086 087 5174

DKAD Christmas Break 22nd Dec- 5th January 2015- Our Happy Review of an Exhausting Year!

Before retiring to the couch for a fortnight of badly needed sleep, we would like to thank all our clients, contractors and suppliers for their custom, hard work and support throughout 2014. It has been a remarkable year with new opportunities to create great design and some unprecedented challenges.

Our Year in Review:

  1. Entering a Busy Period with a Renewed Emphasis on Design
  2. The National Building Control Debacle
  3. Ongoing Work on DKAD.IE Website
  4. Continuing Building Information Modelling Innovation
  5. Project Management System
  6. Meeting New People and Businesses

2014 saw a real recovery in demand for architectural services enabled by a less austere national budget for 2015 and buoyed by a boom in Dublin house prices. This new demand was welcome, but rather than a “return to business as usual” for the construction industry, the recovery period has been fraught with uncertainty, public debate, new administrative work, cultural change and spiralling professional risk.

Entering a Busy Period with a Renewed Emphasis on Design

DKAD is now experiencing an unprecedented level of interest in our design services, we have designed and secured planning permission for some challenging pieces of architecture in 2014, and in 2015 we hope to complete some truly avant-garde buildings.Our recent clients demand an ever- increasing standard of design; by contrast in 2008 a proper design process was actually considered to be a superfluous cost by many home owners. Now it is widely understood as a the basis for all quality and value in construction. During our first few years in business we found it necessary to convince clients of the benefits of good design, but we have worked hard to market our practice and promote good architecture; now clients seem eager to experience the design service we offer.In 2014 we spent a lot of time on organisational improvements and administrative work, these new systems are now complete and we hope that 2015 will be a year dedicated to inspiring design and not mere paperwork.

The National Building Control Debacle

In March 2014 the new Building Control Amendment Regulations came into effect. This new law was the government\s knee-jerk reaction to the Priory Hall fiasco; it requires all new homes to be inspected and certified by registered professionals according to a rigorous code of practice.For many architects, the upheaval caused by BCAR felt like a savage attack on our already ravaged community. At a time when our profession simply wanted to serve their new clients, begin building again and to earn normal wages for the first time in five years, we were forced to delay many projects, to forego badly needed fee income and to invest massive resources in developing new systems, procedures, internal process-documents and staff training to comply with the new regs.In the public eye the BCAR legislation was seen as an attempt to create an unfair commercial advantage for architects and engineers, while in reality it\s implementation cost every practice tens of thousands of Euro in lost man hours and expenses without creating any new commercial opportunities. Groups such as self-builders were incensed by it and architects are still deeply divided. The construction industry in general regarded it as weak, ineffective and flawed legislation.At DKAD, our attitude to the new Building Control Regulations has been less extreme. We have always believed that all professionals should be accountable for their actions so we were well prepared for the new culture of compliance which BCAR demands. We keep complete files for all our work, we use consistent procedures, and we have been building towards our goal of ISO9001 accreditation since our foundation in 2008. We found the BCAR changeover very time consuming and expensive but relatively straightforward. We had to add many new forms and procedures, but in sharp contrast many architecture offices had to accept the concept of professional accountability for the first time.

Ongoing Work on DKAD.IE Website

We have continued to develop the website to provide information and automated services to our clients and to present opportunities to prospective suppliers and contractors. In the last year we have implemented a number of long-term plans for the website:

  1. Online E-Tendering to our broad base of social media contacts and website subscribers  for any contracts, tasks or jobs we require.
  2. A wide-ranging “Frequently Asked Questions” section to carefully address many detailed issues for our clients
  3. A private members area for clients where they can upload large files, or check on the progress of design work on our internal IT system.
  4. An online payments and accounts system which lets clients pay by any electronic means and view their account information online.

The website has been a long-term project, and we seek to use it as more than an online portfolio; we want it to be a resource people can use when they have questions about construction, and which will help other businesses in construction connect with new customers. Since 2011 we have added new features and information gradually, and our first priority was to create a large resource of content which explained the basic facts of the construction industry to consumers in a clear and impartial way. This work is now complete.In 2015 we plan:

  1. To change the emphasis of the blog and FAQ section to tackle a broader social role: we hope to address current issues for homeowners, to express our views about good design and to address national issues from the architect\s perspective.
  2. To launch a new mobile version of the website
  3. To give clients the facility to post reviews of our work and publicly rate our services.

Continuing Building Information Modelling Innovation

Since early 2013 we have been fully BIM enabled. All new design work has been implemented using Autodesk Revit. We were one of the first practices in Ireland to achieve this. Our clients now benefit from a fast, efficient fully three-dimensional design environment to supplement our traditional architectural design process. This empowers them to visualise their project, engage with the design process and make better strategic plans and budgets using our scheduling tools.In the last year we have continued to develop our BIM templates and systems to provide greater value and faster service to our clients. We enjoy being on the cutting edge of technology in our day-to-day work, and in the coming years our commercial and domestic clients will see major benefits from BIM as related innovations come to market:

  • GPS based setting out of site layouts will speed construction, increase accuracy and help avoid disputes
  • Energy modelling for ongoing building management will become the norm in houses, apartment buildings and commercial spaces.
  • Adoption of BIM by contractors will lead to more efficiency during construction less waste, and lower prices for clients
  • Automated pre-fabrication of buildings and their components will be enabled by BIM data which will have a major impact on costs in commercial house building in Ireland, the UK and throughout the world.

We look forward to helping our clients wreap these rewards from BIM implementation in 2015 and beyond.

Project Management System

The raft of cultural and legislative changes throughout 2014 has created a lot of paperwork and a legal requirement that the paperwork be handled and stored properly. We have decided to turn this into an opportunity for improved client service.We now offer a complete online project management environment to our clients. In 2015 this will allow our clients to:

  1. Visualise the schedule in Gantt charts, calendars and lists
  2. To engage with the design team in a collaborative online environment
  3. To share files and messages securely and to retain all records for future use.
  4. To access their files and collaborative environment from anywhere in the world.

Meeting New People and Businesses

In 2014 we have been delighted to meet more new contacts than ever before, having seen many people leave the industry since 2008 this was undoubtedly the highlight of the year.We look forward to great year in 2015, we would like to wish everyone a happy Christmas and wonderfully prosperous New Year. DK December 2014

Comments are closed.