Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Project Post commitment, Stage 4: Design
The design of a project gets only a short paragraph in the textbook, but the design can be a very expensive and time consuming process. Architects and designers convert the owners’ ideas and thoughts about a building into a paper representation. Today, a digital model is also a possibility as well. Finally construction documents are used to build the project.
Trying to take a conceptual idea and turning it into a practical design is the job of architects and design teams. The traditional architect solely designing a project is not commonly used anymore. A design team who is well versed in various construction related specialties will come together to generate a design that efficient, aesthetically pleasing and practical. Design teams turn the end vision of the owner into a set of plans that can be read by a contractor who will build the project. Often these plans are becoming more and more digital.
Digital plans and models are gaining traction in the construction industry. A 3-D model helps to visualize what a project will look like before anyone even steps foot on the site. Utilizing models are very cost effective because any errors and omissions can be caught before construction begins. Another benefit to digital modeling of buildings is that it helps the owner see what he is getting and it ensures him that the design will satisfy the need. Below is an example of a digital model. I made this to show what one of our lab classes was going to build throughout the semester. The model was created in a program called Sketch-Up (a free program and widely available).
The third part of the design documents are to actually build off of them. It is very important for the documents are accurate and correct so that costly mistakes in the construction phase can be avoided. Many design teams are now hiring contractors to consult during the design phase. Once the building has been built the plans are updated to reflect what was actually build. Deviations to the original plans are common. As-build plans are created for future reference. Below is an example of the same shed but drawn in a way that a contractor would use to build the shed.
In conclusion, the design process is very involved and can take years in some cases. The text does not address how large the design process is. However, new systems and ways of designing buildings are helping owners see what they are getting for their money before a single contractor is on site.
Diaz III, Julian and J. Andrew Hansz. Real Estate Analysis: Environments and Activities. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt, 2010.