Square 1 is the “living” documentation of a project. This means there is meant to be continuing documentation before, during and after a project to create conscious thought processes, streamline project information, and serve as reminders of goals set at the beginning of the project. Gary Ferguson, AIA, LEED AP, and Mike Baker, AIA, presented, “Building CommUNITY through Designing Excellence” at PSC University 2019 to review updates and the overall process of building this foundation of success.

This program helps the project team as well as the client to define the goals and roles during a project, promote communication, prevent costly errors during the project, document the entire process, create quality deliverables and create relationships for client referrals. Overall, this strategy is meant to make the design process more intentional for both PSC and clients.

One example is Lubbock-Cooper Middle School, the first 21st-century school design of that grade level that PSC has completed.

“The goals became important because it’s something that we’re going to use as a filter to make sure we’re on track with what they ask for,” Baker said. “We’re making them think outside the box. We’re making them tell us what that building is going to be.”

Square 1 is located in each project folder. Team information, project schedules, design briefs, checklists, project summaries, meeting minutes, quality control and design, and many other methods of documentation are located in these Square 1 folders.

“We’re basically providing tools for the project team to help make sure they’ve got everything covered as they work through the project and then archiving the process,” Ferguson said.

After the general overview, the class ended with the attendees dividing into groups for a workshop to review and provide recommendations for this practice. Square 1 is not only meant to be an efficient means to document a project, but it also provides a process that everyone can use to improve projects for clients in the future.

“This is the process that we have to follow consistently,” Baker said, “not necessarily just in our own silos but to break those down and make sure the other team members are all talking about coordination of their systems with other team members. Each discipline’s design impacts the rest of the team. Square 1 is a continuous process that gives us tools and questions to ask of each other so that our designs can exceed our clients’ expectations.”