An Insight into Modern Professional Workflows and Labour Policies
The piece delves into the impact of unionisation and digital platforms on the architecture industry. It explores the role of online project management tools in improving workflow, labour policies, and information exchange, ultimately leading to enhanced efficiency and project management in architectural practices
Transforming the blueprint of architecture, one digital stroke at a time
Recent unionisation of architectural workers has seen an increased spotlight placed on the toxic practices of architectural practice management. So, how do architects effectively organise their workflow,their labour policies, and their information?
In comparison with the past, where communication relied on slow letter correspondence, internet is revolutionary. Just as it did over a decade ago, the emergence of BIM has significantly revolutionised the construction industry by transforming the ways in which individuals work, exchange information, and cooperate. Yet, over the past few years, online project management platforms have become an increasingly prevalent aspect of most professionals’ work. Clarc, Monograph, Total Synergy are typical examples of platforms which serve for project-based industry. These platforms share common features, such as Project Time Sheet and Project Planning, which aptly reflects the main workflows of today’s architects and their allocation of resources.
A timesheet serves as a crucial tool in professional practices as it enables the recording of the time spent by each employee on a project, and time, is closely tied to the project’s progress and client fees. "Filling out timesheets is an indispensable daily task, and its significance consistently emphasized by the design director":
1. To document the work required for a project of a particular size, volume, or type for future reference.
2. To monitor project progress and avoid possible delays, ensuring that human and material resources are allocated efficiently.
3. To precisely calculate staff salaries and project charges at various stages and as evidence of this, supporting the company’s relationships with its employees and clients.
Although, to me the greatest meaning of the data I entered daily into the Timesheet is for me to maintain a comprehensive record of work as an team member, however, the primary use of this data was to support the development of the Project Timeline, which is the main project planning tool for many practices. Project Timeline resembles a horizontally arranged RIBA Plan of Work spreadsheet, used to manage all the company’s projects, subdividing individual tasks, allowing flexible and logical arrangements, and record their completion in real-time, providing a visual representation of the entire project’s.
The Project Timeline together with the data from Time Sheet allows us to easily grasp the entire project from start to finish, including the distribution of staff, working time, and development process and its progress, no matter the time gap. The working process often aligns with the framework of the Design Process provided by NZIA, demonstrating the influence of professional architectural bodies on local practices and their workflows. Furthermore, this reflects my flow of work at school as a student,which started by understanding and interpreting the project brief, conducting site analysis, performing preliminary studies, creating concept designs, then developing, and detailing designs, and finally producing final drawings. The overall content and sequence of work is the same, with the exception of building construction and collaboration with various entities and authorities.
With the workflow organised by professional bodies such as NZIA and RIBA, we see a profession with a diverse range of work. With the help of online project management platforms, architects gain a better control over their time, human resources, physical resources, and information which are all integral parts of project management thus improving the overall performance of the company.