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10 Steps to Designing a Building Development Plan

The building development plan is a crucial factor for the success of a building project. A well thought-out plan provides the roadmap that a construction manager and other stakeholders can use to their advantage. 

Better yet, it is a vital reference point when dealing with project owners, financiers, and business experts. 

In the sections below, we’ve listed details on ways to design a building development plan.

What is building plan?

The building development plan is a comprehensive document that outlines the details of the construction project. The design plan provides answers on issues to do with project budget, scope, and schedule. 

The building project plan also entails a baseline management plan or back-up strategies for keeping everything on track in case of variances during the construction phase. 

Steps to Creating a Building Design and Development Plan


1. Identify the project goals

Experts recommend a top-down approach at this step. Start by establishing what the end project might look like and work backwards from there. This process helps to envision a successful project, and all the critical steps needed to get there.

Critical questions in this step include:

  • What is the purpose of this building? 
  • What is its architectural style?
  • What is the building’s site plan?  
  • Are there unique environmental factors to plan for?
  • What is the architectural design of the building? 
  • What is the floor plan?

These questions can help steer your building plan design in the right direction.


2. Confer with stakeholders to discuss critical components

The building development plan can change several times during the life of the project, depending on strategy and project vision. Think of it as a fluid roadmap, that updates as you traverse the journey. 

However, to prevent radical changes and project overhauls, it’s important that you bring in key stakeholders at an early stage. These meetings help with alignment and ownership of key deliverables.

Some key issues to discuss include:

  • Decide on the project team
  • Strategies to accomplish the project vision
  • Duties and responsibilities for every player
  • Decision making protocols and hierarchies
  • Team building plans and team goals


Read more about designing buildings:

What are building codes and how do you find them?
What are high performance buildings?
The 7 concepts of the WELL building standard

3. Outline the roles and responsibilities

In building planning and designing, it is critical to define duties and responsibilities. 

Make sure to outline key members of the project team, in order to clarify who executes and controls what. For instance, sponsors are critical as financiers of the project - they need to sign off on everything in your development plan. 

On the other hand, design experts can help define the baseline project scope and the aesthetic style of the project.


4. Create a Scope Statement

The scope statement is the most critical part for when you design a building. This document can be used when seeking approvals from stakeholders on matters to do with architectural design changes, costs, and schedules. 

A scope statement should clearly describe the end goals of the project and the expected outcomes. An excellent scope statement can get faster buy-ins from key personnel and help streamline communication.

Here’s what to include in the scope statement:

  • The business need or problem
  • Building project objectives
  • Project justification and benefits
  • Project scope deliverables
  • Key progress indicators during the execution of the house plan



5. Create a project approach strategy

After identifying project objectives and deliverables, you can move on to create a work breakdown structure (WBS). The WBS is simply a strategy for achieving all the deliverables in the project. The WBS form often includes elements such as:

  • An overview of all the work to be done
  • A hierarchy breakdown of all deliverables into lower-level details
  • An alignment of these smaller deliverables with corresponding tasks and activities


6. Create a schedule and cost baseline

The schedule and cost baseline in a building design plan identifies the tasks necessary for achieving project deliverables. You also have to identify the resources for every job and outline the projected duration for each task. 

The cost baseline should detail costs with a given timeframe of completion (preferably in a calendar format that outlines expenses vs cost estimates).


7. Develop a contingency plan

As mentioned earlier, there are bound to be deviations from the original scope and cost baselines - which happens with every home building project. The variances will not impede progress if you have a contingency plan on standby. 

When creating a contingency plan, start by identifying the risks for variations and challenges in project implementation. For every risk, create an alternate go-to plan that will minimize costs and project disruptions.


8. Create a staffing plan

Your building development must include an outline of the labor needed for the project and the associated costs. 

The staffing plan is the part of the document that carries these details, including a breakdown of what each worker will do. Think of it as a Gantt chart, just specific to your building development plan. 


9. Create a communications plan

It’s critical to have a communication strategy as it will help to streamline workflows and processes for faster and cost-effective construction. Components of the project communication plan include:

  • Guidelines on issue escalation
  • Procedure for reporting the development process and progress
  • How and where project information will be stored and accessed


10. Develop a project evaluation plan

The evaluation plan measures the efficiency of the project and can help to ensure that it meets stakeholder expectations and building specifications. The evaluation plan entails components on impact measurement, results and benefits. 

The reason for including the evaluation plan is to help with error prevention so you can attain a successful project the first time.

Designing a building development plan is a complex process that entails ten steps, as described above. Operationally, the plan is much more intricate than what appears on paper. 

Nonetheless, creating a comprehensive plan comprises about 80% of your construction project management work - leading to better efficiency and a quicker time-to-completion.

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