This paper reports the outcome of a 2‐year research project that set out to provide a process map of the concept stage of building projects. From a literature review, comparison of current process maps, and through interviews and case study analyses, a tentative new framework for the concept stage was developed and tested. It comprises 12 activities in five phases. The framework formed the basis of a graphical method used to plot the activities of design teams in a series of workshops. This graphical method illustrates design iteration in a way which we believe has not been undertaken before, and the patterns it reveals are intuitively understood by design team members themselves, helping them reflect on their own design process. We have also constructed a prototype internet‐based decision support tool for the concept stage of design. This is intended to be inherently flexible and supportive of non‐linear routes through concept design, while also offering a structured approach, design tools to broaden the solution space or evaluate competing options, team management advice, and the recording of decision making. Initial testing of this tool showed it to be well‐received, although it was criticized for focusing too much on the gates between activities and too little on the issues and decisions within each activity.
MACMILLAN, S., STEELE, J., KIRBY, P., SPENCE, R. and AUSTIN, S. (2002), "Mapping the design process during the conceptual phase of building projects", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 174-180. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb021213
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