Cause and Effect: Survival of Architectural Firm in Current Situation of a Pandemic

A graduate in Architecture from Sushant school of Art and Architecture and a Master's in Construction Management from City University of London, Aayush has handled prestigious architectural projects in London and is now practicing in India with an aim to introduce global best practices in architecture in his country

As all the nations suffer from Covid-19, almost every industry is affected by the pandemic. Worldwide, entrepreneurs are experiencing huge losses and difficulty in sustaining momentum of the business. However, it is comparatively easier for the architecture and design industry to stay afloat in this pandemic. This is because most of the designing projects are done on software which are easily accessible from anywhere in the world with the use of technology and hardware such as computers and laptops.

However, on the other hand, few things have changed like, the medium of collaborations has gone online, flexible working hours are being implemented, and team and client meetings are done online. Although, this is the 'new normal' experienced in this industry, this has led us to be digitally more active than ever and it might help us in the future to increase productivity and speed of work.

This lockdown has had some positive effects too, most of the people are experiencing better productivity, creative and innovative ideas, better solutions for clients, business strategies and policies, learning new things through various webinars and more importantly a better focus on physical and mental health as well, which is important in the long run.

However, the problem that the industry is facing currently is that the construction sites have come to a halt. Architects and designers are directly affected by it, as only the designing and innovation can be done on software but the implementation has to be on site, which are closed right now. There are no new possibilities of businesses, the clients are taking longer to fix the design, hence a lot of changes during the design stage. Moreover, the clients are not willing to pay as there is no work on the construction site and the firm's still have to pay their fixed costs.

Industry professionals are still following a disciplined process of early morning meetings, discussions with clients, communication with suppliers and contractors, but the only difference is that the medium of communication as it is wholly shifted to the digital world.

There is a section of professionals who believe that productivity has decreased due to work from home, but from architects and designers point of view, it is believed that the quality of work has increased as there is less pressure of work from clients, office travel time and contractors to meet the given deadlines. Employees are taking their time to come up with great ideas, perfect solutions and best designs.

Personally, as an architectural and design firm, we have connected better with more suppliers than usual during the lockdown because the online meetings are crisp and to the point. Everyone is punctual and you spend less time than the usual face to face meetings as it is time saving and convenient.

In conclusion, this pandemic has provided us with an opportunity to explore new concepts for the buildings. But this is all a matter of time as we need to get these ideas and concepts to reality and this will only be possible once the construction resumes and everything is back to the 'new normal'. Surely the economics of the firms have taken a blow and everyone will take time to recover. But we should also try and make the best of this time and learn and explore as much as possible.