Determining the Level and Scope of Design Management Services in the Project Management Process

(This document is intended for all personnel who provide a design management or project management function in the management of real property projects in the National Capital Area. Other regions have similar processes.)

The growing pressure to better manage 'quality' on Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) real property projects has necessitated a need for the consistent inclusion of the design management function within the project team structure and a more clearly defined design management process in the delivery process.

Project management involves the planning, design, coordination and implementation of activities to achieve a specific, planned quality product within a specified time period and established budget (Project Management Body of Knowledge 'PMBOK®'). The management of real property projects within this framework requires the participation of several stakeholders. Project managers (PM) cannot consistently include the design management function nor the wide range of specialist resources available to them on their project teams without a predefined process to determine the number, mix and level of design management services and resources required based on project scope, complexity, priority and sensitivity.

Design management is a broad and comprehensive service function that includes quality assurance services and requires a clear understanding of project objectives and constraints. It is a collaborative role providing strategic and technical advice to PM's in the development and delivery of projects while ensuring the design services related to the project are of a level and quality that meet the expectations of all stakeholders throughout all phases of the project. Any number of individuals will be involved in design management regardless of their position titles. Personal attributes, technical skills and experience in relation to the project at hand, as well as the constraints of available resources will determine whether an individual will be assigned to a lead design management role. The scope of design management services varies from project to project depending on its associated risks.

The Real Property Branch (RPB) has adopted a new process to provide for a more consistent integration and application of the design management role in project management. This process assists in the allocation of the available discipline resources (as effectively as possible) to ensure that each project team is provided with the optimum number, mix and level of professional and technical expertise to ensure all project-related design services are of a level and quality that meet with stakeholders expectations. The key activities in the process are:

  • the PM in concert with the senior project manager (SPM), establishes the design management service levels required during project planning with the client, (see "Guidelines for Determining the Level of Design Management Services") and forwards requirements to the Coordinator Design Management, Architectural and Interior Design for multi-discipline projects or, in the case of single discipline projects, to the appropriate discipline resource manager
  • a Design Manager (DM) is assigned and establishes the scope of design management services required with the PM (see "Design Management Services Checklist")
  • the Design Manager establishes the design management team based on required skill sets from either internal or external sources
  • both parties sign an agreement documenting the project particulars (see "Design Management Services Agreement")
  • design management services (including signoff's) are provided as detailed within each resource discipline's regime
  • the PM ensures that responses to all quality assurance input or concerns are provided in writing to the Design Manager.

Guidelines for Determining the Level of Design Management Services

Introduction

This guideline assists the PM in determining the design management level of service based on a project risk assessment. All projects shall be individually assessed and assigned a design management level of 4, 3, 2 or 1. Levels 4, 3 and 2 require the assignment of a design manager (DM) to assist in establishing the scope of design management services. The Design Manager is responsible for coordinating various discipline activities on behalf of the PM. These activities typically include but are not limited to architectural, engineering, commissioning, environmental health and safety and accessibility reviews. The coordination of Integrated Support Centre services and the scope of work agreements for all external services are the responsibility of the PM.

Risk Factors

Occasionally, the risk filters identified below will not capture all risk conditions and therefore judgment (using risk management principles) is required in determining the appropriate level of design management. Each risk factor can be identified as having low, medium or high impact, subsequently a collective assessment can be completed examining the following factors:

  • Innovative technologies (e.g. pilot project)
  • Client satisfaction issue
  • Impact on urban neighborhood
  • Specialized fit-up systems
  • Jurisdictional issues (e.g. NCC)
  • Heritage considerations
  • Archeological considerations
  • Cost / time pressures
  • Complexity of procurement strategy
  • Health and safety issues
  • Architectural visibility (e.g. flagship building)
  • Complexity of site conditions
  • Security and/or IT systems requirements
  • Complexity of project program
  • Environmental issues or sustainable considerations

Risk Filters for Design Management Levels

To ensure the most effective use of discipline resources, four levels of design management services have been established. The determination of 'level' can be influenced by any single factor noted and cost may not be the determining factor.

