Outsourcing drafting abroad?


Has anyone done this for American Projects? Just curious...

Jun 20, 16 7:16 am

It is a fucking nightmare. You will have shit can everything and I mean everything they do and start over from scratch. Anyone who has tried it once will never do it again.

Jun 20, 16 8:57 am

Support your local drafters.

Jun 20, 16 9:07 am
x intern
I was responsible for back checking work sent to China overnight for a while. Honestly it took as long to back check and correct their work as just doing it myself
Jun 20, 16 9:29 am

they just bust it out - expedience is the only thing that matters to these people - never let them do Revit work - they are a bunch of stupid idiots

Jun 20, 16 11:51 am

Hit and miss, largely depends on location and who is managing the outsourcing team.

Ranking Asian outsourcing options...

1. Philippines 

2. Malaysia

3. Thailand

4. India

5. China

6. Vietnam

However, a lot of it is based on the ratio of expats to locals. Typically 1 expat for ever 10 locals seems to work best. 

Jun 20, 16 11:28 pm

I once worked on a project that was sent out to be drafted by a firm in India...

They straight up couldn't do it because it required some specialized knowledge, so it basically ended up in front of me and a couple other people for that reason.

You know what they say about if you want something done right... you got to pay for it.

Jun 21, 16 2:36 am


Jun 21, 16 3:35 am

So..let me get this right, a lot of you complain about not getting work in your own country as architects and people hiring "building designers" but are happy to outsource things like drafting to cheaper countries?


Bloody hell mate.

Jun 21, 16 4:01 am

A dip shit only realizes their a dip shit...once they are dipped in shit....

Jun 21, 16 4:04 am
Tried it once, waste of time and money.
Jun 21, 16 9:21 am

It's hard enough to control drafting quality in an office.  I really can't imagine sending it overseas. 

Jun 21, 16 9:34 am

Outsourcing drawings overseas is a terrible and costly idea unless the project is actually located in the country where you're having the drawings done. For a US project, it's an act of pure idiocy and desperation.

A lot of firms do it because they think it will save them time and money. It won't. You'll wind up dedicating a couple of FTEs to full-time coordination and correction, and then you'll have to have drafters back home redraw most of it anyway. Like others above, I say this from personal experience. Not worth it.

Jun 21, 16 11:50 am

Go for it bud....cause I want your clients the next time they go shopping for an Architect, cause they sure as hell will not be going back to you because either their job is a total bust being built if you don't fix all the bloody mistakes or you will be out of business.....Go for it Bud!

Jun 21, 16 2:03 pm

WTF? This turned into a dumpster fire. How dare you start one without me? (LOL)

Jun 21, 16 3:01 pm

Our firm looked into doing this some years back and we decided not to go forward for all the reasons enumerated above.

However, I have had exposure to some very large firms that have opened branch offices in the mid-East or far-East to focus solely on production for state-side work. This allows those firms to take advantage of the lower operating and labor costs available in those parts of the world.

Because they have better managerial control over scheduling, software, process standards, QC, etc. than would be the case in an "outsourced" situation, this seems to have worked out pretty well for them. But, obviously, they require consistently high volume to make this truly economical.

Jun 21, 16 3:34 pm

Branch offices are a totally different animal from hiring an offshore contractor. With a branch office, you can control hiring, culture, and business practices to suit your quality expectations.

Jun 21, 16 4:11 pm
wurdan freo

What quizz said... you need someone over seas managing the quality and output. Same thing as manufacturing. 

Jun 21, 16 5:52 pm

Branch offices in the Middle East? Why, did they want substandard work AND more expensive than the US?

Jun 21, 16 6:34 pm

I was gonna say, labor cost for cad monkeys in the US should be about as cheap as anywhere in the world.

Jun 21, 16 6:46 pm

I do have to somewhat agree with sameolddoctor. Why can't one have their office open for more than just the 9-5 or 8-5 shift. Why not have it open for two or three 8-hour shifts. 

Sure, the night shift doesn't need the receptionist. Say, 8 to 5pm and 5pm to 1am or 2am. 

Or you do 8am-4pm, 4pm-midnight or something. You may have a slight overlap. Why go overseas when you can run more than one shift at the same office location.

The point of branch offices aren't to support the domestic projects of your main office but to support the firm in performing and delivering services in specific regions around the world. Middle east branch office should be used to deal with projects in the middle east. Otherwise, you could hire addition staff to work in the evening or night time hours and have the work ready before the main day shift. It's that simple.

