Architectural firms face many challenges when seeking to develop their architectural consulting business to a more visible and profitable position. In a global environment where competitors can arise from within the local region or exist on the other side of the world, the need to develop concrete business strategies that increase revenue and gain a greater portion of contract bid awards is becoming crucial. The evolution of mega-developers has eradicated the practice of winning projects by ‘presenting the best conceptual design that transfers requirements into solutions’.
The modern architectural firm is embroiled in a highly competitive environment based on aggressive marketing infrastructures, laser-focused building type specializations, and a redirection of the urban construction landscape where the role of technology is exhausted to create sustainable communities and energy-efficient built environments.
Forming a strategic relationship with an architectural CAD drafting services provider allows proprietary architectural consultants to be nimble competitors by leveraging third-party expertise and technology to reduce the market impact of new entrants such as broker/developers and increase their bargaining power against global consolidations.
A recent Australian Architecture Digest article detailed 10 challenges facing the transitioning architectural design profession, and highlights the following areas as particularly problematic:
- An increased scrutiny of the cost of assets and operations as opposed to increasing the project outcome to the benefit of the client.
- The consolidation of architectural practices to create global firms that win the most prestigious projects and enter and control new markets.
- New entrants that are building a reputation with a deep penetration of expertise and knowledge on specialized building typologies.
- The replacement of orthographic design practices with virtual visualizations, 3D solids modeling, and fully integrated BIM tools to create structural and compositional data that can be used to manage the life-cycle of the facility.
A fitting synopsis of the changing architectural design environment was effectively noted by the author:
“To maintain their point of difference, local practices need to specialize, collaborate and increase the quality and effectiveness of their services, through consistent, expert teams”.
The US building design sector is very fragmented, according to IBISWorld statistics, which state that the most profitable and well-known firms (those with over 100 employees) comprise only 1% of the architectural industry concentration, while lower-tier firms that have a payroll with less than 5 employees comprise roughly 67.4% of the industry. The one-percent dominates in revenue generation, yet each one successfully progressed from being independent consultants. By developing new business strategies that cut costs during economic downturns they have been able to reinvent themselves to keep pace with architectural design technology trends.
Collaboration seems to be the driving force that can add technological expertise, manpower, and the required graphics and computing power needed to compete with the one-percenters. The top firms invest an enormous amount of capital into bulking up with staff, new IT equipment, and the latest software releases to win large project bids. Developing a new business model base to compete with larger firms will require automating many workflows using 3D model-centric designs, instigating a highly efficient time-management system, and a proactive approach to attracting and influencing new clients.
Examine these three ways your architectural firm can incorporate CAD drafting services can grow your business and increase revenue.
- Decrease expenses and overhead costs – When setting fees for architectural services, indirect expenses that are not chargeable to a specific project are included in the fee formula. This assures the project will break even or better yet, generate a profit. These expenses range from costly software upgrades, purchasing new IT hardware and its maintenance, general administrative staff and expenses, and travel related expenses to promote relationships with existing and prospective clients. Increasingly, companies are utilizing outsourced architectural drafting to reduce the drafting staff headcount and eliminate investments in new software and state-of-the-art equipment, to arrive at a more profitable fee structure and increase revenue. Some of the benefits of using architectural drafting services are:
- Optimize the bottom-line without increasing staff or capital expenditures
- Access to sophisticated technology and skilled graphics technicians and architectural drafters
- Meet project milestones on large projects as often or as little as the help is needed
- An offshore outsourcing time zone means a faster project turnaround opening the possibility for a nearly 24-hour workforce.
- In-house architects can spend time on client generation instead of drafting and design tasks
- High level of technical expertise will assure documentation quality and client satisfaction
- Increase the capacity for complex projects – Adding project capacity for complex or large public structures will require competing with larger firms. Large firms have access to expert staff and superior CAD technology resources that win the attention of premiere projects. In today’s A&E sectors, project stakeholders expect architectural firms to have a current version of advanced architectural software platforms and are more insistent on using a 3D model based package which creates a uniform 3D model with real life information to support all building elements and also streamlines repetitive drafting tasks.
Partner with a firm that has the latest of architectural CAD drafting software to increase your firm’s bid potential. The most demanding projects usually require expertly skilled technicians using one of the following top-level CAD software programs:
- Expanding architectural services offered can be a key factor for smaller architectural consultants that are limited in skilled staff. Some architects have not kept pace with design technology advances such as 3D modeling, animated visualizations, materials rendering, and BIM facility design. Globalization and increased competition from new entrants into the building and construction sectors demand that architects change their traditional ways of doing business by leveraging the power of technology, harnessing the talents of a new generation of a computer-educated workforce, and strengthen their online communications with digital portfolios to showcase accomplishments in those new service offerings.
Investing in the people and processes required for new architectural services can begin with an outsourced design and drafting service provider. This method will bring valuable knowledge to key office personnel that presently work within the firm, before changing current office operations and adding new staff resources. The additional benefit of using outsourced services include building an effective project portfolio and online visualization presentations. Discuss incorporating the following services with the potential contract drafting firm:
- Conceptual Design Software Tools
- Cloud Computing Communications
- 3D Printer Modeling
- 3D Modeling with Intelligent Database
- Elevation and Section Auto-generation from Model
- Full BIM Models and Shop Drawing Support
- Fly-over and Walk-through Animated Presentations
- Virtual Staging of Interiors
- Architectural Virtual Reality (VR) Simulations
Architectural drafting services offer a one-stop solution to decrease overhead expenses, increase your firm’s capacity for larger more complex projects, and expand your architectural services to leverage state-of-the-art modeling, rendering, visualization, and BIM technologies. Our company embraces on-time, cost-effective, and high-quality services along with private and secure data transfer protocols.
We have successfully completed over 500 projects in 5 countries and are versed in multiple country industry regulations and international and national codes and standards. Our full range of AEC services include mechanical, electrical, and plumbing trades drafting and shop drawing generation, structural steel modeling, BIM services, CAD conversion from paper to multiple file formats, and much more.
Propel your firm to the next level by partnering with a firm that has an intense commitment to quality and uses innovative computer-aided drafting techniques. New business strategies can generate positive results in your profit margin while your staff can focus on marketing the firm’s architectural design abilities.