10 reasons to outsource architecture jobs
1. Financial SavingsReduce overall costs of the workplace, including software and hardware, and of employees, with confidence that any potential issues will be resolved in a timely manner.
2. Tax Breakshttp://castleview3d.com/ lifeshouldbe3d/ 2011/11/08/ outsourchttp:// www.butterpaper.com/ vanilla/ comments.php?DiscussionID =744ing- architectural- renderings/ Most Eastern European countries have low corporate tax rates.
3. Access talent and expertiseOutsourcing companies have extensive experience working http://archinect.com/ forum/thread/ 72117/is-outsourcing -of-architectural -design-projects -good-or-badith companies of different levels, and on activities that enable multi-activity analysis, as well as fast problem solving. Outsourcing provides you with the access to a talent pool and the relevant expertise required to complete a specific task.
4. Distribute the workloadOutsourcing contributes to a more equally distributed workload, since the offshore workforce can be hired on-demand.
5. Focus on more competitive tasksOutsourcing allows the company to focus attention on its core business in order to improve efficiency.
6. Share risksOutsourcing allows the company to share any potential risks with its outsourcing partners.
7. Increase business efficiencyOutsourcing to a country on a different time zone enables your company to accomplish twice as much in the same amount of time.
8. Improve serviceThere is no need to waste time and resources training a customer service team when outsourced professionals can do the same tasks for less money.
9. Demand responsibilityOutsourcing companies will be held responsible for poor performance in legally binding contracts.
10. Increase businessOutsourcing will increase company productivity, raise the level of quality, increase profits, and much more. Save up to 60% of your budget
How to Hit the Deadlines: Best Practice for ACE Projects
Building information modeling outsourcing services
“Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a technology that allows for building projects to be drawn in high-quality 2D or 3D, and for the creation of the project design, process and financial documentation using the same software. The main difference between BIM and CAD is the ability to operate simultaneously in the same model by several users from different areas: designers, builders, contractors and architects. Best of all is the possibility to manage a building as a sole object, and to see the real-time impact of changes made in general construction or in the properties of each element of the model.”
AutoCAD was once a huge breakthrough, not only through the automation of routine operations, but also by replacing the lengthy process of paper drawing. Making changes on paper drawings was an arduous task for architects. CAD greatly helped to reduce the effort and time.
Often changes are required not only to the design and technical documents, but also at one of the final stages of development, to all related documents such as the financial calculations, project documents and budgets. In addition to changes, the project manager has to notify all participants, contractors, artists and managers, without losing control of the project.
With BIM technology this is no longer a problem. By working together in a single software environment, the accuracy of the digital building technology allows all participants to:
- save up to 50% of the time it takes to share information, avoid possible errors, speed up the building execution process by 10% to 50%, and effectively reduce costs — a main benefit of BIM implementation;
- model an object of any size or level of detail, and quickly make required changes in order to optimize expenses and reach ergonomic design before the construction stage begins;
- manage objects in a 5D mode: the time required for the superstructures project and its financial calculations is added to a 3D model;
- receive information quickly about all changes, and monitor change history;
- automate preparation of work documentation;
- operate in real time, interacting between each other with high speed.
BIM is not only a design tool, but it is also intended to handle the finished project as a complete unit, one that interacts with the surrounding geological environment, the people, and technology.
In pursuing the goal of integrated management, many companies now do CAD–BIM migration, and shift their portfolios and design documents into BIM.
Projects ready for migrating to BIM consist of several stages:
- selection of the appropriate tools (Autodesk Revit, IES-VE, Graphisoft ArchiCAD, Navisworks Manage, Trimble SketchUp, Tekla, and Bentley Building Designer);
- migration from AutoCAD to Revit;
- laser scanning and measurements of all finished buildings (due to the obsolescence of information in models compared to real plans) if, with the assistance of BIM tools, the structure will be be managed as a single complex in the future.
Migrating CAD to BIM software will help conserve the most important resources in the construction of buildings: time and money. For example, thanks to BIM, at one of the Heathrow Airport terminals in Great Britain, 10% of resources were saved. Industrial companies see to accelerate the implementation of major projects up to 50% thanks to this software.
The most common reasons to outsource BIM:
- No costly investments in IT software;
- No need to recruit, hire, train or lead a team of employees;
- Employees may leave your company during a project. This is a risk that you can mitigate in-house, but it can be completely avoided by outsourcing;
- If you don’t have in-line experience with BIM, which will allow you to take full advantage of it, then outsourcing is the best choice.
