There are 30,000 architects in the United Kingdom. In my previous role as Chief Architect for a large and successful property developer, I came across many architectural practices wanting desperately to offer their services to us. It seemed to me that they could be broadly grouped into four categories:
A : exceptionally creative and exceptionally good at communicating.
B : exceptionally creative and not so good at communicating.
C : not so creative and not so good at communicating
D : not so creative but are exceptionally good at communicating
The type As are obviously the most successful and the type Cs are not so successful. But if you are a group C you will no doubt be far more successful that a group B, even though group B are the most creative. Unfortunately I found that the group Bs and Cs did not like to hear the reasons why they did not win the commissions, which included:
- Not following the brief
- Not answering phone calls or emails
- Turning up more than 2 hours late to a meeting
- Bringing five members of staff to a meeting without checking with the client first
- Giving an unprepared presentation and hoping it will be OK on the day
- Knowing you can’t meet the deadline but not informing the client
So for all group B architects – yes, you are exceptionally creative but you are not being recognized for your talents!
Well, it need not be that way. There are many opinions voiced on various forums whenever there is a discussion about ‘The business side of Architecture” and there is often a very negative response from the group B architects, who appear to think that they are ‘a little bit above all of that’ whilst at the same time wondering why clients are not beating a path to their super sleek designer office.
Well hello group B, time to recognize that there is no longer any excuse for your behavior. This is the information age! It has never been easier communicate your ideas and design concepts. We have so many fantastic tools and technologies at our disposal – you just need to put some effort in to using them.
At Bluepencil Designs we have always used 3D illustrations from the very earliest stage in the design process. Quick 3D sketches (or Sketch-up files) can be sent to client who can view them on ipad, iphone or online, using free downloadable viewing technology software. They can navigate through the models and make comments on them ‘live’ in ‘real time’ whilst talking to us through video calls. Most importantly of all, though, is the fact they are fully engaged in the design process and can understand exactly what we are proposing. We communicate frequently with our clients and pride ourselves on a very fast response time, giving them what they want before they even want it.
Good communication is the number one key to business success and if you run an architectural practice, you run a business. Some architects don’t seem to have made that connection.