Remote and environmentally sensitive sites present unique challenges for participants involved in the design and construction process. Worldwide advances in information technology coupled with improved site accessibility and manageability has enabled the construction industry to undertake such projects with greater ease. Furthermore, research on information technology in construction has begun to focus our attentions on our increased ability to work virtually in distributed teams. These remote sites have a range of development potential as clients have varied interests including; tourism, scientific investigation and resource exploration and processing which impact upon the management of the design process. These sites pose unique challenges to the project teams and in particular for the management of project design. The conceptual design phase is often marked by an iterative and creative process, which tends to be a sociologically oriented world where designers respond to a range of functional, aesthetic, environmental and even spiritual concerns. Strategic decisions made during the briefing and conceptual design stage may impact upon construction logistics and sustainability. Detailed design for construction tends to be a production oriented world. There is a significant body of literature that addresses the application of lean thinking to improving the interface between detailed design and construction production. There is little literature that takes a holistic view of design management for remote sites. The lean design management field of research has much to contribute to the design management of these projects. The review of the literature indicated that much of the lean thinking has been primarily concerned with sequential production. However, lean thinking is based upon principles of flow and value, which is also conducive to the complex process involved in design management for remote sites. A conceptual model is developed that considers both the production and sociological approaches to design management, in response to the peculiar demands of the site and their project teams.
Remote sites, design management, lean design, lean production, design sociology