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  • Writer's pictureJohn Michael Jalandra

BESPOKE TALK Series: Maximizing Benefits with the MacLeamy Curve

Updated: May 30, 2023

Investing early in the proper design process has advantages such as reducing on-site construction design changes and optimizing project cost. A building's improper design can cause a slew of problems; BIM (Building Information Modeling) and Integrated Digital Delivery can help to address these issues. This is reflected in fewer on-site construction design changes and a lower project cost. Investing early in the design process is critical for reaping these benefits.

Additionally, project implementation is simplified when multidisciplinary designs are hosted on a single platform. Project multidiscipline clashes are reduced by the company's use of BIM technology and integrating it into the workflow with other allied professionals. A multidisciplinary approach can deal with complex situations or problems by combining the skills of various disciplines to develop holistic solutions.

In the worlds of architecture and engineering, the MacLeamy Curve is a well-known concept. The curve is based on the observation that making changes to a project becomes more difficult as it progresses. To reduce the cost of design changes, MacLeamy and his followers advocate frontloading design efforts. In this article, we will first delve into the MacLeamy Curve and discuss its implications for architects and engineers.

The MacLeamy Curve

The MacLeamy Curve by Patrick MacLeamy, AIA, HOK

MacLeamy's curve postulates that the level of complexity involved in making alterations to a building project increases as the project advances. This phenomenon can be attributed to the increasing cost associated with modifying the design as the project progresses. According to MacLeamy and his supporters, in order to reduce the cost of design modifications, it is advisable to invest more effort in the initial stages. The initiation phase of the project necessitates undertaking efforts to effectuate modifications to the design, which is the most opportune and cost-effective time to do so.

The MacLeamy Curve is a visual depiction of the correlation between the exertion expended on a project and the quantity of design alterations that can be implemented. The graphical representation depicts a positive correlation between the advancement of the project and the magnitude of exertion necessary to implement modifications. The main point is that architects and engineers should prioritize their work to reduce the cost of design changes.

There exist multiple variables that augment the intricacy of effectuating modifications to a project during its development. Initially, the project team may have expended a significant amount of labor and resources towards the project, leading to their reluctance to commence anew with fresh modifications. Moreover, in case the project has undergone several rounds of assessment, any modifications made at this stage would necessitate consent from all concerned parties. Additionally, given that the project is approaching its concluding phases, the incorporation of alterations at this juncture may conceivably result in setbacks in its finalization.

The MacLeamy Curve holds noteworthy ramifications for professionals in the fields of architecture and engineering. Commencing the design process, it is of utmost importance to allocate effort in a prioritized manner to minimize the expenses incurred due to design alterations. In addition, it is imperative to involve all relevant parties in the design phase to ensure their input and endorsement of any modifications. Ultimately, it is imperative to maintain project progress by refraining from implementing alterations that may result in project delays.

The MacLeamy Curve illustrates the potential for project cost optimization through early investment in the appropriate design process. The utilization of Building Information Modeling (BIM) and an Integrated Digital Delivery (IDD) can enable the project team to circumvent superfluous expenses and delays in project completion.

Advantages of BIM and IDD

The design phase of a construction endeavor is of paramount importance for achieving favorable outcomes. Architects can optimize project cost and minimize on-site construction design changes by utilizing Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Integrated Digital Delivery (IDD).

Building Information Modeling

BIM is a process that uses computer models to manage and present all aspects of a building design and construction project. This allows for increased coordination between different disciplines involved in the project. An Integrated Digital Delivery is the use of BIM in all phases of a project, from design to construction to operations.

There are many benefits to using BIM and an Integrated Digital Delivery. One of the most significant benefits is the decrease in on-site construction design changes. When all disciplines are working together using BIM, potential problems can be discovered and addressed before construction even begins. This coordinated effort can save time and money by avoiding corrections that would need to be made on site.

Another advantage of employing BIM and Integrated Digital Delivery is that project costs may be reduced. The total cost of the project may be decreased by eliminating on-site construction design revisions. BIM may also be used to develop cost estimates and monitor expenditure during a project. This data may be used to discover places where cost reductions can be made.

Integrated Digital Delivery


In the end, investing in the appropriate design early on reaps advantages such as reducing design changes throughout construction and optimizing the project's budget. as well as bringing in other complimentary professions to reduce the possibility of disputes between various areas of expertise on a project. The planning phase is critical for the effective completion of a construction project. As a result, the MacLeamy Curve demonstrates how paying money upfront on the appropriate design may save money on total project expenses. The project team may save money and time by using building information modeling and integrated digital delivery.

" As a building project progress, it gets increasingly difficult to make modifications. "


Ar. Neil John Bersabe

Lead Architects

John Michael Jalandra

Content Writer


BERSABARC Design Studio 2022



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