Conference PaperPDF Available

From Checklists to Design Process Support Systems: Initial Framing

Authors:
Pikas, E., Koskela, L., Oehmen, J., and Dave, B. (2019). “From Checklists to Design Process Support
Systems: Initial Framing.” In: Proc. 27th Annual Conference of the International. Group for Lean
Construction (IGLC), Pasquire C. and Hamzeh F.R. (ed.), Dublin, Ireland, pp. 8396. DOI:
https://doi.org/10.24928/2019/0173. Available at: <www.iglc.net>.
83
FROM CHECKLISTS TO DESIGN PROCESS
SUPPORT SYSTEMS: INITIAL FRAMING
Ergo Pikas
1
, Lauri Koskela
2
, Josef Oehmen
3
, and Bhargav Dave
4
ABSTRACT
Building project delivery is beset with many long-standing problems. Often, these
problems, resulting in failures of facilities and cost-time overruns, are directly related to
poor design and design management practices. This motivated the definition of the main
aim to develop an initial framing for the design process support systems, incorporating
ideas from the human error and performance management domains, and on checklists. In
this conceptual paper, a literature review method is used. It is suggested that cognitive
systems engineering could be used to conceptualize the designers work and to incorporate
checklists into the design process. Then, key aspects and elements for the development of
design process support systems are addressed.
KEYWORDS
Error management, checklist, design process, design support systems.
INTRODUCTION
Problems and accidents plague the delivery of construction projects. According to
(Eurostat 2018), out of 3,876 fatal accidents at work in the 28 EU countries during 2015,
21% took place in the construction sector. Many accidents have been directly or indirectly
related to the design factors. (Behm 2005) analyzed 224 fatal construction accidents from
the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Fatality Assessment
Control and Evaluation (FACE) database and found that 42% of the accidents were
associated with design factors.
Design errors have been considered the primary “contributor to building and
infrastructure failures as well as project time and cost overruns” (Lopez et al. 2010). In the
construction industry, checklists in the form of, for example, schedules (although not
usually viewed as a checklist), templates, and review guidelines for organizing and
managing the design activity have been used. These instruments have been theorized
1
Researcher, Department of Technology, Management and Economics, Technical University of
Denmark, Denmark, ekas@dtu.dk
2
Professor, University of Huddersfield, Department of Architecture and 3D Design, UK,
L.Koskela@hud.ac.uk
3
Associate Professor, Department of Technology, Management and Economics, Technical University of
Denmark, Denmark, jooehm@dtu.dk
4
Senior Researcher, Department of Computer Science, Aalto University, Finland, bhargav.dave@aalto.fi
Ergo Pikas, Lauri Koskela, Josef Oehmen, and Bhargav Dave
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Proceedings IGLC 27, July 2019, Dublin, Ireland
mainly from the managerial or organization perspectives but not necessarily from the
human error and performance perspective.
In this paper, the aim is to develop an initial framing for the design process support
systems based on the theoretical and the practical ideas and concepts related to human error
and performance management and the use of checklists in aviation and design domains.
Literature review method is used to clarify the underpinning ideas. Overall, this paper is
divided into two major parts. In the second part, key aspects of the design support systems
are discussed: product versus process-based support systems, central objects, and elements
of support systems, process monitoring and the role of checklists in support systems.
HUMAN ERROR AND CHECKLISTS
In this section, the philosophy, approaches, and types of human error management are
addressed first, and checklists devised in different industries to address human error and
performance are addressed second. Finally, the main points are discussed.
HUMAN ERROR AND HUMAN ERROR MANAGEMENT
In 1935, at Wright Air Field in Dayton, Ohio, the US Army Corps held a competition that
was supposed to be a formality to select the military’s next-generation bomber. However,
Boeing’s Model 299, which was seen to be superior, crashed in a blazing explosion, killing
two of the five crew members. The investigation revealed that the crash was caused by a
‘pilot error’ (Gawande 2010). The solution to the problem was not the redesign of the
airplane or more training, but a simple pilot’s checklist.