4 Strategies to Make Your Architecture Firm More Cost-Efficient
How to evaluate an outsourcing company
Begin by analyzing the potential company’s service standards in order to foresee how this company will handle your business challenges and requests. Inquire about the account management, documentation of all process and procedures, the reporting of all stages, and your access to necessary information.
Make sure you evaluate the tools and technologies that will be integrated into the process, as they may differ from your approach.
Investigate the company’s background and financial health, and the experience of previous customers, in addition to security measures and pricing.
All in all, outsourcing demands the highest levels of confidence and trust between your organization and the outsourcing company. Before you sign any contract, examine your potential partner and gather some evidence of their ability to a perform high-quality service within the time promised.
Legal issues of outsourcing to Estonia
From the outset, it is important to examine taxation in Estonia, as this system may differ from your country. However, you should keep in mind that since there is no double taxation, Estonia is a perfect place to outsource. All tax payments are managed through an automatic online Tax Board, and the country has minimal bureaucracy. Taxes are low and, the system is transparent, all banking transactions are performed electronically. Profits receive deferred taxation, which is an appealing tax incentive for companies. Estonian contract law and the protection of rights, the policies regarding intellectual property meet the requirements of most current international laws.
Estonia has created a very attractive environment for foreign business, without any restrictions and equal rights for all.
For additional information please watch the video below:
Save up to 60% of your budget
Most common risks of outsourcing
The first and important risk is that your company may lose control over the implementation of the outsourced processes. Leaders may lose the connecting thread between management and business practices, and management flexibility could be reduced. Quality may suffer, and shortcomings in performance are possible.
Another potential risk is the security and confidentiality of your business. Some companies are afraid to delegate their business processes to offshore companies for fear of leaks or possible violation of the contractual relationship. A contract may be rather risky too, or more precisely, everything that is left outside the contract can be risky, because anything not covered in the contract will require you to pay for extra charges.
You should also thoroughly check the financial perfornmance of your outsouricng partner, as it may be difficult to know the financial health of a distant company.
How to start outsourcing
First, establish a contact between your company and the outsourcing company.
Next, provide the outsourcing company with a basic understanding of your needs and requirements (include CAD drafting or BIM standards), and you will receive an estimated cost of the potential project. At AOS we apply U.S., UK, and Australian drafting standards upon the client’s request. If you do not have specific standards, we will use the U.S. National CAD Standard (NCS) as adopted by The American Institute of Architects.
Then after approval, proceed to discuss details and sign a mutually agreed-upon contract.
Continue on to the execution of the project, during which you will keep a conversation of reports and feedback on a regular basis to ensure that everything is being done as agreed upon. Finally, your company will receive a completed project, with up to 60% of the project budget saved.
At AOS, we can offer you two ways to begin cooperation:
- We offer trial orders to new customers to help make the decision-making process easier (up to $200, payment due upon delivery).
- Send us an example of already completed drawings, and we will send you a quote and similar drawings by our BIM engineers.
Outsourcing to Asia vs Eastern Europe
Outsourcing to AsiaIndia and South Asia have been the most popular outsourcing destinations for many years. The population is young, with an average of 25-year-old workers who speak English, work around the clock and are willing to please.
However, the market in Asia is large, so choosing the best and most secure company with which to work can be quite a challenge, with risks at every step.
Outsourcing to Eastern Europe
Eastern European countries are now proving themselves in the global economy. A strong system of education prepares a generation of skillful young technicians with a good command of English and a mentality which is much closer to that of Western Europe and America. One of the advantages of the U.S. to Eastern Europe is the time difference, which enables double the work. Western Europe shares a similar time zone to Eastern Europe, which makes frequent communication possible. Eastern Europe may lack quantity, but makes up for it with high quality. Save up to 60% of your budget
Outsourcing architectural drafting and rendering services: advantages and disadvantages
Outsourcing and outstaffing: How to choose the right business model for your architecture firm?In the current global business environment outsourcing and outstaffing has become more popular. Both strategies can be extremely cost efficient if applied properly. These terms are often used synonymously, although there is a great difference between them.
Outsourcing involves handing a particular task, function or business process to a third party on a contractual basis. In this case, the quality of the final product and its conformity to the standards and requirements outlined in the contract are the sole responsibility of the third-party provider. One major pro of outsourcing is risk-sharing: the subcontractor assumes all risks related to the task or function to be completed. On the other hand, if you outsource a task or process you cannot control the contractors directly, and will not be involved in resource planning.
