Client requirement representations and transformations in construction project design

William Henry Collinge (School of Construction Management and Engineering, University of Reading, Reading, UK)

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology

ISSN: 1726-0531

Publication date: 3 April 2017



This paper aims to examine how client requirements undergo representational and transformational shifts and changes in the design process and explore the consequence of such changes.


A series of design resources relating to hospital departmental configurations are examined and analysed using a social semiotic framework. The findings are supplemented by practitioner opinion.


Construction project requirements are represented and transformed through semiotic resource use; such representations deliver specific meanings, make new meanings and affect project relationships. Requirement representations may be understood as socially motivated meaning-making resources.

Research limitations/implications

The paper focuses on one set of project requirements: hospital departmental configurations from a National Health Service hospital construction project in the UK.

Practical implications

The use of semiotic resources in briefing work fundamentally affects the briefing and design discourse between client and design teams; their significance should be noted and acknowledged as important.

Social implications

The findings of the paper indicate that briefing and design work may be understood as a social semiotic practice.


This original paper builds upon scholarly work in the area of construction project communications. Its fine-grained analysis of briefing communications around representations of specific requirements is novel and valuable.



William Henry Collinge (2017) "Client requirement representations and transformations in construction project design", Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 222-241

Download as .RIS





Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.