Thelma Muro of Thelma & Boom (TB) was featured on ITPS Leisure News with her views on the new answers to the true definition of phasing and deliverables for International Theme Park and general Real Estate Development.

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CONCEPT+ Provides Greater Depth of Creative Insight than Traditional Methods

By:  Thelma Muro-Dittes – Principal and Founder, Thelma and Boom

When it comes to architectural phasing standards of such groups as AIA/RIBA are no longer the global guide.  Various countries are beginning to define development phasing standards in different ways.  This sometimes creates confusion between developers and designers.  CONCEPT+ is the creative answer to this new method of international collaboration.

In the last few years, different countries have taken the initiative of defining their own phasing and terminology when it comes to identifying the design process of built environments.  The beginning and end are the same.  We start with a blank piece of paper and a great idea.  The end goal is a successful development that will bring a high Return of Investment and bring joy to the community that surrounds the project.  However, the road between the beginning and the end is paved with many different turns and bumps if we do not take the time to define expectations clearly every step of the way.  International contracts must define deliverables instead of phases.

The traditional terminology established by the AIA and RIBA was confusing enough.   I saw plenty of unexpected and unwelcome surprises when Scheme Design (SD) was assumed to be Schematic Design (SD) and Design Development (DD) was confused for Detail Design (DD).   This resulted in different expectations between clients and consultants, both coming from perfectly reasonable assumptions.  However, the compromise usually meant a level of dissatisfaction for both parties.

Now we have many more acronyms and terms that sound close enough to other terms we are familiar with, but they carry very different expectations.  Let’s look at some of the most current ones I have seen, in the form of a chart, defined by percentages of a Full-Service project.  I have included two countries, China and Vietnam, that have recently tended to use their own (and varying) phases of project development.

CONCEPT+ gives all development options a great level of creative definition and technical documentation that can be incorporated into the project’s selected phasing beyond this effort.

As the chart shows, the end result is the same; however, phases along the way bring about different terms, different deliverables, and different percentages of completion.  Particularly when just starting out to develop a project, this often means that developers and designers may not be starting on the same page.  Even the percentages reflected on the chart will not be agreed to by all those that look at it.  They are based on almost 30 years of working on all types of development as Designer, Project Manager, Project Director, Construction Manager, Owner’s Representative, and Developer. Now, try to define expectations within each of those deliverables and your head will spin longer than the “Time Traveler”.

However, this level of definition is absolutely necessary for whichever Design Phasing is agreed upon as the basis of the contract for Design Services.  It’s a matter of understanding the needs of the client and the possibilities of the Design Team within the available time and budget for Design in the project.   In the end, the disagreements tend to narrow down to the number of details, number of elevations, and level of detail in specifications.  Often, it is not a matter of winning or losing an argument; however, it is a matter of the creative team providing the technical team with enough information to clearly define the creative intent to a level that the local team can follow through and develop the project to meet the original creative intent.

This happens to be the same goal of both sides.  The Designer wants to see his or her idea to come to fruition.  The client wants to bring to life the creative idea he/she fell in love with those beautiful renderings everyone loved at the beginning of the project.

This is where TB’s definition of CONCEPT+ manages to bridge the gap in the goals of all parties involved.  The creative team feels confident their creative intent is clearly defined from every angle and every view, regardless of the number of details, plans, sections, or elevations that the contract calls for.  The technical team has enough information in the Virtual Reality model the creative team has created to clearly understand the design intent regardless of minor modifications required by the Engineering Teams, the Local Authorities, or changes in program by the Operations Team.  Even when Value Engineering (VE) takes place, the model can confirm if the VE item is worth its savings or if the character of the project can afford to live without that particular item or modification.

Once the idea of CONCEPT+ is agreed upon, it is much easier for both parties to agree on the number of plans, sections, elevations, details, specs, etc., to be defined in the contract.  Once this is agreed upon, it is essential to still develop the long lists of deliverables assigned to each payment, along with the necessary checklists to avoid wasting time on these kinds of misunderstandings and focus on the development of the best project that this international team of experts and dreamers can put together as a truly collaborative effort.

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Posted 31st July by International Theme Park Services, Inc.