What Is Whole Building Design?

Whole Building Design

If constructing a high-performance building is your goal, then whole building design should be put into practice. Some of the focus areas of this approach include sustainability, integration, and teamwork among the different players involved in the build and design process. The benefit of collaboration in this manner is that the project runs more efficiently with input from all of the key stakeholders early on.

Let’s take a look into the details surrounding this approach.

What is Whole Building Design?

Today, buildings are so much more than simply structures. They are multi-faceted support systems. That is where whole building design comes in; to integrate the elements of these systems into the physical structure. Two of the main concerns here are to create a high performance and environmentally friendly building that upholds the integrity of the original design.

The process starts with the design team and is carried all the way through to when the final touches are applied to the building. Integration is important here, as the design method is applied through all levels of the construction.

Every aspect of site development, operations, maintenance, design, and everything in between work together to produce the best results. This includes minimizing unnecessary resource usage and adhering to the best environmental practices. Achieving this level of whole building is mostly done in the planning and programming phases.

As buildings can be so incredibly complex, and serve a multitude of purposes, it is important that they are efficiently designed. Whole building design not only helps to make a building more eco-friendly but also assists with safety, maintenance, building costs and more.

The Key Players

This holistic design method is a process of integration, meaning that a team is required to work together to make it happen. While many different people can be involved in the process, here are some of the core players usually involved.

  • Architect: Whole building design starts in the initial stages. The architect is one of the vital people for applying this practice to the beginning of the building design process.
  • Landscape architect and site planner: Before construction begins, whole building design is already implemented by these people.
  • Commissioning agent: To ensure proper installation of technical building systems in order to perform in line with the goals of the project.
  • Project manager: To ensure that all whole building design practices are being effectively implemented.
  • Construction contractor and inspector: To build the structure in line with whole building design.

These are not the only people involved in the process though. Other individuals that work within the process can include:

  • Mechanical engineers
  • Electrical engineers
  • Interior designers
  • Building operator
  • Building owner
  • Energy consultant
  • Building users

Benefits To This Approach

Whole building design is important in today’s world for a long list of reasons. Buildings are complex, and with them comes a number of responsibilities. In order to maximize the life of a building, many turn to this approach.

First, this method focuses on taking a greener approach to create a more sustainable building. From the early design stages to the final brick being laid, best environmental practices are implemented.

This design process also allows for an improved building system. Excellent integration and workflow are required by smoothing out operations and streamlining productivity. This is seen throughout the maintenance and use of the building.

The process also aims for a building to be more cost-effective over its life span. This all falls under the idea of creating a truly high-performance building. Other benefits of utilizing this approach include:

  • Improved safety and security
  • Better accessibility
  • Increased productivity from the building

Using a Design Guidance Team

Whole building design implements the use of a design guidance team. This team works to take all the information from the different players in the process, and uses it to increase the building performance.

The two big categories that are taken into consideration by the design guidance team include the design objectives and the space types of the building. Feedback and information are then provided by different parties in order for the guidance team to optimize these categories.

The design guidance team will consist of the architects, engineers, and project managers involved in the building. Information is gathered from parties such as the energy consultant and building operator.

Final Thoughts

Creating an efficient and sustainable building should always be a priority. This is where the process of whole building design can make a lasting impact. Besides that, this process can increase the productivity of your building in the long run. From cost-effectiveness to safety, there are plenty of advantages to taking this route for construction.

Seamless integration and team participation are used throughout this approach. It allows for a smoother building, planning, and operating process. For any commercial project, whole building design is a smart way forward.

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Contact Chad Fisher Construction to start planning your next commercial construction or tenant improvement project.