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Thought Leadership Oct 16, 2023

de5ign: Designing a Sustainable Future for People and the Environment

A new behavioral approach for the sustainable design of the built environment

Two women analyzing documents while sitting on a table in office. Woman executives at work in office discussing some paperwork.

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in the U.K. has published Jacobs’ paper discussing our behavioral sustainable design management process de5ign (pronounced ‘five in design’) and how this has been applied on the High Speed 2 (HS2) railway project in the U.K. as part of the Align joint venture.

The challenge

A designer’s influence on health, safety and the environment during the design process is informed through education, training, on-site experience, design management practices and legislation. However, there is no globally consistent legislation, definition, guidance, codes of practice or process for the design management of built environment projects. This global fragmentation leads to inconsistency, confusion and missed opportunities for designers to improve the asset’s whole lifecycle to benefit people and the environment.

As built environment projects are delivered through an ever-increasing global resource pool, across multiple geographies, with varying levels of knowledge and application experience, a cultural change is required to enhance sustainable design practices.

The solution

Incorporating the fundamental principles of BeyondZero® and PlanBeyond® to our design outputs, de5ign provides a consistent approach and a common language to the management of the design process, by applying five behaviors which create sustainable design excellence.

  1. Be curious, plan and innovate: When people are curious, they think more deeply and rationally about design decisions and come up with more creative and innovative solutions. Plan ahead for successful design outcomes. Confirm all designers, their responsibilities and plan coordination activities before design work commences. Consider expertise and then innovate.
  2. Select the best option for people and the environment: Understand the needs of the client and end-users of the asset, to make informed design decisions and reduce whole-life-cycle design risk. Consider constructability, modern methods of construction, sustainable design and procurement, and design for maintenance as part of the design process.
  3. Identify, assess and mitigate design risks: Mitigate whole asset lifecycle health, safety and environmental risks to reduce the impact of the design on both people and the environment. Reduce residual design risks to as low as reasonably practicable by consulting with all relevant design stakeholders. Communicate residual design risk control measures to follow-on designers, contractors and end-users of the asset.
  4. Record, learn from and share your experience: Share design information effectively to ensure that all design stakeholders and end-users are aware of design mitigation measures and residual risks. Take advantage of lessons learned, best practices and innovative approaches. Leave a lasting positive legacy to benefit people and the environment.
  5. Communicate, coordinate and collaborate: Consider the overall design process and how it can be made easier for everyone to benefit the whole asset life cycle. Establish the importance of continual communication, coordination and collaboration between all design stakeholders, throughout the entire design process, to ensure that there are no gaps in design knowledge exchange.

De5ign combines emerging best practice from global safety in design legislation and sustainable design practices with guidance from academic research, professional bodies, the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization, into a practical, behavioral based, sustainable design management process. This is achieved by placing particular emphasis on the responsibility of designers and the impact that their design decisions have on people and the environment over the whole lifecycle of the asset.

“At Jacobs, we embrace our collective responsibility to reduce the impact of design decisions on people and the environment,” says Jacobs Global Vice President Health, Safety and Environment Paul Hendry. “This practical sustainable design management process is driving an upward curve of positive designer behavior toward sustainable design, leaving a lasting positive legacy that benefits the health and safety of people, the environment, climate and sustainability.”

De5ign in action: HS2 Phase One (high speed railway project in the U.K.)

Jacobs is part of the Align joint venture (JV), the main works civils contractor delivering the design-and-build of the Central 1 (C1) section of HS2 Phase One, high speed railway project in the U.K. C1 comprises of 21.6 kilometers (~13.4 miles) of high-speed rail infrastructure, including a 3.4 km (~2.1 mi) viaduct across the Colne Valley and a 16 km (~9.9 mi) twin-bored tunnel with two tunnel portals and five ventilation/access shafts.

The Align JV consists of Bouygues Travaux Publics, VolkerFitzpatrick and Sir Robert McAlpine, together with their design partner Align-D, which includes Align, Jacobs and Rendel Ingérop, with subcontractors LDA Design and Grimshaw Architects.

The adoption of de5ign on the ventilation shafts design minimized shaft sizes, avoided the need for complex mined working and allowed the tunnel twin bores to partially intersect the shaft walls for four of the shafts, to form openings for ventilation and services (a first for the U.K.). These solutions resulted in a 49% saving in excavated spoil volume, 39% saving in concrete volume, 25% improvement in construction program (by using the same configuration and arrangements on four shafts, which allowed for schedule efficiencies) and 20% saving in construction costs.

Learn more about de5ign

Institution of Civil Engineers Proceedings - Civil Engineering

A new behavioral approach for the sustainable design of the built environment

ICE Proceedings Civil Engineering cover

Read the full article in Institution of Civil Engineers - Civil Engineering proceedings November 2023 issue.

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