Lord Rea, speaking in the House of Lords in January 2003 states that: 'Good design may initially cost a little more in time and thought, although not necessarily in money. But the end result is more pleasing to the eye and more efficient, costs less to maintain and is kinder to the environment' ( Ashworth and Hogg 2007). All clients must have as a target a good design in their projects. Clients must taking into account the cost and impact of design over the whole life of their projects. They must understand the importance of their own role in order to ensure that good design is achieved and whole life value for money is delivered (Office of Government Commerce, 2004).
Figure 5: Quality, time and cost getting the balance right. Best value balancing these objectives without sacrificing any of them. Source: CABE- Creating Excellent Buildings: a guide for clients (2003).
This section clarifies the characteristics of good design and shows how design quality can be achieved through the procurement process. Good design takes into account of sustainability and environmental concerns. Badly designed facilities will have as a result to fail to meet the needs of end users. They will probably cause operational problems, which will have high maintenance or running costs. Below it will be explained how the client and suppliers can work as an integrated team in aid of achieving quality of a suitably high standard. This section illustrates design in the context of the project lifecycle and focuses on good procurement practice in relation to design quality (Office of Government Commerce, 2004).
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Principles of design quality
'Design quality is a combination of functionality (how useful the facility is in achieving its purpose); impact (how well the facility creates a sense of place); and build quality (performance of the completed facility)' (Office of Government Commerce, 2004).
'Figure 6 shows these key aspects and illustrates that the more overlap between the three, the higher the design quality' (Office of Government Commerce, 2004).
Figure 6- Key aspects of design quality. Source: Office of Government Commerce, 2004.
'Design quality is about much more than style or appearance - it incorporates the key requirements of the stakeholders and business, functionality, whole-life value in relation to maintenance, management and flexibility, health and safety, sustainability and environmental impact' (Office of Government Commerce, 2004).
Quality in design and construction phase must to be treated as one. Quality means innovating for the benefit of the client and reduces the waste. It is essential that the search of design quality is not carry out in isolation. It is very important to incorporate design quality in the whole procurement process. Design quality is very important for the accomplishment of any construction project. For example, better designed schools will have as a result to contribute to better education. Better designed hospitals contribute to get better the quality of patient care. Better roads bridges, buildings all need good design (Office of Government Commerce, 2004).
Good design of public buildings must respect and improve the location, the environment and the community. It must add value and decrease whole-life costs. It should create flexible, durable, sustainable and ecologically sound development for the community. It must focuses to minimize waste of materials and energy, in construction and in use. It should provide functional, efficient, adaptable spaces for home, work and recreation. Furthermore, it must be attractive and healthy for users and public. It should contribute to construction which is quick, safe and efficient and use space, materials and resources with imagination and efficiency. Finally, it must produce buildings which are safer to construct and easier to clean and maintain. (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, 2000).
Figure 8-Above: The design of the Millennium Bridge in Gateshead shows how the ordinary can through design become extraordinary. Architect: Wilkinson Eyre Architects. Photographer: Positive Image. Source: CABE: Better Public Buildings
In summary the design process involves at first interpreting clients needs and project context. Secondly, it involves feasibility study to assess business value of the project and design options. Furthermore, it involves outline and detailed design with diagrams of all components parts leading to more complete designs (Office of Government Commerce, 2004).
The role of the client
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One of the most essential roles of the client is to demonstrate clear leadership. This can be achieved by developing a clear brief with assistance from independent client advisers and the integrated supply team. It is at the briefing stage that most can be done in order to optimize value. 'The million-pound mistake is made on day one, in poor briefing and design thinking' (Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, 2000)
Figure 7: Opportunity to increase value. The start of the project is when most can be done to add value through careful preparation and adequate time for design Source: CABE: Creating Excellent Buildings: A Guide for Clients 2003.
The clients, those whose construction projects are rare, must ask advice from expert to help their design decisions. Also, the client role in evaluating quality must be supported by a client adviser with design proficiency. Stakeholder consultation is important for the success of the project. (Office of Government Commerce, 2004).
Understanding Design scale
The essential aspects of design must be considered in different scales. Good design must be chased at all scales of the project, in the context of the site and its environment, at the scale of the facility and at the detail scale. (Office of Government Commerce, 2004).
In the context of the site and its and its environment, good design should be addressing the surrounding physical, social and economic context. It should be acting as a visual focus and providing well designed public spaces. It should be helping to create a site with identity and exploiting views and orientation. Secondly, at the scale of the facility good design should be providing for all required functions. It should be offering options of flexibility and adaptability. At the scale of the facility should be providing a healthy, safe environment during and after construction. It must be providing sustainability during construction, operational use and disposal. At the detail scale it must be checked the quality of light, colour, finishes and materials, fittings, equipment and e.t.c (Office of Government Commerce, 2004).
Another important factor for the success of the project is the selection and assessment of the site. However, the client often has no choice but to work within the restrictions of a given site. Where there is choice the selection of an appropriate site will make an essential difference. If the site has features, for example interesting topography or townscape, water frontage, then the chance of achieving design quality is greatly enhanced (Office of Government Commerce, 2004).