Measurable outcomes as the basis of decision-making
It just won’t work to begin your home design based on a couple of turns of phrase and a vague notion of what they mean to you. This blog is not a treatise on semantics, so we’re not going to try to define any terminology for you. Instead, we are going to focus on defining the actual goals that you are setting out to achieve when you use such terminology. Rather than relying on simple taglines, we’re going to focus on well-defined goals and measurable outcomes. If you can knowledgeably set the targets you’d like your project to hit, your chances of succeeding are vastly increased.
Understanding Your Objectives
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The unique intention of this blog is to help you understand, define, and refine your objectives so that you can make informed choices from initial siting considerations, through personnel decisions, and down to the level of individual material and system selections. It is critically important to acknowledge that your goals can be undermined by poorly informed choices at any stage of your project. If you fail to set appropriate goals at the “meta” level, then the chances of your project succeeding are greatly reduced, and if you do not ensure that each individual choice you make throughout the process adheres to the goals you’ve set, the results will likewise be undermined.
For example, it is the goal of many homeowners to create an energy-efficient home. At the A good building means different things to different people.
What makes it onto the scales during decisionmaking, and why? “meta” level, this would involve setting a hard target for example, meeting current Energy-Star or Passive House standards. With this kind of clearly definable goal, it becomes possible to make informed and appropriate design, material, system, and personnel decisions. In this case, the clear goal of meeting a particular efficiency standard would narrow down the selection of design professionals to those trained to meet that standard, and it would help with the selection of insulation materials, doors and windows, and mechanical systems appropriate to meeting the standard. Any choice that would subvert the larger goal is easily discarded in favor of one that harmonizes with the overall intention of the project.
Much of this blog is dedicated to helping you set these overarching goals because clarity on the relatively small list of guiding issues greatly simplifies the very large list of decisions that need to be made during a design/build project.