Collaboration and Acting as ‘One Team’

When we speak with architects either one-to-one or whether we are leading a CPD seminar, the difference between the role of Lead Consultant and Lead Designer is always a subject that crops up. An issue that we always stress is the importance of collaboration and acting as ‘one team’.

Even though other disciplines such as MEP or structures may be appointed directly by the Client, the Lead Designer (typically the Architect) has a role to co-ordinate design activities with the other team members. This just isn’t a responsibility - it leads to good design (surely better design is a consequence from contributions from all rather than some of the team?) and most importantly demonstrates to the Client that the Architect is stepping up and leading the process.

It’s vital to get the project off to the right start. Our Design Management teams work alongside architectural practices to support them in leading the design process:

  1. Holding a face to face kick-off meeting sets the tone and course of the project.

  2. A Design Responsibility Matrix ensures that tasks are assigned an owner and clarifies who is responsible for its delivery.

  3. Communication ‘rules’ should be established early so that the right people have the right information.

  4. Risks and open issues are captured in a ‘Design Issues Tracker’ that is distributed weekly and tracked.

  5. A Design Route Map lays out the programme strategy in a visual format. Meeting frequency can be included as well as information exchanges. Likewise, progress reporting should reflect the input from all of the team so that the team acts as a single body rather than individually.

Architect marginalisation is a term that is often cited in the architectural press at the current time. We are determined to work alongside our practices to support them in picking up the design leadership role.

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