The planning and management of detailed building design
Historically, building design has been manageable without the help of special planning and management techniques, whereas in construction there have been clearer, more easily realisable benefits. As buildings become technically more complex and design teams more specialised and fragmented, the need to plan and co-ordinate the design process with greater accuracy is becoming increasingly important. Traditionally building design work has been planned in a perfunctory manner, often in the belief that this creative and iterative process cannot be analysed and planned in detail. This situation has been perpetuated by a lack of understanding of design information flow and dependency and the availability of suitable planning techniques. ADePT (Analytical Design Planning Technique) has been developed in this research and permits a more sophisticated approach to the planning of building design work to be taken. This prototype methodology uses Design Structure Matrix Analysis (DSMA) to examine a Design Process Model (DPM) of the building design process. The synthesis of these two techniques produces a powerful but easily understood tool to assist in the planning and management of complex, multi-disciplinary building design problems. Traditional design programming is time consuming and reliant on a planner's experien'e, with each task and link often being defined afresh at the beginning of each new project. The Design Process Model, constructed from data flow diagrams, eliminates much of this subjectivity by generically representing the tasks involved, and the information flowing in the design of any building in a consistent, re-usable manner. The unsuitability of traditional planning tools also contributes to the development of unrealistic design programmes; design is an inherently iterative activity and techniques such as network analysis, are unable to represent this type of relationship. ADePT overcomes these failings by using DSMA to analyse the DPM to reveal how to most efficiently order inter-dependent tasks based purely on the optimal flow of design information. ADePT can also incorporate the impact of external influences such as construction programme, materials procurement or resourcing demands to be superimposed on this idealised design programme, allowing their influence on the optimal design task order to be assessed.