There are 5 consecutive levels of achievement within each topic area of the Square One Training Programme. Each level in the system is based on an increased capacity for the user to contribute to the success of a design and analysis project. Table 1 summarises this progression as well as the achievement aims, the titles that can be applied to users at each level and expected project contributions they can make in each area.
Whilst it is almost impossible to maintain absolute consistency in the knowledge and skills required across each level within all the different topic areas, the same fundamental principles do apply and underpin the logic behind the system.
At the very least, to contribute to any design and analysis project, a user must have some basic understanding of the results being generated by others in the design team and be able to view them as and when required. With some extra training and experience, the user should be able to assist in both the creation of models and the calculations themselves. With more experience and training, the next stage is to be able to independently generate all that is required to carry out the analysis process and produce the required results. The penultimate contribution is then to be able to devise and manage all the analysis required to support high-level design decision-making in real projects.
To reach the highest achievement level, the user needs to demonstrate real innovation in utilising their knowledge and skills to devise a new approach to analysis solutions. The assessment required to achieve different levels is described below.
Detailed Level Descriptions
Based on these principles, the following is a detailed description of each achievement level.
Level 1 - View
At this introductory level, the focus is on knowledge and an understanding of the fundamentals in each particular topic area. Basically, a user at this level should be able to access an analysis model and extract the basic information they need without having to go through another user. This typically means understanding what the metrics used in each topic area refer to, how to display them in a visual or tabulated form, and be able to extract the images or tables required for use in other documentation or drawings.
Level 2 - View & Assist
Level 2 represents the ability to assist in the analysis of a design project. Users at this level are able - under supervision - to carry out most of the basic tasks such as setting up and editing building models suitable for analysis in a particular topic area, undertaking most of the simpler calculations in that area and formatting results appropriate to the needs of a project.
Level 3 - View, Assist & Produce
The emphasis at Level 3 is on developing proficiency at the process. At this level, a user should be able to independently set up or build a model suitable for the kinds of analysis required in a particular topic area, undertake those analysis and produce results or other deliverables in whatever form is appropriate to the needs of a project.
Level 4 - View, Assist, Produce & Manage
Reaching Level 4 requires real expertise in the application and use of the technology. At this level, users should be able to determine the types of analysis required to solve design problems within the topic area, devise the work flows and schedules required to undertake that analysis and then effectively manage the whole process to ensure the timeliness and quality of all deliverables. They should also be able to supervise others working on the analysis and be able to diagnose and troubleshoot problems with other people's models and results.
Level 5 - View, Assist, Produce, Manage & Innovate
Level 5 represents the ability to go beyond the basics of what the technology has to offer. A level 5 user should not only have expertise but be developing new ways of applying the technology or customizing it in ways that lower project costs, increase efficiency and generally raise the bar on quality, performance and amenity within the design.
Achieving a level requires passing the assessment for that level. Assessment can be undertaken for free on-line on the Square One website or at one of many accredited training centres around the world. Each level in each area must be passed consecutively - it is not possible to achieve Level 2 without having first successfully achieved Level 1.
There is no direct on-line assessment for Level 5 - instead individuals and/or firms are required to submit a short project article that details their innovation for review by the Natural Frequency editorial board. Upon acceptance, those nominated within the article and who have already attained Level 4 within the particular topic area will be accredited as having achieved Level 5 in that area.
This system of achievement levels within the programme is important as it allows for the effective deployment of human resources within a design and analysis project based on an objective and reliable rating of the capabilities and potential contribution of each team member. It also provides a means by which designers can objectively measure their own knowledge and skills against others in a team and clearly see what steps they need to take to improve.