Professional Standards Required to realise a design


“The survival of the fittest is the ageless law of nature, but the fittest are rarely the strong. The fittest are those endowed with the qualification for adaptation, the ability to accept the inevitable and to confirm the unavoidable, to harmonize with the existing or changing conditions.” – Unknown.

To be a competent designer in the rapidly progressive world of design, a designer has to conform to professional standards which have evolved over centuries of analysis, experimentation and coming to conclusions. This would be the benchmark that a designer would have to touch prior to setting his own design process in motion. As mentioned in the quote above, the “qualification for adaptation” is instilled in an individual more often than not, by years of study in a design school followed by a few years of work experience as an apprentice. This gives the designer a concise idea of what professional standards are.

Professional standards a designer requires to realize in design mainly deals with the standards he has to maintain ethically, technically, cost-effectively and aesthetically. These standards apart from conforming to set conventional (e.g. materials), must also be fully acceptable in the environment and the context in which the designer works (e.g. culture).

A designer considers technical knowledge as obligatory. As having a sound technical understanding would make the designer know the “cans” and “cant’s” when initially planning his design, and therefore his design will be well within the confines of manually executing it, rather that being a product of extreme creative imagination which may be striking to the eye when presented but would not be able to be physically implemented.

Technical knowledge is very important for designers to posses due to various other reasons too. It would give him that cutting edge in contrast to his peers and would be a powerful tool to excel in the design world, as the conjunction of creative thought and technical prowess would result in not only the design being physically realized, but knowing that level of technical data could be very cost effective too.

During construction it would be solely for the contractor to manually execute the design he has been given, and for this manual execution the contractor has to definitely posses technical knowledge, most contractors would know construction over years of experience as a building contractor, this makes it ever so important for the designer to posses technical knowledge, as failure to do so may either result in the whole project being a failure due to the contractor not being knowledgeable enough, or due to the contractor using his technical knowledge shrewdly enough to play out the designer by using extremely costly techniques. Hence, having sound technical knowledge is part and parcel of the professional standards a designer must adhere to.
Knowledge on technical expertise is partly born with in-depth knowledge of materials used for construction, their current acceptability and availability in the market. Knowing materials in depth means, knowing their properties and their versatility at use, being well informed of new materials and construction techniques in the market would mean the designer has more choice of using cost effective methods in construction, which would be an economical path to realizing his design whilst keeping his client happy.

When it comes to actual manufacturing of the idea of the designer, there are certain regulations and standard a professional has to adhere to, in terms of materials, ergonomics and various other factors.

When it concerns interiors, there are certain building regulations that are specifically related to construction. Like thicknesses of peripheral walls, partition walls, area of windows as a percentage of the total area etc. These regulations are put forth by various statutory bodies in different countries, in Sri Lanka building approval maybe taken from the local municipality, Urban Development Authority or the Pradeshiya Sabha, given that the design conforms to building standards. In certain product designs, international product standards like BSS or ISO are adhered to.

As a professional, administrative skills are of utmost importance. The administrative skills of a designer may perhaps be the thin line that actually decides if a design is actually implemented or not. Sticking to timelines and working to deadlines are characteristics for which designers have no excuse not to have.

For example an architect has to vigilantly administer the arrangement of working drawings, specifications, BOQ’s, tender documents and contract documents etc. Failure to do so may result in severe frictional constraints in the progress of the project. Hence, as a professional it is important to be orderly and methodical in ones activities.

All these may be overshadowed if the client is not attracted to the design, and the client has to be attracted both by the verbal and non-verbal presentations of the designer. So it is important that the Designer has good presentation drawings for the client to understand, as a layman would not understand technical jargon.

It is also important to be ethically sound in ones own dealings as a professional. In almost every case the only promotional campaigner for the designer is the client himself, as a happy client would recommend the designer to his friends and colleagues. Therefore, being ethically sound in ones own dealing is a very important professional standard a designer ought to possess.


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