29 April 2016
Why Architectural Design Development Phase becomes More Challenging than Schematic and Contract Phase?
The schematic and contract phases are the stepping stones of just about any project, be it retail or otherwise. These are valuable phases as they set the architectural intent, the visual style and suggest one structural approach or another. However important these stages are, in practice, it’s becoming more and more apparent that the design development phase is much more challenging than the other two. When aiming to produce Retail/other Construction Drawing Sets, clients notice how the challenges translate in time and monetary costs.
The explanation for this comes from understanding how most architectural firms, particularly traditional ones, operate. In short, firms often spend very little time during the schematic phase for many valid reasons. For instance, in many cases the design phase for a project is not formally contracted at all, when the architecture office is pitching a potential client, or participating in a competition. Other times the client’s budget is not fully determined and many design considerations aren’t set up so the contract phase involves a lot of guesswork and touches the various aspects of the design superficially. This is natural and the problems arise only once the client has an all clear on the project and decides to go straight to design development without double checking the premises of the project.
In practice the link between schematic/contract phase and design development is highlighted by a rather shocking statistic: the majority of construction projects throughout the world run into cost overruns (there are many resources online, here’s one that is quite reliable: www.kpmg.com). The reasons why projects end up costing more money and/or time is precisely the difference between the expectations set by the contracting phase and the challenges of producing valid, deployment-ready, Retail Construction Drawing Sets. Here, choosing Retail BIM Modeling as development approach is one fundamental way of significantly reduce design development times. But this isn’t a clear cut approach nor is it the only one that ought to be implemented by project managers.
BIM, or building information modeling, has changed the landscape of project management and enables smaller teams of architects and engineers to work on larger projects all while having a clearer overview of the development process. However, Retail BIM Modeling can be cost prohibitive when approaching many local design firms. Fortunately, outsourcing the design development to a company abroad can significantly reduce costs as the client can pick an industry leader from a wider pool of firms with much lower operational costs.
Mixing BIM with outsourcing the production of Retail Construction Drawing Sets means you can dedicate more time into making sure the drawings you get can enable you to realize the design intent.
While many statistics covering cost overruns are focused on state funded, large scale projects, retail is a notorious target of this phenomenon as well. This is because often retail designs are strongly branded and end up being deployed on many locations across the target market geographical area. Mistakes made in the schematic phase can thus have dire consequences when they go through the Retail BIM Modeling rigors. Fortunately, BIM makes it very easy and affordable to adapt a base/template project to many contexts as you only build the design elements once.
It becomes clear then that, with retail in particular, it’s always better to partner up with an experienced developer. Outsourcing is not only more cost effective, but also opens up the possibility to collaborate with very experienced specialists. Moreover, when time budgets are stretched, it’s valuable to rely on a larger company that can scale up the workforce to meet the deadlines. Communication and collaboration tools have reached a level where working with an offshore partner is not an issue but an opportunity.
In conclusion, design development is a very complex phase and will always carry a set of risks. The best way to minimize those is to look for Retail BIM Modeling partners with notable experience in Retail Construction Drawing Sets and, ideally, involve them in all the stages of development. A large outsourcing firm will typically handle all development aspects in-house, including MEP, and will spot and manage any systemic issues with the project from the earliest stages. This way offshore design firms are well positioned to make sure your project doesn’t end up in the above mentioned statistic and will help your business stay above the competition, on time and on budget.