Research Finding: Integrative Design Process for the Navy Yard Building Building 661


The integrative design and delivery process includes establishing a new and different governance structure to guide a retrofit construction project, and a collaborative team that works together to make decisions for the design of the buildings.

Conventional building design usually involves a series of hand-offs from owner to architect, from builder to occupant. This path does not invite all affected parties into the planning process, and therefore does not take into account their needs, areas of expertise or insights. In some cases, using the conventional method, incompatible elements of the design are not discovered until late in the process when it is expensive to make changes. In contrast, the integrated design process requires multidisciplinary collaboration, including key stakeholders and design professionals, from conception to completion.

Decision-making protocols and complementary design principles must be established early in the process in order to satisfy the goals of multiple stakeholders while achieving the overall project objectives. In addition to extensive collaboration, integrative design involves a “whole building design” approach. A building is viewed as an interdependent system, as opposed to an accumulation of its separate components (site, structure, systems and use). The goal of looking at all the systems together to make sure they work in harmony rather than against each other.

CBEI facilitated meetings of building stakeholders – including owner, occupant, architect, construction management, and contractor representatives – to collectively identify project values in a pre-design workshop. Project values for the building were determined to include collaboration, learning, performance, predictability, and certainty, among others. Successive decisions were made using the filter of the accepted project values. This process was designed to increase quality and efficiency, decreases waste, and foster greater collaboration among stakeholders.

Lessons Learned

  • Developing well defined project values and using them to consistently make design choices provides a solid platform for creating the final design and during the construction.
  • Involving contractors, who are not involved in the construction, can be helpful in avoiding some issues, but this did not achieve a reduction in change orders. The additional issue is that these participants were compensated and they also were excluded from the bidding process.
  • Working under the multi-prime business model, collaborative intent does not appear to work during the construction phase.
  • Two contributing elements are: 1) changing business culture is a difficult process; and 2) multi-prime low bidding requires very little contingency to use in collaboratively solving problems.


Publication Title: Research Finding: Integrative Design Process for the Navy Yard Building Building 661

Consortium Member(s): The Pennsylvania State University

Project Contact: Mark Stutman

Date: April 04, 2015