Document Detail

Title: RS163-1 - Onsite Design: When and How Much?
Publication Date: 3/1/2003
Product Type: Research Summary
Status: Supporting Product
Pages: 20
Addresses the onsite design issue and introduces IR163-2, Onsite Design Tool for Project Planning, the research database shows that projects that use onsite design perform as well or better than those that do not in a variety of performance measurement categories.

NOTE: Actual tool included with IR163-2.
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The communication interface between design and construction is one of the most critical points of information exchange within a project. When the communication of design information is timely, unambiguous, and easily understood, construction activities are more efficiently performed.

Performing selected design activities on site, to some degree, is a commonly employed technique. However, the use of onsite design varies widely and is a function of project scope, complexity, location, team composition, execution strategy, and many other factors. Important questions such as “When?” and “How much?” should be employed in order for onsite design to influence project performance favorably.

CII created the Evaluating Onsite Design Project Team to address the onsite design issue. The project team found conclusive evidence that onsite design is beneficial and contributes to project success. Projects in the study utilizing onsite design were more constrained by cost, schedule, and technical complexity than projects not using onsite design. Even so, these projects performed as well as those projects not utilizing onsite design in every performance measure category. Furthermore, effective implementation of an onsite design strategy significantly improved 16 of 29 project performance measures.

The project team developed a computer-based decision support tool (CII Implementation Resource 163-2, Onsite Design Tool for Project Planning) that permits users to identify specific design activities that should be performed on site to maximize the likelihood that selected performance measures will be met or exceeded. The tool allows users to generate onsite design strategies for the various project phases and for combined or multiple decision criteria. This publication summarizes the study and introduces the tool.