1 Ph.D. Candidate, Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Building Construction, lflorez3@gatech.edu

2 Associate Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Building Construction, dcastro@gatech.edu

3 Associate Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology, College of Architecture, russell.gentry@coa.gatech.edu


Traditional construction research methods have focused on simplifying phenomena in an attempt to help researchers better understand complex issues occurring in the construction industry. Although these methods give an insight, they are often not adequate to understand the complex interactions that happen in the field and that lead to many of the industry’s problems. Contextualist research is a method that holds considerable promise for addressing practical and problem-based research in construction. This exploratory study outlines the opportunities, implications, and challenges of using this method, and how it can support the advancement of construction research. To showcase its capability, an example from a field study on a masonry site located in the Southeastern United States involving extensive field observations and interviews was conducted. Results from the knowledge gathered in the field can be used to understand crew formation strategies that may impact workflow in masonry projects and that need to be managed to improve performance and resource allocation.


Keywords: masonry, labor requirements, field observations, interviews, construction management