GoodForm: Design Flow Chart

As recently as 2007, Wilkinson Design For Construction had no employees on staff, and co-owners Pav and Lyn Wilkinson handled all company operations. But as the company has grown in size, so too have their organizational needs.

As recently as 2007, Wilkinson Design For Construction had no employees on staff, and co-owners Pav and Lyn Wilkinson handled all company operations. But as the company has grown in size, so too have their organizational needs. This flow chart maps, in detail, what each facet of the company is responsible for at each step of the design process. Each branch of the company -- from designer to estimator -- is given a row in the chart detailing their tasks at any given point in the process.

The items listed in the "Customer" row are milestones in the design process, while those listed in the rowss below it show the company's various divisions what is required of them to reach that milestone. (Note also the timeline at the top of the chart, which specifies how long each step should take.) For example, in order to get the client to "commit to [the] design/build process" during Week 1, the flow chart dictates that the salesperson, designer, and estimator should be working together to pin down a scope and budget for the project.

The boxes highlighted in gray are those during which payment is collected by the administrative department. As this portion of the chart demonstrates, design fees are paid in two installments -- one upon signing the agreement, and the other upon delivery of the drawings. The same process applies for the construction drawings. Used internally, this keeps the accounting department in synch with the rest of the team. Used externally, clients are from the beginning able to see clearly at what point in the process they will be billed for particular services, avoiding confusion or confrontation later in the process.

After the design agreement has been signed, it's on to managing the design itself. For most clients, it's a four week process, but for those who choose the "builder design package" (which comes with largely pre-set specs), the process is much shorter. For more demanding designs, it is during this period that owner and designer Pav Wilkinson is drawing floor plans and elevations. "Here we're meeting and getting client feedback and making decisions," says Lyn. This is also the point at the completion of which clients are asked to make their final design payment.

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