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Measuring and Improving Rationale Clarity in a University Office Building Design Process

TitleMeasuring and Improving Rationale Clarity in a University Office Building Design Process
Publication TypeTechnical Report
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsHaymaker, J, Chachere, J, Senescu, R
Date Published11/2008
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsAmbiguity, Center for Integrated Facility Engineering, CIFE, Clarity, Collaboration, Coordination, Decision, Design, Engineering, Management, Organization Models, Organizations, Planning, Process Modeling, Process Models, Product Model, Product Models, Rationale, Stanford University, Validation, VDC, Virtual Design and Construction
AbstractRecent research has formalized the view that the level of rationale clarity, or shared understanding of a decisionís basis, affects the performance of building design projects. This paper uses the Rationale Clarity Framework (RCF) to measure and compare the clarity of design rationale on an Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) project. RCF defines rationale components (managers, stakeholders, designers, gatekeepers, objectives, options, constraints, and analyses) as well as the dependencies between these components. RCF also defines conditions of clarity for each component (coherent, concrete, connected, consistent, convincing, certain, and correct). Using RCF, we observed and documented the rationale clarity of decisions on an industry case project. We then implemented a decision assistance methodology, called Multi-Attribute, Collaborative Design, Assessment, and Decision Integration (MACDADI), with the same project team on the same decisions, and measured a resulting increase in rationale clarity. Researcher and project participant observations on these two decision-making processes guide a discussion relating experienced and theoretical impacts of improving rationale clarity on AEC processes, organizations, and products. We observe that, in this implementation, MACDADI measurably clarified rationale yet produced limited team acceptance and benefits. Our research highlights the challenges of improving communication and decision making in complex and entrenched AEC design processes.
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