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CIC visit DQI trailblazers in New York

Posted: 1st August 2007

In July the DQI team from CIC travelled to New York to help introduce DQI to the first group of trailblazers in the USA.
This visit follows on from the decision by New York City’s Department of Design and Construction (DDC) to apply DQI to $320 million worth of public building projects including fire houses, police stations, libraries, health centres and museums in New York City.

Two day-long workshops were held in mid-town Manhattan, individuals were invited to learn more about DQI and become DQI trailblazers in the USA, allowing them to use DQI for the benefit of their clients.

The response for the workshops was encouraging and 35 people attended including DDC staff and representatives from small and large architectural firms. The workshops were led by Goran Lukic, the first USA based DQI facilitator and his colleague Marc Sallette from DQI USA together with William Hawkins and James Beevers from CIC and focused on several key areas of DQI:
• What do we mean by design quality and how we can measure it?
• Who are the key players in the DQI
• Using DQI at briefing, in design and on a completed building
DQI results

The workshops were designed to be interactive and the main aim was to create as much conversation as possible, like you would see in a real DQI workshop.
Marc Sallette said of the training;
“A key goal of the training was to unleash a group of DQI evangelists in New York City – I think we accomplished this challenge and look forward to further spreading the DQI value proposition. From the discussion with training participants we were able to glean some key insights into which pain points DQI alleviates best”

One particularly successful element of the workshops proved to be the visit to the Science, Industry and Business branch of the New York Public Library, which is housed in what was once the basement of a department store. The conversion in 1996 opened up large double height entrance space which brings visitors down from street level, and the terrazzo floor and exposed concrete make it airy and cool.
The purpose of the visit to the Library was to enable everyone to complete a post occupancy DQI assessment of the Library from a visitor’s perspective. Interestingly, whilst the results showed on a smaller variance in views between the two groups, broader discussion about the library managed to create some fascinating debates around access and internal environment issues.

Following the training James Beevers said;
“The practical side of DQI training always creates an impassioned conversation amongst the group and the workshops in the USA were no exception. Most if not all the delegates seemed keen to contribute to the discussion and this in itself is one of the core values of the DQI tool”
All the delegates felt DQI was a holistic approach which allowed them to consider a well rounded set of issues, but there was interest in whether the tool can be Americanized – terms such as a building’s ability to ‘weather well’ and ‘ironmongery’ didn’t translate over clearly for the US audience. There was also a different appreciation of some of the environmental issues in DQI, though delegates were excited to be challenged these issues.

Following on from the training, New York City are now actively using DQI on a whole range of projects, and CIC are continuing to work with DQI USA to bring the DQI tool to other clients in the USA.