Outstaffing involves hiring people who work for another company; you directly assign them tasks and oversee the implementation. These employees can work either remotely or relocate to work in the office if required. The outstaffing firm provides qualified and skilled personnel, but does not have to ensure the quality of service or output.
The efficiency of the business model depends on the type, scope and time frame of your project.
Architectural CAD drafting and 3D rendering services: To outsource or do in-house?Advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing architectural services
- Risk-sharing — The architecture outsourcing company assumes responsibility for the delivered product.
- Cost efficiency — Architecture, construction and engineering firms normally outsource drafting and rendering services to India, China, Philippines, and Eastern Europe because labor is 3 to 5 times less expensive than the US, Canada, and Western Europe.
- High quality — Most reputable outsourcing firms guarantee a high quality of renders and drawings, and are willing to incorporate all markups and corrections.
- Rush jobs — Your business can be more flexible, and can undertake and complete more projects in a shorter time period without having to hire and employ additional staff to get the job done.
- Business development — If you outsource the most routine and time-consuming tasks such as drafting, your team of architects, engineers and designers can focus on developing new projects, strategic issues, and attracting new clients.
- Capital expenditure / Avoiding additional costs — Architecture and construction support services requires expensive software and skilled specialists, therefore, rather than set up the whole process in-house, it’s more cost effective to hire an outsourcing company for a one-time order.
- Specialized expertise and experience — An outsourcing firm with skilled specialists can save your staff time and resources.
- Lack of control — Architects and drafters cannot be overseen directly; corrections on drawings and/or renders will be made only after you have reviewed them.
- Cultural differences — Perception of the same concept by individuals from different nations may vary.
- Poor language skills — The outsourcing team may have a poor command of English, which may lead to misunderstandings.
- Communication and Time Zone — Rather than being able to discuss an issue in person, you will be required to communicate with the outsourcing company over a great distance and different time zones. While the time zone change may offer some advantages, it may also lead to communication challenges.
- Drafting standards — The architect or drafter may be unfamiliar with drafting standards in your country or company, and may misunderstand your requirements and corrections.
How do you choose the best architectural outsourcing company?A brief checklist:
- Does the architectural outsourcing company have engineers who are familiar with the drafting standards in your country?
- Inquire about the company’s completed projects. Were they completed on time, within budget, and with correct specifications? Did they bring the outsourcing provider and its client to success?
- What do previous clients have to say about the outsourcing company?
- How easy is communication with the sales managers and architects? Do they clearly understand all of your requirements? How long does it take them to respond to your questions?
- Does the outsourcing company use specific software, such as Autodesk Buzzsaw or similar, to help make communication and data management easier?
- What is the time zone difference? Do your working hours coincide with your outsourcing partner’s working hours?
What is the best region in terms of outsourcing?7 REASONS TO OUTSOURCE TO EASTERN EUROPE
- Low prices (inexpensive labor) — Well-educated professionals are available at an extremely competitive price due to the economic slowdown.
- Good command of English, which makes communication quick and easy. According to the EF EPI (English Proficiency Index), Poland, Estonia, Slovenia, and Latvia demonstrate a high level of English proficiency (30% of citizens speak English fluently).
- Time zone difference of 7-12 hours between North America and Eastern Europe (your urgent work can be done overnight while your team sleeps).
- This region is #3 in the world in terms of IT outsourcing (Ukraine is #4 in the world).
- Architects use the newest software to provide high quality drawings, renders, and building information models (BIM).
- Specialists in Eastern Europe are familiar with the US, Canadian, and Australian drafting standards.
- CAD drafting, CAD conversion, MEP, and 3D rendering services are provided in a timely and professional manner.
Outsourcing architectural rendering and drafting projects and construction documentation: good or bad?
Is this statement true for architecture, construction and engineering firms (ACE)? Is outsourcing good or bad? How a company can take advantage of outsourcing? What are the alternative strategies aimed to improve profitability?
Architectural and construction companies normally use different business models to enhance productivity and reach certain KPIs. The chosen strategy should conform to the company’s size, maturity stage, financial performance, and seasonal fluctuations in the amount of projects.
The most common strategies used by architecture firms during growth phases are as follows:
- Work overtime until the project is completed.
- Hire an assistant or intern to do the most time-consuming work.
- Hire an architect through a recruitment agency, on a contractual basis, for a specific project.
- Outsource separate pieces of work to another company.
- Hire a freelancer.
- Set up a branch of the company in a country with cheaper labor and capital.
