• Michael Bukowski

Special measures in architect's work during COVID-19 outbreak

Our professional body RIBA ( Royal Institute of British Architects) is advising that due to the outbreak of COVID-19 professional assemblies in relation to promoting the industry should be postponed.

Here at Atelier 41 Architects we fully support RIBA decision, and believe this is the best approach to tackle and fight the disease at this terrible time in as short period as possible. The scientists' opinions are very often divided but in this particular case they are unanimously agreeing that nothing is certain and everyone, every industry should try to help reduce the spread of the disease.

Here at Atelier 41 Architects we believe meetings with clients and perhaps developments that are commencing on sites in near future should also be postponed until further notice. It it has already been announced by Boris Johnson and it is a tough decision but there are ways of running the architectural firm remotely & health of our staff and clients is of paramount importance.

Stay safe and be responsible. Help stop the spread of corona virus #coronavirus #covid19

Stay safe and be responsible.

Help stop the spread of corona virus

As a matter of fact many of our clients have already postponed their projects until further notice. This rises a problem of uncertainty of future of many architectural firms. If this continues for a few more months it may mean that some of us may have to strive for survival and by this article we would like to trigger a positive thinking and encourage other firms to take action, stay responsible but in the same time to stay active and hard working to secure jobs and businesses. Being local architects in London Borough of Barnet which is the most populated borough in London, we believe we can make a positive impact and change our approach and the way architects, architectural designers and technicians work nowadays.

We will try to focus on smaller domestic projects like loft conversions, single storey rear extensions, summer houses as we specialize mainly in this type of architectural design and we believe changes might start in this sector of architecture first.

There are many applications allowing us to carry out meetings online, the most popular are Skype, Whatsapp, Zoom and Google hangouts which let us communicate exactly the same way as if we were physically in the meeting which both save time, money and keep us away from the madness of today's world. Lets embark on a new on-line era and give an example to other professionals in our industry like structural engineers, M&E engineer's, Quantity Surveyors and many more.

Moreover whenever the site visit would be required the client can be asked to provide only general dimensions of the property with accompanying photographs and sometimes even estate agents plans are in place so this information should be sufficient to produce survey of existing building and then to take it further to preparation of the proposal. Although in normal circumstances it would be not recommended, we believe an experienced architect like us can easily finalize a full set of planning and building regulations drawings without being on site and seeing the property in a real life.

Furthermore, most of us are working in a computer software that allows us produce 3D drawings which are such a great help when it comes to explaining the design to a client. Why not take it even further and prepare 3D Panoramas that can be viewed on every computer and will allow for looking at the design from every possible angle. Applications like "Enscape" or "Lumion" let us visualize such panoramas quickly and effortlessly.

When it comes to submission of projects, this, can of course be submitted on-line via Planning Portal, whether it is for Planning permission or Building Regulations application.

We also encourage all the firms to become paperless when it comes to signing the documents, contracts and printing the drawings, that will contribute to limiting emission of CO2 and also make our work more efficient.

Whilst the above proposals may seem like a substantial re-structuring the way the current architectural firms work they will surely make a positive contribution to the society in the months to come and will pay off when the situation in the market finally stabilizes.

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