Successful Design Management for the 6 Stages of Design of Infrastructure and Building Projects

Design Management

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 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:

Introduction
Project Overview

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