You know how difficult it is to start your own Practice or sustain a small practice. You need to get Projects, produce presentations, drawings, meet Clients, Coordinate with Contractors, visit sites and a lot more. It’s tricky to balance it all.
In-spite of the difficulties many of us still take the plunge, either by choice or being left with no other option. Some of us succeed and many fail. Most of the successful practices of today started small. What made them succeed? Why do so many fail?
Architectural Outsourcing is now increasingly becoming a part of Architectural practices worldwide. You save money not just on cost of production, but on a seat cost that includes both software and hardware. You have skills and resources available that may not be available in your office. Advantages are many but sometimes it can be a pain. There are many successes and many failures. This post discusses how to benefit without pain.
Communication is the key. You communicate with your studio staff through sketches and markups and discussion. You not only communicate through sketches and notes but also through expressions and gestures. Your staff understands your intent quickly. This is often not the case with your service provider. Your main tool of communication with your service provider is your sketches & markups. If not the markups are not precise and clear they are prone to misinterpretation. Face to face discussion like Skype or WebEx meetings supplement your markups help in clearer understanding.
Treat your service provider as your studio staff. Your staff has many resources such as Standard Templates, Details, Office Standards and other project references available. Make these resources available to your service provider as well.
A Long term relationship with your service provider often works better than a onetime short one. Longer term relationship develops a better mutual understanding, reduces misinterpretation. Rework due to mistakes is substantially reduced or even eliminated.
Establish a review cycle process. Assign this role to one of your senior studio employee or you may do this yourself. Respond to queries and review submissions quickly. Avoid hand written markups and use Industry Standard review tools for review markups. Be precise in your markups and notes. Autodesk Design Review is one of the best tools for reviewing drawings and markups.
To summarize, communicate clearly & precisely. Use Skype video call, WeEx etc. to supplement and discuss face to face to clarify your intent. Develop long term relationship. Establish review cycle & process and use Industry Standard Design Review Tools.
The above are some of the tips for a successful Architectural Outsourcing relationship.