Welcome to the Design Intent Tool. The Tool helps building owners, architects, and engineers develop a Design Intent Document (DID) to help facilitate record-keeping and ensure that the owner's and designer's up-front vision and goals (with focus on energy-efficiency, but applicable to any aspect of design) are achieved and periodically verified through performance measurement. The documents evolve as the project moves through the milestones of programming, design, construction, into building occupancy and potential future renovation and retrofits.

Design intent documentation is crucial to the post-construction commissioning process (verifying the proper installation, operation, and performance of energy-efficiency features), and it is the essence of communication and contractual obligation between the building owner, architects, engineers, builders, and commissioning agents.

Developing a project's DID is a team effort. Many stakeholders need to be consulted, including building owner(s), facility occupants, design team members, facility operator(s), construction manager, and commissioning agents. Typically, one of the team members (e.g. the energy consultant) takes the lead on seeing the DID process through to completion. Documenting a facility's design intent is based on an owner-driven process.

If successful, design intent documentation will initiate and maintain a constructive and iterative dialog between the design team and the owner, thereby improving the quality of information flow regarding work the design team is responsible to complete, while minimizing the likelihood of misunderstandings. Design intent documentation offers a variety of other benefits.

The complete Design Intent Document is a repository and archive of design and performance objectives, strategies, and metrics for a project. Each Objective represents a qualitative goal of importance to the owner. Each has one or more Strategies, which are the means of achieving the goal. Each Objective also has one or more Metrics, which provide a quantitative measure of whether or not the Objective has been met. Assessment Records associated with the Metrics record measurement methods and actual measurements made at different points in a project's lifecycle.

A variety of reports can be generated using the tool.  An example report, for a planned laboratory-type facility at the new University of California Merced campus, can be found here. (Note that this sample incorporates formatting beyond the standard Microsoft Word output automatically generated by the tool).

The LBNL Design Intent Tool can be used to facilitate any aspect of design. Users can begin with a "blank" template, or opt to import recommendations from LBNL that emphasize energy-management. The current recommendations focus on laboratory-type facilities. A template for the Labs21 Environmental Performance Criteria (EPC) rating system is now included, which is specifically designed for laboratory facilities.  Future versions will offer recommendations for other types of facilities.

Further Reading

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