Architects have a vital part to play in delivering successful projects and providing value to clients and community. Architects tend to give most weightage to the creative design process often alienating the managerial aspects of the profession. In the architecture profession, management and creative design are often considered very separate disciplines that cannot be unified. However, in reality management should be organically linked to all design processes for longevity and efficacy. A good architecture practice always has management integrated with all other processes – practices such as Foster and Partners exemplify this way of working. It is good design management that empowers an architect with creative freedom by providing a stable and prosperous business and managerial structure that turn the creative design expression into income generators. Hence , architectural design management is essential to deliver a holistic project by maximising value to all stakeholders and creating a sustainable and efficient business. Architects have yet to fully embrace this notion.
Design management relates to interfaces such as people, places, processes and products. According to Boyle (2003) ‘Design management involves understanding, coordinating and synthesising a wide range of inputs while working alongside a diverse cross-section of multidisciplinary colleagues’. Hence, architectural management is the synergy between the management of the professional office (often referred to as office or practice management) and the management of individual projects (often referred to as project or job management) (Brunton et al, 1966).
The roots of design management in construction industry lie in evidence from the past. The first instances in the UK were the two Government reports, Latham (1994) and Egan (1998), that identified a need for change in the architecture and construction industry. These report established the demand for better value from the construction industry as a whole from the clients.
Consequently, the findings of all such researches and reports resulted in a reform in the Architecture Engineering and Construction sector. The contracting organisations proved to be more receptive to reform that their architectural counterparts. Besides the adoption of new forms of contract and shifting roles and responsibilities by both parties there was a significant development of the design manager role in contracting bodies (Gray & Hughes, 2001; Bibby, 2003). In the more recent years, Emmitt’s research paper , ARB annual report (2004 – 2005) and many other sources provide concrete evidence for embracing design management in architecture for a multitude of reasons.
The activity of Design Management, according to Eynon (2013), ‘includes the management of all project – related design activities , people, processes and resources : Enabling the effective flow and production of design information; Contributing to achieving the successful delivery of the completed project, on time, on budget and in fulfilment of the customer’s requirements on quality and function in a sustainable manner; Delivering value through integration, planning , co-ordination, reduction of risk and innovation; Achieved through collaborative and integrated working and value-management processes. Following this ethos of design management the role of a design manager in an architectural practice can be derived.