SR: What are the current challenges faced by architects and designers in face of the Covid-19 crisis?
It is for us, crucially important, to support our clients in succeeding with their goals so we as an organization can support at the most fundamental level our primary goal; which is the wellbeing of our employees, their families as well as ourselves and our own.
One of the current challenges faced by the design fraternity is the fact that all sites are at a standstill and will, therefore, be months behind schedule when we do return to work post this necessary lockdown.
SR: How is your team handling the work-from-home experience, and what are the challenges coming up?
It is a new experience but as far as design and design detailing, we’ve seen a positive jump in productivity. This is mainly because of the focused time one has with fewer meetings or site visits. However, for the future I see serious challenges; all the details one works on at an architectural and design firm feed into the process of development or more simply construction.
With the sites at a standstill and the added pressure on cash flows with the uncertainty in the market, it will take some time for development firms and projects to get back on track. So, I feel in the short to medium term (3 to 6 months) there will be a lull post which we will see some recovery.
For us, at architectural firms in the short and medium-term, we can and should use the time to get all design-related deliverables complete. That way once markets resume project monitoring can take on a primary role with a design fully complete.
SR: As part of architecture and design firm, how would you ensure a fruitful work-from-home experience for your team?
All our employees are available on call as well as online to answer, attend or deliver to any query, clarification or milestone. We have contacted and set up communication channels with sub-consultants who we lead as LDC's to ensure that there is no loss of time with deliveries both committed and due over the course of the projects.
We are constantly in touch via all communication channels, email, messaging, and calls and ensure that coordination is seamless and constant.
It is crucial to put in place robust reporting formats on daily workflow and keep ourselves motivated.
SR: How have the changes affected the architecture and design industry at the moment?
With the current crisis, the world will go into self-preservation and conservation ... This will extend itself to the Architecture industry as well ... Demand for such services will be hit in both the short and medium-term!
SR: What are the plans after the situation returns to normal?
We have kept all our resources in a state of readiness so we can return to full contact and functioning across all the sites we work on as soon as the government moves to lift the current lockdown. The challenge lies with the uncertainty on how long this lockdown will be. In the absence of the requisite cash flows, one might be forced into rethinking and realigning one's business strategy and goals.