Architecture industry response to lockdown, Coronavirus Impact Advice, COVID-19, UK architects Survey

Architectural industry response to global lockdown

19 May 2020

UK Architecture Profession response to global lockdown

Survey of 190 UK architects

New “Remote Studio” survey of 190 UK architects conducted by PropTech startup Weaver, reveals that hyper-accelerated digital transformation is leading to unexpected design innovations, cost efficiencies, and more collaborative relationships with clients.

When the government asked architectural studios to work remotely across the country, the industry felt a collective shock. As a trade based on physical sites, building models, and construction teams, going fully remote was not an obvious route to travel for architectural firms.

Following the announcement, PropTech startup Weaver faced a barrage of questions from their architectural customers around what tools are best for remote working. To help educate the industry-at-large, they have undertaken research to identify the technologies being used by the more forward-thinking architects to both survive and thrive as remote studios.

190 leading UK architects responded to the survey. The resulting report, to be published on Tuesday the 19th May, is a surprisingly deep and positive industry snapshot showing how UK architect studios are evolving.

Principal CEO at Jo Cowen ArchitectsJo Cowen, said:

Jo Cowen Architects UK - Architectural industry response to lockdown

“The key thing is really being positive. There is too much panic and doom mongering around and what we need to do is to instill, in our clients, consultants and people around us, a positive approach that this is just a change to normal working practice and a temporary period of uncertainty. We should not perpetuate a doom and gloom sentiment within the industry as we feed off each other and this can only hamper proactivity and the mind set to minimise the impacts in the long term. And what we want to do is really drive ideas and solutions during this time – At JCA it’s about using it as an opportunity. ” 

Principal architect at Studio McleodDuncan Mcleod, said:

Duncan Mcleod architect UK - Architectural industry response to lockdown

“…these restrictions will allow us to expand where we can work – someone might say we want London architects to build new build houses in Cornwall, Devon and the Outer Hebrides – whereas previously a client would have worked with local architects because there’s a sense that we need to be closeby. What I’m hoping is that these accelerated forced moves forward mean that we have the technology to be able to interact with that client and be able to work in a wider field”

Project Architect at Urbanist Architecture, Irkus Altuna, said:

Irkus Altuna Urbanist Architecture UK - Architecture industry response to lockdown

“Since the lockdown, we’ve had to change the way we work with our clients – but we’ve used the tools we have got to make a positive change. Because we are no longer physically standing up and presenting something to them, the interaction has become much more conversational and collaborative. The act of discussing, rather than presenting, has had a massive effect on the engagement of our clients”

The new Remote Studio report created from the findings of the survey,  provides a valuable insight for architects into:

  • The day-to-day of successful remote practices
  • The tools that architects are using to manage daily workflow
  • The technologies – including VR, AR, MR and even drones – firms are embracing to communicate their design visions at a distance
  • How innovative practices are maintaining company cultures and employee wellbeing with technology
  • The positive outcomes and opportunities resulting from the great lockdown experiment

The survey data and interview quotes have been collated and curated into The Remote Studio Report which will be launched to the industry at large on Tuesday 19th May at 08:00. View the embargoed report here: WEB | PDF.

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Notable insights from the Remote Studio survey include:

  • 81 per cent of architects have suffered little to no disruption from the move to remote working. Only 1 per cent were totally unprepared and seriously affected by a move to remote
  • 72 per cent of architects are now using some form of VR, AR or MR to bring design visions to life for clients and contractors.
  • More than a fifth (21 per cent) of all architects said that “Staying focused in a work-at-home environment” was the most difficult aspect of their new working life.
  • There was a collective realisation that interacting with colleagues and clients from the home environment has brought a degree of humanity into our professional relationships that doesn’t exist in offices.
  • 19 per cent of respondents faced technology hiccups. Many discovered the pain of sharing large files at residential wifi speeds, the impracticality of having a physical server in the office with limited VPN connections, or simply, the limitations of working without having space for a second monitor.
  • Firms already using cloud technologies for workflow management, document sharing and communications were those that indicated higher levels of preparedness.
  • 56 per cent of respondents said they’re using Spotify and shared playlists to keep their teams feeling connected.
  • 10 per cent of firms are promoting mental health through providing Headspace and Calm subscriptions to their teams.

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IMPORTANT LINKS

Why Weaver created this report (video)

Survey data 1 | Survey data 2

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Architect Daryl Fitzgerald of Daryl Fitzgerald – Michaelis Boyd:
UK Architect Daryl Fitzgerald - Architecture profession response to lockdown

Dipesh Shah – DS Squared Architects:
Dipesh Shah - DS Squared Architects UK

Architect Rusty Murphy of Studio McLeod
UK Architect Rusty Murphy

Architect Jon Ackroyd – Ackroyd Lowrie:
UK Architect Jon Ackroyd

Architect Markus Nonn – Eight Inc
UK architect Markus Nonn

Architect Richard Gill – Paul Archer Design
Richard Gill Architect UK

ADDITIONAL SURVEY FINDINGS

One of the many objectives of the survey was to provide Weaver’s customers with a list of the tools that remote studios are using. We thought that these survey results might interest your readership.

Top 6 tools adopted by architects in lockdown, by category

Communication tools (used by % of architects)

Zoom51.6%
Microsoft Teams41.1%
Skype27.4%
Google Hangout13.7%
TeamViewer8.4%
Slack6.3%

Brainstorming and creative collaboration (used by % of architects)

Microsoft Whiteboard15.3%
BIM 3607.4%
Miro4.7%
Balsamiq1.1%
Mural1.1%
Other72.1%

Communicating with clients and suppliers  (used by % of architects)

Mixed reality35.8%
VR27.4%
Postal service26.3%
In person with hazmat suits!16.3%
AR8.9%
3D printing2.6%

Project management  (used by % of architects)

Microsoft Onenote13.7%
Trello10.5%
Harvest7.4%
Evernote6.3%
Apple Notes6.3%
Weaver4.7%

Company culture  (used by % of architects)

Spotify58.4%
Strava9.5%
Headspace5.8%
Calm2.1%
15Five1.1%
Kazoo1.1%

Stefan Shaw – Stefan Shaw Studio:
Stefan Shaw Studio UK architects

Taylan Tahir – Mata Architects:
Taylan Tahir - Mata Architects England

Tom Gresford – Gresford Architects:
Tom Gresford - Gresford Architects UK

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ABOUT WEAVER

Founded by two architectural industry professionals in 2017, Weaver is a SaaS marketplace used by architects to source and connect peer-recommended contractors, consultants and specialists for projects. Weaver’s team is obsessively focused on creating software to streamline the daily workflows of architects in the modern studio.

Contact details

Linden Dover

COO and Co-founder of Weaver

Phone: 07951581203

Email: linden@weaver.build

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