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Completion like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder


​Quality, Consequences and the Construction Industrial Complex (part 53) – All IMHO:

Can someone please tell me exactly what 50% drawings are?

The lack of clarity around what constitutes the various stages of design completion on projects I am working on is crazy and a disservice to the clients. Project Managers and Commissioning Authorities should, IMHO, define in the project design brief and owners project requirements (OPR) document what exactly should be produced at each stage of design. 

To make things worse there are different systems and definitions depending what part of the world you are in and if you are in the Middle East, good luck, it could be any system or a mash-up with no clarity. The outcome is projects with inconsistent and usually incomplete drawings and documents at SD, DD and CD phases which is an opportunity for poor or incomplete work, errors and omissions and many change orders during construction. RFI’s and change orders are lagging KPI’s for the efficacy of the building design process. 

Different procurement methods such as design & build or design, bid, build impact the design stages of work. However some basic definitions and expectations set at the start of the project will, IMHO, make for a higher quality design process with less errors & omissions. Also work stage definitions allow reviewers to make the appropriate level of comments and not waste theirs and everyones time. 

The UK RIBA have an excellent definition of work stages (www.ribaplanofwork.com) which is sometimes used outside of the UK. The USA AIA also define the design phases in a best practices document (www.aia.org). Naturally, as two cultures separated by one language, these two august institutions define these stages similarly but differently plus they are not always followed. 

The definitions I use for the various work stages when drafting the owners project requirements are:

Concept
The purpose of this stage is to set the project intention.

Project Manager and or the Commissioning Authority develop with the owner, the project design brief and OPR. This document is issued to the design team and used as a benchmark for their design achieving the owners objectives. This should be one concise document which is updated as the project progresses and key decisions are made. 

Schematic Design
The purpose of this stage is to explore options, be creative and meet the clients brief. 

A multi-discipline design team work up the first phase of the design and produce;

  1. Set of schematic drawings & site plan
  2. A schematic design report referencing design criteria, the requirements of the OPR, building services strategy and any options to be decided by the owner
  3. Outline sustainability assessment
  4. Outline cost plan with +/- 25% accuracy 


This phase is a milestone and decision point. Any major decisions made, options selected and deviations from the OPR should be documented and signed off. 
 
Design Development
The purpose of this stage is to develop and resolve the design. 

Based on feedback from the completion of schematic design, the multi-discipline design team develop the building design and produce:

  1. Set of updated schematic drawings, updated site plan plus floor plans, sections and elevations with full dimensions. 
  2. Outline materials specifications 
  3. Outline equipment schedule
  4. A design development report referencing design criteria, the requirements of the OPR, sustainability issues, building services strategy and any final options to be decided by the owner
  5. Updated cost plan +/- 15% accuracy 


At the completion of design development the;

  • Building massing and area schedule is finalized 
  • Cladding strategy finalized 
  • Building services strategy is complete and major plant sized
  • Sustainability options are decided and incorporated into the design
  • Preliminary energy model is built 
  • Commissioning Authority undertakes a design commissionability review


This phase is a milestone and decision point. Any major decisions made, options selected and deviations from the OPR should be documented and signed
off. 

Construction Documents 
The purpose of this stage is to draw and detail the resolved design. No major changes should occur at this stage and errors and omissions should be minimal on completion. 

Based on feedback from the completion of design development, the multi-discipline design team develop the building design and produce:

  1. 100% complete, issue for tender set of Arch, Civil, Structural, MEP, Landscape drawings
  2. Arch, Civil, Structural, MEP, Controls & BMS, Landscape specifications incorporating sustainability and commissioning requirements 
  3. Equipment schedules 
  4. Updated energy model
  5. Green building target certification report
  6. A design phase Commissioning plan
  7. Updated cost plan with target buying price  +/- 10% accuracy 


BTW: a multi-discipline design team includes a Commissioning authority and a QS / Cost Consultant. 

When deliverables are clear there is little tolerance for misunderstanding and more likelihood for a quality outcome. 

When I am in a meeting and the architect reports they are 80% done I always look at the MEP engineers and they look back silently and I know they are only 40% done. There are only so many times you can review a 25% 50% or 80% drawings and ask where the MEP detail is before you start to scream!

Serenity now… serenity now……. serenity now…….serenity now…….serenity now…….

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