With opportunities so plentiful there has never been a better time to be an architect. Yet the last twelve months has turned up a few challenges along with the opportunities.
Despite an upturn in the industry I still feel the effects of suppressed fees when I speak to those in industry. The value in what architects do is still often being overlooked and over-servicing is still a day-to-day battle.
In tackling these issues I have learnt much about the opportunities and challenges that faced the architecture industry in the last twelve months.
Yet, in the thick of it all, four lessons in particular stand out:
The path to prosperity is not always straightforward
2015 brought an abundance of opportunities to our door, but we learnt that not all opportunities are created equal.
If architects took on every piece of new business they could then have found out the hard way that it pays to pick and choose.
What I suggest to Architects that I work with is to refer to your business data to identify only the most lucrative projects and clients and focus only on them. 2016 as a result is likely to be a more prosperous year.
A good team is hard to find
In 2014 there were three times the number of architectural jobs advertised compared to the year before. There's a skills shortage out there and finding the right expertise has become more difficult as a result.
For architectural firms struggling to resource projects, it can help to use a resource planning system to get a grip of the talent you already have. With a more optimised workforce, it's possible you already have who you need on board - a huge money saver.
Get it right from the start or risk everything
Facing the disappointment of a failed project can lead to despair. With that in mind, all architects should make a resolution to improve planning efforts in 2016.
Your enterprise resource planning system (ERP) will help you to draw on past data as a means of building an accurate and achievable picture of the projects you have ahead of you, before they've started.
Proposals and planning reports will then offer a true indication of what's to come and make it easier to stay on track.
Bad habits hit where it hurts
With 26% of billable hours lost across the architect and engineering sector, it's likely that many architectural firms will want to prevent poor time recording from hitting their bottom line.
Investing in mobile compatible tools will simplify the captue of critical data from your workforce and keep track of their time on the move. Retrieving these hours will mean an instant increase to your revenue and could give you the capital you need in 2016 to realise aspirations of growth and prosperity.
A sound technological system can make a huge impact on an operational level, but it's important not to underestimate its significance on a broader scale.
If you want to know more about technology and the part it can play in your firm's growth, then look out for our next blog that takes a look at what's ahead for the architecture industry in the coming year.
Or, take action now: Read our latest Snapshot Report for Architecture, which takes into account a spectrum of news and views from the sector and sums up the issues and challenges facing the industry today.