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Are digital tenders really the future of architecture?

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Using new technologies built specifically for architects to simplify and streamline previously painstaking admin tasks, like managing and analysing tender submissions, can give you back the time you need to spend on the work you value.

Nearly 40% of the UK’s architects work 10 hours of overtime or more every week, and manual tender management has a lot to do with why. The back and forth involved in builder communication – organising site visits, following up on documents, interpreting pricing schedules and so on – is a convoluted process, and can have a significant impact on a studio’s budget and schedule.

 
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Small inconveniences add up, too. Uploading the same file multiple times for each tendering builder, instead of sending it to all of them at once, slows things down significantly.  So does searching for a specific email, rather than knowing exactly where to find it the moment you need it. Even comparing quotations is considerably more difficult when each builder uses their own personal format.

Workflow automation technology for architects has the potential to reset the balance, which is why forward-thinking studios increasingly see digital tools as something which enhance their craft. Tools like digital tendering platforms.

From reminding builders about upcoming deadlines to automatically updating all stakeholder documents, digital tendering platforms manage important and time-intensive tasks on the architect’s behalf. They’re also able to generate tender reports which can help architects compare one builder against another. In fact, thanks to a growing pool of industry data, each tender can be compared against thousands of others for a more in-depth market overview.

 
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While architects can check on a project’s status whenever they like, their role in the tendering process itself is minimal. Their role is limited to sharing information about their project in the first place, responding to automatic message notifications and sending tendering builders their own standardised pricing schedule. So while the platform sends the reminder, the architect who makes it easy to analyse quotes side by side.

That time-intensive tasks are “just part of the job” is no longer a good enough justification for accepting them. In fact, now that new industry-specific automation technology has emerged, there’s not much justification at all. And just as when Dr. Patrick J. Hanratty laid the foundations for CAD with PRONTO back in 1957, the studios who are quick to adopt these digital tools will find themselves outpacing their competitors and reaping the rewards.