Building design quality : design complexity and BIM applications

Access full-text files



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Design deliverable quality is one of the most critical factors to the overall performance of a construction project, but achieving it has become difficult due to the ever increasing complexity of the construction environment. Consequently, various technologies are continuously developed and implemented on projects to enhance the efficiency and quality of design and construction processes. The objective of this dissertation is to examine how these emergent complexities—and the technological remedies for these complexities—affect building design quality. To achieve this objective, this dissertation presents three studies in Chapter 2, 3, and 4, respectively. Chapter 2 provides a deep exploration of the types of complexity embedded in design problems. By conducting statistical analyses of leading indicators of design defects, the author determined that problematic deliverables involve technical complexity more than organizational complexity, and that different types of causal factors contribute to different types of complexity. In Chapter 3, the author focused on the current status of technologies aimed at improving design quality. First, after extracting key design quality themes through viii qualitative analysis, the author connected them with applicable BIM functions. Based on this result, a framework of five BIM-based key design processes was developed to show how BIM can be effectively utilized during the design phase. Lastly, the limitations of BIM in terms of design quality are examined in Chapter 4. In the course of a statistical analysis of whether leading indicators are or are not supported by BIM, the author determined that BIM is currently not capable of incorporating constructability, commissioning, and maintenance information during the design phase. This analysis also generated a table presenting the leading indicators not supported by BIM, along with their associated potential defects. These findings also helped the author formulate recommendations for future research to advance BIM use in design quality management. This dissertation fills a gap in the academic body of knowledge by providing a deeper understanding of design quality management on building construction projects. Specifically, through its investigation of the complexity involved in design problems and through its determination of the current capability of BIM to mitigate such design problems, this study has contributed valuable new knowledge on BIM use and design management. Further, by identifying the relationship between design quality and complexity, and by developing a framework and a table of valuable information on design defect leading indicators, this dissertation helps industry practitioners develop proactive strategies for effective defect prevention and design quality management on building projects.


LCSH Subject Headings