Application of the Analytical Design Planning
Technique in the Project Process
Corresponding Author: Austin, Simon A.
Author(s): Austin, S.A., Baldwin, A., Waskett, P., and Hammond, J.
Organisation(s): Department of Civil & Building Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough (UK)
The Egan report identified the separation of design from the rest of the project process as a fundamental weakness in the construction industry: a significant re-balancing of the typical project process is required so that design is properly integrated with construction and performance in use and issues such as flexibility of use, operating and maintenance costs and sustainability are considered in the design and planning stages of a project. It also states that there is scope for the introduction of tools and techniques to facilitate this integration.

Previous research at Loughborough University has shown the successful application of the Analytical Design Planning Technique (ADePT) to simple design problems. This paper describes the development and testing of software tools to enable the ADePT methodology to be utilised on highly complex detailed building design problems. The paper describes the findings of a 29 month research project funded by the EPSRC, DETR and six industrial partners - AMEC Design and Management, Ove Arup and Partners, Sheppard Robson, Laing Management, Boots and BAA.

A generic process model of detailed building design has been compiled that represents the process in terms of the activities undertaken and their information requirements. The relationships between activities has then been shown on a Dependency Structure Matrix (DSM). Matrix analysis software has been produced that determines the optimal design sequence. The output from this analysis has then been linked to a proprietary programming tool that enables design programmes to be created. The software has been tested and applied on building projects to assess its ease of use and effectiveness.

Through the use of process modelling, DSM analysis and the production of design programmes, the planning of building design will be approached in a more systematic manner compared to that which is widely adopted at present. The application of the developed software throughout this research contract has given an indication of the potential benefits to be gained from the ADePT methodology, including:

* Proper consideration of the iterative nature of design
* Identification and accurate co-ordination and programming of crucial multi-disciplinary activities that require a collaborative working environment
* Identification of key information estimates and fixity requirements
* Choice of effective design and procurement strategies

This paper summarises the technique and its application to the management of the detailed building design process. It then describes further work currently being undertaken into the extension of the modelling into other design stages and construction, with the objective of identifying the optimal timing for the introduction of suppliers to the project process and producing a fully integrated project plan.