As with any role in a construction project, an architect will face many challenges. Tasked with creating a design to meet the client’s requirements, they must consider factors such as budget, safety and timeline.
Assessing the client’s needs, creating the designs and blueprints, identifying potential pitfalls, working with other architects and overseeing the whole construction process all adds up to a lot of responsibility. The complex path to the successful delivery of a project means they will face obstacles along the way, so how they avoid, react to and overcome these is a crucial part of success or failure.
Common challenges that architects can face emerge in the form of properly managing mark-ups and revisions to their designs, dealing with the vast amounts of documents involved in a project, collaborating with various different stakeholders involved in the job, all with potentially competing agendas.
Even keeping up to date with advances in construction software can be quite a challenge in itself.
Traditionally, architects’ drawings and designs were all carried out on paper, with models drawn up over two dimensions, or in physical 3D scale models. The exact measurements and dimensions of the various parts of the building allowed the correct quantities of required materials to be calculated, meaning estimates and costing could be done. This required total precision with the risk of errors constant and a high cost for a minor slip.
Management of all the documents involved was a complicated task, especially when there was input from other stakeholders.
As projects progressed, and as the bricks and mortar were put in place, issues might arise that required mark-ups and revisions to take place. This led to the risk of stakeholders on the site working off out-of-date versions of the plans, because they hadn’t yet spotted the email in their inbox with an update.
This type of collaboration with various contractors and subcontractors meant communication in itself was never simple. Some worked by phone, some by email, some by text, and some were quicker than others to react and respond.
The architect needed to stay on top of all the documents and revisions, as well as keep track of inspections done on-site to ensure the build was progressing to the correct standard and with all the regulatory and quality boxes being ticked, as well as environmental and planning laws.
Digital construction management software is a key tool for the modern architect and it can help to solve or avoid all of the common problems they might face over the course of a project.
Building Information Modelling (BIM) software means that right from the earliest stage of planning, all the data from different stakeholders is accumulated in digital form, facilitating the collaboration, through easier communication and sharing of information. Gathering all the information in this way greatly reduces the time and effort put into this process, as well as all but eliminating the risk of human error.
This collated information is used to create a full 3D virtual model of the project, giving great insights in terms of the design and planning the construction process.
This means everyone, from architect to owner to main contractor to subcontractors, is all working from the same unique source of truth, which is updated in real time, meaning older versions which have been tweaked are never in circulation.
The use of a cloud-based solution, rather than hard-copy drawings stored in an office or emailed scans, mean that stakeholders have access to plans where ever they may be, via smart phones or tablets.
An app such as Zutec’s Elevation will allow architects to view drawings on site, and includes mark-up tools, revision management and access control. Similarly, Zutec’s Dimensions app works as an advanced 3D model viewer, with features such as visual filters, meaning you can access the model from wherever you are, on-site or off.
New digital tools have been so successful in helping architects to overcome challenges, they are now a key part of the discipline. This can lead to its own challenges, as architects are required to learn how to use various new types of software and get to grips with its complexities.
The integrated nature of the Zutec platform means that all the various tools are working under the same eco-system, which makes it much simpler to use. Its intuitive interface and easy-to-use dashboard will mean great efficiencies for architects and other stakeholders working on the same project and in the same eco-system.