Each model has its own pros (+) and cons (-):
|Work overtime until the project is completed|
|100% control over operations — the project will be completed by an architect with a proven track record, and the right qualifications for the job.||Overloaded with routine work (like shop drawings), architects do not have time to think about upcoming projects, and cannot focus on more creative ideas, which tend to generate value for the company|
|Hire an assistant or intern to do the most time-consuming work|
|A nice choice for small, fast-growing construction and architecture companies. The assistant’s salary is less than an experienced architect. It’s an excellent opportunity for an assistant to grow with a company, and to hold a key position in a few years.||The assistant will be paid on a regular basis even during slow periods, which can be a problem for a small company. The assistant can improve their skills in drafting, rendering, etc., and then quit to find higher-paid work.|
|Hire an architect through a recruitment agency, on a contractual basis, for a specific project|
|This may be a good plan for a medium-sized company. No time is spent on recruitment. A short-term contract may be used, and the architect will be paid only during the contracted period.||Payment of employee benefits and recruitment agency fees. New employee may not assimilate to the corporate culture or live up to company expectations.|
|Outsource separate pieces of work to another company|
|No need to pay employment taxes or recruitment costs. An architectural outsourcing company only completes specific tasks for the project.||No direct control over the architects; there is a risk of misunderstanding; and time lag between submitting comments and markups, and their implementation.|
|Hire a freelancer|
|This is the quickest way to hire a drafter. After placing an order through an online platform such as Upwork (formerly Elance-oDesk), offers from freelancers will arrive within one to two hours, and the freelancer may be hired immediately without any additional fees.||While expedient, this involves serious risks: the freelancer may overestimate their experience; the quality of services delivered may be poor; or the order may not be completed at all which results in a delay to the project due date.|
|Set up a branch of the company in a country with cheaper labor and capital|
|Possibly the best model for large, fast-growing architectural company which operates globally. Expand the company’s presence globally and cut payroll costs. Direct control over operations in the overseas offices is made through the regional manager. Large or medium sized architecture firms currently follow this strategy. For example, Chapman Taylor has regional offices in Asia (India, Thailand, China) and Eastern Europe (Russia, Poland, Czech Republic). Gensler has nine offices in Asia. Jacobs has more than 20 local offices in India (China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand), and two in Eastern Europe (Poland, Czech Republic). HOK has branches in India and China. Even medium-sized US and UK architectural firms and design studios prefer to set up local offices in Asia (the most popular location is China): Schlaich bergermann und partner, Warner Architecture Studio, Avoid Obvious Architect, John Portman & Associates, SPARK, etc.||Establishing a local branch in another country requires significant capital expenditures. It is necessary to be familiar with the legal, cultural, economic and political environment of the country. The business loses flexibility, whereas the firm has to bear a burden of fixed expenses.|
The issue of outsourcing architectural services is broadly discussed in online media by architects and CEOs of both large and small architecture companies. Some argue that outsourcing is panacea. Outsourcing software and web development services has become commonplace, so why not outsource drafting or rendering using software such as AutoCAD, Archicad, 3D-max, Grasshopper 3D, Rhino 3D, 3ds Max Interior Scene + VRay, Artlantis, Corel Draw, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, SketchUp?
Most of architects agree that architectural outsourcing is becoming more popular, and most architecture, construction and design companies HAVE TO outsource to remain competitive. It is difficult to compete with a firm whose construction documentation, drawings or visualization projects cost twice as less due to outsourcing. Outsourcing large amounts of documentation to a third-party provider which charges less than local architects and drafters is the best choice in this case.
On the other hand, outsourcing in architecture is often associated with poor quality.
Architects often complain about the quality of Korean and Indian companies (quotes are taken from several architectural forums):
“We have had colleagues that have become frustrated with outsourcing to India, mainly due to over promising and under delivering! The age old problem!!”http://www. butterpaper.com/ vanilla/ comments.php?DiscussionID=744
“Architectural services are often outsourced but often with poor results. Local architects are more aware of contextual issues and local legislation.
Cheapness is often cited as a reason for using the services of foreign skills. Cheaper is never better, it is value for money that should be sought. ……. For a period, a practice I worked for did outsource some CAD drafting to the Far East. We ended up redoing a lot of the work anyway, so not a very successful experience”.
“I have used Indian based drafting services and even though the cost was much cheaper I was not happy with the service or the finished product and I wouldn’t try it again.”
“The strange (and most predictable) thing about outsourcing to Korea and 3D sweatshops is that they do the bare minimum and get away with it. At first, something looks very good, but the longer you look, the more you realize it’s made by an uncoordinated flock of Koreans profiting on our laziness. I see too much of it in the arch visualization business.”http://castleview3d.com/ lifeshouldbe3d /2011/11/08/ outsourcing-architectural-renderings/
….while getting positive results from cooperation with Chinese architecture firms and Eastern European firms:
“There can be a US-quality rendering for three times lower price, actually. Here you need to look for Eastern Europe (or post-Soviet)”.
