Design quality in pre-project planning: applications of the Project Definition Rating Index


The development of the project scope definition package is one of the major tasks in the pre-project planning process. It is where risks associated with the project are analysed, early designs are formulated, critical decisions are made and the specific project execution approach is defined. However, early planning in many cases is not performed well in the building industry, and, as a result, the building sector suffers from poor or incomplete scope definition, frequently experiencing considerable changes that result in significant cost and schedule overruns. The Project Definition Rating Index (PDRI) is a weighted score sheet used for determining the level of scope definition of building projects during pre-project planning. Developed by the Construction Industry Institute (CII) in 1999, this tool has been widely adopted by various owners and designers in the building industry. Using the PDRI while conducting planning charrettes (i.e. intense focus meetings involving key stakeholders) provides a collaborative environment that can enhance design quality during pre-project planning by integrating the perspectives of the various project participants. The background of the PDRI, its benefits for the project and use of the PDRI in planning charrettes, including key participants, required resources and outcomes, are assessed. Recommendations are provided for project professionals about the use of the charrette approach for planning.


Technology and Construction Management

Document Type





architectural programming, briefing, design quality, planning charrettes, pre-project planning, project definition rating index, scope definition, programmation architecturale, informations

Publication Date


Journal Title

Building Research and Information