The influence of design team communication content upon the architectural decision making process in the pre contract design stages
Patterns of communication in the decision-making process of Design Team Architects are considered. Variations in the verbal content of Architect and other Design Team member interaction behaviour are analysed over the various stages of the design process. A pilot study building design and a main subject study building design are investigatted on a longditudinal basis. Fourteen other building designs are investigated on a cross sectional basis. The presented results represent a data collection period of approximately eighteen months. Design Team interaction is measured using content analysis. The measurement scales used are largely based upon existing methodologies, although some measurement scales are developed specifically for this research. Quantitative data analysis is by mainframe computer, using analysis programs which are developed specifically for this research. Additional qualitative substantiations are provided by extracts of supportive interview responses. The results show pronounced patterns of variation in the interaction content of Design Team members throughout the design process over a range of design types. The conclusions are of use to Design Team members since they illustrate the likely patterns of future interaction for the future stages of any design process. Potential areas of interaction conflict are presented, together with likely variations in Design Team member preoccupations as the design develops. Reference to the results allow the Designer to design in order to avoid likely design interaction problems associated with long term variations in Design Team interaction behaviour. Results indicate that the Architect becomes less assertive during the middle stages of the design, as does the influence of the initial brief. The Architect is consistently the most creative Design Team member, although cost considerations increasingly influence the decision-making process of the Architect, largely at the expense of aesthetic considerations. The professional Design Team members increasingly form a coalition against the Client Representative, to some extent as a defence against late stage disruptive cost reduction exercises, as construction factors increasingly influence interaction behaviour.