Improving the Design-Construction Interface

Luis F. Alarcon1 & Daniel A. Mardones2

1Head Department of Construction Engineering and Management, Universidad Católica de Chile, Escuela de Ingeniería, Casilla 306, Correo 22, Santiago, Chile, e-mail: [email protected]
2Design Quality Coordinator, Delta Construction Co., Huerfanos 812, Piso 7, Santiago, Chile


In building projects customer requirements, constructive aspects and quality standards are defined during the design phase. However, this important phase is usually carried out with little interaction between the construction and design teams causing many problems during construction such us: incomplete designs, change orders, rework, construction delays, etc. This paper describes a performance study of the design-construction interface. This study comprised: interviews with experts, data collection from several projects and design and implementation of improvement tools. A review of the most frequent design defects found during the construction phase in four building projects allowed the researchers to design several tools to prevent the occurrence of these defects. QFD was used to identify the most effective tools and to set priorities for implementation. The proposed changes were implemented in a construction company participating in the study with significant impacts on performance. The implementation comprised new design and review procedures, standards for communication as well as explicit definition of internal customer requirements and design attributes. The implementation of these changes brought important reductions on design defects and their corresponding impacts in this company, some of these results are discussed in this paper.


Design quality; design process, continuous improvement, design-construction interface.



Alarcon, L. F. & Mardones, D. A. 1998. Improving the Design-Construction Interface, 6th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , -.

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