State of Internal Design Review Process in Structural Engineering

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Internal design reviews serve as a major quality control measure in structural engineering firms. The process differs among firms and may be formal (documented) or informal (undocumented). The motivation of this project was to understand the design review process as it typically exists in structural engineering firms. Topics included the review process, time spent on review, common errors caught during reviews, and improvements suggested by study participants. Interviews were performed with 22 individuals from 16 structural engineering firms across the country. The study concluded that approximately 70% of firms have a formal internal design review process. A baseline process was established to occur before each submission to a client while each firm added their own unique practices to the process. Some practices, such as process scalability and the inclusion of design charrettes were mentioned by employees of multiple firms. Firms completing building design typically spent 5% of project hours on design review, however most employee suggestions related to expanding the time allowed for review or using it more efficiently. These factors alone cannot be used to indicate the quality of a design review, but the results of this paper may inform on different design review practices across the industry and aid firms in evaluating and improving their individual processes.

Design Review, Structural Engineering, Quality Control