Furthermore, since the chemical plant explosion in Flixborough (1974), the failure of
the second nuclear reactor on Three Mile Island (1979), and the explosion of the reactor’s
core in Chernobyl (1986), human errors and organizational failures have become to be
considered as the primary contributors to accidents (Reason 1990). Nowadays, research on
human error can be found in several disciplines, including construction (Behm 2005;
Saurin et al. 2008).
Philosophy of Human Error
The philosophers (Gorovitz and MacIntyre 1975) addressed the nature of human fallibility
and described two sources for “why humans fail in what they set out to do in the real
world”. The first source is the necessary fallibility: humans are not omniscient. In
productive goal-directed activities, there are always particulars of a situation that cannot
be reduced to the law-like generalizations and initial conditions. Even the best possible
judgment can turn out to be erroneous (Gorovitz and MacIntyre 1975). The second source
is the ineptitude, or human error, with the various degrees of seriousness, caused by the
failure to apply existing knowledge (Gorovitz and MacIntyre 1975).
(Senders and Moray 1991) defined the human error as a deviation from intention, desire
or expectations, from something that was "not intended by the actor; not desired by a set
of rules or an external observer; or that led the task or system outside its acceptable limits".
However, this definition has limited value in the context of design, where ends and means,
as well as the design process, are mutually dependent and in constant flux. Furthermore,
creativity is at the core of designing, involving routine and non-routine, subject- and object-
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oriented activities (Love 2002). This implies that in design, it is rather difficult to
distinguish between the erroneous and successful activity. (Woods et al. 1994) argued that
ascribing “error to the actions of some person, team, or organization is fundamentally a
social and psychological process”.
Similarly, (Hollnagel and Amalberti 2001) argued that the dichotomization of human
activity either ‘correct’ or ‘error’ is an oversimplification of a complex phenomenon.
Instead of looking for “human errors” as either causes or events, human errors need to be
considered as part of the normal range of human performance with various degrees of
variability. Particularly, (Hollnagel and Amalberti 2001) proposed that management
should “[…] find where performance may vary, how it may vary, and how the variations
may be detected and eventually controlled”. Also, to find out why and how things go
right and amplify it.
Due to the complex nature of design (Lindemann et al. 2009), design activity being
subject to uncertainties, tradeoffs, and emergencies, amplified by time pressure, irregular
demand, and overcrowding, there will be a gap between ‘work-as-imagined’ (e.g., by
managers who dictate procedures) and ‘work-as-done’ (Wachs and Saurin 2018). That is,
actual work situations do not comply with pre-defined plans and procedures. According to
(Suchman 1987), plans and procedures, as well as social and material environments, are
better framed as “resources for action”. A design agent and designing cannot be isolated
from their context (Ullman 2002).
Approaches to Error Management
(Reason 1990) argued that there are two approaches for human error management: (1) the
person approach and (2) the system approach. The person and system approaches subscribe
to different views of error causation and philosophies of error management, and thus, have
different practical implications.
In the person approach, the focus is on individual errors. However, according to
(Reason 2000), the person approach has a significant limitation: focusing on individuals
isolates errors from their context, which leads to the failure to identify the common
patterns. In the system approach, in addition to human errors, the focus is on the
environmental conditions of human work and the development of means to avert errors or
mitigate their effects. It is assumed that humans are fallible and errors will occur. However,
these errors are seen as consequences rather than causes, with their origin in systemic
factors, “[including] recurrent error traps and organizational processes that give rise to
them” (Reason 2000).
A more recent approach, named cognitive systems engineering, has been adopted to
describe and analyze complex man-machine ensembles (Hollnagel and Woods 2005). A
cognitive system is defined as “an adaptive system which functions using knowledge about
itself and the environment in the planning and modification of actions” (Hollnagel and
Woods 1999). In cognitive systems engineering, instead of operating on the level of
physical or physiological, the focus is on the level of cognitive functions (Woods and
Hollnagel 2006). That is, the emphasis is on the “joint cognitive systems, where human-
machine are treated as interacting cognitive systems” (Hollnagel and Woods 2005). These
interactions between the human (cognition) and its environment, including social, material
Ergo Pikas, Lauri Koskela, Josef Oehmen, and Bhargav Dave
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Proceedings IGLC 27, July 2019, Dublin, Ireland
and cognitive structures (such as conceptual symbolic artefacts; e.g., building information
modelling), and how agents regulate and control their behavior and performance are the
object of study and unit of analysis, respectively.
