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Early Engagement Within the Design Process
13.07.2017  |  Joanna Lush
In any architectural design process, early engagement and collaboration between developer, architect, contractor and end-client is essential to ensure the creation of an environment which not only looks good and functions well, but has the right products specified for the right use at the right price.
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In any architectural design process, early engagement and collaboration between developer, architect, contractor and end-client is essential to ensure the creation of an environment which not only looks good and functions well, but has the right products specified for the right use at the right price.

But how easy is it for all parties to communicate effectively and work collaboratively to ensure added value, de-risked installations and defined specifications?

Today, the architect’s role is to accommodate all aspects of design including legal, technical and cultural knowledge. But to strengthen and support their vision, consistent discussion and planning with key decision-makers is essential, as well as adopting the latest standards and technologies.

Building Information Modelling (BIM) has become crucial in ensuring construction projects are completed efficiently. According to an NBS National BIM Report for Manufacturers, more than 71% of the design community respondents require manufacturers to provide BIM models to speed-up the design process. BIM’s embedded 3D information and objects mean construction and design elements can be easily visualised and defined, which creates the end-to-end lifecycle specification of a finished project.

But while BIM is gradually providing a framework for efficient collation of data, according to Ken Sanders, architecture and planning Managing Principal at Gensler, process innovation and timely decision making should be ‘squarely focused on people, partnerships and shared expertise’, for true success in collaboration.

 

ColourX backpainted red glass feature wall

Early engagement with the manufacturer ensures products are specified correctly

Providing an expert consultancy service, Gx Glass offers support for architects through the entire specification stage, providing guidance on feasible project ideas and identifying those which may require adaptation - i.e. safety requirements, practicality, cost-effectiveness and sustainability.

This early engagement means the prototyping service can be utilised. Providing iterative glass samples enables the functional and design requirements including glass type, thickness, colour and finish to be discussed, as well as design boundaries to be explored and developed.

For example, utilising expert guidance can resolve potential specification issues, such as ensuring glass splashbacks for a development will be placed at the correct distance from the hob heat source, and on the correct substrate, and that the correct thickness of glass will be specified - preventing any potential challenges post-installation.

Following the initial specification, once out of the ground, logistics and the installation process can also be de-risked by utilising site visits to evaluate site access for the glass, where panels will join, how they will be fixed and what aftercare is required.

This is of paramount importance for all products and the huge variety of end-use applications, as for example, installation of glass within a changing room will differ from an office environment - including from the fixing methods to the aftercare requirements.

By incorporating key stakeholders during design decision-making processes and having an open and honest dialogue with experienced supply chain professionals ensures unrivalled insight, efficiency, cost and time savings during initial design stages. 

The benefits of early engagement provide tangible benefits in a risk-free, cost-effective, timely and professional installation of high quality products, ensuring the architectural vision becomes a reality.   

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