Chapter 2: Preliminary Design

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Section 1: Design Concept Conference

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The Design Concept Conference is a meeting of key individuals for establishing fundamental aspects of a project. The conference facilitates agreement to basic project features by concerned parties and enhances relationships between those parties.

This section includes the following task:

2000. Conduct Design Concept Conference

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2000: Conduct Design Concept Conference


  • Purpose. A Design Concept Conference (DCC) is a meeting to establish and agree on fundamental aspects, concepts, and preliminary design criteria of a project. Supporting documents constitute an understanding of basic features of the project by FHWA, TxDOT divisions, TxDOT district office, and local entities.
  • Advance Planning Risk Analysis. The Advance Planning Risk Analysis (APRA) tool developed under TxDOT research project 0-5478 offers a method to measure project scope definition for completeness and identify potential risks early in the project. With this tool, users identify the critical elements of the project scope across all disciplines. A high level assessment of the project is recommended at this stage of project development. The APRA tool and The User Guide for the APRA Tool is available here.
  • Design Summary Report (DSR). A Design summary Report (DSR) form has been developed for use in preparing for the Design Concept Conference. Use of this form will help ensure that the project team does not overlook potentially critical issues. While all items will not be applicable to all projects, overlooking any item may significantly delay the project. The recommended DSRform, is available in PDF format. The DSR form also contains an attendance list to consider. The project team may not know the correct answer to all issues early in project development. The form should be considered a work in progress and additional information can be added as the project develops. The DSR form should be reviewed in detail and updated during the Design Conference (see 5020: Conduct Design Conference).

Pertinent Project Types.

  • New construction, reconstruction, and special transportation projects.
  • Other projects that the Director of Transportation Planning and Development determines would benefit.

Responsible Party. Project manager


  • Identify and invite participants with sufficient lead time.
  • Schedule field visit to review existing conditions with a team of experienced staff from traffic operations, design, construction and maintenance prior to the Design Concept Conference. Make a video recording of the facility for reference during the Design Concept Conference.
  • Utilize the Advance Planning Risk Analysis tool to align project objectives and stakeholders’ needs, identify high priority project deliverables, and facilitate communication.
  • Complete parts of DSR and circulate to all parties invited to the conference for review.
  • Obtain concurrence or disagreement by approval entities listed in the DSR.
  • Update DSR as project progresses, and make updated DSRs available to approval entities and other parties with a need to know.

Helpful Suggestions.

  • The primary purpose of the conference is to officially establish the basic features and preliminary design criteria for the project.
  • Appoint an individual to take conference notes.

Critical Sequencing. Conduct the conference before preparing schematics or performing other preliminary design.

Resource Material.

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