Artefacts, either tools or prosthesis, form a central constituent in the joint cognitive
systems (Hollnagel 2002). According to (Hollnagel and Woods 2005), the artefact is
“something made for a specific purpose”. The distinction, whether the artefact is a tool or
prosthesis, is dependent on the way it is used. That is, whether it is developed to enhance
the user’s abilities to perform tasks and solve problems (e.g., design decision support
systems) or replace certain functions (e.g., wheelchair).
Levels of Cognitive Involvement and Types of Errors
It is well established that human performance involves different levels of control, a central
premise in activity theory (Bedny and Meister 2014). Several concepts and models for
theorizing on human performance and control of behavior exist, such as the distinction
between the micro-, macro-, and metacognition (Klein et al. 2003; Woods 2009). However,
probably one the most well-known, due to its longevity, breadth of use, and success, is the
Rasmussen’s Skill-Rules-Knowledge (S-R-K) model. It was initially proposed at the end
of the 1970s and has served the human factors research community since (Woods 2009).
However, the S-R-K model developed based on the information processing view of
cognition, pioneered by Newell and Simon, has been criticized in the cognitive systems
engineering domain (Hollnagel 2002; Hollnagel and Woods 2005). The main criticism is
that it isolates the human cognition from its environment (social, material and cognitive
structures). Consequently, the overall system perspective was somewhat lost. In cognitive
systems engineering, to overcome this limitation, the focus moved from internal functions
and structures of human or machine to the external joint cognitive systems (Hollnagel
2002).
The different human performance levels have been associated with different types of
errors. The development of an error taxonomy is the most common approach to
transforming the theories of human error into a usable form (Senders and Moray 1991).
(Reason 1990) proposed that the types of errors include slips, lapses, and mistakes. Slips
refer to the attention failure of carrying out unintended or unplanned action(s) and lapses
to the memory failure of omitting intended or planned actions. Mistakes are the result of
using wrong rules, incorrect application of rules or failure to apply the correct rule; or the
insufficient or incorrect knowledge or misapplication of existing knowledge to new
situations. Finally, violations are deliberate deviations from standards, safe operating
practices, and procedures (Reason 1990).
CHECKLISTS IN HUMAN ERROR/PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT
Various artefacts to avoid human error and assure the performance of designers have been
developed, including checklists to increase the quality of outcomes and to reduce the risk
of costly mistakes. For example, human error management and pilot’s checklists are
arguably the cornerstones of operational aviation safety. Although checklists might look
simple, they are complex socio-technical interventions and need to be designed, developed
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and implemented consciously (Gawande 2010). In the following, the theoretical and the
practical ideas and concepts related to the use of checklists are addressed.
General Concepts on Checklists
(Scriven 2000) defined the checklist as “a list of factors, properties, aspects, components,
criteria, tasks, or dimensions, the presence or amount of which are to be separately
considered, in order to perform a certain task”. Unlike, for example, lessons learned, which
tend to be descriptive, checklists by definition are prescriptive. That is, checklists constitute
‘actionable’ knowledge (Kokkoniemi 2006). “Checklists [guide] a user and act as
verification after completion of a task, without necessarily leading users to a specific
conclusion” (Ćatić and Malmqvist 2013). According to (Scriven 2000), checklists have the
following benefits: help to reduce errors of omission; are relatively easy to understand and
validate; reduce human biases (‘halo effect’ and Rorschach effect’); reduce the problem
of double weighting in evaluative tasks; and help to capture and transfer knowledge.
The primary objectives of using checklists include error reduction or best practice
adherence, standing anywhere in-between an informal cognitive aid (memory recall) and a
protocol (standardization and regulation of processes or methodologies) (Hales and
Pronovost 2006). (Scriven 2000) distinguished between five types of checklists: Arbitrary
(e.g., simple shopping checklist), sequential, weakly sequential (for psychological or
efficiency reasons), partly or entirely iterative (e.g., problem-solving flowcharts) and
diagnostic (e.g., decision-trees) checklists. Different types of checklists support certain
levels of human performance and problem-solving. In the following, the examples of
instantiation of checklists in aviation and product development are briefly reviewed.
