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Outsourced CAD services
29 September 2016
Kuldeep Bwail

Why the Lowest-cost Outsourcing Supplier May Not Be the Most Cost-effective

Retail brands know all about quality and consumer products that endure, precisely why consumers are willing to dole out the extra bucks. This is true for outsourced services as well. More economical does not always translate to high quality and lower costs in the long run. A spate of companies in the East have ventured into the outsourcing fray, and many CAD outsourcing services in India are proving cost-effective for Western construction firms. It is important that cost alone does not become the deciding factor while investing in an offshore CAD team. Experience, expertise, references and certifications, among other factors, play a crucial role in making decisions concerning drafting services in India.

Architectural design and drafting support often includes visually enticing renderings, building models and technical drawings. Drafting production allows architects to convey their design ideas, provide instructions to contractors for construction and record the building design as it already exists. Many architectural companies are now turning towards outsourcing architectural services to support their teams when resources are short, to save funds and maximise time. Unfortunately, many architectural firms focus on saving costs when sending work to an offshore CAD team, although low-cost outsourced CAD services can lead to poor work, delayed deadlines and a lack of project confidentiality, which may not be cost-effective in the long run.

There are several reasons why architectural industry leaders often opt for outsourcing, such as:

  • Maximising the use of offshore CAD teams allow in-house teams to increase and diversify their skills, without adding permanent members to the team.
  • If architectural drafting, modelling and BIM resources are short due to increased growth or employee transitions, offshore CAD and BIM teams can fill any gaps during transition.
  • Outsourced CAD services allow for the maximising of time and saving of cost.
  • When offshore CAD teams work overnight or in parallel on Revit models, BIM models or renders, the project turnaround time decreases significantly.
  • Company costs are reduced by removing overhead costs often required for in-house employees, such as office space, hardware, software, etc.

Ultimately, outsourced CAD services are used by industry leaders due to its many benefits, such as efficiency, time and cost-related benefits. It is, therefore, surprising that some companies focus on cost savings – a strategy that can have a negative impact on the company’s overall project.

Considering that the cost of outsourced CAD services is a reasonable way to stay cost-competitive and cost-conscious, it is possible that an offshore CAD team can potentially increase costs in other ways, such as leading to various problems along the project’s life cycle. Here’s how:

  • Low-cost offshore CAD teams may make sense initially, but they may lack proper working conditions or established human resources departments.
  • Such facilities and lower company standards can lead to higher levels of attrition of key team members, affecting the workflow.
  • Retaining offshore CAD team members is actually quite important, as it allows firms to maintain familiarity with the correct individual to communicate project updates, and it allows several individuals to hold thorough knowledge regarding project work.
  • Poor working conditions can mean the software and hardware being used by the offshore CAD team does not meet the performance standards of the firm hiring it, leading to a lack of data confidentiality and a compromised design due to the lack of legal software being used.
  • Low-cost outsourced CAD services can also mean that team member skills and quality levels can be poor.
  • Lack of industry or software knowledge can lead to increased project costs and resentment over time.
  • Low-cost offshore CAD teams can lead to more project mistakes, an increase in project delays, an increase in project costs and frustration on the architect’s part due to consistent quality issues.

Although outsourced CAD services may be the right fit for you one has to be aware that selecting the right firm is not just about cost but also about a multitude of variables such as quality, experience, financial standing, human resource policies and operating legally and with local regulations.

When searching for the right outsourced CAD service, assess the company and team members before moving forward, because low-cost outsourced CAD services are rarely a good choice. Low hourly rates may mean the architectural models produced contain more errors, more project delays and potentially an incorrect design.

What to Look for in an Outsourced Partner

Before outsourcing architectural services, consider some of these points:

Industry Experience

An outsourcing company ideally must have several years of industry experience, so that the architectural firm is sure that they can not only manage, but excel in providing the required deliverables. The number of projects completed and their details would be the kind of information that needs to be ascertained.

Any dedicated or retained offshore CAD team should consist of team members with the right qualifications and the minimum required experience for the concerned tasks.

Technical Expertise

A reliable offshore partner will explain its methodology to manage projects, monitor and assess results and resolve any potential or sudden challenges. Accreditation in project management and quality control will help. Most importantly, the partner should have a sound business continuity plan in place to deliver uninterrupted services and support during any eventuality.

References and Samples

Feedback and references from previous clients can be sought, making special note of the scope and quality of services provided and notes on any challenges encountered. Case studies mentioned on the company website can be assessed to understand how the company works. It may also be possible to study marketing prototypes.

Communication and Client Management Systems

It’s important to enable easy communication with a potential partner and discuss expectations by email, phone or other messaging applications or software tools. A single point of contact is useful for feedback, queries and concerns.

Infrastructure and Technologies

Service providers must be technologically prepared, including existent IT infrastructure that has updated hardware and software elements, sound and consistent phone and Internet network and the ability to integrate with the client’s technology. The outsourcing partner must also be prepared to acquire and invest in other technologies specific to the client’s needs.

Workforce Evaluation

The quality of skills possessed by the outsourcing company’s human resources are of paramount importance. It may be possible to review the hiring processes and policies of the proposed outsourcing partner to help understand the technical capabilities, knowledge and discipline of the staff. It is also crucial for the outsourcing company to comprehend the corporate culture of the client, its values, vision, mission statement and means of communication.

Financial Stability

Certifications with international agencies can go a long way in establishing the financial stability of a potential partner, ensuring that they will remain solvent and stable for as long as required.


When all the other factors are considered, consider costs. Fixed project costs may result in considerable client savings. Examine any potential hidden costs, whether they apply to project workflow, training, etc.

By establishing the company’s track record and evaluating them for quality and expertise, your architectural design team can feel secure handing their work off to a qualified offshore CAD team.

Though cost is one of the basic criteria for outsourcing architectural services, it is vital to ensure that other costs down the line are not increased by a potentially faulty initial decision on architectural services. Nobody wants to be ‘penny wise and pound foolish’, especially in today’s economic climate. When looking for reliable CAD outsourcing services in India, it is not just logical, but economically pertinent to research other characteristics of the company. The right partner for drafting services in India will be able to prove their worth and earn your trust for a long-lasting and profitable relationship.

XS CAD has valuable experience providing CAD design and drafting services for global architects, homebuilders, building engineers and retailers. Our range of services include architectural drafting, BIM modelling and visualisation for all stages of the design process. We also provide architectural drawing services, manufacturing and assembly drawings, Revit family libraries, residential design and drafting, retail design support alongside our documentation and construction drawing services and can provide retained offshore CAD teams.