Challenges and Pain Points for Architects
- There are several challenges that architects face as they design buildings. An architect's drive is to design an iconic building. However, finding suitable materials to meet their needs and the client’s needs is challenging for architects. Architects should have the power to efficiently specify the materials used in a building.
- Architects not only design for usability and functionality but also the experience. The current design and material section tools lack descriptions to evaluate the intangible and sensory aspects of the materials when mapped with architectural models.
- The material selection process must be detailed. The typical material section process is based on a collection of standardized performance attributes, and this implies that materials are not selected for materials but the ‘material system.’ By creating an all-inclusive material selection process, architects can use a material selection process that is highly descriptive and avoid ambiguous discussions about the different material aspects between architects and clients.
- In construction, there is a constant struggle between good design and cheap construction. Architects must create more powerful methods of communicating the power of their designs and how they add to the value of the finished building in both quality of life and monetary terms.
- Value engineering aims to strike a balance between cost reduction and maintaining a building's architectural integrity. Over time there has been a notable increase in the cost of building materials globally. All stakeholders must meet and decide how to overcome design issues, find alternative solutions and evaluate pricing options.
Information on challenges faced by architects has been provided in the findings below. The ' Research Strategy ' section below explains any strategies and assumptions used in our research.
- An architect's drive is to design an iconic building. However, they are also responsible for complying with and maintaining building codes. They also accommodate a client’s buying trends based on the housing market. Finding suitable materials to meet their needs and the client’s needs is challenging for architects. This is because they often cannot find the proper data on technical product specifications from manufacturers.
- In a fast-moving society, the delay in product data acquisition is not something architects should accept from manufacturers. The challenge facing architects is making manufacturers understand the need for digitization of product specifications and increasing how fast product samples are delivered. Architects should have the power to efficiently specify the materials used in a building.
Lack of Information
- Architects not only design for usability and functionality but also for the experience. For architects, the materials that shape environments are influenced greatly by the client’s or users’ perception. Therefore, material selection is not only about meeting the client’s material requirements. The appearance of the materials and sensory behavior are equally important.
- Material performance such as compression strength or durability is strongly considered during material selection. Architects also consider sensory stimulation and user experience aspects based on colors and texture. Additionally, the architect could have a specific atmosphere they want to be reflected by the material, such as evoking a feeling of formality in a lawyer’s lobby or trendiness for a lunge bar.
- The current material data sheets and selection tools offer information on the technical properties of the materials and their performance. However, they lack descriptions to evaluate the intangible and sensory aspects of the materials when mapped with architectural models. Even though there are many books about the intangible aspect of materials, the interest is limited to the description of phenomena. There are no clear and comprehensive descriptions of the aspects to improve an architect’s materials selection process.
The Selection Process
- Before investigating the tangible and intangible aspects of materials in architecture, the material selection process must be detailed. The typical material section process is based on a collection of standardized performance attributes, and this implies that materials are not selected for materials but the ‘material system.’
- Limiting the design of structures to systems specification impedes design innovation and opportunities based on materials. There should be a change in the material selection model such that it frames aspects that contain these opportunities. It is important to identify, organize, map, and describe various comprehensively considered aspects during material selection. Through this, it will be possible for architects to use the material selection process and avoid less ambiguous discussions about the different material aspects between architects and clients.
Arguing for good design over cheap construction
- In architecture, there is a constant struggle between low costs and high speeds over the design quality. Developers are always after cost reduction and faster builds to save time and money and increase their profitability. It is, therefore, very challenging for architects to implement their vision based on value engineering and finished projects.
- There is an argument that good design does not cost more, but it adds to the quality of people's lives. Architects must create more powerful methods of communicating the power of their designs and how they add to the value of the finished building in both quality of life and monetary terms.
Dealing with value engineering
- The cost of building materials has increased significantly. The price variations are market-dependent, but there has been a notable increase in the process. This is because clients must learn to cope with higher design costs and builds.
- Value Engineering has placed architects and developers at loggerheads. The increase in material costs coupled with supply chain and inventory constraints has further exacerbated the problem. At its worst, value engineering makes a building cheap. The goal of value engineering is to create value for money. However, if the goal is to lower capital investment, it is easy to strip buildings of their architectural quality and even minimize operational performance rather than enhance it.
- The best value approach must be collaborative between the client, contractor, architect, suppliers, and other stakeholders. Through collaborative efforts, it is possible to identify and solve design issues, find alternative solutions and evaluate different pricing options.
For this research on the challenges architects face, we leveraged the most reputable sources of information available in the public domain, including industry-related websites such as Design Haus, EasyRender, Building, Architizer, and Manobyte, among others.