The Structural Engineer > Archive > Volume 85 (2007) > Issues > Issue 23/24 > The quality of design within the built environment
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The quality of design within the built environment

Design is a major factor in economic success and in improving the quality of life for society. To assess the current position of design within the built environment this paper presents the results obtained from a suite of questionnaires. The questionnaires were sent to clients, practitioners, graduates, academics and students representing the main stakeholders, in the supply of design services and projects, within the industry. A total of 828 people, mainly civil and structural engineers, completed the questionnaires representing a large number of organisations and universities within the UK. The general conclusion is that higher education currently prepares graduates adequately for detailed well-defined design activities but does not provide them with the required skills to understand and undertake the holistic design process. The main criticism is that the educational programmes are not linked to the ‘real world’. Further, there is a requirement to improve the interface between practitioner and client within the design development process. The response from the clients also highlighted that there is room for improvement in the quality of designs and in the methods of assessing both the design service and completed projects. C. G. Bailey, BEng, PhD, CEng, MIStructE, FICE, MIFireE K. A. L. Johnson, BSc (Eng), CEng, FICE T. Alonso, BSc, MSc, PhD M. A. Orzechowski, BSc, PhD All at the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, The University of Manchester