Activity 4: Define Plan
At this point, the project plan is being finalised, the procurement route is being defined, and you are preparing to develop the design proposal.
When developing the plan, it is important to exercise, implement and operate Inclusive Design principles, using the knowledge gathered from the previous activities. Although there are many different aspects that need to be included in the planning, and reflected in the procurement strategy, Inclusive Design is an important one, and complementary to many of the others. Doing this will give you a definitive, operational project plan that draws on the analysis and interpretation of the previous phase.
- Setting direction: As part of the creative process, you can write more than one brief, and then further narrow down the selection. The brief should reference the original goals whilst accounting for changes that have been driven by the user research. Ensure that user perspectives are written into the brief, even on large, complex projects. Briefs can be short – a Hollywood movie is pitched using a “logline” of 50-100 words!
- Consultancy agreements: Use the brief to highlight the key participants and contributors in each phase, looking at how to interact, collaborate and communicate at each milestone in the project plan. This would involve the architect, consultant, access advisor, project manager and end-user. It is good to ensure that each person or group that is involved complies with the Inclusive Design principles and guidelines that have been set. Write this into the consultancy agreements and contracts as a contractual requirement.
- Milestone markers: The brief will outline critical stages in the decision-making process and define the points of “no return”. Inclusive Design gives a peoplecentred framework to enable the right decisions to be made at the right time. This will benefit most people and support the validity of these milestone stages. User involvement is becoming a self-evident (if not legal) part of consultation, and increasingly architectural schemes rely on this type of approval before beginning the next phase of work.
- Common understanding: Through Inclusive Design, the brief should ensure that everyone is “on the same page” and anchored to the same intentions and perspectives. An inclusive approach that is championed by the core team, will enable this. This can result in shared ownership of the work and joint acceptance of project goals and ambitions.
At this point, you will have adjusted the project plan and strategy to include the results of the user involvement phase, and created a final project brief that has Inclusive Design embedded within it. This ensures that your project will meet legislative requirements, not just at the conceptual phase but throughout build, delivery and use. You will typically future-proof your project and exceed expectations, especially if your contractor commitments to Inclusive Design go beyond the standard legal requirements. This is where you unlock the innovation potential.