Misunderstandings can be considered a natural emergent feature of Early Project Collaboration, which may lead participants to engage in the dialectical construction of the activity. In this case, the emergence of diverse understandings in a design task is not a bad thing. However, if not revealed and resolved it can lead to wrong assumptions and expectations among the design team. Diverse understandings emerge and are manifested within the artefacts the participants design and choose to use in the task. When these diverse understandings are revealed and exposed in time, it can lead to opportunities to explore and expand different ways to perceive the situation, as well as to conceive different design alternatives. Thus, building shared understanding requires that participants perceive and embrace the dialectical nature of collaborative design achieving mutual intelligibility, and working upon contradictions emerging from different perceptions founded on individual frames that manifests through diverse artefacts of interaction (i.e. verbal argument, graphical representations, organisational processes). Through such dialectical activity participants in the Early Project Collaboration can potentially review, reposition and construct, in the sense of a bridge, their collective interpretations and actions.

Moreover, the collective construction of Design Objects in a task interacts with the collective construction of the whole Project activity. In this case, conceptions of collaboration could also be a source of misunderstandings at Early Project Interactions, and, therefore, need to be considered object of the social construction.

In conclusion, this research proposes a framework that could be used to help design teams map and reflect about their interactions at early project stage. By focusing on setting the design team objects (e.g. what are the specific design topics on this task?), individuals can expose the emergence of diverse interpretations over design objects, and establish the means (artefacts) to evaluate them collectively. Furthermore, this research suggests that socio-constructive strategies (e.g. collaborative design games) could help to measure and improve the group ability to perform in collaborative concept design.


Project Team members:

Danilo Gomes

Professor Patricia Tzortzopoulos Fazenda

Professor Mike Kagioglou


List of Publications

Gomes, D., and Tzortzopoulos, P. (2018). “Constructing Shared Understanding in Early Design Collaboration.” In: Proc. 26th Annual Conference of the International. Group for Lean Construction (IGLC), González, V.A. (ed.), Chennai, India.

Gomes, D., Tzortzopoulos, P. and Meddings, C. (2018). “Contradictions in Architecture Design Studios: Reflections on the concepts of Design embedded in Architectural Education”. In: The 5th International Conference on Architecture and Built Environment with AWARDs. 22-24th May. Venice, Italy.

Gomes, D. & Tzortzopoulos, P. (2018). “Dynamics of Early Project Collaboration in Construction Projects.” In: 6th International Workshop: When Social Sciences meets Lean and BIM, Huddersfield, UK.

Gomes, D., Tzortzopoulos, P. & Kagioglou, M. (2017). “Socio-Constructivist Account of Collaboration in Concept Design” In: 25th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Heraklion, Greece, 9-12 Jul 2017. pp 301-308

Gomes, D., Tzortzopoulos, P., & Kagioglou, M. (2017). “Collaborative Concept Design as Socio-Construction.” In: 5th International Workshop: When Social Science meets Lean and BIM, Aalborg, Denmark.

Gomes, D., Koskela, L., Biotto, C., Talebi, S. & Pikas, E. (2017). “Shared Understanding in Construction: A Conceptual Synthesis.” In: 5th International Workshop: When Social Science meets Lean and BIM, Aalborg, Denmark.  

Gomes, D. (2016). “Shared Understanding and Collaboration at Early Design Stages in AEC”. In: RIBA President’s Awards for Research 2016 – Book of Abstracts. Edited by Kat Martindale and Alex Tait. P. 63.

Gomes, D., Tzortzopoulos, P., & Kagioglou, M. (2016). “Collaboration through shared understanding in the early design stage.” In: 24th Ann. Conf. of the Int’l. Group for Lean Construction.  Boston, MA, USA. pp. 63-72.

Koskela, L., Pikas, E., Gomes, D., Biotto, C., Talebi, S., Rahim, N. & Tzortzopoulos, P. (2016). “Towards Shared Understanding on Common Ground, Boundary Objects and Other Related Concepts” In: 24th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Boston, USA.

Gomes, D & Tzortzopoulos, P. (2015). “BIM implications on Architectural Design Thinking.” In: ARCOM Doctoral Workshop on Construction Education in the New Digital Age. Birmingham, UK. pp. 22-33