Checklists in Aviation
In aviation, checklists under most circumstances are considered a mandatory part of the
practice. Checklists are the flight protocols that all pilots are required to use before, during,
and after flights. Completing a checklist from memory is considered a violation or error
(Helmreich 2000). The two categories of checklists used in the cockpit include (Clay-
Williams and Colligan 2015): normal and non-normal (or emergency) checklists.
Normal checklists are used as part of a regular flight practice to ensure that all necessary
has been done (Degani and Wiener 1993), especially when the list of tasks is long to be
accessed from memory and tasks are subject to interruptions. The typical normal checklists
include preflight, cockpit, starting engine, landing, and shutdown checks (Hales and
Pronovost 2006). Normal checklists have two types of execution strategies (Degani and
Wiener 1993): (1) Do-verify, where the task is performed from memory first and then
verified against the checklist (used in contexts with limited time); and (2) Call-Do-
Respond, where tasks are divided between two or three pilots for calling, performing or
verifying procedures. Both methods include at least action and verification steps (Hales
and Pronovost 2006).
Non-normal (emergency) checklists, not part of the normal flight protocol, are used to
guide the correction of error situations and may include checks for ground operation
emergencies, take-off emergencies, landing emergencies, and fuel system failures (Hales
and Pronovost 2006). Emergency checklists may contain boldface, non-
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Proceedings IGLC 27, July 2019, Dublin, Ireland
boldface or flowchart items, selected by the aircraft manufacturer depending on the likely
severity of the problem and time available to solve it (Clay-Williams and Colligan 2015).
Boldface items require immediate action, often executed from memory. Non-
boldface checklists are used when the time is not critical. Checklists may also be
instantiated as a flow chart or decision three (Clay-Williams and Colligan 2015).
Furthermore, checklists for airplane maintenance and pilots’ physical, mental, and
emotional status evaluation before a flight have been developed (Hales and Pronovost
2006). In recent decades, aircraft manufacturers have transitioned from paper-based to
electronic checklist systems to guide pilots through both normal and emergency
procedures. Electronic checklists have helped to reduce errors further when compared to
the paper-based checklists (Boorman 2001).
Checklists in Product Development
In product development, errors cause cost and time problems and poor quality of products.
Moreover, errors can cause safety issues for producers as well as for product users.
Standardized procedures and checklists as a common strategy have been used to manage
errors (Hales and Pronovost 2006). As Masaki Imai stated in his seminal work, there can
be no kaizen (continuous improvement) without standardization (Imai 1996). Checklists
can be used as the means to implement and improve standards. In the following, as Toyota
has been considered one of the leading companies in process standardization and
implementation of checklists, the focus will be mainly on the Toyota product development
system.
(Ward et al. 1995) argued that the second Toyota paradox, the first paradox being the
Toyota Production System, is the set-based concurrent engineering: “[…] delaying
decisions, communicating ambiguously, and pursuing an excessive number of prototypes,
enables Toyota to design better cars faster and cheaper”. (Sobek and Liker 1998) described
six organizational and managerial mechanisms underlying the second Toyota’s paradox,
including mutual adjustment, close supervision and integrative leadership as the social
processes, and the standard skills, standard work practices and design standards as the
means of standardization. Authors emphasize that these mechanisms are only useful when
applied together.
Contrary to the US car manufacturers, Toyota has successfully standardized much of
its development process (Sobek and Liker 1998). They have achieved it by carefully
balancing the standardization of simplified work plans (“often fit on a single sheet”) and
the flexibility of the process concept implementation in each vehicle program. The
simplicity and flexibility help to develop “common understanding, and continuous
improvement, while hard deadlines keep the project on track” (Sobek and Liker 1998). The
product and standard development processes are always considered and designed together.
Standard work plans are developed, implemented and updated by the designers and
departments that use them.