Jun 21, 16 7:22 pm

Because it's a brutal way to work and no one wants to do it, that's why Rick. People might talk about how masochistic the architectural crowd is, but if you think this would go over well you really don't understand them.

It's also only going to make coordination issues worse.


I'm actually with you on the intent of branch offices though. In our industry you should tap them for their locality and expertise if they have any, and that's it. I know rendering firms that run branch offices for non-stop production, but that is a very different industry.

Jun 22, 16 2:50 am

Over the past few years I've been involved in chasing a lot of work in Asia with our US-based clients. They've asked us to do master planning and then of course prefer to have us stay on for the project. When it's time for pricing, even running a skeleton crew in the US, leveraging some of our design in Mexico and after cutting our rates, we'd still be 4x to some fly-by-night operation in India/China/Vietnam. Of course they know the firm at 25% our price is going fail but the firm with the mix of expats managing an army of locals that undercuts us by 15-20% will get the project every time.   

This is what the competition is doing and they make it work. So they'll continue to get more projects as clients keep leaving the US.  

Jun 22, 16 3:49 am

we do outsource renderings a lot and that has been reasonably successful, mostly to China.


Over and OUT

Peter N

Jun 22, 16 1:44 pm

Because it's a brutal way to work and no one wants to do it, that's why Rick. People might talk about how masochistic the architectural crowd is, but if you think this would go over well you really don't understand them.

I'll say you're right.

It's also only going to make coordination issues worse.


I'm actually with you on the intent of branch offices though. In our industry you should tap them for their locality and expertise if they have any, and that's it. I know rendering firms that run branch offices for non-stop production, but that is a very different industry.

I'm with you on use of branch office or other applicable tapping of resources for their locality and expertise. I'm not too critical of rendering since that's just art work. It wasn't uncommon in the days of old for architects to commission an artist to make sketches and renderings for a few bucks (note: not intended to imply an exact price... just a saying and expression). 

Commissioning a rendering is not as dependent except there needs to be clear scheduling of deadlines for work to be delivered. I would usually lean to use resources local to me but I may consider those in other locations where it is appropriate to the project location. 

Jun 22, 16 2:28 pm

balkins you don't know shit

Jun 22, 16 2:37 pm


You know infinitely less than nothing.

Jun 22, 16 2:49 pm

except your mom 

Jun 22, 16 2:50 pm

The rise of AI and subsequent automation will eventually make drafting outsourcing obsolete, among other things. Also, looks like most of the job losses due to automation will occur in the developing countries, not the developed ones.

Jun 23, 16 11:20 am

Adrian, AI drafting is still a long way. We tried a few solutions that didn't come out favourably.

Jun 23, 16 11:32 am

If you are expecting AI to become a productive tool for architecture in your lifetime, expect to die disappointed.

Jun 23, 16 11:59 am

I think in the long run, it will cost just as much plus all the mistakes, redos, headaches, frustations.  We are constantly trying to meet deadlines in our profession.  Imagine if you need to wait a day to contact your outsorced drafter and have them make edits when it could've taken you an hour or two at most to make the changes.

Jun 23, 16 7:58 pm
Ramon Luc

I was just reading another post on outsourcing and stumbled upon this. 

I think all the apprehensions every one of you mentioned isn't uncalled for. I mean duh you are going to be cryptic and skeptic about letting someone else do the work for you up to your standards. 

But there are some credible firms out there I am sure. You just have to find one. Which is a major pain in the ass. I mean how to do judge their work unless and until you have actually run them for a trial right? 

But from my experience, I can say that outsourcing was a pretty good experience. There is a  firm called RSMS Architects based in New Delhi (everyone is pessimistic when it comes to given Indians the work but let's not judge the book by its cover ) and they are really super at what they do.

The best part about these guy is that they never claim something they can't do! Honest and very up front. I think that is why they have had the chance to work with some of the best architects in the US, like ZGF, KMD, Collins Woreman and AECOM to name a few at the least. 

Nov 18, 16 2:03 am

I have also with another an Indian Firm Called Nostri Design Consultants from Delhi. They have a pretty good team for Handling ofshore work on BIM and CAD. They have experience of working with Many International firms Globaly..

Feb 11, 19 7:44 am

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