Recently, we issued a survey asking architects, engineers, artists, and contractors to describe some of their pain points regarding collaborative construction processes today. Our hope is that by identifying the biggest issues we face in our industry, we can begin a dialog to find the best solutions. 

We selected a number of answers to these questions and shared them below. Each of the responders had strong insights into what problems our industries face, and what we found may surprise you (including the fact that architects love the color black — who knew?!)

Without further ado, here are the Top 3 Issues Facing Architecture + Design Communities, according to you:

1. Collaborative processes leave much to be desired.

Top 3 Issues Facing Architecture

We saw a number of responses describing how the collaborative systems in place are not yet fully there — and that they need to be.

Here at Zahner, our engineers are constantly investigating the latest tools. We've also discovered that there are some big missing pieces to achieving streamlined collaboration. From our survey, you feel the same way. 

94% of responders were not completely satisfied with the tools available. Several participants expressed the need to include owners, contractors, and key fabricators at the beginning of project, calling for “Bold leadership to combine multiple disciplines.”

Design-assist is needed almost more now than at any time in history, given the complexity and disparate groups that it takes to get a building constructed.

2. Tools for BIM creation and sharing need improvement.

Top 3 Issues Facing Architecture

We need better real-time coordination across platforms.

Respondents expressed significant frustration with current BIM practices. One participant was awake at 2:05 am due to downstream workflow issues! Among solutions offered were several apps, BIM and CAD software you currently use. One general contractor mentioned the tools Procoreand Building Connected were creating quite a bit of success for their business.

Others recognized and knew about Zahner's use of Dassault Systemes 3DX platform. A number of designers mentioned Revit, AutoCAD, Rhino and other well-established tools of the trade. Each discipline should determine what works best, of course, but the key seems to be choosing, and sticking to, a workflow.

We need better "translation" of meaningful data from the designer directly into fabrication.

3. Trust is imperative.

Top 3 Issues Facing Architecture

There is no greater joy for me than to have an owner that trusts me and believes in me.

Much like the process of designing and constructing a building, establishing and maintaining trust takes time and energy. Putting forth efforts to do this, however, pays off. As schedules and budgets are pressed further, knowing all parties will follow through on obligations is enormously important. 

Creating a relationship of mutual respect will ensure a much smoother design and building process and more projects awarded down the road. 

It doesn't matter what project type — the major issue is always money and how it is spent, and it's all about trust. It seems to me that there's more trust between the developer/contractors and owner, while architects struggle to gain the trust of the owner... How do we get this relationship back and earn owner's trust?

The challenges our industry faces effects each of us in different ways. At Zahner, we strive to provide open communication and education, regardless of client status. Through continuing to engage you, our clients and partners, we hope to improve upon the issues that frustrate you. 

And finally, perhaps the most intriguing information of all... a summary of profession and color associations. We asked professionals from each industry, to identify what colors best represented their profession:

Top 3 Issues Facing Architecture

The above chart provides an idea of what professionals associate with the industries that we serve at Zahner. Turns out, architects really do like black! 

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Since 1897, across four generations, the family-owned business of A. Zahner Company has produced highly crafted architectural metalwork for artists and architects around the globe. Throughout the company's history, employees at Zahner have developed advanced metal surfaces and systems for both functional and ornamental architectural forms.

Zahner’s mission is to surpass the expectations of clients by expanding the boundaries of high-quality metal and glass used in art and architecture. The company pushes the levels of technology while providing a worthwhile, challenging, and safe environment for employees and associates.