So, where do we start?
At the beginning of course! As soon as a project has the green light, time is invested by the senior team to discuss and agree the opportunities that exist - both ambitious and modest - as well as assessing the constraints. The initial briefing and discussion will result in an agreed set of ideas - clear principles that are no longer than a sheet of A4 paper! Once agreed, this written manifesto is brought to all subsequent design reviews and pinned to the wall next to the emerging drawings / sketches / model. It should always be available as an ‘aide memoire’ as to what we are trying to achieve.
Design reviews – following through on the manifesto!
Reviews at the correct times in any project development cycle are essential, enabling the direction and opportunities to be explored and developed at the correct time before a project gets too immersed into the detail. In essence, reviews too late in the development of a design can lead to frustrations (from all sides) and valuable time expended on discussing items previously looked at by the team and dismissed. Sometimes there are equal frustrations, that reviews too late in the process have missed the opportunity of great ideas being developed due to time constraints, established, and agreed principles being accepted by clients / QS’s / Planners etc.
We all agree design reviews are essential and that our diaries must prioritise reviews for fledgling projects over the first few months of their lives. Once the project is established and all are happy with the emerging ideas, the reviews can become more focused on milestone dates and less regularised, but the core issue is a firm diary commitment at the correct moment in the developing design process.