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  • Writer's pictureArvind Dang

How to avoid assignment of Conflicting Roles to Building Architects and MEP designers

Updated: Apr 17




The roles assigned to any designer must be appropriate to the designer’s position/level, skill, and competence. They are to be allocated according to the cardinal principle of segregation of duties to ensure no conflicts or incompatibility.

 

 Assigning conflicting roles can trigger the colluding of outsourced consultants, contractors, or project team members with building designers and compromising of the cardinal principle of "segregation of duties," leading to:

·      Design deficiencies.

·      Adverse impact on project costs or construction quality or not meeting customer requirements or project completion timelines.

·      Statutory non-conformances

 

 If Architects, Interior Designers, and MEP designers are not assigned rights judiciously, there can be conflicting roles, as illustrated below.

 

A few Illustrations of conflicting role assignments in Design functions are tabulated below.  

 

The assumptions for developing the table below are:

i)      There are 5 (five) members in the architect team (with employee codes EA001 to EA005 )

ii)     There are 5 (five) MEP Design team members in the organization (with employee codes

EM001 to EM005 )

iii)       Each designer has multiple competencies for different stages of design work


Activity

Sr no

Design Activity at respective design stage

(Users can modify design activities  as per their design  SOP)

Employee

Code no of

Architect

Initiating

Employee

Code no of

Architect

approving

Employee

Code no of

MEP Designer

initiating

Employee

Code no of

MEP Designerapproving

1

Concept design development stage                        

EA001

EA001

EM001

EM001

2

Schematic design development stage                        

EA002

EA002

EM002

EM002

3

sanction designs/drawings for submission to the regulatory body  

EA003

EA003

EM003

EM003

4

detailed designs/drawings based on statutory approvals  

EA003

EA003

EM003

EM003

5

Tenders with technical terms and drawings/specs

EA004

EA004

EM004

EM004

6

Estimating costs of the entire building based on various Bill of quantities

EA004

EA004

EM004

EM004

7

As built designs/drawings

EA005

EA005

EM005

EM005

8

Negotiate fees and payment terms with the outsourced “Consultant.

EA004

EA004

EM004

EM004

9

Certify Consultant’s   designs and drawings and bill payment

EA003

EA003

EM003

EM003

10

Consultancy Agreement without sourced architect or interior designer or MEP designer

EA004

EA004

EM004

EM004

11

Changes in the scope of outsourced consultant’s design work and associated design deliverables

EA004

EA004

EM004

EM004

12

Changes in consultant fees or man-day reimbursement rates, or payment terms

EA004

EA004

EM004

EM004


and so on






 



 Usually, activities at SR no 10 and 12 are performed by the "contracts" team with technical input from Designers.

 

 Summary analysis of roles that can cause conflicts

 

A)   Architects (including interior designers) related conflicts

 

1.    Each Architect EA001 or EA002 OR EA003 OR EA004 OR EA005 initiates design activity and  self-approves it  instead of desirable peer-level review, and the next higher-level designer approves it

 

 2. The same Architect (including Interior designers) performing the following activities at different design stages without ensuring the availability of an appropriate competency mix.

 

·     i) Architect with employee code no EA003 performs activities at serial  no 3,4,9

·      ii)Architect with employee code no EA004 performs activities at serial no 5,6,8,10,11,12

 

B)   MEP designers related conflicts

 

1.    Each MEP designer EM001 or EM002 OR EM003 OR EM004 OR EM05 initiates design activity and  self-approves it  instead of alternate peer-level review and the next higher level approves it

 

  2. The same MEP designer performs  the following activities at different design stages without ensuring the availability of an appropriate competency mix.


·    i)  MEP designer with employee code no EM003 performs  activities at serial  no 3,4,9

·    ii)  MEP designer with employee code no EM004 performs  activities at serial no

5,6,8,10,11,12

The above-mentioned architects with employee codes EA001 to EA005  and MEP designers with employee codes EM001 to EM005 are just for readers' simple understanding. The number of designers would vary based on the size of the construction company, the number of projects to be designed, the number of packages, and the design organization structure being lean or fat.

 

Readers can directly identify many more conflicting role possibilities in design functions related to Architects, Interior Designers, and MEP.

 

In a small construction company with a very lean design organisation structure, the same designers(Architects or MEP Designers) perform both Architectural and MEP design activities for different packages.

  5 (Five) Activities proposed for  – Assigning roles based on Segregation of duties

 

 Assigning user rights to core design activities, particularly in IT environments, is complex for various design function-related activities.

For details, please refer to

 

The 5 (five) activities proposed are as follows:

 

1.     Identify Parameters for developing the S-O-D (Segregation of Duty) template for Assigning Access Rights to Core design processes and their activities.

2.    Design the SOD templates for assigning access rights to core design processes and their activities based on the parameters identified.

3.    Software programming of SOD template for assigning access rights for core design processes and their activities

4.    Populate the SOD template with “Access rights” related activities for core design processes. This includes reflecting the assigned profiles for capturing assigned profiles vis-à-vis activity for core processes.

5.    Affecting Changes in Roles as and when changes occur vis-à-vis following for any reason, the design team reviewing and amending populated templates as above

 

  

·      Changes in core design processes

·      Changes in design activities /software

·      Change in hierarchy levels in business hierarchy vis-à-vis lower, medium, and higher levels

·      Changes in hierarchy positions of designers vis-à-vis low-level, medium-level, and high levels, e.g.

o   Lower level:  staff, junior/assistant manager, and so on

o   Middle level: manager, senior manager-sr. Mgr. and so on

o   Higher level: general managers, directors-Dir and so on

 

More details and illustrations about the implementation of the Segregation of duties concept are included in chapter 11 (Templates at annex 26C,27C,28C,29C) in my handbook “ETHICS in the real estate and hospitality industry, Volume 1- Architectural, Interior design, and MEP services

The book is available on Amazon as per the links below.

Amazon link: India-

 

Amazon link-Global-

 


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