Level 4 - Dedicated Design Management Services

This level would be considered for a major project such as the Library of Parliament, the Portrait Gallery, Bank Street Building, Judicial Court, etc. The project would also be reviewed by the National/Regional Design Review Committee. Assignment of a Design Manager is required at the initiation of the project with the full scope of design management services. The project would be the Design Manager's primary responsibility on a day to day basis. The Design Manager, supported by a resource team representing the other disciplines, would be a key member of the overall project team and develop a close working relationship with the consultant team. The agreement with the PM would be signed off by both the PM and the Design Manager. Projects within this level typically:

  • involve high architectural or civil infrastructure visibility (e.g. new museum, bridge, correctional facility, Parliamentary Precinct building)
  • entail high impact relating to the health, safety and security risk considerations for the public in general or for the immediate vicinity of the project (e.g. virus lab, national DND security establishment)
  • are sensitive or entail the potential for a high degree of political, public or media scrutiny
  • require services where architectural and engineering consultants are engaged through Requests for Proposal (RFP's)
  • involve special heritage, urban or environmental considerations (e.g. Library of Parliament, Lebreton Flats development)
  • entail a large investment in infrastructure rehabilitation requiring technical expertise in the development of remediation options for the Investment Management Board (IMB) submission (e.g. Laurier-Tache Parking Garage)
  • require National Design Review
  • require TB submissions and/or greater than $20M estimated costFootnote *.

Level 3 - Full Scope or Selected Design Management Services

This level is for projects that call for design management involvement in the project planning, definition and implementation phases because of high risk, large construction costs, uncertainties surrounding cost or schedule, or challenging sensitivities. The project may involve: clarification of client needs, detailed and thorough challenge of cost and schedule, site development and design parameters, incorporation of special initiatives, consideration for technological innovation, or may be any project that is not clearly defined at the outset. Assignment of a Design Manager is required at the project planning phase with an established scope of design management services. Design management services may be full scope or as selected by the PM in consultation with the discipline managers. Projects within this level typically:

  • entail a high degree of clarification of client requirements, design parameters and options assessment (e.g., a new office building, RCMP emergency operations center, major building fit-up, complex laboratories)
  • entail specialized technical expertise that may result in a high negative impact to time, cost or quality arising from the preferred design solution (e.g., column removals, new additions to the top of an existing building, major mech./elec. equipment upgrades)
  • are sensitive or entail the potential for a high degree of political, public or media scrutiny
  • have a complex implementation strategy or multiphase such as in-situ renovations and involve multiple consultants, construction management or a design-build process
  • have specialized client requirements (e.g., extensive furniture coordination or innovative design solutions)
  • are valued between $5M and $20MFootnote *.

Level 2 - Limited Design Management Services

This level is reserved for projects with limited scope that are well defined from the outset and for which the design parameters and possible options are limited. The risks identified are medium to low, that is, low impact with medium probability or medium impacts with low probability. The construction costs are average and there are no unusual sensitivities. Quality assurance reviews are performed to ensure compliance between the design solution and the project brief and compliance with PSPC policies and guidelines. The Design Manager is engaged throughout the definition and implementation phases to provide selected services. Reviews of consultant work are performed to ensure compliance with the selected design solution. These projects typically:

  • are well defined with limited design solution options
  • involve a minimal number of disciplines (1-2)
  • entail the obtaining of consulting services through standing offers or open agreements ("SELECT")
  • are studies, or address maintenance issues, such as a programming study, a security or life safety system replacement; or,
  • are valued between $1M and $5MFootnote *.

