Evaluating Design Review Meetings And The Use Of Virtual Reality For Post-Occupancy Analysis

Open Access
Liu, Yifan
Graduate Program:
Architectural Engineering
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
November 10, 2016
Committee Members:
  • John Messner, Dissertation Advisor
  • John Messner, Committee Chair
  • Robert Michael Leicht, Committee Member
  • Chimay J. Anumba, Committee Member
  • Scarlett R. Miller, Outside Member
  • Craig Richard Dubler, Special Member
  • Virtual Reality
  • BIM
  • Architectural Design
  • Design Review
  • Grounded Theory
The lifecycle for a building project consists of the planning, design, construction, and post occupancy phase. The longest and most costly phase is the post occupancy phase, during which the facility is used by building owners or occupants, and operated and maintained by facility management staff. During the post occupancy phase, the operability and usability are two important factors that impact the cost of building operation and occupants’ productivity. The best time to improve operability and usability of a building facility is during the design phase when the cost of change is low. One important method to incorporate operability and usability requirements into the design is through collaborative design review meetings that involve the end users and facility maintenance staff so the tacit knowledge of post occupancy requirements can be transferred to the design team. However, communication of design information via traditional 2D drawings are do not allow reviewers to fully understand the building design. Previous research has demonstrated that Virtual Reality (VR) aids external project stakeholders in understanding the design. Although intuitively VR appears to be a great media to communicate the design to external stakeholders, many project teams are not sure if they should adopt VR in their design review process. One of the key reasons is the relatively high initial investment required to adopt VR into their workflow. VR devices and facilities are still expensive. Expertise is also needed to create a model that is suitable for display in virtual reality. In addition, the value of the VR based post occupancy design review has not been rigorously studied in previous research. In short, the project managers need to better understand the value of VR based post occupancy design review in order to make informed decisions on whether VR is worth the investment for their project. This research explored the value of a VR based post occupancy focused design review for improving the usability, maintainability, and operability of facilities. The researcher observed 21 design review meetings to form a deep understanding of the current post occupancy design review process in both traditional paper-based and VR based settings. Following a grounded theory methodology, the researcher analyzed 13 design review meeting recordings with a total length of 21 hours. A process model was developed to describe the dynamics and interactions of the design review process. An evaluation framework was developed to quantitatively evaluate the performance of the design review meetings. The evaluation framework was validated and used to analyze the 13 design review meetings. The analysis results were not able to find review meetings with VR better than those with traditional media. Instead, the results show that the use of both VR and traditional media in a design review correlates to better meeting performance. The research also found that reviewers who known the design well prior to a design review tend to improve the overall meeting performance. The research also outlines observations on the advantages and disadvantages of VR models in visualizing a facility design, and recommends several criteria to determine whether VR can be an effective media for a design review.