Key Success Factors and Guidance for International Collaborative Design Projects

Robby Soetanto, Mark Childs, Paul S.H. Poh, Stephen Austin, Jacqueline Glass, Zulfikar A. Adamu, Chinwe Isiadinso, Harry Tolley, Helen Mackenzie



In the built environment (BE) sector, the co-creation process of design demands understanding of requirements (as viewed by parties involved), mobilisation of tacit knowledge, negotiation, and complex exchange of information. The need to collaborate over distance has further exacerbated the complexity of the process, and, in itself, represents a significant challenge for BE professionals who are increasingly expected to undertake this process within globally distributed virtual teams. The research aims to identify key success factors and develop guidance for international collaborative design projects, via the implementation of collaborative design courses in UK and Canadian universities over three academic years. Questionnaire surveys, focus groups, observation of online meetings, personal reflections provided data for the analysis. The findings reveal the significance of the perceived risk of collaboration and a difference in preferred communication mode between architects and civil/structural engineers. These findings suggest the impact of training in the subject discipline, and that the opportunity for co-located working has helped the development of trust. The guidance is aimed at BE educators who wish to implement this activity in their courses.


collaborative design; communication mode; virtual team

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