Background and activities

The AEC is an industry in change due to developing demands in environmental, sustainability, technology, and other regulatory demands. For projects to successfully comply with the changes this needs to be dealt with in the early stages of projects in the design phase, where the influence of solutions are high and the cost of changes are low. This PhD work examines building design management at the early stages of design.

The PhD thesis is conducted as a PhD by publication and consists of ten publications, and this thesis as the overarching essay. Each of the publications addresses different topics relevant to building design management. The research is based on qualitative case studies, learning from the practitioners to achieve an in-depth understanding of building design management.

The main research question of this PhD thesis is: How should building design management handle the early stages of the design phase in building projects? This is answered first through trying to define what building design management is. The definition used is: Building design management involves planning, organizing, and managing people, their knowledge, and the flow of information to obtain specific project goals and objectives.

Further, the thesis examines the challenges in the design phase of the early stages, to provide characteristics of the design process that need to be addressed. The challenges lie in the complexity of the interdependence of the design task, where tasks need to have reciprocal interdependencies to create a better solution, while constraints in time, for example, need the design to stop at a certain deadline. The fragmentation of the AEC also creates challenges at the organizational and personal levels. These challenges need to be handled by building design management.  

The thesis also examines the success factors of building design management. A list of ten success factors is presented based on the literature and is discussed based on empirical findings. However, the research also shows that the success factors needs to be aligned with the project, the actors of the project, and building design management since they might not have the same relevance for all projects.

Moreover, the thesis examines the learning potential in building design management from similar project-based industries, such as offshore construction and shipbuilding. Offshore construction uses the building information model (BIM) in a more mature way in both planning and progress reporting. The shipbuilding design team works almost autonomously, creating ship designs and rapidly responding to changes.

To answer the main research question of how building design management should handle the early stages of the design phase in building projects, the thesis proposes a framework. The framework emphasizes the importance for building design management to plan not only the building design process but also the building design management process. The framework is made to be generic and starts with an assessment stage to assess the specifics of the project, then an initialization stage to plan the design management strategy, and then the execution stage to execute the design management strategy to handle building design management in the early stages.

Scientific, academic and artistic work

A selection of recent journal publications, artistic productions, books, including book and report excerpts. See all publications in the database

Journal publications

Part of book/report

  • Pikas, Ergo; Koskela, Lauri; tredal, niels; Knotten, Vegard; Bølviken, Trond. (2018) The dual nature of design management. Proceedings of the 26th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction (IGLC). Chennai, India, 18-20.07.2018.
  • Knotten, Vegard; Svalestuen, Fredrik; Lædre, Ola; Hansen, Geir Karsten. (2017) Learning Across Disciplines - Use of the Constant Comparative Method. Proceedings of the 9th Nordic Conference on Construction Economics and Organization.
  • Meistad, Torill; Støre-Valen, Marit; Knotten, Vegard; Hosseini, Ali; Klakegg, Ole Jonny; Mejlænder-Larsen, Øystein; Hjelseth, Eilif; Svalestuen, Fredrik; Lædre, Ola; Hansen, Geir Karsten; Lohne, Jardar. (2017) Stakeholder perspectives and information exchange in AEC projects. Integrating information in built environments - from concept to practice.
  • Knotten, Vegard; Hosseini, Ali; Klakegg, Ole Jonny. (2016) “Next Step”: A New Systematic Approach to Plan and Execute AEC Projects. Proceedings of the CIB World Building Congress 2016, Volume III. Building up business operations and their logic. Shaping materials and technologies..
  • Knotten, Vegard; Svalestuen, Fredrik. (2016) Veidekke: collaborative planning in design. Design Management.
  • Knotten, Vegard; Svalestuen, Fredrik; Lædre, Ola; Hansen, Geir Karsten. (2016) Improving Design Management with Mutual Assessment. Proceedings of the 24th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction..
  • Knotten, Vegard; Svalestuen, Fredrik; Lædre, Ola; Lohne, Jardar; Hansen, Geir Karsten. (2016) Design Management - Learning Across Trades. WBC16 Proceedings: Volume 1 Creating Built Environments of New Opportunities.
  • Knotten, Vegard; Svalestuen, Fredrik; Lædre, Ola; Hansen, Geir Karsten. (2015) Organizational Power in Building Design Management. Global Problems - Global Solutions. Proceedings IGLC 2015 Perth Australia.
  • Svalestuen, Fredrik; Lohne, Jardar; Knotten, Vegard; Lædre, Ola. (2015) Ethics of the Design Phase - A Descriptive Approach. Global Problems - Global Solutions. Proceedings IGLC 2015 Perth Australia.
  • Knotten, Vegard; Svalestuen, Fredrik. (2014) Implementing Virtual Design and Construction( VDC) in Veidekke - using simple metrics to improve the design management process. Understanding and improving project based production - Volume 3.
  • Knotten, Vegard; Svalestuen, Fredrik; Aslesen, Sigmund; Dammerud, Hege. (2014) Integrated methodology for design management - a research project to improve design management for the AEC industry in Norway. Understanding and improving project based production - Volume 3.

Report/dissertation

  • Knotten, Vegard. (2018) Building design management in the early stages. 2018. ISBN 978-82-326-2890-2.
  • Knotten, Vegard; Hansen, Geir Karsten; Svalestuen, Fredrik; Kalsaas, Bo Terje; Andersen, Lars; Aslesen, Sigmund; Dammerud, Hege. (2017) Sluttrapport INPRO - Integrert metodikk for prosjekteringsledelse. 2017.
  • Klakegg, Ole Jonny; Knotten, Vegard; Olsson, Nils; Moum, Anita; Hansen, Geir Karsten; Lohne, Jardar. (2015) Bygg21 Fasenormen «Neste steg». 2015.