Humanity undergoes unparalleled challenges every decade and humans have always coped with these situations and have undergone the depths of their reach to address such problems.
The early 2020s have revolutionized the pragmatics of crisis management all across the world, with the pandemic down turning the global market with a huge blow from the get-go of 2020. The humanitarian crisis has brought unprecedented challenges to the health sector, public sector, entertainment industry, development sector, and work culture. With most enterprises on the verge of existential threat, a new approach to work modality was to be opted for by the global workforce.
Development and architectural projects were at their most vulnerable state. Design firms responded with stringent guidelines and they were persistently updated with new responses as the mode of the pandemic took new turns. All the basic COVID guidelines were regularly reviewed and reminded, with social distancing and clean hygiene as the top priority.
As social distancing became a necessity to make the virus obsolete, remote working became a social norm. Working online brought remote challenges as design in general is a very collaborative process. The entire office working remotely did not seem appropriate for some practitioners as it breached communication; many opted to limit the staff members and assign alternate working days. Conference meetings were translated into Zoom meetings and design seminars changed into webinars; everything was held online and the workforce was overwhelmed by the uprising of virtual technology.
Necessary operational changes were made regarding in-situ and ex-situ constructions; active project schedules were reviewed and adjusted as per the deadlines and contractors’ directives were altered as materials were scarce. The pandemic had caused a lot of project delays, those which required on-site supervision and discussions were restructured into virtual meetings. On-site presence is always reliable in the construction field due to the sense of trust one establishes by experiencing the site in person. Due to the tumultuous economic impact of the pandemic, Clients, contractors, and consultants had to compromise design decisions.
New adaptive measures also impacted how architects designed spaces as they needed to be pandemic-proof; they had to consider designing adaptive spaces that could alter the pandemic experience and facilitate the user’s day-to-day lives.
The complexity of managing a designed construction project is every architect’s nightmare. Be it a small project or a macroscale infrastructure, architects’ task isn’t just confined to the design, planning, and order of a particular project is very fundamental. An architect does not just draw architectural plans on paper but also plans on perfecting the execution of one’s design and molding it into reality. Despite managing and scheduling the project deliverables, several other external factors exacerbate the challenges that occur along the way. Be it weather delays, scheduling, material shortages, and construction mishaps, numerous other factors hinder the construction process and make it overwhelming for a practitioner. With numerous management software looming around the market, a proper set of tools can easily lighten the weight off the shoulders.
The architecture of any project undergoes 5 phases which are Schematic Design, Design Development, Contract Documentation, Bidding, and Contract Administration. Such tasks are structured in chronological order and are assigned to their respective workers. Tools such as the ‘Gantt Chart’ is a useful bar chart-like tools for the breakdown of construction tasks into subtasks. A task dependency tool such as Gantt Chart is essential for planning and construction procedures as it is a visually accessible and user-friendly chart that displays tasks and deliverables in chronological order over a certain time frame.
It is crucial to keep track of the time of how long it has taken to finish a certain phase in a project; by recording time and documenting it, a report can be presented to add a valuable source of transparency between a consultant and client. By using tools such as ‘Time Tracking’, the number of hours spent doing a certain task can be easily tracked and presented in an instant; thus, clients will get to see a detailed progress report of what they are getting billed for. It also helps the user view time on behalf of certain workers, helping employers reach out to the ones that generate the most revenue concerning the time they’ve spent completing the task.
Invoicing is always a distressing task especially when it comes to keeping an account of various suppliers providing various amounts at certain stages in a construction project. Thus, an architectural firm needs to invest in an all-in-one project management software that creates detailed invoices based on hourly rates, and construction costs, based on specific tasks or deliverables at a specific phase of a project.
Automating can save an architectural firm lots of time and accentuate the workflow of any project by saving the management hassle along with satisfying the clients and contractors, and buying more time for the creativity of a design project.
Constructive or destructive criticism
In the age of digitalization, Mass media has gotten a tight grip on the societies hands as billions of data and information can be readily available on everyone’s screen with just a click away. Negative information can easily flow through the media and damage a trustworthy business or organization. Its adverse effects can reach the depths of crucially deteriorating an institution and thus stripping it of one’s credibility. Thus, it is quite essential for such institutions to diligently respond to such negative criticisms to restore one’s image.
Architecture firms can respond to such negativity by creating a common ground with opposing media organizations. By understanding where other people are coming from and being understood for where they are coming from; rather than nagging about the issue, firms must recognize the problem rather than exploit it and shift the paradigm from either/or, to both/and. Listening to learn by modeling a culture that makes way for inquiry rather than inquisition can help create a collaboration between opposing organizations and exponentially increase the chances of healthy outcomes to contentious conversations. But in the end, adhering to every company’s ethics and principles is up to each organization to decide if they are in it to solve the problem or feel morally superior.
– Architect. Lau W. How Architecture Firms Are Responding to COVID-19. [online]
Accessed date: [26 June 2023]
– Nutcache. Anjos A.J. (5 October 2021). Building a better architectural firm with project management software for architects. [online]https://www.nutcache.com/blog/building-a-better-architectural-firm-with-project-management-software-for-architects/
Accessed date: [26 June 2023]
– World Health Organization. ILO,FAO,IFAD, and WHO (13 October 2020). Impact of COVID-19 on people’s livelihoods, their health and our food systems. [online]https://www.who.int/news/item/13-10-2020-impact-of-covid-19-on-people’s-livelihoods-their-health-and-our-food-systems
Accessed date: [27 June 2023]
- Walsh N. (April 6, 2022). An architect’s advice on boosting creativity in hybrid workplaces [Photograph]
- Walsh N. (April 2, 2022) Expert Tips for architecture offices creating hybrid work structures. [Photograph]
- iChzigo (May 16, 2023). Architects found new ways of meeting and mobilising their communities [Photograph]
- Ross S.. (May 26, 2020) Can the creative and inspiring spirit of in-person classes and design studio be replicated online while trying to curb the pandemic?. [Photograph]