Design Quality Inidicator (DQI) sessions facilitated positive working relationships between stakeholders in the development of the design for the Maples Respite Centre,
“DQI is a joined up accessible approach which facilitated the synthesis of ideas of people involved in the design of the respite centre and allowed for a larger view of how the building will actually live”
DQI sessions help stakeholders understand the design process
The DQI sessions were most valuable to the service manager as she was the only stakeholder with no prior design training. The service manager’s input was crucial as she possessed knowledge and expertise from developing and delivering care centres. DQI provided a structured language to express her aspirations and needs so that they were understood by the design team.
DQI also helped her understand the complexities of the design process. The sessions discussed how one decision can affect other aspects of the design and why some demands were affected by site restrictions or budgetary restraints For example, the constraints of the site and the need to maximise natural light meant that compromises included fitting interior bathrooms with no windows and limiting the size of outside spaces.
“DQI allowed me to understand why certain aspects that I had asked for couldn’t be integrated into the final design due to the limitations of the site and the budget. It also provided a forum for me to express my priorities so that the most important elements of the building from a functional point of view where retained in the costing out process”
DQI sessions help stakeholders understand other perspectives
The DQI sessions developed professional understanding beyond an individual’s own specialism. The sessions provoked thought , prompted discussions and led to a holistic vision of the building.
The sessions helped people consider the value of others’ perspectives and priorities. For example, the landscape architect found it difficult to answer questions outside her specialism but saw value in understanding the views of other professionals as a learning exercise to feed into future projects.
“DQI allows each stakeholders to look more broadly at the project beyond each individual bit and informs you about what else is going on in providing a rounded view of the project”
DQI sessions create a useful record of discussions
Graphical outputs and the record of respondents’ likes and dislikes were useful as “they flagged up areas of concern and problems and clearly showed gaps in understandings to be addressed by the design team” (architect).
The sessions captured both positive and negative stakeholder perspectives. These allowed the design team to see where aspirations where being successfully met.
The DQI process would have been more successful if a briefing workshop had been held to set stakeholder aspirations and priorities at an earlier stage.
The results of the DQI would have been more valuable if a wider stakeholder group had been recruited. The input of parents, carers and children would have added value to the DQI process and outputs.