Tech Q&A: Charette Process
Tech Q&A: Charette Process
Tech Q&A: Charette Process
1 minute read

The charrette process can benefit municipal infrastructure planning and construction by allowing a group to make design decisions and continuously move forward without reversing or altering previous decisions.

Q : How can the charette process benefit municipal infrastructure planning and construction?

Jeff Keller, Burns & McDonnell

Most people think of a charette as a brainstorming session. When planning municipal projects, charettes can be used to bring in representatives of all stakeholders to be sure that all needs and points of view are considered. However, the charette process can be tailored to meet other goals.

For a client faced with a state water quality deadline, Burns & McDonnell used a charette to speed delivery of a wastewater treatment plant design. This charette was structured specifically to shorten the design schedule. It relied on a concentrated effort involving key decision makers in a series of highly focused meetings — no cell phones or other interruptions allowed.

In this type of charette, there is a clearly defined agenda for each meeting. The group makes design decisions and continuously moves forward without reversing or altering previous decisions.

Because key decision makers reviewed, commented and signed off on each aspect of the project — and designers put in extra hours to make sure any revisions were ready for the next meeting — the complex treatment plant will be completed six months earlier than the normal sequence of design presentation, revision and acceptance would have allowed.

Charettes are a valuable tool for the right project. However, they involve a large time commitment from clients' senior staff. If the need and the commitment is there, charettes can save time, allow clients to provide more input and be more satisfied with the end result.

For more information, contact Jeff Keller, 816-822-4371.

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