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The Building Industry – The changing Roles, Responsibilities, and Reverse Engineering

Industry Developments
Professional Teams
12/05/15

The Building Industry – The changing Roles, Responsibilities, and Reverse Engineering

The construction industry requires professionals with various skillsets. Constructing a building requires collaboration and cooperation in a huge team. In the past, the architect used to lead the project. He had a thorough understanding of the whole project and possessed both construction and design expertise. In other words, the architect was responsible for construction management. However, the times have changed now, and the traditional architect's role has largely diminished over the last few decades. Today, most residential architects only provide building plans. 

Many clients now question the architect's ability to advise them during the initial stages of the project. They often wonder whether seeking independent advice is a better idea, and this is where a client advisor might come helpful. 

Appointing a client advisor as soon as the project launches will benefit the project in many ways. However, his duties must be clearly defined. The appointment documents should clearly explain what is expected of the advisor at each stage. 

Technology Driven Industry

Now that the technology has become more advanced, many clients are counting on engineering and IT specialists to bring their vision to life. The construction industry can take advantage of information technology in many ways. For example, IT can make project management and the procurement of construction materials easier. There are some managed service providers who support this industry, while smaller construction companies rely on their internal IT department. 

New Role for Client Advisor

These days, the role of the architect is just to create the building envelope plan. Most projects have a client advisor who oversees the entire project and supports the decision making that focuses on the client's business from the ‘what do we want to achieve’ concept stage to post occupation. 

This independent advisor will guide the clients during the initial stages and then protect their interests once a consultant and contractor team have been appointed to deliver the construction project. 

This is particularly important in the case of design and build projects where the client does not have much access to the design consultants. In the case of public projects, the government usually recommends the appointment of Independent Client Advisers (ICA) to provide expert advice to clients and to protect their interests.

The role of a client advisor is different than that of a project manager or the client representative. The project manager is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the project. The client representative manages the project on behalf of the client. 

The Advent of Reverse Engineering

Reverse engineering is the next big thing entering the Tech enabled workplace.  In reverse engineering, the clients requirements are based on their technology and ways of working; the Mechanical and Electrical systems are then designed to support this technology. Finally the architect develops the visual envelope.

Governments have started requiring builders to provide a disposition plan for taking down the structures before issuing business permits. 

In reverse engineering, technology is analysed to understand how it works. This type of analysis allows the individuals to learn about how products and systems operate. Reverse engineering also compresses the time taken to develop products. 

Increased Responsibility of Client Advisors and Retirement of In-House Experts

The role of the client advisor has become even more important in this era of outsourcing. The client advisor plays an important role in ensuring the success of the project using his expertise in design, delivery, and operation processes. 

Generally speaking, client advisors are architects or other professionals working in the construction industry. They need cross sector experience and specialist skills to commission projects and get them constructed and delivered. 

It should be noted that if the client advisor is an experienced architect, he is not the chief architect in these projects. He merely serves as an independent advisor and provides strategic advice and helps clients to accomplish their goals. 

Importance of Going Digital

Digital connectivity plays an important role in making the occupier's business fully functional. Without this connectivity, the occupier will not be able to compete in the global market.

M&E Systems essential for Technology

The end occupier has to understand that they need technology and systems to run their business effectively. They also need to understand the integrated role Mechanical and Electrical systems play in enabling the technology function correctly and to help them win their objectives. 

Technology has revolutionised nearly all industries and made day-to-day operations more efficient and helped the manufacture of high-tech products. Companies that survive in this competitive market are the ones that embrace technological change. 

In order to maintain their competitive advantage, companies should adopt technology that uses M&E systems because they are a long term investment. 

M&E systems make buildings functional, safe, efficient, and comfortable. They include HVAC systems, building control systems, lighting, vertical transportation, drainage and plumbing systems, energy distribution systems etc. 

Wise Allocation of Budgets

The precision of the cost estimate depends on the information that is available when the estimates are made. Cost estimates help in determining the design, control, and bid of the project. The design or bid estimates are used to finance the project.

Proper budgeting is required to ensure the success of the project because under-investment in one area can jeopardise the entire project. The more information is available at the time of cost estimation, the more accurate will the estimates be.

Only by fully understanding the support systems and services required enable operation of the end user technology can these estimates reflect the true cost.