When Quick Has a Downside

It isn't uncommon to have the same productivity expectations for architects and designers as you might have for builders, and many people desire to fast-track the design of their projects because of this. In theory, the upside to fast-tracking design is that it could save you money by limiting the amount of time it takes to get a completed project. But are there any issues with fast-tracking the design process? Does quick have a downside? Let's take a closer look…

Time to Collaborate

When the design process gets rushed, time to collaborate with key individuals about important decisions gets cut. Involving the appropriate stakeholders to review and consider decisions before they're made can end up saving you a lot in the long run. The design process is extremely detailed and complex. We need to understand your student population, your faculty, your culture and who you are. If the process is rushed, these details get overlooked and the entire project can suffer. In the planning and design phase, we are dealing with a variety of stakeholders, and therefore, personalities. The time to build consensus among your group of decision makers is vital to a project’s success.

Time to Think

Having time to think is a very critical part of the design process. Understanding how students, faculty, staff, and visitors will use your facilities takes time—and is vital for a project's success. Unfortunately, the speed required for a fast-tracked design project means the time from design to construction is very short. This leaves much of the thinking phase behind and easily avoidable errors and omissions can be missed without time for a closer review. When architects have a very limited amount of time to think, things inevitably fall through the cracks. That makes thinking a vital part of any quality design process; helping you avoid a lot of pain and frustration. Giving architects ample time to thoroughly examine design options will often mean more efficiencies are found and productivity of your students and faculty is increased. But more importantly, when the design process is rushed, you don’t have time to think and analyze the options being presented. It’s not just the architects that need time to think, our clients need substantial time as well.

Be Realistic About Time and Effort

At the end of the day, it's important to understand the dynamics of the design process, and set your expectations accordingly. From the beginning you must know what is feasible, what is not, and what can happen when you cut time for designers to get their work done. While on the surface fast tracking design may seem like a great way to cut costs, saving time doesn't necessarily mean saving money in the long run.

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