GIRI Design Guide Preview: Design gateways

15 Aug 22

Failure to communicate design intent adequately to specialist designers, contractors and sub-contractors can have major consequences. GIRI’s revised Design Guide makes a number of recommendations to ensure appropriate design information is efficiently supplied in a clear form at each design gateway.

A comprehensive set of information produced at each design gateway, reviewed and communicated effectively, means a design is less likely to be misinterpreted, and the potential for error is reduced. Even a minor error can have far-reaching consequences at a design gateway stage. Whether the information that is being handed over is drawings, specifications, digital models or schedules, designers must ensure that it is both appropriate and correct. 

Information should be produced with proper consideration of the intended audience and prior consultation. Teams need a common understanding about what they are expected to deliver at each stage. Missing, withheld, hard-to-access or difficult-to-interpret information slows down design and delivery as requests for information (RFIs) are issued and replied to. This can, and frequently does, result in errors. 

For example, on a design and build contract, digital models are rarely a contractual deliverable and may not be handed over to the contractor, who will then have to recreate the same model from scratch. Any deficiencies are likely to prompt a series of RFIs. But by this stage, the design team has often been scaled down, or the design fee is depleted, so it takes time to resolve issues, creating opportunities for error.

Ensure handover information is appropriate and accurate
Be clear about the purpose of design information and take care to ensure that the information communicated at design gateways is clear, accurate and appropriate for the intended audience. 

Clarify responsibilities
Clearly define design responsibilities for all parties to reduce the chance of duplication or gaps in handover information. All parties must be clear on what they are expected to do at each design gateway. A project-specific plan of work for each discipline should be developed before any design commences.

Clarity and a shared understanding of design responsibilities can remove ambiguity. Gaps or duplication can create confusion and generate unnecessary effort. The use of standard forms, such as the BSRIA BG6 matrix for building services, goes some way to preventing such problems.

Design review workshop
Organise design reviews with specialist designers and subcontractors to enable an effective handover. This will help identify any outstanding design work to be undertaken by the designers to ensure that sufficient resources are made available to complete the stipulated duties.

A more detailed discussion of design gateways is available in the revised GIRI Design Guide, which will be published later this year. Sign up to our newsletter to be notified once the guide is published.

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