Biggest Challenges for Design Managers since Lockdown?

Biggest Challenges for Design Managers since Lockdown?

 2 Sep 2020

    Design Manager


Biggest Challenges for Design Managers since Lockdown?

In this blog I spoke to a number of Heads of Design Management departments at both national and regional main contractors to find out what they felt have been the biggest challenges so far for Design Managers since lockdown.

See the feedback below.


Changing Communication Methods

Design Managers have had to adapt to the current situation by changing the way they communicate to keep the flow of information and commenting going. Some of the ways they have adapted include:

  1. Meetings have been held on-line:
    1. This required greater preparation to ensure visual aids are at hand to share.
    2. Temptation is to get everyone to every meeting rather than being selective – this must be resisted.
    3. Meetings can start earlier as people are not travelling and breaks and re-joining are easier.
    4. Strong chairing of the meeting is essential to control attendees, who is being heard and note actions.


Hopefully this will encourage time saving and better co-ordination in future – there is still a need for a ‘round the table’ mark-up of drawings but with large screens being installed on sites this may still be effective remotely.


  1. Sharing actions and results is key with remote colleagues. Regular update reports and team meetings shared between the team to avoid abortive work.


Meetings Fatigue

Whilst there are many advantages of online meetings, over use has shown a common complaint of “Meeting fatigue”, it has been a challenge for many to not fall into this trap and moving forward must endeavour to strike a balance between online as well as still make sure you use the phone, Go old school !


Difficulties of Remote Working

Working remotely for Design Managers is/will be difficult. Not being on site and missing discussions between the build team will be a challenge.

There may be many reasons why something has been drawn as it has, but the Op's teams may not know the reason why, and change it without consulting the Design Manager.


Integration with a “Remote” Consultant Team.

Another challenge is the integration with a more “remote” consultant team.  

Design managers are going to need a more transparent view of their consultant teams in respect of “who's at the desk” and “can they deliver within the time we have”. 

Round table meetings will still happen and must include the “doers” and not just the “reporters”.

Consultants need to continue to support sites, providing their expertise to needed solutions, and should not be dismissed as a “nice to have”. 

Planning site attendances will need considered thinking and should be supplemented with video and photographic virtual visits as a norm.


QA & Sign Off

Co-ordination and QA sign off will also be a challenge.

How are the consultants carrying out their QA when they are all working remotely?

Nothing beats having a discussion looking at a drawing or a screen in the office, but how are they doing this during remote working?

If the consultant hasn't got their sign off process right during this time, then lots of time and money could be wasted chasing and dealing with poor design information.



Whilst many challenges where highlighted, what they all boil down to in some shape or form is the challenge presented by lack of communication without an in-person presence with the site or consultant teams.

Furthermore, it is important for Design Managers to anticipate these challenges and request or provide further information to fill in the grey areas and seek multiple methods to communicate to ensure the message is heard.

Would be great to hear your thoughts on any other challenges Design Managers are currently encountering?


*I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all those that helped contribute to this blog, many thanks!*



We hope this blog was of interest and would be delighted to hear your thoughts on any other challenges Design Managers are currently encountering?

So please feel free to leave your comments and like / share our post.


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