Level 1 - No Design Management Services

This level is reserved for projects that have minimal risks, low construction cost and no other sensitivities. Quality assurance is due diligence carried out by the PM who may call upon discipline resources to answer technical questions in relation to specific issues in a timely manner. These can be in any phase of the National Project Management System (NPMS) but this level, by definition, implies no ongoing quality assurance responsibility by the discipline resources. No assignment of a Design Manager is required. The design management function is provided by the PM. The PM shall call upon specific discipline expertise to answer technical questions in relation to specific issues in a timely manner (see "Use of Discipline Expertise"). The PM ensures plans and specifications are reviewed as required for compliance with all applicable laws and regulations and a 99% "document check" is completed to establish "bidability" and "constructability". Projects within this level typically:

  • have minimal risks, low construction cost and no other sensitivities
  • entail minor works such as small refits, finish upgrades and general maintenance

Footnote

Footnote *

Project value means the total cost of delivery including all billable services - (PSPC and external consultants), all construction and furniture costs but does NOT include leasing or other long term maintenance costs.

Return to footnote referrer *

Design Management Roles and Responsibilities

Level 3 or 4

Project Planning Phase

  • reviews proposed project parameters (general project requirements, budget, time frames, risk management plan) prepared by the PM and reviewed by Integrated Support Centre
  • provides recommendations as required on proposed parameters and reviews and provides recommendations to the PM on the suitability of optional implementation strategies
  • identifies expertise required and provides PM with recommendations for resources for design activities (outline of basic activities required, in correct sequence, and how best to complete)
  • provides PM with a 'service agreement' outlining the scope of work and estimated fees for design management services (including required disciplines)
  • reviews any asset management plans (AMP's), building condition reports, program of works and investment analysis reports or leasing documents
  • provides PM with recommended scope of work and estimated fees for consulting services
  • provides input to Project Charter

Outputs - Service Agreement, review of the Investment and Analysis Report, Project Charter, preplanning studies, and recommendations for design implementation

Project Definition Phase

  • assists the PM in the definition of project parameters and implementation strategy
  • assists the PM in preparation of the Project Brief/Terms of Reference which is the basis for design instructions, consultant contracts and agreements between the PM and Design Manager
  • provides information on design processes and procedures, federal government polices, standards and regulations
  • assists PM in obtaining or verifying information supplied by the client representative related to functional requirements
  • assists the PM in establishing the approval process (lines of communication), methodologies and time frames for the implementation phase
  • acquires discipline expertise as required and coordinates their input
  • participates in the preparation of proposal call documents and selection for nomination, evaluation and recommendation of consultants
  • reviews and recommends to PM the final consultant scope of work and fee proposal
  • assists the PM with consultant contract negotiations
  • tracks design decisions and maintains project log

Outputs - review of Project Brief, consultant agreement, basic outline of functional requirements

Design Phase

  • briefs the consultant on design processes and procedures from project start-up to completion
  • provides advice to consultant on federal government policies, standards, regulations, budgets, schedules, etc.
  • provides consultant with initial existing documentation related to the project requirements and identified by the PM.
  • provides PM and/or consultant advice on PSPC drawing standards, guidelines, generic documents, key initiatives, contracting procedures, protocol, approval procedures, etc.
  • coordinates disciplines
  • reviews project methodology, implementation strategy, schedule, functional program document
  • reviews design concept and comments on conformity with approved scope, standards; and policies / guidelines for both PSPC and/or the client.
  • reviews qualitative aspects of design development (appropriateness of solution - functionally, aesthetically, technically)
  • reviews contract drawings, specifications and supporting documents for conformance with user's functional requirements, consultant scope of work, PSPC standards and policies
  • reviews budgets at appropriate stages of the project
  • obtains / reviews minutes of consultant coordination meetings in conjunction with the PM
  • ensures ISO quality assurance procedures are followed
  • monitors consultant progress to ensure tasks are performed within defined time frames as outlined in project schedule
  • identifies any problems that may impact on project delivery to the PM and recommends remedial action
  • participates in design review meetings to ensure plans and concept are approved and consistent with the scope of work
  • verifies that the design developed and submitted by the consultant is reviewed and approved as established in the design procedures and approval process
  • prepares or reviews memoranda, reports, studies, on project issues in order to propose solutions or recommend direction
  • participates in meetings and discussions between the PM, consultants, engineers, architects and other specialists, to ensure compatibility of design solutions with building systems and to achieve maximum building efficiency within established budgetary guidelines.
  • reviews the consultant progress claims for compliance with the consultant agreement and recommends for payment
  • reviews requests for additional services and advises PM on impact on schedule, time frames and budget
  • ensures plans and specifications are reviewed at all stages for compliance with all federal and provincial laws and regulations

