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Architects: here’s why you should get on top of your firm’s management

By Jean-Baptiste Sachot, 10:30 AM on April 20, 2017

architect firm management solution

The success of your architectural projects now also depends on how your company manages its data. When you’re competing for tenders and allocating work to subcontractors and co-contractors, you have to keep up to speed and deal with more complex invoicing demands. How can you optimise your firm’s internal management, oversee projects more effectively and meet clients’ exacting standards?

Enterprise management: your architect firm’s strategic challenge

Playing your cards right

As an architect, you can establish a foothold on the world market. And you’ll face competition for contracts from companies from all four corners of the globe. Although project quality is a top priority for clients, you should also highlight how professional and precise your proposal is – especially when it comes to the costs of work. Remember: any omissions or estimated figures in your calculations could damage your credibility and affect your fees.

Precise project budgets

To win a contract in this competitive market, how can you make your project budget as accurate as possible? How can you set a spending threshold? If you use vague estimates, you run the risk of submitting a bid that won’t make your architectural firm any money. You should, therefore, base your calculations on concrete figures. And because you’re looking at future projections, your previous projects act as your benchmarks:

  • How much time did project management take?
  • How many people and offices were involved? Over how many hours? What was their profile and specialist field?
  • What were the expected cost overruns and adjustments as against the original estimate?

This information gives you precise figures to base your calculations on. So, you must have clear, complete and accessible data. By using a management solution, all of the information you enter throughout the project (schedules, timings, real margins, plans, etc.) is ready and waiting, when and where you want it.

Choosing good partners and charging a fair price

When you don’t have the necessary in-house expertise, it’s wise to surround yourself with specialist engineering firms, contractors, design, landscaping and town-planning companies to help you put a bid together. Which then becomes a team bid.

However, your partners will be subcontractors or co-contractors while you’ll remain the main contact for the client. That means it’s your responsibility to bring all of the information together. Drawing up invoices that include every last service provided by each party is a tiresome task – and it requires some serious organisation.

But there is some good news. This complicated and time-consuming job is undergoing a transformation, which will mean better and quicker invoicing, and ultimately faster payments. What prompted this transformation? Integrated management software. This software package tells you how you are doing as against your estimates for various projects, how much you are spending on ongoing work and what your current fees are, as well as you co-contractors and subcontractors’ fees. So, it will help you manage your projects better, pinpoint your estimates and improve your project oversight.

Facing up to the demands of business development

Your firm’s growth: taking a comprehensive and proactive approach

How you organise your internal management also has an impact on how much your company can grow. Today, architecture firms actively scan the market for new opportunities. You simply can’t wait for prospects to come to you anymore.

To generate more business, you therefore have to identify projects very early on and estimate your chances of winning contracts. This approach prevents you from wasting time and energy on bids that are doomed to fail. To make the right choices and have time to get your bid ready, you already have to be on the lookout and identifying tenders that you have a good chance of winning. This means getting out of your bubble and searching far and wide for opportunities. Anticipation is key.

When the tool takes the reins

If you’re going to roll up your sleeves and do the deep work to shape your business strategy, you’ll need the right tools. An integrated management solution will really help you monitor the opportunities out there: you can use it to enter information about tender deadlines and set reminders for when the call for bids opens and closes. Even when the pace quickens, you won’t miss a thing.

Your architectural expertise is your added value: you offer innovative, high-quality projects and deliver them by surrounding your firm with specialists. The question remains: why should you deal with your internal management now? Simple: so you never have to hear about it again. Put Excel, Word and any other improv solutions aside: it’s time to opt for a specific pro tool that will fine-tune how you manage your projects and help you find new opportunities.

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