A definitive set of design standards are being developed which will allow consistent project delivery and support the University strategy.
What was happening?
There was a diverse range of project guidelines for each team within Estates. When Estates began the design phase for projects they had to bring together all these different guidelines, of varying lengths, to present to the design teams. Another key issue was that all these documents were guidelines and not contractually binding. Therefore, re-aligning these Design Standards, and making these changes mandatory, will support our ‘low energy low maintenance’ design strategy and the University Strategy on Sustainability. Having all these separate documents was also affecting collaboration between teams.
What did we do?
This initiative is being jointly lead by the Estates Engineers and the Architectural Team within the Estates Office, and has involved consultation with stakeholders from across the University. Numerous Away Day’s and meetings have taken place with engineers and stakeholders with the objective of reviewing the current guidelines and agreeing how they could be improved. Consultation has also been undertaken with other Universities in relation to the Quality Management Standard. One of the key issues which has been addressed is the requirement for the Design Standards to align with the University strategy. Meetings with the Estates Senior Leadership Team were held to identify the University's key priorities and how the Design Standards could support these.
Estates teams are creating one set of project standards which they can provide to internal and external design teams, and contractors. These standards will align with University strategy on sustainability, carbon emissions and maintenance standards. Having all the standards in one document will simplify the process for design teams and ensure that the standards are complied with. It will also make it much easier to update the standards in future, as there will be a single source of the truth.
What was the result?
This has been a large collaborative project led by the Estates Engineers and Architect teams, which is progressing well, and on schedule. Meetings with key stakeholders from the Energy & Sustainability team have been reviewing each section of their current guidance. Maria Thornton is the administrative lead for the project and is involved in consolidating all the information during the review process. The project is currently 70% complete with full completion due by Easter 2017. The Engineering Design team have also worked on their guidelines, dedicating 2 hours a week to the project to ensure constant progress is made. This has been empowering for the whole team as they are directly responsible for the work and feel that they are making a difference.
One of the major benefits has been the increased collaboration which this initiative has promoted across the University. This collaboration has been led by the Estates engineers and has included closer working relationships across campus, with colleagues in departments such as Security, Compliance, Procurement, Maintenance, Energy, Controls, Health & Safety and Sustainability. It has encouraged early dialogue, and promoted the benefits of this dialogue at the design stage.
Collaboration between departments has also improved, facilitating future workshops which will look at new and innovative products and understand how these could impact not only the design of the building but also the ongoing management of the estate, carbon emissions and life cycle costing.
Another benefit of the project will be increased efficiency for the design teams. Transparent mechanisms to record feedback, lessons learned and best practice will be introduced. This will allow the design teams to use this wealth of information to inform their projects and ensure that the process runs smoothly from the outset.