At Toyota, engineering checklists (“lessons learned books”) are used by each
participant to identify and record feasible design regions based on the current capabilities
of the organization (Ward et al. 1995). Engineering checklists are highly visual and part or
process specific for transferring experiences between vehicle programs (Morgan and Liker
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2006). Engineering checklists comprise detailed information related to the aspects of, for
example, functionality, manufacturability, government regulations, and reliability (Sobek
and Liker 1998). Checklists also contain items on what can be done or not in an economic
sense or items for incorporating new technologies for automation, cost reduction, quality
improvement and so on (Morgan and Liker 2006). Checklists are used throughout the
design process and particularly for design reviews. At the beginning of a new vehicle
program, engineering teams exchange checklists to update each other on what is possible
or not. In this way, assumptions are to be avoided.
According to (Sobek and Liker 1998), team members come to the review meetings with
a prepared checklist of items they need to verify, and identified discrepancies between the
checklists and designs become the points of discussion. When something new based on
experience, analysis, experimentation, and testing is learned, it is added to the checklist.
As such, checklists are continuously updated and become the means to explicate and
transfer the accumulating knowledge of product development. The constant revision and
updating of checklists, as part of the designers’ work, also helps to develop a sense of
ownership (Morgan and Liker 2006).
At Toyota, checklists are perceived to have the following benefits (Sobek and Liker
1998): improve face-to-face meetings, add predictability, facilitate organizational learning
across vehicle programs, and make the knowledge to reside in the organization. Similar
benefits have been recognized in other related domains, including the software engineering
industry and engineering design in general.
In software engineering, although checklists have been mainly used for the inception
processes of identifying defects and requirements engineering, (Kokkoniemi 2002) argued
that checklists could also be used as part of the organizational memory system. Checklists
can function as an experience-knowledge collection, experience-knowledge transferring
and software process development tools (Kokkoniemi 2006). Similarly, according to
(Firesmith 2005), checklists can support the software teams to make the state of the art the
state of the practice by actually implementing the best known methods, techniques and
knowledge.
The design of complex artefacts requires intensive knowledge-based activities to be
carried out. For example, the questions-based approach has been proposed in engineering
design literature. (Ahmed and Wallace 2001) proposed that questions-based design support
system can aid novice designers to understand what they need to know in any given design
context. (Grebici et al. 2009) developed five sets of generic questions that could guide the
designers’ inquiry into the subject matter. (Winkelmann and Hacker 2010) demonstrated
that the use of interrogative questions stimulated reflection on solutions, which led to a
significant improvement of the final solutions.
Common Characteristics of Checklists
Based on the literature review, checklists have been developed, implemented and
maintained from three different perspectives: error reduction (Gawande 2010),
process/performance (production) improvement (Ahmed and Wallace 2001; Grebici et al.
2009; Sobek and Liker 1998; Winkelmann and Hacker 2010) and knowledge management
(Kokkoniemi 2006; Sobek and Liker 1998).
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Benefits across the industries addressed above, include the error and human bias
reduction (i.e., slips, lapses and mistakes); increased awareness of issues/aspects (e.g.,
safety issues); increased quality of services and products; improved team cohesion,
communication and coordination; safer use of equipment and instruments; support for
organizational learning.
The most elementary function of all checklists is that they are mnemonic devices (i.e.,
memory aids). Other functions of checklists depend on the use situation. In aviation,
checklists for normal and non-normal (emergencies) situations have been developed. In the
normal situation, the primary function of checklists is to avoid errors of omission and
assure a best practice adherence (important for continuous improvement). In emergencies,
checklists are used to support situation diagnosis and problem-solving. In the product
development, checklists have been used to facilitate communication, coordination and
team performance; to support quality improvement; and to provide the organizational
memory system.
Five types of checklists for different use situations and functions have been proposed
in the literature, including the arbitrary, sequential, weakly sequential (for psychological
or efficiency reasons), partly or entirely iterative (e.g., problem-solving flowcharts) and
diagnostic (e.g., decision-trees) checklists. Two common execution strategies include the
“call-do-respond” and “do-verify”. Checklists are often paper-based, but electronic
checklists are used as well (Hales and Pronovost 2006).
