Definition and Measurement of Engineering/Design Deliverable Quality for Building Facilities

RT-320a Topic Summary
RT 320a


Since design deliverables with errors and omissions often cause project cost overruns, schedule delays, and/or construction rework, ensuring design quality is essential to successful project outcomes. In a previous study, CII Research Team 320 (RT-320) identified the 11 most problematic design deliverables on capital projects in the industrial sector and found 73 significant design defects. Recognizing the significance of these findings, CII chartered RT-320a to focus on improving design quality on projects in the building sector. To accomplish this research objective, the team sought to identify common, high-impact design defects associated with the most problematic design deliverables on building projects, and to develop a proactive process to assess design quality, and to promote timely and appropriate preventative action.

Design Quality Drivers are an important project consideration for project design quality. The team identified 11 Design Quality Drivers, along with 47 high-priority design deliverable defects. From these findings, the team generated 160 leading indicator questions, which it then incorporated into an Excel-based design quality assessment tool, the Design Quality Leading Indicator Tool. With this tool, users can identify potential design defects and anticipate their associated impacts, by answering the leading indicator questions. This proactive risk management tool gives practitioners information in advance to help mitigate and prevent potential risks to design deliverable quality on building projects.

This project was funded by the U.S. Department of State.

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Design Quality Drivers

Design Quality Drivers are an important consideration that should be examined to assure design quality, and RT-320a identified 11 types.

Reference: (FR-320a)

2 : Problematic Design Deliverables Identified by the Survey

Based on the survey results, the team distinguished 14 design deliverables as problematic and merged them into the following seven major problematic design deliverables:

  1. Roof details
  2. Mechanical controls
  3. Exterior wall systems
  4. Low-voltage systems
  5. Installed specialty equipment
  6. Project phasing
  7. Delegated design
Additionally, the team identified 47 design defects through SME interviews.
Reference: (FR-320a)

3 : Most Common Impacts of Design Defects

RT-320a identified the impacts associated with design defects, as shown in the graph.

Reference: (FR-320a)

4 : Design Defect Analysis

RT-320a identified the seven most problematic design deliverables and 47 design defects, along with their associated causal factors and impacts. Then team members generated 160 leading indicators. The table summarizes the causal factors, impacts, and leading indicator questions for each design defect.

Reference: (FR-320a)

5 : Implementation Tool

The team developed an Excel-based design quality assessment tool. This tool is designed to assess the current level of building design quality as indicated by the user’s response to leading indicator questions about deliverables in the context of detailed design milestones. It also allows the user to identify potential design defects and their associated impacts, and to facilitate design defect prevention and mitigation strategies for overall improvement of building design deliverable quality.

Reference: (FR-320a)

Key Performance Indicators

Research Publications

Leading Indicators for the Prevention of Building Design Defects - FR-320A

Publication Date: 10/2019 Type: Final Report Pages: 86 Status: Tool

Presentations from CII Events

Session - Leading Indicators for Prevention of Building Design Defects

Publication Date: 08/2019 Presenter: Number of Slides: 45 Event Code: AC2019