Architectural practice and time management are often spoken in tangents with one another. This perhaps is one of the many trait’s architects carry from their student life into professional practice. While all-nighters are revered on campus, the executive works on billable hours. It is therefore now more than ever that architects should complement their workaholic lifestyles with inescapable orderliness. The following pointers are conclusive statements from experiences, we hope that this stimulates your efficiency. Though the important thing to remember is that each individual and project is unique and should be catered to accordingly.

Here are 10 tips on time management for professional architects.

10 Tips on Time Management for Professional architects
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1. You have a degree, Act like it!

The first and most important change that architects need to make is working within a designated time slot during the day. Even today, many well-known architects fail to align themselves in the corporate setup. Pressing deadlines are often compensated with overworked employees. Time and people management begins with ethics, professionalism has to be initiated by the principal, the firm and project will follow.

2. The Client is not your enemy.

After almost every stage in the design process, the clients are briefed about the project progress. One of the crucial aspects of time management is involving the client in the planning process as well by presenting a detailed estimated schedule from commencement to handover. In case of delays in the schedule, the client should be notified stage-wise rather than at the end of the project. This avoids external pressure from the client and keeps their aspirations realistic.

3. Do not let the master tame you.

The concoction of the client’s vision and the architect’s concept will form an abstract reference image in the client’s mind. There is a 99.9% chance that this image is going to be very different from the initial stage of execution. While the client sets into panic mode and asks for design alterations, controlling these changes is vital because altercations lead to a delay in delivery diminishing the finish line.

4. Learn to draw the line.

Even Pritzker prize winners would go back to their projects and draft some details all over again. Therefore, architects have to learn to detach from the designing process after a certain time. Repetitive changes during the execution stage shake up the entire production chain. We all can live with that 100 mm change in length, can’t we?

5. Fix a Goal – Walk Back from there

Juries and presentations have always gotten the best of architects, they take this forward into their practice and are often thrown off balance right before client meetings. The approach is always to tone down a mammoth of design into a 10-page presentation. It is important to dictate the script for the presentation before producing content. This helps avoid unnecessary deviations.

6. Have a fling then fall in love

Design starts with daydreaming and ends in an innovative reality. Taking off from the previous point, it important to test out the desired form of rendering and its easy replicability from the team member’s standpoint before finalizing it as the theme for the presentation. On a larger scale technology for the built structure needs to be tested, establishing an anticipated running time. Both instances are examples of reliable case studies that provide accurate data on processes beyond design.

7. You are not superman.

A single person doesn’t have to create all the design alternatives. Delegating responsibility is often the first step to managing time responsibly. Individual strengths in design hold the key to assembling the best structure on designated time.

8. Digitize beyond design

Just as designers make it a necessity to be on par with the latest design software, they should work with new-age planning programs like Microsoft projects. If nothing else be diligent towards basic Microsoft office programs.

9. Collaborate beyond the I – Me – Myself Approach.

Architects tend to get self-absorbed while processing their labor of love. Instead of demanding, an effort should be made to understand the consultant’s and contractors’ challenges. Accommodate their working style and hurdles for a more efficient and accurate schedule. An independent circadian cycle of site reports coordinates essential updates to the schedule.

10. Account for plan B, C, and D

The option of a scheme just as great as plan A is never contemplated because designers are rigid with their design preference. Anticipating changes due to site conditions provides accurate spacer blocks in the schedule. These blocks are crucial to keep the scheduling error-free

While it is criminal to clock creativity, architecture has to maintain its balance as a subject branching out into both art and science. The science fraction demands statistics and accountability, management schemes thus need to become an integral part of the architecture. By catering to one aspect of time management, you automatically pave the way to better the other. This has several economic benefits for both the project and the individual, it helps the architect gauge the expected expense and he can cater his services to the project accordingly. Primarily this avoids stress from unimportant tangents and all of us can use some of that.

Urvi Pawar
Author

A practicing Architect and an eager activist, Urvi is a staunch believer that architects have a subconscious impact on all the collaborative networks of the society. An underlying sense of responsibility towards this impact governs her practice and commentary.

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