How Do You Measure?

They say the world is becoming flat. The advent of the internet allowed us to overcome geographical boundaries and limitations.

In the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industries, we see more teams working on a project from different locations. The architect may be designing a museum from the USA, while the project is located in Asia, the engineers including the contractors will perhaps be based in the project location's continent. The average project team member now finds himself/herself collaborating on different time zones, cultural backgrounds, languages, and locations. It is then important to look at three tools that could reshape the way we collaborate, measure the effectiveness of our online marketing campaigns, and essentially do business.

1. Google Docs
While the AEC industries rely heavily on Building Information Modeling (BIM) software for drawing collaborations, some aspects of the building process will require the use of documents, spreadsheets, and forms. Since Google Docs is free and web-based, I see this tool as very useful for start-up companies. In architecture for example, the contract or specification documents can be generated using its word processor. Collaboration and revisions can be made simpler since those in a project team can view and edit simultaneously a specific file, even though they are at different locations. The spreadsheets can be utilized for cost estimating and value engineering process in a project. Again, the ability to work simultaneously on the same file in Google Docs streamlines the process. These tools may or may not be effective in all project types though. However for smaller startup firms, this tool will greatly reduce overhead costs associated with purchasing software productivity tools.

2. Google Analytics

This tool allows you to measure the return-on-investment (ROI) of any marketing campaign you launch online. Most architects or designers have their own websites these days. It serves as an online business card. I've known of some designers who completely abandoned printing business cards altogether and opted to give out a "www.yourcompanyname.com" when asked for a business card. In a way this makes sense since the company website will contain all of the contact information, if not more, about a business. From an environmental standpoint, it also minimizes the need for printing on paper, and thus producing an environmental chain reaction from the lessening of the trees cut to produce the paper and contributing less to landfill when the business card gets obsolete.

Now just because one has created a website it doesn't mean that people are scrambling to go online and click on your website. Creating traffic and measuring the results through optimizing the website will become a useful tool especially if we want to see how our online presence is being perceived by our clients or targetted clients. It will allow us to answer the question whether or not they right clients or audience are actually finding us online. We may have a plethora architectural projects we showcase in a website, however, if this is not seen by potential clients, then it defeats the purpose of having an online presence.


Known as "Hyper Text Markup Language" is the language predominant in webpages. Is it important to know how to write in this language? Yes and no, because its efficiencies lie on how it will be utilized. Images and objects can be embedded in a page to allow for interactive forms. There are other tools these days that streamline the HTML code process to make it more user-friendly for the average person to build an online presence through websites without necessarily being able to write in HTML language. However, knowledge and understanding of this language process, is important to fully utilize its potential in architectural projects.

Architects may not be computer programmers however these three tools are essential elements that could change the way architectural projects will be administered.


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