A top-down system engineering approach as an alternative to the traditional over-the-bench methodology for the design of a building
The traditional over-the-bench methodology for the design of a building is resulting in failure costs, failures at delivery and severe problems. An interactive top-down approach is required, both for the communication process necessary to facilitate the design, construction, maintenance and operation of an indoor environment and for the establishment of end-users' wishes and demands (requirements and needs). The system engineering approach used in other industries is discussed based on the results of three European and one national project. The outcome reveals that the applied top-down approach seems to be an improvement for the building process, but we still have a long way to go. Despite the obvious bottlenecks observed in the selection of team members and the communication process, it can be concluded that to be really usable, the top-down approach needs to be facilitated by a framework that clarifies to all stakeholders the links between system requirements, design and technical requirements for the different phases of a building. The framework also needs to separate the generic from the specified requirements for a particular building.