Project start-up in the architectual design processes

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The goal of this paper is to discuss if knowledge from Project Start-Up theory can be of benefit in the initiation of architectural design projects, and if so, which and what form it should take. Previous research showed that Project Start-Up is a method that can improve the result of a project (Halman & Burger, 2001). In our own study we transformed the Project Start-Up terminology into terms that commend to architects. Then a survey among members of the Royal Institute of Dutch Architects (BNA) has been conducted to verify the need for improvements in project starting procedures. We asked them which issues are involved in present initiations of architectural projects, which issues are underrepresented, and which issues rank high in priority. This formed the basis for a series of simulations, with and without the Project-Start-Up procedure. The simulations were conducted with volunteer architects and clients who supplied project information drawn from ongoing real projects. The simulations were video-taped and the respondents were then debriefed. The participants in the simulations using the Start-Up procedure were found to address more of the Project Start-Up issues than did the participants in the simulation without a Start-Up procedure. Using the Start-Up procedure, the architects were quite dominant in the conversations, initiating far more issues. As such, the Project Start-Up delivered the expected benefit in terms of addressing important issues at the outset of the project. Further, it helped architects to establish an authoritative role within the project team. However, this came at the expense of the team-building value of the freewheeling and product oriented conversation occurring without the Start-Up procedure. It can be concluded that the Start-Up procedure could be valuable for some projects in that it helps clients and architects to more completely cover the range of issues need to be discussed at the outset of the project. However, the Start-Up procedure needs to be further developed to include elements of the more informal and creative conversation that now characterizes the initial conversations between client and architect.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCIB World Congress 2010
Place of PublicationSalford
PublisherUniversity of Salford
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventCIB World Congress 2010 - Salford
Duration: 10 May 201013 May 2010

Publication series

PublisherUniversity of Salford


ConferenceCIB World Congress 2010

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • architectural design
  • design project
  • Project Start-Up
  • client
  • architect


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