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Consider implementing a 4-day work week in your architecture-design business – What technology for success?

4 day work week
4 Day Work Week for Better Productivity

The concept of a four-day workweek has become a hot topic amongst many architects, with many arguing for increased productivity and work-life balance. Depending on who you talk to, four-day working weeks have manifold benefits. Some studies have concluded that working fewer hours per week can increase productivity, reduce carbon footprints, and redress the work-life balance. 

In the UK, campaigning group 4 Day Week Global and think tank Autonomy is halfway through a 12-month a trial to determine whether a shortened working week can improve productivity, efficiency, and happier employees. More than 70 firms are participating in the trial, which is also conducted in countries like the US, Ireland, and Australia. In the UK, 95% of firms participating report that their productivity has either stayed the same or increased.

The technological revolution that is just beginning to hit the AEC industry has the potential to lift profitability for firm owners dramatically—and in doing so, raise compensation for architects. To get there, firms need a better strategic vision of harnessing these technologies to make the design process more efficient.

Architects and the entire AEC industry have been on a solid run over the past several years. Since the construction recovery began in 2011, spending on construction projects nationally has increased by almost 10 percent per year. As a result, payrolls at architecture firms have increased by about 4.5 percent annually. As a profession, architecture is almost back to where it was when the Great Recession began in 2008. 

Emerging Technologies and Improvements in Productivity Gains

While there still is some debate about whether design software has made architects more productive, increasing productivity in service industries like architecture is challenging. Technology may improve the quality of the service provided (better building designs) but not the quantity provided (more building designs). For architecture, like many service industries, quality is often difficult to measure.

Still, several new technologies currently being developed and applied could dramatically affect the productivity of architects, including:

  • Virtual reality, augmented reality, and real-time rendering: to visualize, test, and validate designs;
  • 3D printing: for design models and, potentially, on-site production of construction products;
  • Big data and predictive modeling: to monitor consumer behavior, construction processes, and project history;
  • The InternetInternet of things, including sensors that generate data: to control systems and monitor behavior; and
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning: to develop best practices and prototypes.

Augmented and Virtual Reality in Architecture-Design

The development and breakthroughs of augmented and virtual reality have significantly transformed many industries in recent years. Construction and architecture need to catch up, as the introduction of these technologies is being seen in significant changes in design, modeling, and construction. VR and AR transform CAD models into photorealistic renderings and augmented reality scenes. This is tremendously useful for architects, allowing them to get 3D building models off the screen and into the real world in record time.

Turnaround times are accelerated, and the design process is streamlined because all project members can access virtual models instantly.

Using 3D software in Architecture-Design

The many advantages of 3D printing begin by using the right 3D software. Whether you use ArchiCAD or Revit, many programs dedicated to architecture offer great toolsets. Even if you plan on something other than 3D printing, these programs can help you visualize projects for yourself and your customers. You can produce a photorealistic rendering and do and re-do your 3D models until it matches your expectations. 

Thanks to this advanced software, you can turn any ideas into detailed models and designs. Moreover, 3D modeling software using the Cloud will allow you to optimize your team’s collaboration and communication. Your work will be accessible to anybody, and you’ll all be able to work on the same model.

Big data in Architecture-Design business

Big data have become an integral part of various research fields due to the rapid advancements in the digital technologies available for dealing with data. The construction industry is no exception and has seen a spike in the data being generated due to the introduction of various digital disruptive technologies. However, despite the availability of data and the introduction of such technologies, the construction industry needs to catch up in harnessing big data. This paper critically explores literature published since 2010 to identify the data trends and how the construction industry can benefit from big data. The presence of tools such as computer-aided drawing (CAD) and building information modeling (BIM) provides an excellent opportunity for researchers in the construction industry to improve further how infrastructure can be developed, monitored, or enhanced in the future. The gaps in the existing research data have been explored. A detailed analysis was carried out to identify how extensive data analysis and storage work is relevant to the construction industry. Big data engineering (BDE) and statistics are crucial to integrating big data technology in construction. This study suggests that while the existing research studies have set the stage for improving big data research, incorporating the associated digital technologies into the construction industry could be clearer. Among the future opportunities, big data research into construction safety, site management, heritage conservation, project waste minimization, and quality improvements are key areas.

IoT in Architecture and Design

The purpose of architecture is to serve people and make day-to-day life more manageable. IoT in architecture lies at the heart of various systems that link, monitor, and regulate our data. They can provide solutions in many fields of both design and practice. Below you can find the top applications of IoT in architecture and design. First, data-aided design refers to systems that receive data to generate a response. This capacity of data-aided design opens up tremendous possibilities for real-time interaction between users and the surrounding environment. This concept incorporates public installations that provide virtual models to interpret the environment. Several data-aided structures have been constructed to enable a public intervention to analyze emotional language in real-time from Twitter and project it back to the installation through colorful displays. Or some other structures connect over the Internet and respond to a combination of visitors’ presence and environmental factors by a wave of luminous fibers. 

Artificial Intelligence and Architecture

Artificial Intelligence and architecture will come together to solve housing challenges, how we live, and cities. About 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas or cities. By 2050, that figure is estimated to rise to 68%. Experts expect a dramatic upswing in cities, which will cause countless megacities to form around the globe. Artificial intelligence will smartly enable architecture to open the gates to smart homes, which are complex living & data-driven spaces. Parametric, kinetic design and complex volumes that are highly efficient and not just cubes/cuboids will be the new normal. AI will significantly impact space planning, design, construction, and project management, reduce waste, integrate sustainable strategies, and help homes contribute to efficient smart cities.

Whether you’ve already started planning on introducing a 4-day workweek model to your architecture firm, think about the productivity software you’re using first. It is crucial to start planning in advance, and the combination of the right tools is the key to productivity challenges for your business. 

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