What is it?
A Design Query is, more or less, a question relating to a project's design.
In business terms, it’s a process that results in an official communication, one that seeks to confirm something, get clarification or seek direction on a design element that could cause delay if it’s not answered. It, or the results of it, can often trigger a number of other processes, like Changes and Reviews.
Aconex is routinely used for the management of Design Queries across many industries and projects and the diagram below depicts the basic steps typically seen in a Design Query process.
Why would you want it?
Projects that don’t have a good way to manage and track design queries tend to have more problems than those that do. Having an efficient and effective way to manage these queries ensures that a project progresses as scheduled and allows for the resolution of any issues that might impact construction.
What does it look like?
Preparing to introduce a Design Query process
Here are some things to consider when looking at introducing a Design Query process:
Are all participants in the process using Aconex?
Aconex Mail allows both users and non-users of Aconex to to participate.
Does the process need to be managed in the field?
Mail processes can be done in Aconex Mobile.
Will reference or additional information be included at various points in the process?
Both Mail and Workflows allow each participant to include information with their response, Mail embeds that information while Workflows stores that information as part of the workflow record.
What are the reporting requirements?
Both Mail and Workflows allow you to track and report on status and response in real-time.
Mail also allows you to report on to the details contained in the Design Query itself.
Does your Design Query have to end up in another system eventually?
Mail can be converted into other outputs or pushed automatically into other systems via APIs.
Workflows make use of a registered document that can be downloaded and transferred.
Will every Design Query follow the same exact path?
Mail allows for flexible distribution with minimal structure required.
Workflows are templated and repeatable for fully structured flows.
Does your procedure require wet signatures?
Mail allows you to include wet signatures as part of the procedure. Many Aconex clients find that our login and security model may satisfy this requirement.
Workflows make use of a registered document so wet signatures can be included in the document itself.
What is our recommendation for managing it with Aconex?
We think Mail is the most powerful way of managing Design Queries.
We also recognize that depending on your procedural requirements using an alternative, such as Documents and Workflows, may be best. If you’re not sure which option is right for your project, an Aconex consultant will help you work through your specific needs.
Additional Aconex tools you could use
Common features we see clients take advantage of when using Mail are Mail Forms, Restricted Fields and Mail Type Rules. Mail Forms and Restricted Fields allow project teams to capture and report on additional structured data while Mail Type Rules provide guidance as to what types of mail are best to respond with.
If your project has chosen to use Workflows, we typically see Templates and Review Sets configured. Templates provide a quick, repeatable process while Review Sets allow projects to ensure the right review terminology is used for the procedure.