Design Management seeks to establish project management practices that are primarily focused on enhancing the design process. For Infrastructure and Building projects the successful implementation of Design Management throughout the entire Project Life Cycle can represent the difference between a superior outcome for the project in terms of Quality, Timing, Cost and Value or failure, given the complexity of Infrastructure and Building projects in today’s environment.
Design Management is however primarily focused on the Design Process within the project framework and as such is only a part of the overall Project Management of a project, albeit a critical part of the project.
If you are going to be a successful Design Manager and achieve superior outcomes for both your clients and your own business, you cannot manage design haphazardly and expect consistent results. You must manage design projects by undertaking a proven stage by stage process. This brief article outlines those stage by stage processes and gives the Design Manager a guide to successfully design managing Infrastructure and Building projects. The Design Management role is considered in this article in the context of an in-house or consultant client side Design Manager and not a Design Manager within the design team itself. It is also on the basis of a fully documented Design and Construct only contract.
Stage 1: Early Design Management Involvement-Statement of Need
The output for this stage will be a Design Report that will directly feed into the Client’s Statement of Need and overall Business Case.
Early involvement to the Project Life Cycle is important but this may need to be reinforced with the Client to appreciate and understand the benefits this will provide. There are several key tasks during this stage:
1.1 Obtaining and Assessing all the available key design Information
- Collation of all available data and information
- Visit the site
- Review contract as related to design aspects
- Review the level of the design that has been prepared to date
- Evaluate information and highlight critical issues
- Review findings with Client
- Assess the team capability requirements and resourcing
- Assess any spend on fees required at this stage
- Engage consultant as required to provide required technical and project inputs to assist the preparation of the workflow management system design report.
1.2 Design Risk Review
- Identify design risks and create a Design Risk Register
- Identify any Safety in Design issues
- Analyse and provide suggestions for risk mitigation for ongoing stages
- 1.3 Design Report Input to Statement of Need
- Prepare draft of design report input into the Statement of Need report and review with Client
- Prepare final Design Report component into the Statement of Need report
Stage 2: Design Management during the Outline Design Stage
With the Statement of Need or 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 requirements and project 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 tasks in this stage:
2.1 Define Client design requirements and project design needs
- Gather all available and updated project data from the Client.
- Identify any gaps in the information provided.
- Meet with the Client to review the information provided and identify additional information required.
- 2.2 Engage Design Consultants
- Engage all the key consultants that are required to develop the Functional Design Brief. It is critical that the consultant’s scope of work is clear for the level of input required and clearly noted in their Contract.
2.3 Prepare Functional Design Brief
- Manage and coordinate the consultant team to deliver the Functional Design Brief that will respond to and record all the client requirements and needs and form the basis to proceed for all disciplines.
- The Functional Brief will generally be supported by Concept design sketches that provide an outline of the proposed design.
2.4 Prepare the Design Management Plan (DMP)
The DMP provides the roadmap for the way the design will be managed and needs to be prepared at this stage of the design process for best results. The DMP is a component of the Project Management Plan prepared by the Project Manager.
The key Design headings in a DMP are as follows:
- Project Overview
- Process and related procedures
- Documentation & Deliverables Schedule
- Value Engineering
- Change Management
- Independent Third Party Checks, Permits
- Quality Management
- Client Approvals
- Close Out & As Built Record
2.5 Outline Cost Plan
- Manage and coordinate the development of the Outline Cost Plan with the Quantity Surveyor, with input from all the relevant consultants.
2.6 Identify Design Risks
- Identify Design Risks within the overall Risk Management framework.
- Analyse and manage risks and update the Risk Register, design out risks where possible.
- Ensure Safety in Design requirements are followed.
2.7 Value Management
- Arrange a Value Management workshop. Value Management is a systematic review of the essential functions or performance of a project to ensure that best value for money is achieved. It takes an overall view of the function of the project as well as capital and recurrent costs.
- Prepare a Value Management Report and implement recommendations.
2.8 Project Approvals
- Outline and define the planning approval process and coordinate with the design process requirements.
Stage 3: 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 disciplines in response to the approved Functional Design Brief. The following are the key tasks in this stage: