Tuesday 15 February 2022

Stages of Project design Structure

The structure of the design reflects the process of activity aimed at creating such a primary description of the object that will allow this not yet existing object to be created in reality. This description should be sufficient (detailed, detailed, comprehensive) and understandable to the performer (for which various generally accepted design rules are introduced).

In the final form, after completing the transition from the original description to the final one, a package of documents containing all the information about the form of creating the object should be received. To achieve this goal, a complex of creative, research and design works is carried out. In this sense, the design process can be thought of as a defined sequence consisting of stages, milestones, and procedures. The stages and stages of design will depend on the type of presentation of the design process and what specific design standards are characteristic of a particular industry.

Staging in the design structure

 The concept of design includes the creation of a primary description of the future object. The basis for design is manifested in the expressed need of society, which in one way or another declares the need for the emergence of technical objects, phenomena and processes of varying complexity and purpose.

If we consider the design process from the moment of the birth of the idea, then

the appearance of a project idea in its original form should be attributed to the category of a creative act, which is difficult to automate. Today, such an idea is mainly still born in the creative laboratory of the designer or in the mind of the customer in the form of a general concept of the project, and then clarified during pre-project discussions. However, with the development of artificial intelligence, even this stage of the origin of the idea, in all likelihood, will be increasingly entrusted to the computer, as now the computer is entrusted with the full automatic design of technically simple objects.

According to the degree of participation of a person and a computer in the design, two types of process are distinguished:

  • automatic – when the computer performs the full scope of design tasks,
  • automated – when "responsibilities" are distributed between a person and a computer in different proportions.

Since most processes are still not complete without human intervention, the share of computer-aided design is much larger than the share of fully automatic. This is indirectly expressed in the formation of a set of generally accepted stages and stages of design. However, the creation and involvement of artificial intelligence may soon completely change not only the content features of project activities, but also traditional formal approaches, including ideas about the staged design.

Two views of the design structure

At the moment, there are 2 representations of the design structure in the broad sense of this concept:

The structure of the process of implementing the project idea in the form of a formal solution, by gradually expanding the description of the object. This is the structure of the implementation of the idea, for which the design rules and design norms have defined their list of stages.

The structure of the development of project documentation with its own design sections, requirements and specifics for each individual industry.

In the first view, the structure determines which stages and stages in a certain order need to be passed. In the second presentation - in what form and sequence it is necessary to issue a documentary description for each of these stages, taking into account industry requirements.

Thus, the concept of the structure of the design process is applicable to design as a process of transition from an idea (ideal image) to the embodiment of an image in one or another material expression.

This process begins with the study of a public or private need, which has become the basis for the initiation of the project process. The need to conclude an appropriate contract with the design organization, which is the basis for the design, is expressed. Part of such an agreement becomes a technical task and / or a technical proposal, which becomes a "road map" for the designer in the implementation of the process.

At the intermediate stages, a complex process of research, calculations and design decision-making takes place, which involves the constant refinement of the results obtained. In the course of this, various intermediate types of descriptions arise, summing up step-by-step results in solving one or another type of problem. In general, certain formats of intermediate descriptions have been developed in the design, which will be discussed separately below.

The result of the evolution of the idea and the development of its material design is a package of documentation, a three-dimensional layout, 3D visualization and other forms of material expression of the idea, depending on which method was used by the design organization in the process.
Currently, the most progressive result is three-dimensional layouts of objects with the application of graphic documentation and visualization, made using a computer and / or photo and film proetizing methods. This allows both to see the entire object in space from the side, and to simulate the full-scale movement of people in space (in architectural design). 


However, still the main link for the results of project activities, graphic documents understandable to any specialist remain: text descriptions, diagrams, tables, drawings, graphs, sketches. This method of transmitting project information retains the status of the international language of project activities.

Since the designer works with a non-existent object, it is not possible to immediately create an exhaustive description of it (especially when it comes not to typical, but to innovative developments). Therefore, one of the main features of the design is its iterative specificity - cyclic repetition associated with refinement and refinement. Each iterative turn adds accuracy and completeness to the description of the projected object.Iterative process of obtaining a design solution

One of the consequences of such clarification and increase in the completeness of the description is the division of design into the following main stages of design:

  • The research phase is a research project that combines pre-project studies, the stage of the technical task and part of the stage of the technical proposal.
  • The R&D stage is an experimental design work that combines the second part of the technical proposal stage, the draft design stage and the technical design.

The stage of detailed design, which combines the stages of the working project, and the stages that include work with an already physically created object: debugging, testing, putting into operation.
Another characteristic feature is the collective nature of project activities, and the requirement to involve specialists in various fields in the process, which is due to the technical complexity and versatility of the object.

The multivariate nature of solutions and methods, due to the expansion of the toolkit, on the one hand, allows the designer to solve any project problem without binding himself to the framework of any one method, which in application, as a rule, is always limited. On the other hand, all participants in the design process should be fully able to manage the project tools so that different qualifications do not interfere with procedural consistency. To reconcile the variety of possible solutions with the speed and adaptability of implementation, the basic principles of design, expressed through:

  • unification, which reduces the variety of elements of the same type in terms of functionality,
  • standardization, limiting diversity by using standard elements,
  • normalization, which applies previously developed elements.
  • Depending on the direction of the design process, which can both seek to synthesize variants of the system from block components and involve the decomposition of complex descriptions, the staged nature of the processes will also differ.

The order of the design process depending on the approach

Structure of the design processThe structure can both be assembled from the component blocks into a single system, and go through a gradual process of detailing and decomposition of complex descriptions, which corresponds to the structural approach, in the first case, and the block-hierarchical approach in the second.

The essence of the block-hierarchical approach to design is to divide the description of the object into different hierarchical levels, which correspond to the degree of detail of the properties of the object (or its part). That is, at the beginning of the first stage, the structure of the object has the character of a closed, unknown, requiring detail and clarification of the structure. The description of the first level gives a certain degree of detail, reveals the presence of connections between the blocks and establishes a hierarchical connection with another level. Then the second and subsequent levels are also detailed and worked out. Detail is read sufficiently when the blocks of the last level demonstrate a simple and transparent structure.

Each level will be dominated by its own forms of documentation, its own mathematical apparatus that contributes to the construction of algorithms, its own set of means (models, methods, languages, tools) inherent in this particular level.

Such an approach to the design object also indirectly affects the typology of the choice of the design route and the division of traffic along this route into stages. However, regardless of the approach, universal design concepts are used in the description of the process.

Thus, the basic concepts of design in terms of implementing the process of describing the future object are a design solution, a design procedure and a project operation.

A design decision is an intermediate or final (final) description of the future object, which is sufficient to create an object based on available materials or (at an intermediate stage) - to determine the further direction of activity and the possibility of an actual transition to it.

The project procedure is a formalized regulated set of actions, the completion of which is the project solution. Procedures include finding a solution, adjusting, controlling, checking the correctness, optimizing, etc. In this sense, the design process can be described as a sequence of design procedures that collectively represent the design route.

A project operation is a formalized set of actions, limited to a part of the project procedure, with the algorithm unchanged for a number of project procedures.

Since these concepts are associated with the implementation of a set of actions, the sequence of their implementation can also be represented in the form of a staged or staged process. However, such a view will only be a partial reflection of the overall design process, and in general form, the design stages are presented in the form of a list that includes the stages of technical specifications, technical proposal, draft design, technical design, working documentation and certification.

Stages of the design process

Define the structure and design rules that the customer and contractors are guided by when concluding an agreement, assessing the work done, reports. According to them, the structural elements of the design include the following stages.

Terms of Reference (TK). The task establishes the main conceptual, technical and functional characteristics of the object, the main and special technical and economic tasks, requirements for compliance with the requirements at various stages and stages of documentation creation, composition.
Technical proposal (PT). Such a proposal is a set of documents that contain a feasibility study and technical justification for the feasibility of the project. The conclusion on the feasibility is given after analyzing the technical task of the customer and considering alternative solutions by comparing them with each other. The basis for the creation of a technical proposal is also the features of the object being created and the availability of patent materials. In construction, the technical and economic calculation is carried out for relatively simple production and linear objects in a more compressed form than justification.

Draft design (EP). At this stage, a package of documents is created that contain both general ideas about the principles of operation and structure of the object (including purpose, overall dimensions and other parameters), and information about the totality of fundamental decisions chosen for this object. In the case of designing particularly complex objects, additional pre-design studies (advance project) can be carried out, the result of which is the justification of the possibility of creating the conceived object and the expediency of the execution option. At this stage, mock-up samples for testing can also be created.
Technical design (TP). The technical documentation contains the final decisions reflecting the device of the object and the initial data that are the basis of the working project.

Working draft (WP). At this stage, detailed documentation is developed, sufficient for the manufacture of a prototype. Based on the results of the tests (which also take place in several stages - first at the factory, and then as part of the process of transfer to the customer), the documentation can be corrected, clarified and, if necessary, expanded to allow the manufacture of serial samples of products (installation series). Further, the cycle with the test and clarification of the documentation is repeated, reaching the level of the control series, the test of which can also make a number of changes to the final version of the working documentation.

Certification. Control stage confirming the quality of the manufactured products. In different variants, such a control stage may be a mandatory or voluntary examination. Certification can also be voluntary, but its implementation gives additional competitive advantages to the product when entering new markets. Most often, mandatory expertise becomes a fundamental prerequisite for export promotion.
When developing project documentation, several stages are often combined with each other, which is due to the degree of complexity of the task. The stage of setting a technical task and the stage of technical design can be part of the cycle of research work. The stage of technical proposal and the stage of draft design are part of the experimental design work.

Industry features of design stages on the example of design in construction

Urban Planning Code of the Russian FederationIn terms of the staged development of documentation in construction on the basis of the requirements of the Urban Planning Code of the Russian Federation, Government Decree No. 87, GOST and SNiPs, which determine the design standards, a certain procedure and a list of process stages have been formed.

Unlike previous rules, the current design rules and regulations do not imply a formal regulatory separation of the design process at the stage. Instead of the staged design, the concepts of "Project Documentation" and "Working Documentation" operate. However, the actual chronology of the development of these types of documentation can be both sequential and parallel (which the current design rules do not prohibit). In this sense, it is legitimate to talk about the actual division of the construction design process into stages.

One-stage design, in this case, should be called such a process in which the development of both design and working documentation is carried out in parallel. This makes it possible to speed up the implementation of the project as a whole, but the logical continuity of the two types of documentation determines the two-stage model as preferable for complex projects.

In the two-stage model of construction design, the stage of working documentation is transferred only after the completion of the stage of project documentation, the passage of all approvals on it and approval. With this approach, the costs of processing project documentation are minimized if ineffective solutions were identified during the analysis of the results.

In general, in the design there is a tendency to increase the number of stages with an increase in the degree of complexity and detail of the designed object. The ratio of the possible number of stages to the category of complexity of the object is as follows:

The one-stage model is used in the design of objects of 1-3 categories of complexity, as well as in relation to objects erected on repeated and / or typical projects. Such a model, other things being equal, allows you to reduce the design time by one and a half to two times, reducing the cost of development by about 40%. But the risks of making a mistake are also increasing, which causes the unpopularity of the one-stage model in US.

The two-stage model is applicable to more technically complex buildings - objects of 4-5 categories, as well as to those objects of the 3rd category of complexity for which an individual approach is required in the design.

The two-stage model, complicated by the stage of the pre-project proposal, as in the previous case, is applicable to objects of 4-5 categories and individual objects of the 3rd category, if an insufficient list of initial permits is detected, which requires revision and clarification.

The category of complexity of the structure depends simultaneously on many parameters: 

purpose, number of storeys, configuration. The same type of structure can belong to different categories. Thus, on the example of warehouses, it can be seen that agricultural warehouses of a seasonal type belong to the first category of complexity, warehouses with engineering support - to the second, and warehouses with engineering equipment - to the third (according to the Methodological Recommendations for Determining the Cost of Costs for Contract Bidding). Large military depots can be assigned to the 4th category in terms of complexity. But in general, the more complex the structure, the higher the complexity class and the more important it is to observe the logic of staging when designing.

However, in the construction industry, the emergence of technological methods of design is gradually beginning to erase the differences between the stages. For example, already now in 3D-BIM design, the stages differ only in the degree of detail, and the entire process of work is carried out by different specialists simultaneously in a single virtual space with tracking all changes in real time.

Design standards in construction involve the division of design into the following components within the framework of a two-stage (and three-stage) model:

Pre-project proposal.

During this period, the primary set of documents is collected, which is needed to pass regulatory approvals in the region and obtain an architectural and planning task or initial permits (the preparation and development of which is also part of this stage).

The proposal substantiates the investment attractiveness and the possibility of construction (reconstruction) in specific conditions, taking into account urban planning requirements and factors of a social, cultural, economic, environmental, sanitary, and other nature. Also, in the process of creating a proposal, large-scale demonstration material is prepared, a draft design is created and approved, preferred constructive, architectural, technological solutions and options, engineering, security, fire protection systems, etc. are selected.

Collection of baseline data.



The list of initial data that the customer transmits to the design organization is specified taking into account the specifics of the project, the object and the construction site. The initial data is collected by the customer himself, if, according to the terms of the agreement, the designer does not connect to the process. At the same time, the details of the document on the basis of which the design decision was made, the design task, reporting documents on the results of research, approvals, acts, decisions of various management bodies, information on land plots, the design capacity of the object, information on the use of patented inventions and a lot of other data are provided.

Project documentation.

This is the most voluminous part of the design, the technical embodiment of the image of the construction object, giving an idea of what kind of building is planned to be built. Here, according to the sections (regulated by regulatory documents), information on the architectural, constructive and space-planning solution is collected. contain data on engineering equipment and support networks, including heat, electricity, gas and water supply and sanitation systems. A separate section is the construction estimate.

Working documentation.

Describes the process of applied implementation of that object, details the decisions made at the previous stage. For each section, local estimates are drawn up, drawings and specifications are prepared, nodes are worked out and, in general, documentation is formed sufficient for the contractor to carry out construction only on its basis. The composition of the working documentation is determined by state standards, but can be specified, by agreement of the parties, by the customer and the designer. The main complex of working drawings is represented by drawings of various brands, to which the attached documents (specifications, estimates, etc.) are provided.


Control over the progress of construction and the process of acceptance into operation. Such author's supervision is carried out in order to avoid errors on the part of the contractor and deviations from the agreed decisions. The stage is initiated by the terms of the agreement between the customer and the designer. Responsible persons are appointed by a separate order to exercise supervision.

Despite some differences from the staged design of serial product samples, the staging of construction design fits into the same iterative logic, which allows at each new turn of the description to make it more accurate and complete.

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