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Improving design management

The objective of the focus groups will be to reach an understanding about the relationship between design management and construction quality. A second objective is to discuss whether there is a need for intervention to raise standards in the sector.


About the Improving Design Management Study

Integration between design disciplines during the pre-build phase is essential for accurate pricing during contract negotiations and to pick up on design conflicts before they manifest during construction. This requires effective design management from someone who understands the risks inherent in the design phase. Without such oversight, the design process can proceed in a piecemeal manner, with different design disciplines acting independent of one another, occasionally resulting in clashes that can be costly and time consuming to resolve. Because of the dependencies that exist within construction programming, such clashes can impact numerous aspects of the build.

This raises questions about how design management professionals (independent of the lead design consultant and broader design team) contribute, or could better contribute, towards resolving this problem.

Unlike other design-related disciplines such as engineering and architecture, there are no minimum qualifications for industry professionals undertaking an independent (client-side) design management function in New Zealand and no compulsory membership to a professional body that sets best practice for performance. This raises questions about the risks associated with independent design managers meeting expected standards of performance.

To address this, over the past 12 months BRANZ has sought industry opinion, via stakeholder interviews and a nationwide survey, on what the fundamental competencies of the independent design management role should be and whether professionals in this roll typically display the proficiency expected.