Briefing as the earliest stage of a development is fundamentally important to understand
the client's aims and needs. The skills employed at this stage significantly affect the
success of the project in meeting the client's requirements. It is therefore crucial to
ensure clients' needs are met, yet existing methodologies for capturing client's
requirements are· neither comprehensive nor adequate. Collaborative decision-making
and documenting client's requirements to incorporate in the detailed design are
important tasks in this regard.
Existing approaches are limited in their ability to fully capture the client's requirements.
In particular, the integration of whole life performance issues into the briefing process is
very limited and results in poor client satisfaction. A methodology for capturing client's
requirements during briefing is essential to avoid unnecessary conflict during the
development. The development of a methodology for accomplishing this involved
reviewing the current briefing practices, as well as various guidelines used to define the
client's needs. There is still a lack of a systematic and flexible methodology that is
applicable for different clients with different needs. Appropriately integrating whole life
performance issues during functional briefing will ensure client's needs are tackled and
discussed before formulating a detailed design.
One of the contributions of this study is the development of a general tool for improving
the briefing process. The automated Whole Life Performance Assessment Tool (WLPAT)
is specifically designed to facilitate functional briefing. The tool is used to assess the
extent to which the brief accurately captures client's requirements for the expected
lifetime performance of the facility. This includes the operation and maintenance of the
facility during its life span. The tool was developed using MS Excel and produces a
graphical report to indicate the issues that need further attention. The flexibility of the
tool in encapsulating varying client requirements for different developments, makes it
generic (i.e. not limited to specific construction type or procurement method).
This prototype system was evaluated by construction practitioners using three different
.approaches by different groups of participants. It was done through presentations and
demonstrations of WLPAT. Selected professionals also conducted hands-on practical
tests of the system.
The system implementation reveals that early capture of client requirements will reduce
time spent in making amendments at later stages of the development. Early warning is
crucial for the project to be completed within the time frame and subsequently reduces
unnecessary conflicts. Whole life performance was selected to assess the quality of brief
confirmed that the system does offer many benefits in facilitating the briefing process.
In conclusion the tool represents a unique and innovative approach to integrate WLP
issues into the briefing stage of a project. The automated assessment tool has good
potential in providing a quality brief that considers future performance of the expected
development. It not only contributes to the briefing process in construction, but also
represents a substantial advance over existing approaches.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy at Loughborough University.