Outsourcing / Off-shoring
Architects Outsource all the time.
These are some benefits.
The issue of outsourcing to offshore companies is mostly an emotional issue. Feelings and beliefs aren't debatable. The reason to offshore is economic. There isn't much to debate there either. It simply saves money. But there are other benefits, too.
Architects have been outsourcing for at least a hundred years. By this I mean using consultants for engineering design, for interior design, for landscape design, for renderings, for signage, for 3D digital models.
We were contacted by a firm based in Lithuania back in the early 2000s. They were offering to do digital 3D work and rendered images for about 25% of the 'normal' price. They had a British manager that made communications easy. We found ourselves in the position of being able to offer this type of service on almost every project because of the low cost.
For a number of years I investigated ways to outsource detailing and drafting tasks as well. Here is what I learned.
When I started working for a local college making office modifications and expanding toilet facilities, I was all set to try out what I had learned. The year before, when I was searching for an offshore company to do some 3D work, I found a firm with experience with US architects. I engaged this Indian firm to do drafting for $10/hr (2008-2012 timeframe).
An example of the detailed instructions is at the bottom of this post.
This proved very effective for creating CAD drawings of the original hand drafted building floor plans. The cost was usually about $100 per floor.
Once I had a base sheet that matched our needs, I usually asked them to create layers containing electric and HVAC existing work that would come into play with the remodeling.
Next came a series of other steps to complete the construction documents.
The point of all these steps is to eliminate as much potential for revisions as possible. The reason for that isn't to minimize the Offshore Drafter's time, but to eliminate your time in finding and conveying the revisions that are needed.
During this process, which I repeated about six times, it began to dawn on me that this process shouldn't be confined to working with offshore drafters. I should be doing this for all projects including the ones that are done 100% in-house. So I began working on developing all the tasks that would be needed, especially the sequence in which they should be completed to minimize rework. This proved to be the major benefit of learning to outsource basic drafting.
The result of this major process for project management is described in Trello-PM, an ebook. It uses Trello as the tool for managing the process.
Trello is free. Get an account and then copy my system into your account.
Most of the ebook has been published in this blog, just search for Trello-PM.
Or, purchase the ebook.
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