Different studies have emphasized that checklists are complex interventions and require
careful design, development, and updating. These studies have argued that the most
challenging aspect of implementing checklists is to convince the users to implement and
maintain checklists (Hales and Pronovost 2006). (Degani and Wiener 1993) argued that it
is also important to consider human factors design principles for designing and
implementing checklists.
DISCUSSION
Design is a complex human activity subject to the opportunity of errors, resulting in costly
mistakes. However, instead of focusing on individual mistakes, the focus should be on the
system level, including in addition to the individual also the context. Joint cognitive
systems approach describes human performance as the product of multi-layered activity.
Human performance control involves multiple concurrent phases and modes of control.
Different levels of performance are associated with different types of error, including slip,
lapse, mistake, and violation.
Cognitive systems engineering seems useful for developing interventions for
incorporating checklists into the daily work of designers. Different modes of human
performance control, extending from reflective (interpretative) to reactive modes of action
control, require the use of different types of checklists. Nowadays, as is the case in the
aviation industry, it is also common to integrate the checklists into the artefacts for aiding
human operators.
Checklists could also be conceptualized from the three views of production
(management) proposed by (Koskela 2000). Checklists encoding standardized work
procedures can help to reduce process variation, thus, waste (e.g., the seven preconditions
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for the task and the seven wastes can be considered as checklists). Furthermore, checklists,
when used for error reduction can help to improve quality, thus, value to the customer.
Checklists as simple ‘to-do’ lists can define the necessary tasks to design an artefact, or
part of the artefact
Before discussing the possibilities for developing support systems, it must be noted that
human error management has roots in quality management (Shewhart 1931), although the
term “human error was not explicitly used there. Specifically, the approaches proposed
by (Reason 1990) and Hollnagel and Amalberti (2001) overlap with ideas advocated in the
quality management domain. Indeed, some of the main components of the Toyota error
management include, for example, the mistake-proofing (‘poka-yoke’) and visual
management (Shingo 1986; Ward et al. 1995).
DESIGN PROCESS SUPPORT SYSTEMS
The need for a systematic error and performance management has also been recognized in
the building design context (Lopez et al. 2010). Inspired by the use of (electronic)
checklists in the aviation industry, in this section, the main concepts relevant for developing
a design (process) support system are addressed. The proposal relies on the premise that
building designers use building information modelling (BIM).
DESIGN SUPPORT SYSTEM OR DESIGN PROCESS SUPPORT SYSTEM
(Ullman 2002) proposed the idea of ‘ideal mechanical engineering design support system’.
However, the focus was on the artefact, the inner conceptualization of technical parts
(functions and structures) of the design application. However, the performance of building
designer is the product of interactions between the designer and the environment, including
artefacts one uses to perform goal-oriented tasks.
Instead of focusing on the principles of product and their implementation in the product
design applications, the focus should be, not neglecting the product view, on the process
of design. That is, the design is primarily concerned with interactions involving human(s),
object(s) and contexts together with the general aim of bringing about changes that are
enabled and mediated by the situated subject (addresses interpretation) and object oriented
(addresses causality) activities (Pikas 2019).
CONSTITUENTS OF DESIGN PROCESS SUPPORT SYSTEMS
In the domain of building design, the main objects include the context(s) (problem domain
(global and local) and solution domain), humans (clients, users, and designers), and objects
(product, BIM and checklists). These are embodied in the design process, which itself
contains the following elements (Pikas 2019): modes of activity (analysis and synthesis),
the categories of design activities (subject- and object-oriented), stages and phases, causal
structure of design transformations (problem and solution state changes), iterations, and
mental and external activities. This means that the contexts, humans, and objects of design
are brought together through the design process.
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DESIGN PROCESS MONITORING
The effective control of the design process requires close monitoring of the design process
and providing information back to designers and design managers. But there are limitations
with the typical approaches (Yarmohammadi and Castro-Lacouture 2018). Often, the daily
process monitoring is left to the sole responsibility of individual designers, which may lead
to conflicting activities and decisions. In the managerial context, due to the manual
processes of collecting data, there is a considerable monitoring lag between the actual
design process and feedback (Pikas 2019).