Implementation Phase

  • advises on procurement time frames, strategies
  • recommends appropriate solutions in keeping with government policy and guidelines during procurement process
  • assists the PM in monitoring the procurement process within the time frames established in the project schedule
  • reviews all drawings and specifications prepared by consultant to verify compliance with approved project requirements.
  • participates with the PM, consultant and contractor, in inspections of work in progress as required
  • participates in construction meetings to ensure all design related questions are addressed
  • reviews with the PM, consultant and contractor, alternative construction and/or design solutions submitted by the consultant to resolve unforeseen conditions
  • participates with the PM, consultant and contractor, in the interim and final acceptance inspections
  • monitors and reviews, change orders and site instructions with the PM
  • monitors, reviews, and accepts 'as-built' drawings and specifications with the PM
  • participates in warranty inspection with the PM, consultant and contractor

Outputs - Quality assurance design review forms

Close-out

  • assists PM in debriefing consultant and in evaluating consultant deliverables based on scope outlined in project brief
  • participates in post occupancy/user evaluation and assists PM in preparation of lessons learned for future projects.

Outputs - lessons learned, final project documents

Level 2

Project Definition Phase

  • assists the PM in preparation of the project brief / terms of reference and request for proposal which form the basis for design instructions, consultant contracts and agreements between the PM and the Design Manager
  • provides information on design processes and procedures, federal government policies, standards regulations and key initiatives.
  • provides PM with a 'service agreement' outlining the scope of work and estimated fees for design management services
  • reviews and recommends to PM the final consultant scope of work and fee proposal
  • acquires discipline expertise as required and coordinates their input

Outputs - Service agreement, review of project brief, consultant agreement, basic outline of functional requirements

Design Phase

  • provides advice to consultant on federal government policies, standards, regulations, budgets, schedules, etc.
  • provides PM and/or consultant advice on PSPC drawing standards, generic documents, guidelines, key initiatives, contracting procedures, protocol, approval procedures, etc.
  • coordinates professional and technical services disciplines
  • reviews project methodology, implementation strategy, project schedule and functional program documents
  • reviews design concept and comments on conformity with approved scope, standards; and policies / guidelines for both PSPC and/or the client.
  • reviews qualitative aspects of design development (appropriateness of solution - functionally, aesthetically, technically)
  • reviews contract drawings, specifications and supporting documents for conformance with user's functional requirements, consultant scope of work, PSPC standards and policies
  • reviews budgets at appropriate stages of the project
  • obtains and reviews minutes of consultant coordination meetings with the PM
  • ensures ISO quality assurance procedures are followed
  • participates in design review meetings to ensure plans and concept are approved and consistent with the scope of work
  • verifies that the design developed and submitted by the consultant is reviewed and approved as established in the design procedures and approval process
  • participates in meetings and discussions between the PM, consultants, engineers, architects and other specialists, to ensure compatibility of design solutions with building systems and to achieve maximum building efficiency within established budgetary guidelines
  • reviews the consultant progress claims for compliance with the consultant agreement and recommends for payment
  • reviews requests for additional services and advises PM on impact on schedule, time frames and budget
  • ensures plans and specifications are reviewed at all stages for compliance with all federal and provincial laws and regulations
  • reviews all drawings and specifications prepared by consultant to verify compliance with approved project requirements

Implementation Phase

  • participates in inspections of work in progress as required with the PM, consultant and contractor,
  • participates in construction meetings to ensure all design related questions are addressed
  • reviews, with the PM, consultant and contractor, alternative construction and/or design solutions submitted by the consultant to resolve unforeseen conditions
  • participates in the interim and final acceptance inspections with the PM, consultant and contractor
  • monitors and reviews change orders and site instructions with the PM,
  • monitors, reviews, and accepts 'as-built' drawings and spec's with the PM.

Outputs - Quality assurance design review forms

Forms, samples and checklists