The practice of architecture has to adapt to stay with the changing times. The days of large companies, with old (literally old) bosses and scores of young architects running around, eager to learn from the old masters, are long gone. The nature of the work has also changed.
THE CURRENT SITUATION
This diagram sums up why the old way of practicing architecture should be reconsidered:
What does the architectural team of the future look like?
The benefits of this organization is:
Clients are invoiced for the different parts individually. If, for instance, the client requires changes to the design the Project lead facilitates the correspondence, the designer gets paid to do the changes either by hand or computer and the draftsman gets paid to update all the related drawings. Because everyone has an hourly rate it is easy to ‘accommodate’ changes as it is charged for. In fact, the team wants the client to keep on changing his mind, as they get paid every time he does so.
In essence the standard service is divided into smaller parts and presented to the client in ‘work packages’.
ISOLATING THE STANDARD SERVICES
The projects are mostly administered by the Project Facilitator (PF). He facilitates all communication with the client. The first interaction with the client is where the PF takes the clients through Stage 1: Inception and provide them with a complete document. This document and the procedures that are followed are detailed in this article: Stage 1: Inception (as an isolated service).
The standard documentation for stage 2-4 have not been developed yet, but we hope to have standard documentation available soon. These documents aim to equip architects with sufficient documentation to enable them to provide the architectural services as isolated services, in order to make more money from architecture.
A standard fee proposal document for the Building Contract Coordination (similar to the work required from architects as Stage 5: Construction of the standard architectural service) is detailed in: ” Stage 5: Building Contract Coordination as an isolated service“. This document can be adapted and reconsidered for the service each individual would/could/want to provide.
In the diagram suggestions are made for typical isolated services that could be considered in the future:
The point is, if theses can be presented to clients in accessible, sell-able, work packages then architects can start doing only what they want to do, and what they are good at – there is no point in thinking that everyone of us are all-rounders!
WHAT CAN I DO TO ADAPT TODAY?
Below are simple, no/low cost experiments to test in bridging your practice from ‘old school’ to a practice of the future.
The diagram is suggestions that can be implemented on a small scale as a series of small tests – to facilitate the evolution of a practice into a more versatile and flexible practice of the future.
1. Isolate the Makers and the Managers from each other.
Read more about ‘makers and managers’ here:
2. Experiment with flexi-hours.
This is not for all employees; some people have to be micromanaged and almost controlled. However, some employees are far, far better employees who offer the company far more, when flexi-hours are implemented. For more on the benefits of flexi-hours click here.
3. Out of office work.
Out of office work is also not for all employees, but is also not a swear word. Relationships must be established and proper measuring mechanisms must be in-place for this to work effectively, but when it does the benefits are endless…
4. Outsource a task.
This sounds easier than it is in reality. As employers we often get lazy when it comes to issuing proper instructions to our staff, because we have an endless supply of their hours, which we are paying for anyways. For more on how to outsource a task effectively, click her.
The practice of architecture has already changed dramatically over the past couple of years. The future, the world over, is a series of small jobs performed by individuals all over the planet. Technology has allowed us to evolve into a completely different business.
This article was written in 2018.