For the design process support system, a real-time design process monitoring system
needs to be developed (e.g., a plugin for Revit could be developed). Although the focus in
this study was on the measurement of outputs (model elements), and not taking into account
contextual matters and designers activities, the feasibility of this has been already studied
(Yarmohammadi and Castro-Lacouture 2018). The real-time monitoring of the design
process could be then used to integrate the checklists into the daily work of designers.
CHECKLISTS FOR DESIGN PROCESS SUPPORT SYSTEMS
Checklists are not a new invention in the building design context. However, checklists have
been used relatively narrowly, mostly for design reviews and inspections; e.g., the design
review checklists of the Whole Building Design Guide (Prowler and Vierra 2012) or
(Sannwald 2009). Furthermore, clash detection, say by Solibri, and automated code
checking, are in a way automated checklists (Sacks et al. 2018). These types of checklists
are primarily focused on the static aspects of design, i.e., design outputs.
Also, the process needs to be taken into account, and checklists for these need to be
developed, be they manual or computerized. Furthermore, the two issues of developing
checklists for building design include the development of the substance (contents) of
checklists, and developing the media (channels) to deliver them to the point of use. The
context-aware design process support system would help to automate the detection of a
relevant checklist, and relevant item on that list, and assure compliance to the standards.
CONCLUSION
An initial framing for design process support systems was developed in this study. The
purpose of a design process support system would be to facilitate the error, performance
and knowledge management; needed because design as a complex activity is prone to
errors. Cognitive engineering systems together with the process perspective of design can
facilitate the theoretical development framework for design process support systems. If the
processes of BIM-enabled design can be monitored, then checklists could be incorporated
into the design process to standardize work, facilitate communication and coordination,
improve quality, and enable knowledge transfer between projects.
However, as this is only an initial framing, many aspects of the design process support
systems still need to be addressed. For example, in this work, there was no room to
specifically address the content and relationships between the different constituents of
design process support systems. Also, how exactly the monitoring of designers work can
be done and what kind of analytics (probably something along the lines of process mining)
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is required to make sense of the raw data. Similarly, the kinds of visualizations needed to
communicate the checklists in real time to designers at work are also significant. All these
are important questions and need further study.
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Thesis
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A number of well-recognized problems, many arising from the inadequate organization of design processes, beset the building design and design management. Remedies have been attempted but no effective solutions have emerged. The root problem could be the prevailing view of incompatibility between the technical, subject to causality, and social, subject to interpretation, standpoints. A way to address this issue is to go back to first principles. Aristotle provided a first account of the productive act based on two strategies of inquiry: the method of analysis and rhetoric. The discovery of the dual nature of design theorizing by Aristotle gave rise to the hypothesis that a general solution might be provided by a new integrated design concept. The primary aim was thus defined as follows: to develop a comprehensive philosophical and conceptual framework as well as a design model integrating both technical and social phenomena and to use the resulting theory to develop better design and design management practices. To meet the research aim and select the research methodology, four main research questions were posed: (1) What are the key philosophical ideas relevant to the framing of design conceptualizations? (2) What are the fundamental concepts of ancient design theories (i.e., the method of analysis and rhetoric) in the ancient Greek context and in contemporary contexts? (3) What kind of new design model can be constructed based on these two strategies of inquiry? (4) How does the new model benefit design and design management practices? Design research methodology was adopted to answer the research questions. The answers to the questions were arrived at through arguments, findings, and constructions: (1) Concerning the philosophical framing, it is argued that pragmatism is more appropriate than positivism or constructivism, as it would permit the synthesis of the technical and social perspectives. (2) The two ancient strategies of inquiry, the method of analysis and rhetoric, help clarify fundamental design concepts. These strategies of inquiry need to be integrated for a more comprehensive conceptualization of designing. (3) For an understanding of the relationships between the fundamental concepts of designing, a new more comprehensive design model was constructed. The new model represents the structure of the design process. (4) With a view to the evaluation of the model and development of support for practice, three case study interventions were carried out. An initial implementation of the new model through instantiations in practice brought significant quantitative and qualitative improvements. Overall, three contributions to the body of design knowledge are made: the formalization of a new design process model; an elucidation of the intellectual history of the design discipline; and the clarification of core terms, concepts, and their relationships in the context of design.
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