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April 14, 2022

Effective design reviews simplify complex design-build projects

Design-build remains a popular and highly successful project delivery method in the construction industry.

Under a design-build contract, there is a single entity that is responsible for a project’s delivery. Design-build relies on close collaboration, particularly between the design and delivery/construction teams.

Here we examine the crucial role of design reviews—the review of design and specification documentation required for construction by the project team. A critical process for any project, design-build design reviews involve additional complexity, so it’s important to get them right from the start.

How design reviews differ in design-build projects

When compared to design-bid-build projects, design reviews in a design-build environment display the following major dynamics.

With design-build projects, design and construction overlap and often occur simultaneously. Design and delivery teams must work closely together and remain completely aligned. Frictionless collaboration of the entire project team is critical for the benefits of design-build to be realised.

Design reviews in a design-build project are impacted by a greater number of design changes. Because of a compressed project schedule, design issues typically require faster turnaround and resolution.

And on design-build projects, a significantly larger team is involved in the design review process. Efficient collaboration of the extended project team requires specific and careful management. If not properly managed it can result in design issues, increased change orders, and costly mistakes and rework.

Easing friction between the design and delivery teams

Because of the condensed schedules there needs to be constant collaboration between the entire project team throughout the life of the project—particularly between the design and delivery teams.

With design and delivery teams working so closely in the design-build environment, a poorly managed design review process is likely to cause friction between these teams.

This discord can occur due to several factors and situations. A lack of clearly defined participants and who is responsible for what can lead to accountability issues that cause time-wasting confusion and costly delays.

With broader inclusion comes the potential to leave some colleagues on the side-lines. If the project is using BIM or 3D design, that extended project team might not be able to access the model, thus losing out on valuable input.

Process issues also can create tension. Construction may be based on “in-progress” documentation and information, so designs are not finalised.

A lack of visibility also can make it difficult to track design reviews and understand their status, which can cause confusion and possibly invite mistakes that were easily avoidable but now need resolution.

Ultimately, the design and construction teams are not aligned, silos develop, and no one collaborates efficiently. The frustrating result is a slower overall design review process that impacts the entire project.

What’s needed to manage design reviews in design-build projects

While a design-build project can get derailed by poor project management, implementing a project platform that can handle the nuances of design-build design reviews will help avert the headaches. It must be structured so that the design and delivery teams can easily collaborate.

There needs to be the ability, and flexibility, for the extended design-build team to easily access the design process and mark up reviews for all to see in one centralised repository. Clear visibility into design review status and managing both 2D and 3D designs are important, including process stage tracking.

Design owners need to have control as to when their design can be reviewed, as opposed to traditional systems where certain users will always be able to access the design, even if it’s not ready for wider review.

Unite design-build design reviews with Oracle Aconex

Oracle Aconex provides a collaborative workspace and a common data environment that helps construction companies, property owners, and subcontractors design, construct, and operate building projects.

Oracle Aconex also alleviates poorly managed projects with a single solution across the entire design and construction phases of design-build projects. The easy-to-use platform manages virtually all processes during both the design and construction phases while moving seamlessly from design through to construction.

Collaboration throughout the entire project lifecycle is crucial to delivering on time and under budget. Oracle Aconex not only allows the design and construction teams to collaborate during the design but also remain cohesive throughout the construction phase.

Teams can immediately collaborate on design changes as the need arises, easily resolving potential issues while minimising delays.

Flexible modules with powerful capabilities

Secure document management capabilities provide the foundation to manage the specific requirements of design-build design reviews with no limits on document numbers and file types and size.

Highly configurable data fields, work packaging, and a single document register eliminates the risks of multiple data stores and ensures that all stakeholders are using the latest, most up-to-date information.

Customisable workflows provide an automated process that makes it easy to manage design and document reviews while supporting adherence to mandated processes and timings. That speeds up the review process, which minimises ambiguity to avoid disputes and mistakes.

The ability to manage both 2D and 3D designs is an important requirement for design-build design reviews. In-built model coordination capabilities that move the design from authoring to the broader project team provides model access to the whole project team.

Importantly, this allows the entire design-build team to collaborate around the model.

How Oracle Aconex benefits the design-build design review process

The Oracle Aconex platform and its capabilities provide significant value and benefits when used to manage design-build design reviews.

Oracle Aconex facilitates a fully collaborative design review process. All stakeholders have visibility and are included in the process.

Design and delivery teams can collaborate during the entire project, across design, and into construction of the project.

Teams can quickly align to resolve design changes as the need arises, which minimises delays. With design and construction teams fully aligned and working in sync, this alignment and collaboration helps ensure that only reviewed and approved designs are used for construction.

Ultimately, this allows the combined team to deliver on the design-build promise of driving project efficiency and shortening the project schedule.

Applying an integrated team approach to the design-build design review process provides a gateway to the successful completion of any construction project.

The unique Oracle Aconex data ownership model provides a secure, collaborative platform to easily manage processes, documents, and models, providing the control and visibility for successful project delivery.

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