PDRI for General Building Projects (Best Practice)

RT-155 Topic Summary
RT 155


Previous CII research found that tools for measuring project scope definition and assisting alignment between project participants needed to be developed. This research was established to produce a user-friendly tool to assist in defining project scope and maximizing the chance of project success for building projects.

Project Definition Rating Index (PDRI) – Buildings was developed to help owners, developers, designers, and contractors to better achieve business, operational, and project objectives. This PDRI – Buildings provides a forum for all project participants to communicate and reconcile differences using an objective tool as a common basis for project scope evaluation. This research developed and then validated the usefulness of the PDRI – Buildings tool by measuring the performance differences between projects with high and low PDRI scores.

The central premise for PDRI – Buildings is that teams should be working on the right project in a collaborative manner (alignment) and performing the right work (scope definition) during pre-project planning. Complete scope definition improves project performance in the area of cost, schedule, and operational status.

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : The PDRI

Buildings is limited to developing scope for building projects, excluding residential houses, performed in both the private and the public sector and has limited applicability to the infrastructure sector. Therefore, the findings from this research are most applicable to the multi-story or single story commercial, institutional, or light industrial facilities. (RS155 -1, p. 1)
Reference: (RS155-1)

2 : PDRI – Buildings Critical Elements

This research identified 64 critical elements for the building projects’ scope definition package grouped into these 11 categories: (RS155-1, p. 3) 

  • Business Strategy – 8 elements
  • Owner Philosophies – 4 elements
  • Project Requirements – 6 elements
  • Site Information – 8 elements
  • Building Programming – 13 elements
  • Building/Project Design Parameters – 8 elements
  • Equipment – 3 elements
  • Procurement Strategy – 2 elements
  • Deliverables – 2 elements
  • Project Control – 5 elements
  • Project Execution Plan – 5 elements
Reference: (RS155-1)

3 : Proper Scope Defintion

Proper scope definition during pre-project planning will improve both the cost and cycle time needed to design and construct capital facilities. (RS155-1, p. 19)
Reference: (RS155-1)

4 : PDRI–Buildings Philosophy of Use

PDRI is best used as a tool to help project managers, project coordinators and project planners organize and monitor progress of the pre-project planning effort. Lessons learned include: (RS155-1, p. 9)

  • Scoring should ideally be done several times during pre-project planning. A minimum of two times is recommended.
  • Using the tool is an excellent way to align a project team
  • The PDRI – Buildings is effective even when used very early in the planning process. Individual planners can use the tool at this point to identify potential problems and to organize their work effort.
  • The PDRI is of little value unless the user takes action based on the analysis and uses the score in managing their projects.
Reference: (RS155-1)

5 : PDRI Tool Customization

This PDRI tool can be customized to fit the needs of almost any organization. Elements that are not applicable can be zeroed out, thus eliminating them from the final scoring evaluation. (RS155-1, p. 17)
Reference: (RS155-1)

6 : Implementation Tool #1

IR155-2, PDRI: Project Definition Rating Index

Building Projects - To be used to measure completeness of scope definition and to manage the pre-project planning process by evaluating whether the project is ready for design.

The PDRI can benefit owners, developers, designers, and contractors. Owners can use it as an assessment tool for establishing a “comfort” level at which they are willing to move forward with projects. Designers and constructors can use it as a method of identifying poorly-defined scope elements. The PDRI provides a means for all project participants to communicate and reconcile differences using an objective tool as a common basis for project scope evaluation.

Reference: (IR155-2)

Key Performance Indicators

Improved cost, Improved schedule, Reduced change, PDRI score

Research Publications

PDRI: Project Definition Rating Index -- Building Projects, Version 4.0 - IR155-2

Publication Date: 10/2013 Type: Implementation Resource Pages: 105 Status: Tool

Development of a Project Definition Rating Index (PDRI) for Building Projects - RR155-11

Publication Date: 12/1999 Type: Research Report Pages: 296 Status: Reference

Pre-Project Planning Tool: PDRI for Buildings - RS155-1

Publication Date: 10/1999 Type: Research Summary Pages: 25 Status: Supporting Product

Presentations from CII Events

Session - Project Definition Rating Index (PDRI) Revisited

Publication Date: 06/2004 Presenter: Edward Gibson Number of Slides: 32 Event Code: AC04

Session - Project Definition Rating Index for Buildings

Publication Date: 06/1999 Presenter: Number of Slides: 23 Event Code: AC99

Session - Project Definition Rating Index Buildings Projects

Publication Date: 07/1998 Presenter: Number of Slides: 18 Event Code: AC98