Many architects believe that adding flair and creativity to construction projects is the beginning and end of their professional obligations. If you are one of these, please think again. You are, indeed, a cog in a complex machine that involves engineers, contractors, and vendors on many levels. Architectural managing partners also sometimes forget that aside from the industrial processes, they cannot escape an intensely competitive environment. They need to address a broad list of things beyond design skills to get a meaningful edge, failing which, the chances are that others will edge the firm from the running.
Your architect’s supply line – the crux of the matter
Satisfying owners, general contractors, and specialty subcontractors in the multi-family, senior living and hotels sectors is a tough call. Here’s a fact of life that you may not be aware of yet. It’s a consideration as necessary as your professional credentials – maybe more so. The project rainmakers expect you to demonstrate a competitive supply line ready to support your core services strategically. They expect you to bring vendors, product categories, and industrial connections with you to the job. The following are good examples of those attached to architectural services:
- HVAC and Lighting equipment
- Flooring materials
- Windows and doors
- Building Glass
- Wall tiles
- Plumbing supplies including faucets
- Cabinets and countertops
This list only touches the surface. There’s also bath fittings, stair treads & risers, vinyl wall base, accessories for all of it, and more. Strategic partnerships with reliable and price competitive participants able to supply and install according to your architectural standards and specifications are colossal differentiators. Anything you can do to save your customer time and money without sacrificing quality bolsters your brand. It creates substantial professional value beyond the design function.
The name of the game in the construction industry today is IPD.
Otherwise known as Integrated Project Delivery, or its close cousin DBO/M (Design – Build – Operate – Maintain). It means that project owners want you to deliver much more than stunning drawings and plans. They urge you to take the primary vendors, installers, and consultants connected to making your design a success, under your wing. In other words, provide a combination of material deliveries and installations that’ll help bring your visualization to a constructed finish. It’s a smart move because it erases a disjointed supply chain (that often gets away from the general contractor) by placing the responsibility in the hands of those closest to the action.
According to the McGraw-Hill Construction SmartMarket Report, two percent of architectural firms in the USA have cottoned onto IPD, and a minuscule 1% onto DBO/M. So the opportunity to take the bull by the horns is wide open. Break free of the herd and get noticed as a leader in every project bid.
Let’s get real for a moment. How many strategic supply chain partners do you have on your side right now? Do you know where to find them, and even then, how to make the connection last? We don’t have all the answers to this construction puzzle, but here are some valuable recommendations that should help:
- Practically speaking, you can’t afford to take your eye off the design ball for too long. As a rule, only settle for vendor and installation partners with a top-class reputation in their respective services and products.
- To save aggravation, try zone in on those that can supply products and install them as a one-stop-shop.
- Choose the range of products carefully and make sure that most relate closely to your architectural delivery.
- Introduce entities as described above, and general contractors and owners will see you in a different light. They’ll be over the moon with happiness if your connections can offer consistently good quality at prices better than the average.
- Finally, spend time building mutual trust with your partners because the inter-dependency is undeniable.
“That’s a tall order,” you say. Yes, we agree. “Impossible?” No, not at all. Do a little homework, and you’ll be amazed at what comes your way.
Global Construction Source – an ideal candidate
Better known as GCSource. This company, as a case study, covers all the crucial bases. Here’s why:
- They think like an architect, so you don’t have to spend much time explaining things.
- They supply vital materials at factory direct prices (up to 54%) and install as an all-inclusive service.
- On both counts, developers and general contractors rave about the GCSource professionalism and quality standards.
- When it comes to multi-family, senior living and hotels, there’s no better partner for a go-getter architect with creative talent.
- It offers enterprise-class products in at least nineteen relevant categories that every architectural design is likely to cover.
- Get GCSource on your team, and you automatically connect to over 500 reliable manufacturers geared to meet the most pedantic architectural needs.
The variety and depth of GCSource’s range are precisely what groundbreaking architects are looking for. The company breaks the traditional mold in every fundamental way because they:
- Don’t rely on only a few manufacturers.
- Reject the notion that discounted pricing stands apart from delivering best-in-class quality.
- See installing their own-sourced materials as the optimal way to ensure a great result.
Owners, engineers, and developers have already noticed the partnership advantages of Architectural services with the GCSource experts in tow. Tying in with them can help you get through the project door without the obstacles of old.