BS 7000-4: revised design management guide published

Image of a design management meeting for BS 7000-4 story
Image: Snowingg |

The design management systems guide, BS 7000-4, has undergone a comprehensive revision, a decade after it was originally published, and has now been published by the BSI.

In contrast to its predecessor, the updated BS 7000-4 version focuses less on general observations and considerations. Instead, it places significant emphasis on key activities essential at crucial milestones during the design process, including critical information management needs where clients do not implement ISO 19650.

The primary goal of the update was to address the lack of standardisation in how organisations handle the design development process, according to Galliford Try digital lead John Ford, who chaired the panel that drafted the revision. Some organisations have well-established systems, while others lack a structured approach and rely on reactive, often inconsistent methods based on personal preferences and experience.

The revised BS 7000-4 provides guidance and clarity for establishing effective design management systems that can be replicated across projects, allowing for continuous improvement. These are principles shared by ISO 9000.

The guide is aimed at those in strategic positions within their organisations. It uses the typical agnostic terminology found in British and international standards. As such, experienced professionals may be required to help interpret the language and terminology that varies greatly across different sectors.

In addition, BS 7000-4 offers guidance on information management considerations for projects where ISO 19650 is not implemented. This is still common across private and some public sector projects. Good information management practices are fundamental to design management and are essential for those who manage the design process, or parts of it.

Focus on information management

Ford highlighted the guide’s insights and practical recommendations. “As a contributor to several industry standards, I emphasise the importance of focusing on the core requirements outlined in the guide, including those associated with information management, as they provide a solid foundation for effective design management to take place,” he said.

The reception has been positive so far. Several organisations have shown interest in updating their prequalification questions from the older 2013 version of the guide to the latest 2024 update. Ford added: “I would like to thank all of those who contributed to the development of BS 7000-4 over the past three years for giving up their valuable time to help produce the guide.”

The revised part of BS 7000 supersedes BS 7000‑4:2013, which is withdrawn.

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  1. Finished reading it this morning, I have to say its a huge improvement over the 2013 version. I wonder how many contractors will adopt this though? My organisation leave it very much to each design manager to decide, we have no templates or minimum expectation. Personally I prefer that as I can do it my own way but there are bits in here I hadn’t considered which I will be adopting.

  2. We are definitely ones that fall into the lack of structured approach ha!
    I read the draft, as cant get it on CIS yet and I think its great. The design management plan approach and information management guidance is certainly useful.

  3. I managed to read it on BSOL but like the comment above said, but it’s not on CIS yet. It’s really different from the previous version, definitely improved. Will this still be part of the UK BIM mandate? My worry is there’s a ton of work for design managers and usually no support. When I finally do get assigned to a project, there’s no time to set up DMPs or even an MIDP as the design has already commenced with no clear plan in place for any of it. My peers just see me as a glorified document controller and don’t appreciate the work needed to keep the design programme on track. We definitely need to put more focus on design management

  4. I have put a request in for CIS to update their version so hopefully wont be too long.
    I think we all like to do things our own way Bill, and some of us do it better than the rest. The idea behind BS7000-4 is to identify those who do it better and share that knowledge with their organisations in the hope someone will take charge and push that best practice to all their projects and people whilst ensuring their people are capable and available as many of the responsibilities require specialist knowledge and experience.

  5. Hi Anne, Although the 2013 version was part of the UK BIM mandate as a supporting standard under the process commonly known as “BIM Level 2”, it is not automatically part of the UK BIM Framework that replaced it. This was because the 2013 version redundantly replicated alot of PAS1192-2, something that lost all meaning when PAS1192-2 was withdrawn. The 2024 update corrects this while still focusing on information management. Where clients wish to drive information management (IM) on their projects, BS 7000-4 directs them towards ISO 19650. However, for projects where clients don’t drive IM, BS 7000-4 provides additional guidance.

    I feel your pain about the lack of support and appreciation for design management. As the great John Eynon once said, (and I paraphrase) “Being a design manager means being a superhero. You do so much, but the appreciation isn’t there when your glasses are on… which is all the time” This is often because the complexity and importance of your work are not well understood by others.

    The updated BS 7000-4 guide aims to change that by clearly identifying what needs to be done, outlining the complexity of the tasks, and then needing someone to define who is responsible for them. It includes a useful assignment matrix that can be developed further to clarify roles and responsibilities. However, addressing these issues needs to happen at the organisational level, not just at the project level—a key focus of BS 7000-4.

    I hope this helps to provide some context and support for the vital role you and other design managers play.

  6. I have been tasked with reviewing BS 7000-4 for adoption within our organization. Having just finished reading it, I see its significantly improved over the previous version. Although I was hoping to see more on the BSA, it is probably better that it references external sources, as these are frequently updated. By the way, it is available on CIS, you need to navigate to the “Just In” section under Browse. For some reason, it doesn’t appear in the search results

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