Design Management

Design Management seeks to establish project management practices that are primarily
focused on enhancing the design process.
For Building projects the successful implementation of Design Management throughout the entire Project Life Cycle can represent the difference between the success and failure of a building project.

Owners and Developers can achieve superior outcomes for their Building projects if they
can ensure that the Design is effectively managed such that their requirements  are fully incorporated into the design and that the design process yields the required outcomes in terms of Quality, Timing, Cost and Value.

The conventional approach to the management of the design is through the project
management process
whereby the Design Management is simply considered as a component of the project management process, with design project managed in terms delivery to a programme schedule and cost plan. The management of the design itself is generally left to the design team with the lead consultant,  typically the architect, taking control of the design coordination process.

The design of a building is in fact such a critical component of the overall project management process that it needs dedicated Design Management to achieve the best results for Owners and
Developers. This Design Management needs to be implemented from the start of the Project Life Cycle and then throughout all the critical stages of the Design process.

The Design Management overall responsibility should rest within the Owner or Developer’s Project Management team and not the Design team itself. The Design team will need to manage its own in-house design from technical perspective and undertake coordination as required however all under the careful supervision of the Owner or Developer’s Design Manager.


This blog outlines the critical stage by stage design process and the benefits a Design Manager, working directly in the interests of the Owner or Developer, can bring to the project. The Design Management role is considered in this article in the context of an in-house or consultant Owner or Developer side Design Manager and is also on the basis of a fully documented Design and Construct only contract.


Early Design Management Involvement- Business Case

Early involvement by the Design Manager to the Project Life Cycle is critical. The output from the Design Manager for this stage will be a Design Report  that will directly feed into the Client’s overall Business Case.

There are several key tasks for the Design Manager during this stage:

    · Obtaining and Assessing all the available key design Information
    · Design Risk Review
    · Design Report Input to Business Case

Design Management during the Outline Design Stage

With the  Business Case formally approved for the project to proceed, the next step is to get the Outline Design Stage going. This stage involves clearly defining the Client design requirements and project design needs so as to form a sound foundation for the design process to proceed and is the right time to engage consultants and set up the formal Design Management process. The following are the key Design Management tasks in this stage:

   · Define Client design requirements and project design needs
  
· Engage Design Consultants  
  
· Prepare Functional Design Brief
   · Prepare the Design Management Plan (DMP)
   · Outline Cost Plan
   · Identify Design Risks 
   
· Value Management
   · Initiate Project Approvals

Design Management during the Schematic Design Stage

With the Outline Design Stage formally approved for the project to proceed to the next stage, the next step is to get the Schematic Design Stage going. This stage involves developing the design across all the design disciplines in
response to the approved Functional Design Brief. The following are the key
Design Management tasks in this stage

   · Manage the Development of the Schematic Design
   · Schematic Design  Cost Plan
   · Identify Design Risks 
   
· Value Engineering
   
· Manage Project Approvals
   · Update the DMP

Design Management during the Detailed Design Stage

With the Schematic Design Stage formally approved for the project to proceed to the next stage, the next step is to get the Detailed Design Stage going
. This important design stage involves developing the design to tender and construction across all the design disciplines in response to the approved Schematic Design Report. The following are the key Design Management tasks in this stage:
    · Manage the Development of the Detailed Design
   
· Detailed Design Cost Plan and Pre Tender Estimate
    · Identify Design Risks 
   
· Peer Review and Value Engineering
    · Manage Project Approvals
   
· Update the DMP
    · Prepare Tender Readiness Report

Design Management during the Tender Stage

With the Detailed Design Stage Tender Readiness Report formally approved for the project to proceed to Tender, the next step is to arrange the design documents to be issued for tender. The following are the key Design Management tasks in this stage:
   · Prepare Design Documentation for Tender
   · Undertake Housekeeping
  
· Manage Tender Technical Queries and Clarifications
  
· Manage Addendums as related to design
   · Tender Evaluation of design components
   · Manage Consultants 
 


Design Management during the Construction Stage

With the Tender formally awarded and on the assumption that the Project Manager will typically manage the construction phase delivery of the project, then the role of Design Manger will generally be reduced during this stage to a support role only or where required due to incomplete or ongoing design development resulting from client variations or changes made during tender negotiations.
The following are some of the key Design Management tasks in this stage:
    · Issue Approved For Construction(AFC) documents
    · Manage Housekeeping
    · Manage Outstanding Design
   
· Manage Contractor Design Submissions



 Design Management Skills

The Owner or Developer’s Design Manager should have a diverse range of skills to manage the Design Process, these include:

  1. Diversity of business and creative experience, the will, and the people skills to make things happen
  2. Ability to nurture good ideas and deliver them in a way that makes sense
  3. Ability to be a diplomat, peacemaker and planner
  4. Having a hands on approach, educating by example by delivering what other can't
  5. Being able to manage the design strategy on behalf of the Owner or Developer
  6. Ability to explore a wide range of design disciplines
  7. Synergising all the required design disciplines
  8. Being aware how to conduct a design project and work with designers
  9. Ability to facilitate the design process, enhance quality and quantity of original ideas to fight for  the ideas to be implemented
  10. Being a builder of trust and maintaining trust

Superior Outcomes from the Design Process Can be Achieved


The above methodology represents a successful approach for Design Management of building projects on behalf of the Owner or Developer. This methodology has been applied successfully to numerous building projects undertaken by the author.

The key to making the above methodology work is having the right Design Manager with the ability to concentrate on managing the design process with nothing but the best interest of the client in mind and working directly for the Owner or Developer.

It offers focus and a clear direction for any design of a Building project to achieve superior outcomes for Owners and Developers.

 

    Author

    Paul Sancandi has over 32 years of experience in managing design. 
    With a solid technical background as a structural engineer, owner of an
    Architectural and Engineering (A&E) practice and having worked in Australia, Asia and the Middle East on a wide range of small to“mega” projects, 

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