Wednesday, October 24, 2012

AEC Architects/Engineers: What IS your MRT?

In technology, response time is how long a system or functional unit takes to react to a given input. It gets similarly defined in medicine and military industries too.

What about the AEC?

There are traditional, contract-regulated response-requirements set for many actions needed to be performed by various AEC-project participants (comments, approvals, claims, RFIs etc.) – yet no form of an MRT comes up ever as something architects would boast about.

When questioned about it, they are often illusive and if very hard-pressed, they’d most likely emphasise the ‘quality’ aspect of their service over ‘reaction speed’.

In fact, it is viewed as a bit of a ‘dirty concept’ to expect instantaneous updating of all documents following a design change.

As recently as yesterday, a consultant looked at me genuinely surprised that I expected from him rapidly coordinated architectural and structural drawings following client initiated changes to numerous floor levels within the project.

I wonder if the same person gets to change  his travel arrangements on line these days or would stroll down to a travel agent who hand-fills  out a form and posts it to the airline company to request an amended date for the traveller? Three days or a week later…

How often does he transfer money wirelessly without considering how these types of needs were met not that long ago?

Does he ever ponder over in what way supermarket-chains adjust their products shelf prices daily?

Digital, ‘Model-based documentation’ is of course, the answer for those architects/engineers that DO want to improve their ‘response-time’ without compromising on quality or taking on additional risks.

Well informed and resourceful practitioners are those that can also differentiate between fragmented 2D (CAD) drawing processes, over-constrained and hard to manage modelling approaches and flexible, alert, proactive-yet reactive methodologies.

In the current AEC markets there is no place for sluggish, lethargic players.
It is time for all consultants to lift their game and improve on their MRT!



  1. It seems the AEC market is one of the last where it is acceptable to be sluggish and lethargic.

    As long as there are some of us who think this is unacceptable, then maybe we will see change sooner rather than later.


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