17 September 2021

The Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) recently released their inaugural 2021 Client Feedback Report titled, Stronger Insights for Stronger Practices. The report provides insights into what clients value about working with architects and what architectural practices can do to improve service delivery and win new business. Applying our NBS lens to the report, we were excited to see insights relating to the importance of accurate specifications, the use of digital tools by architectural practices to improve design and construction processes, and the value clients place on collaboration with architects. These are our key take-aways. 

Accurate specifications and documentation is crucial

Contrary to some assumptions, the specification documentation is important to clients of architecture practices. Alongside clear and practical documentation, it's one of the top five factors of design assessment. This highlights the need for practices to ensure their specification writing process is collaborative, efficient and minimises risk. NBS Chorus allows practices to achieve this in a cloud-based software solution.

Emerging construction technologies need to be adopted

When asked to judge factors of importance regarding service and relationship expectations, a vast majority of respondents ranked BIM capabilities as being important. This is significant because according to the Office of the NSW Building Commissioner, 48% of designers in NSW are only at a basic stage of digitalisation. The report suggests that practices should prioritise the adoption of technology to attract new business, especially those working on larger projects like class 2 buildings in NSW. As the table below shows, over 90% of clients believe it is somewhat important that their architect “offers a range of digital capabilities (BIM) that assists collaboration with my trades.” 

Collaboration is key

Collaboration is a major theme throughout the report with over 70% of respondents rating the ability of a firm to collaborate as extremely important. The report states that, “with the increasing complexity of the design and build processes, in addition to the project hierarchy presented by specialised professionals employed on the client-side, architectural practices are required to show leadership by being a productive part of the project team - adapting to different ways of working and communication requirements.”
Adoption of new technologies like BIM, digital twins and the golden thread also came through as important to clients with larger projects. The AIA identified potential quick wins for practices who can show thought leadership and expertise in these areas.

What Clients Are Saying

Quotes from respondents included in the report give an insight into what they're looking for from practices, and why they require BIM technology.

“(We require) BIM, proper construction documentation, planning expertise, value engineering.”

“(We require) high-level 3d modelling to help client, authorities and other stakeholders understand design development is critical.”  

How NBS can help architects act on these insights.

At NBS, our mission is to connect information for everyone involved in the design and construction of the built environment. We were excited to see the findings of the AIA report because it highlights the need for architects to improve their collaboration, documentation and uptake of emerging construction technologies. NBS provides architects with digital tools that improve the accuracy of their specifications, allow them to collaborate with stakeholders, reduce their risk and save them valuable time. To find out more about our cloud-based specification platform NBS Chorus and our connected building product database NBS Source, get in touch with us and book a demo today.

This report was created by the Australian Institute of Architects in collaboration with the Royal Institute of British Architects and published in partnership with Lysaght.