with and through technology. CTOP engages in original research to generate new knowledge and develop innovative solutions that improve how teams work, organize, communicate, and integrate the technologies of today and tomorrow.

How we are talked about

“[CTOP] research was a catalyst for change at the University of Washington. The project brought technology stakeholders together who had never met before.” (UW CPD)

“CTOP’s research changed the dialogue within Sound Transit. Now people are talking about how we will do BIM going forward.” (Sound Transit)

Workplace Questions that Matter

The CTOP lab pursues answers to organizational and work process questions that matter to architect, engineers, contractors and owners (AECO), such as:

  • How can AECO teams collaborate in more efficient and innovative ways?
  • How can firms efficiently and effectively integrate new technologies into the workplace?
  • How can AEC teams make information meaningful to decision-makers?
  • What does the future hold for collaborative technology in the building industry?

Impacting How the Industry Works

Just this past year, the CTOP lab has:

  • Produced a workflow to improve interoperability from BIM to Enterprise Asset Management Systems
  • Developed an industry report for best collaborative energy modeling practices
  • Discovered how and why Integrated Project Delivery and collaborative strategies are more reliable
  • Rebaselined workflows for collecting as-is data for existing buildings
  • Developed BIM and asset data specifications and processes for transit

Work Products

Innovation Through Practice: The Messy Work of Making Technology Useful for Architecture, Engineering and Construction Firms and Teams

WATCH PRESENTATION VIDEO Through the study of visualizations, virtual worlds, and information exchange, our research reveals the complex connections between technology and the work of design and construction. Our studies focused on architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) teams as they grappled with adapting work practices to new technologies and the opportunities these technologies promise. Over…

Rebaselining Asset Data for Existing Facilities and Infrastructure

DOWNLOAD REPORT In this report, we introduce rebaselining as a workflow for collecting and verifying data for existing assets based on evolving or emerging data needs or changes in the status of assets. We conducted two action research projects in two public owner organizations in the U.S. to explore the rebaselining tasks that owners need…

What is BIM and Why Should Construction Lawyers Care about It?

DOWNLOAD POWERPOINT This PowerPoint presentation was created for the WSBA Construction Law Section–Annual Dinner and CLE. Learning objectives include: BIM definition BIM history Common current uses BIM Execution Planning Contracts and Data Requirement Specifications Hands on Demonstrations

MBEst A Technical Report on Standardization of Model-Based Estimating

DOWNLOAD REPORT Project cost estimating is an important part of construction project management. Traditionally, estimators use project drawings and specifications to create quantity takeoffs (QTO) and subsequently calculate sub/total costs based on their judgments and historical cost information.During the past decade, BIM practitioners in academia and industry have aimed to leverage BIM capabilities for cost…

Record Modeling Industry Practices

DOWNLOAD REPORT This technical report presents a review of current Record Modeling practices in the building sector of the construction industry. Our Center for Education and Research in Construction (CERC) research team collected and reviewed Record Modeling specifications from large public and private institutional owners from across the U.S. These specification documents consisted of published…

The Future is Here: Virtual Reality as a Training Tool for Building Operators

DOWNLOAD REPORT This report features an applied research consortia project that analyzed the potential value of VR for operations staff training. To accomplish this task, the project team developed a Virtual Environment (VE) for the West Campus Utility Plant on the University of Washington’s Seattle campus. We used this VE to compare conventional switchgear training with…

Building Strong Teams: A Guide to Effective AEC Communication and Collaboration with BIM

DOWNLOAD REPORT This report is the culmination of several years of research about collaboration with BIM and integrated design and construction teams, as well as a synthesis of best practices from Skanska professionals. Our study focused on construction management and owner/developer perspectives; however, many of the collaborative techniques are relevant to all parties in an integrated…

Implications of New Construction Technology for Western Washington Mechanical Contractors (2011)

Implications of New Construction Technology for Western Washington Mechanical Contractors (2011)

We find that mechanical contractors are well positioned for the emerging changes in the AEC industry. The ways in which designers and builders manage information and data is challenging existing roles, organizational divisions, and work practices throughout the project process. We have identified four key emerging trends:

  • There is an increasingly important role for technologists on project teams
  • Mobile computing technologies link the field to the office
  • The line is blurring between design and construction
  • BIM is enabling and expanding prefabrication. Recommendations

Modular Prefabricated Residential Construction: Constraints & Opportunities (2013)


Funded by Skanska Innovation Grant – 2013

Modular Prefabricated Residential Construction: Constraints & Opportunities (2013)

  • Mid-rise is possible in seismic zone
  • First Cost Neutral
  • Savings in shorter time to market
  • Increased quality with decreased construction safety risks