“In comparison price-quality, countries of Eastern Europe are leading.
Good knowledge of English and mentality proximity. Besides, the difference in time is pretty small”http://archinect.com/ forum/thread/ 78337/ going-rate-for-a-professional-3d-rendering
The main problem, which prevents the architectural and engineering companies from outsourcing drawings and visualization is the communication process. If you are used to setting tasks and discussing markups to a drafter sitting next to you, it’s quite difficult to outsource these tasks to someone who is far away. At the same time, the majority of outsourcing providers fail to set up effective communication with a short lag time between the request/comment/ markup and the response/ implementation.
“cad monkey production stuff, is usually a pain in the ass unless you’ve worked with outsourcer before. rendering easy”.http://archinect.com/ forum/ thread/ 72117/ is-outsourcing-of-architectural-design-projects-good-or-bad
“Communication was a problem. The first draft would be amazing but making changes was a bumpy process – especially subtle ones”.http://forums. cgarchitect.com/ 75313-interested-outsourcing-3d-architectural-animation-what-questions-should-i-ask.html
We can also take a larger view of the issue: architectural outsourcing is not only about cost-efficiency and the competitiveness of a company, it’s about current trends in the whole industry and the US and European economy. How is outsourcing affecting developing countries? They are growing faster and more prosperous, while U.S. architects and engineers are losing their skills and influence. Assistants’ salaries decrease, and cost-pressures mount.
“We are just losing skills and making ourselves redundant.
When we are no longer in charge of drawings we should just call ourselves architectural design consultants, as perhaps the next generation won’t even know how to draft. On one of our last projects we even used a ‘services consultant coordinator’ consultant, so what the hell do we do ??? Design the portico? But maybe we can outsource that too.”http://www. butterpaper.com/ vanilla/ comments.php?DiscussionID=744
“‘Outsourcing’, that’s a great idea, let’s see, first we outsourced the construction, then we outsourced surveying, then land planning, then landscape design, then civil engineering, then electrical, plumbing, HVAC, wayfinding, graphic design…..may as well get rid of the last thing we do and get back to complaining full time about not make enough money.”http://archinect.com/ forum/ thread/ 72117/ is-outsourcing-of-architectural-design-projects-good-or-bad
“I do not understand this constant pursuit of profit at the expense of the social fabric of this country. Banks, Telcos and now Architecture Firms. But then its just a reflection of our world anyway”.http://www. butterpaper.com/ vanilla/ comments.php?DiscussionID=744
“Why would I hire someone far away from me when there are plenty of qualified people who would do the same thing living only a few miles away. I also feel like the business model is somewhat conflicting with how architecture tends to work. There is enough supply that someone could just hire an intern with a good skill set to do this far cheaper than you’d be offering anyway”.http://archinect.com/ forum/ thread/ 91436289/ what-about-outsourcing -the-architectural- assistan-s-job
So, should you consider handing documentation or visualization projects to an outsourcing company? And if yes, when should you make this decision?
We offer the following criteria to determine whether you need the assistance of a third-party provider:
- Do your architects spend more than 80% of the time working on drafting documentation?
- Does the demand on your services exceed your opportunities? Do you have to turn down new projects due to lack of time and human resources?
- Are there tough cost pressures from your competitors? Does your company lose for bids from new potential clients because your rivals offer the same at a lower price?
- Do you have to buy expensive software for one-of-a-kind projects?
- Do you lack qualified human resources to complete specific tasks?
- Have you just launched an architecture firm and want to improve profitability?
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE PLAIN HONEST TRUTH
With every year outsourcing becomes more and more popular! The best way to approach outsourcing is to look at it objectively, weigh the benefits against the costs of outsourcing before making any judgement on it.
This question was asked on Quora.com and found following opinions:
(we’ve noticed that the opinion is shifting towards)
ETHICAL AND RESPONSIBLE OUTSOURCING MEANS THAT YOU:
- Outsource jobs when you can afford to pay your workers (wherever they are) wages that are fare and commensurate to their skill
- Recognize that some jobs cannot be outsourced and strengthen that part of your business
- Continue to provide the same or even higher quality of products and services even after outsourcing
- Have your outsourced employees and local employees work together as a team. Let them see each other as human beings working together in a business and not competitors fighting over who gets to keep their job.