Technology in a Design Firm Pt. II

Accurate, instantaneous communication and transparency are vital in today’s complex design projects. How can a boutique design firm – like most residential firms – answer these demands?

FEBRUARY 2012 – Project Specific Websites

Recently we found ourselves in a position in which we are working on four projects in varying locations that have extensive construction components. Construction requires drawings, changes, challenges and perpetual communication. Obviously we can’t be everywhere the very minute we are needed.

We create and control the sites. BC ImageThey are private and accessible by invitation only. We define and upload all of the information. The sites include but are certainly not limited to: job site photography, the complete drawing package, building material specifications, furnishings, fabrics, budget analysis, maintenance instructions, contracts, invoices, payments – the options are endless! Any changes are updated immediately and each of the relevant parties is notified via coordinated email alerts. To-do lists and calendars are included as you might imagine.

So far the response is very positive. I am sure with experience we will be able to improve on our current test sites. One challenge that has presented itself is for people using smart phones to access the site – the drawings aren’t large enough to be legible. We don’t have an answer for that yet, but you can be sure we are working on it.

Mach 2014 – Digital Client Sample Files

Digital 1 copyPermanent, accessible and accurate information is key in all industries. Nowhere is this more vital than in a database of existing and proposed elements in a physical environment. Currently, we are planning and testing new ways of documenting these details digitally. Finishes, textiles, flooring, stone, furnishings, accessories, and other important elements will be included along with written specifications.  We are developing  another section that will hold images  of items  under consideration. As always,  we will test these new digital resources on a limited number of our clients prior to offering them more widely.

I encourage each of you to try new ways to use technology to advance your firm. You never know, unless you try, what you have to gain. The future is really yours to imagine – yours to create.

 

-MICHAEL M. MERRILL ASID, NKBA, CID

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