Design Prose

Integrated Design Process

Posted in Built Environment, Project Management by designprose on June 28, 2011

Increasingly, there has been a shift in a design process cycle and it’s tilting in the favor of Integrated Design Process as opposed to traditional practice of different team members entering the project life cycle at various stages. The process of Integrated Design brings all the stake holders, architects, designers, engineers, contractors, clients, strategic planners, consultants, all together at the onset of the project. There is emphasis on effective communication to overcome gaps which may emerge due to disparate nature of the team. Goals and requirements are well spelled from the beginning of the project and each member participates in the process right from the schematic design. This ensures that all the synergistic design opportunities are well incorporated and final design outcome is correctly designed.

The traditional model of team members working in isolation has had limitations where design intentions did not make it all the way to all disciplines and eventually led to compromised outcome. Continuous advancement in building industry calls for design leaders to have an holistic approach in understanding what synergies and trade-offs these technologies can bring in. To address this effectively it is critical that various members are integrated in a close-knit team framework, where all the decisions reflect in all aspects of anticipated built environment.

To address effective communication amongst team members, increasingly the tools are also gearing towards an Integrated Design Process. This is clear in the way REVIT software is being dealt with. How one modification or design feature can impact the other decisions can have cost implications, positive synergies and trade-offs. All these can be factored in the project life-cycle cost if addressed earlier on the design process. For example, how certain architectural feature impacts the mechanical design of the building and how that eventually may impact structural loads can all be addressed early on.

There is a merit in this approach and that is why building industry is shifting its gear towards it. It is effective, cost effective (considering the project life cycle cost and not only initial construction cost), sustainable and addresses core of problems by being inclusive in nature. It eliminates Us vs Them feeling for the stake holders while assigning responsibilities to members of the project. This encourages sense of ownership for everyone and increases chances of value added outcome in more possible and positive way.