The practice I work for has experienced a quiet period, with projects being paused or dialled down. With billable work accounting for less % of everyone's time, redundancies and reduction in salaries have been muted. The company is otherwise fairly healthy (there is money in the bank) but it's poorly structured and organized in terms of work-flow and resourcing and needs a bit of a reboot. We have invested into REVIT but don't have a great template.etc.

I would like to have suggestions from forum members of how we could utilize this downturn to turn around the practice by getting really efficient systems in place. Revit needs alot of investment/ time is there any 'quick wins'? im also thinking about a series of SOP's etc. but any advice would be welcome. How should an efficient architectural practice work? 

Any AIA links, guidance, or thoughts would be appreciated.  

Dec 8, 23 10:56 am

A few ideas:

1.  Look at the data you have on  past project regarding fees, hours spent, profit / loss.  Try to develop a realistic fee calculation tool to help the firm stay in the red.  

2.  Develop a REVIT template.  This is no small task.  Depending on your experience level with the program this could take several MONTHS.  

3.  If you don't have one create a 'game plan' for each phase of project development.  A simple checklist of what is expected to be done in each phase of a project.  

4.  Compile a database of online resources of manufacturer details that you'd like to use in your firm.  Do the same for case studies on design types.  This could blend into item #2 as you create custom families to use on projects.  

Dec 8, 23 11:46 am  · 
3  · 
Non Sequitur

The more experience you have, the long it takes to make a template. I started at the beginning of covid... and it's still a work in progress.

Dec 8, 23 1:51 pm  · 

Use slow times to do two critical things:

1) work "on the business" - look at your whole workflow and processes. Where are you losing money, inefficient, being slow or wasteful. Figure out how to fix those those things before the "in the business" work demands ramp back up. What really matters for your success and client satisfaction? Are you tracking those things? How can you improve them?

2) invest in building internal value - can you assign underutilized staff to develop new knowledge, expertise, business, products, or other IP? What kind of R&D could you do to create future revenue? For example, during the Downturn, we reassigned idle staff to coming up with better ways to build 4-story apartment buildings (cheaper, less waste, better quality) and also a design-development business plan to use that knowledge to create our own projects.

Most architects (and lots of business people generally) get so busy "in the business" that they neglect working "on the business." Slack time is your opportunity to do that. Don't waste it.

Dec 8, 23 11:50 am  · 

Also, the AIA is useless for real business advice. You need to look elsewhere for that.

Dec 8, 23 11:51 am  · 
1  · 

Here are a couple of books I recommend:

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement - 30th Anniversary Edition

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It

Dec 8, 23 12:45 pm  · 

We painted our office last time we had too much downtime

Dec 8, 23 1:46 pm  · 

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