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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Global Design: The Architect’s Dilemma

"While the recession still rages in the A/E/C industry, there is a bright spot, which is the amount of international work currently being undertaken by U.S.-based design firms. Over the past 10 years, the fee volume of overseas projects has grown by a compound rate of 30 percent per year. More than $1.5 billion in design fees are now earned on foreign projects, and for some firms this can be as high as 30 percent to 40 percent of their total revenue. International contracts greatly extend the influence of U.S.-based architects, providing unique opportunities for collaboration and outsourcing, but there is a hidden cost that poses a significant long-term challenge to the health of the profession.

When working overseas, most architects typically provide only the SD and DD services, with local firms handling the CD and CA phases. Since SD and DD generally represent only 35 percent of the A/E typical fee, this means that the vast majority of the fee volume (65 percent) is reserved for foreign firms, which can often provide those same services at a much lower cost. It follows that an office which is heavily dependent on international work will experience a significant shift in the need for talent — more designers and fewer technical staff. Over time, architects who concentrate primarily on overseas work could well see their technical capability severely eroded. To compound the problem, those doing foreign work often rely on outsourcing to produce models, renderings, and even some of the design documentation... Continue Reading Article..."

Keep them coming DI!!