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Chance to transform design and build

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It may seem odd that a developer who is passionate about architecture should have just become chairman of the Design Build Foundation (dbf) (see Special Report, Aj 3.2.00). The reason is simple. It is because I wish to influence the changes that are necessary to the old design and build methods so that clients such as Slough Estates can benefit from single point delivery without sacrificing design quality. At the same time, of course, I will also be helping to introduce 'Egan' thinking and ensure that we are encouraging processes and practices which drive out waste and which continuously improve. Without being critical of any sector of the industry, customers deserve a better deal and I hope that clients like myself will be able to provide the leadership to make things happen.

I am acutely aware of the fears generated among designers by current trends towards more single point delivery, but the new design and build will be unrecognisable from the old and should allow designers to spend the vast majority of their time on design and not on wasteful contract administration, specification writing and snagging.

Real talent is at a premium, and just imagine a process which increases the time available to such talent by more than 100 per cent. Imagine, also, the prospect of leading-edge design reaching ordinary stock building types just as designer labels have hit the mass clothing markets.

It is really exciting and I hope that architects will start to realise that such opportunities cannot be created by the old traditional processes and that by working in integrated teams, including the workforce, we can change the fortunes of not only our customers but the whole supply team. Waste reduction will provide funds for more profit, better value and research/ product development time in which designers can really shine.

As chairman of dbf, I commit to keeping the quality and integrity of design at the forefront in all proposals we make to improve new design and build and I sincerely hope that more of the architectural profession will join enthusiastically with our efforts.

Those that do will find as I have that there are immense benefits from being able to share ideas and experiences with high calibre people from all sectors of the industry. My time away from Slough Estates on dbf business is not at all altruistic.

Bernard Rimmer, Slough Estates, DBF chairman

NB: further information about the foundation: tel 0118 931 8190

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