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Benefit of Using Your Designer As Project Manager

 

There are two key benefits for using your designer to manage your building project.

  1. They can act as quality control over the construction of a design specification with which they are the most familiar
  2. They provide the most integrated project management in terms, especially in time of design changes

Using your designer as project management means that design and construction planning are integrated with plan execution, allowing any design changes to be automatically synchronised with plan changes. Why is this so important?

When design changes cause plan and schedule changes, the problem is greater than simply altering the design. All those assigned to the affected tasks must be notified of the change and how it affects them. Change in design after construction has started is common, so this is a key advantage.

For instance, imagine that the concrete roof tiles planned for the roof are suddenly unavailable. A change in roofing material, leads to a change in the underlying design and construction.

Previously, the wall plaster was scheduled to be applied after the roof was built, or the heavy tiles may risk deforming the walls causing the plaster to crack. But if lighter Fiberglass tiles are now used instead, it is no longer necessary to wait to plaster the walls - the two tasks can be done concurrently and the plan schedule shortened.

Normally, when the designer changes a material specification, the contractor must be notified of the possibility of shortening the schedule to allow for rescheduling of other trades people and materials delivery. But if this is integrated into the designers sphere of management, although the builder will be notified, all communications and rescheduling can be done directly from the design desk.
Building projects can have 30-40 subcontractors and even more different types of materials. The project management model therefore requires absolute rigor in communication between those involved with construction and materials supply. And the mode of communication is as important as the message.

The current lack of technology used by many builders for coordinating design decisions and managing change over the life of a product creates higher costs, longer cycle times, and poorer quality than is possible. Using an electronic project management tool is essential. The common project management programs used, MS Project etc, do not adequately cater for this broad scale of rescheduling communication.

Most architect offices use an AutoCAD type system, which includes integrated project management modules. So before you take on your Designer as PM, check they have the technology to support the task. This not only saves time and money in project management tasks, it ensures that all parties remain working as a cohesive construction unit, avoiding conflict and unnecessary litigation.

Overall, designers offer a more integrated project management solution and reduce the risk of downstream problems and conflicts.

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