Design best practice tool - what it is and how to use it

27 Oct 22

A wealth of international expertise on how to deliver successful projects is built into the free Quality in Construction Design Best Practice Tool, David Myers from Shirley Parsons told delegates at GIRI’s recent webinar. 

Now a senior associate at Shirley Parsons Project Services, David was working at Heathrow when the tool was initially developed. He liaised with quality experts from Europe, Australia, and North America to build on the knowledge already contributed by the Heathrow team.

The group sought input from individuals in a wide variety of roles, including the chair of the ICE. This accumulated knowledge was added into the tool, which was then reviewed by professional quality bodies in the experts’ respective countries and made available for download from the websites of these bodies as free quality guidance. “Feedback from GIRI and the Association of Design Management was built into the 2022 version of the tool, as part of the annual review process.” 

The tool is designed to prompt reviews of each stage in the early design process – one at the start of a stage, a design checkpoint review halfway through, and a final review towards the end of a stage to validate progress to this point. “Each review takes about two hours and should be attended by the client, quality managers and project managers,” said David. “It is primarily a subjective assessment that focuses on key project steps and encourages open discussion about how these are being delivered. It relies on the honesty and integrity of the team to deliver good results.”

Each review asks a series of questions that are self-scored on a scale of one to five, with the results calculated to give an overall percentage for that review. “From our use of the tool, we have found that you need a score of 90% or above at the end of a stage to move onto the next with an acceptable level of risk.”  

David highlighted some examples of review prompts. For example, has the requirement documentation been updated with the developed design-level requirements and any changes to existing client requirements? Has it been approved by the relevant stakeholders? Has it been published in the document management system? 

“The aim of the tool is not to create a bureaucratic overhead,” said David. “It is to identify project risks and either eliminate these or mitigate them to improve the quality delivery of the project.”

Nor is it a complex, sophisticated tool. “This is an easy-to-use piece of Excel, but it is the experience and knowledge that is built into it that is the key benefit,” he added.

The tool will benefit everyone involved in project management or quality control because it creates a detailed answer to the question of how a project is going. “The tool allows you to dig into all the steps you should have gone through to decide whether you are ready to move on with the project. Everyone can benefit from this disciplined approach, particularly those who are new to project management, but even experienced project managers may find one or two points that they haven’t thought about. And missing any of these steps could have a major impact in cost terms.

“This is a low overhead, easy-to-operate, free tool that only takes around 20 hours per project to complete, and the savings will be much greater than the cost. It provides access to global wisdom and gives clients, consultants and contractors a holistic view of how to drive project quality.”

Download the Quality in Construction Design Best Practice Tool

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