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Title: Briefing as meaning making practice through signs : client requirement representations and transformations in construction project design
Author: Collinge, William Henry
ISNI:       0000 0004 5361 7215
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2014
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Hospitals are functionally complex projects for design and construction professionals due to the multiplicity of requirements and diversity of stakeholder interests embraced. Hospital construction projects are challenging as designers need to produce solutions that reflect advances in medical technologies, the needs of future generations and shifting policy directives of the NHS. Briefing and design practices must meet NHS Trust client expectations, facilitate the clarification and questioning of requirements and enable suitable designs to be formulated in a competitive and constrained process. The thesis contributes to understandings of briefing and design practice by analysing how Trust stakeholder needs are represented, understood and transformed into design solutions. The study examines how meanings are made and shared in briefing practice and how parties interpret and understand the communicative interactions within which they are immersed. The role of representations such as the client brief, schematic drawings, visual images and objects is examined and analysed: the thesis contending that design work is characterized by the generation, use and exchange of communicative signs between parties that are both significant and important. A social semiotic informed analysis of briefing and design resources from PFI hospital projects clarifies the role of sign constructs in the communicative process. A variety of materials and their associated work practices are analysed and supplemented through interviewee insights into briefing and design interactions from hospital construction professionals and NHS Trust client representatives. The thesis argues that briefing is characterized by communicative sign use around which issues of meaning, interpretation and understanding revolve; semiotic resources being employed for the representation and transformation of client requirements, the formulation of meanings and the building of relationships between parties. The social semiotic analysis informs understanding of stakeholder management and design communications as it is contended that briefing is meaning making practice where both NHS Trust client and design teams employ design resources with motivational and strategic intent in a competitive and temporally constrained process. The significance of multiple and potentially contrasting stakeholder interpretations of design, the representation and transformation of client requirements and the role of sign communications in a social briefing process is highlighted as the thesis enhances more linear and process driven understandings of briefing practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available