Ryerson researchers seek to quantify relationship between design and construction quality, success

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ryerson design survey

Ontario Construction News staff writer

Researchers at Ryerson University in Toronto are conducting a survey to quantify an often-considered challenge of the design construction community – where shortcuts at the architectural and engineering design process result in costly problems downstream when construction commences.

“The primary purpose of the study is to investigate into the relationship between a project owner’s upfront investment in pre-project activity and the resultant quality of design documents, along with key project performance indicators over the whole project lifecycle,” writes Arnold Yuan, an associate professor at the university’s Department of Civil Engineering.

“The results are expected to provide an objective framework for a change in the project delivery policies in pubic infrastructure,” he wrote.

“From a neutral, third party perspective, the study also provides an opportunity for the design and construction sector to improve communication awareness and build further trust among all project stakeholders.”

The study is co-funded by Mitacs, a national fund that supports applied research and industry-academia collaboration and several design and construction industry associations including the Ontario General Contractors’ Association and the Construction and Design Alliance of Ontario, which represents a diversity of associations.

The project will have three major components, the researchers say:

  • (1) Conduct a nation-wide online survey to collect data and opinions on the current level of upfront investments and their impacts on the quality of design documents and project delivery efficiency;
  • (2) Collect factual project data from sample projects to quantify the impacts; and
  • (3) Conduct in-person interviews to obtain best practices and lessons learned from the sample projects.

“A unique feature of the online questionnaire is the focus on objective project data,” the researchers say. “Unlike many similar studies before that sought general opinions, this questionnaire asks participants to provide their feedback based on their experience on the most recently completed project in which they participated. Data that reflect the level of upfront investment by project owners, the quality of design documents, bidding efficiency, and construction project efficiency will be collected. In order to capture a holistic picture, professionals representing project clients, as well as architects, engineers, general contractors and subcontractors are invited to participate in this online survey.”

You can view and respond to the online across-country questionnaire here: herehttps://www.surveymonkey.com/r/9JYXLFL.

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