Solutions to architects' most common challenges

Another year has passed and we have had a break to reset, refresh and recharge the batteries. It is a good time to reflect on 2018: what went well, the successful projects and being proud of the achievements. It is also valuable to pinpoint areas for improvement: what were the glitches that caused anxious moments, stress and maybe some embarrassing situations that are avoidable in the future. No doubt the New Year will have challenges, changes and successes to look forward to!

Getting on the front foot

While you may have had many successful and enjoyable projects and happy clients, it is human nature to focus on the ones that didn’t go quite so well. A little constructive reflection will go a long way in helping you to avoid these challenges in the future. Considering what you could do differently, what changes could you make now to have ‘the ambulance at the top of the cliff’ or better still, not need an ambulance at all! Wow, how would that feel?

We asked architects, “What is the biggest issue you face right now?” Here is what they had to say:

  • “Keeping up with the fast change in technology and products”
  • “Managing the expectations of the clients and budget constraints”
  • “Time and cost restraints, getting the necessary details together from suppliers and contractors for the project plans”
  • “Getting specialist information early from contractors to prevent costly changes later. Engaging the right people early and getting expert advice that complements the design but will actually work, and ensuring that the experts take responsibility and accountability for the information they have provided”
  • “Good design and specification information that will minimise “RFI’s” from the local TA”
  • “Contractor and subcontractor communication issues. Lack of communication, collaboration and doing unauthorised work without the knowledge of the architect”
  • “Consultant and design work being different to what is carried out on site. Different products and installation procedures being used on-site leading to a lack of responsibility and accountability. The end product causes a lot of stress and uncertainty for the client and architect when it doesn’t work to the client expectation”
  • “Subcontractors and contractors only looking at and pricing their particular trade without highlighting the possible crossover of the trades and vital sections being missed and unaccounted for, which can be costly and embarrassing when not picked up until much later in the project.”
  • “Lack of quality workmanship and adherence to the drawings and details”
  • “Lack of relevant training or education on the latest products and technology”
  • “Not knowing ‘what is possible’ with technology and product only to find out later there was a much better integrated solution”
  • “No accountability or responsibility for mistakes”

Sound familiar?

We have distilled some of the key points that will help things go smoothly in the future.

Background: Using an experienced company that has actually carried out successful projects, with great references and testimonials relevant to the project type you are working on.

Value: Seek out the best value partners. Being cheapest is not always the best solution, as we all know. Working with partners who have a sustainable business model ensures longevity and on-going support and maintenance for your client in the future.

Inclusive: Find a company that can provide a lot, if not all, of the services, to minimise crossovers or skill gaps that can become costly and embarrassing. Better still, ask them to find someone they trust to provide a total package solution.

End-to-end solutions: Use a company that will provide the consulting and design services and, more importantly, will do the installation to the specification and design provided. This option will deliver better integration and efficiencies for the systems installed, and lifetime accountability and support.

Solid suppliers: Only use contractors that have back-up and 100% support from their suppliers and will rectify any problems without question. Contractors with solid relationships with their suppliers provide you with confidence that any technological or product issues will be solved seamlessly.

Qualified: Check the credentials of the contractors to ensure they are qualified in the use of the highly technical products being installed. Be confident they have up-to-date training and knowledge of the systems they are installing.

Knowledge: Choose a company that can provide education and training on the latest products and technology. Check they have the ability to service and maintain the systems installed; this means you maintain the efficiency benefits and longevity for your client. Be sure you are confident in the quality of the advice and information you receive.

Communication: Work with teams that are excellent communicators. Working in collaboration with all stakeholders is the key to efficiencies and smooth sailing.

Your secret weapon

Smart decision making upfront ensures sound execution of a project end-to-end. We hope these simple ideas can kick-start the year with some fresh thinking. Great project partners can become your secret weapon in executing a project plan effectively.

We believe in finding and trusting the right experts in any field and bringing quality contractors onboard to provide exceptional service.