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Adopting computers in architectural firms Kiamanesh, Mitra 1992

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ADOPTING COMPUTERS IN ARCHITECTURAL FIRMSbyMITRA KIAMANESHB.Sc. National University of Iran 1978M.Sc. National University of Iran 1980A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ADVANCED STUDIESIN ARCHITECTUREinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESSchool of ArchitectureWe accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAJanuary 1992Mitra Kiamanesh, 1992In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)Department ofArchitectureThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate Feb. 20, 1992DE-6 (2/88)ABSTRACTThis research has explored the status of computerization in architectural firms and theproblems they face in adopting and using computers.The research methodology included both, a literature search and case studiesconsisting of interviews and questionnaires. To gain an in-depth understanding of thestatus of computer use and its related problems, and to benefit from the experienceof current computer owner/users, eleven Vancouver firms which currently usecomputers in their practice, are interviewed.The initial decision to computerize is often based on a group of perceptions from thebenefits of computer use for the practice. This decision is usually rationalized by theneed to remain competitive in the market, to increase the productivity or to respondto client's/project's requirements.The extent of planning for the process of computerization usually depends on the sizeof the practice and scope of computerization. Planning however, is typically short termand problems and needs are addressed as and when they occur.Most architects select their hardware first and then their application software. Thetypical approach at this stage is to rely mainly on in-house resources and to select thesystem mainly according to price.llAbstractThe issues related to implementation and use of the system are usually addressed stageby stage. In attempting successful implementation and computer use, the impact ofmanagement style and staffs attitudes appear to be significant. In most firms there isnot any methods of evaluation to identify and modify the problems and thereforeincrease the effectiveness of computer use in the practice.System expansion is in general due to satisfactory experience, or an initial underestimate of station requirements. This stage is often based on a more realisticunderstanding of both, the firm's requirements and the computers capabilities.The most important observation is that the validity of the advantages ofcomputerization are not examined at the initial stages nor are methods of increasingand achieving them. In addition, revenue increase through the expansion of servicesis seldom considered.Following the research, a series of guidelines are developed for practising architects,suggesting that advance planning can reduce most problems or their impacts. Theseguidelines present some important factors to be considered in the process ofcomputerization were developed. They are structured according to the stages ofcomputerization.TABLE OF CONTENTSABSTRACT 	 iiTABLE OF CONTENTS	 ivLIST OF TABLES 	 viiLIST OF FIGURES	 viiiACKNOWLEDGEMENT 	 ixINTRODUCTION	 1SECTION ARESEARCH METHODOLOGY	 111. Questionnaire and Interview Design 	 132. Sample Selection 	 152.1 	 Method of Selection  	 152.2 	 Criteria for Selection  	 163. 	 Confidentiality 	 16SECTION BPROCESS OF ADOPTING COMPUTERS	211. The Initial Decision Process 	 211.1 	 Perceived Advantages of Computer Systems 	  221.2 	 Reasons for Adopting Computer Aided Techniques 	  242. Selecting the System 	 262.1 	 Searching for a Suitable System 	 272.1.1 Hiring a New Employee to Research and Recommend aSystem 	  292.1.2 Basing the Decision on the Previous Experience of Membersof the Practice 	  292.1.3 Following the Advice of Other Architects or Perceived Trendsof Other Architectural Practices 	  302.1.4 Following the requirements of clients  	 302.1.5 Adopting the Suggestions of Consultants  	 312.1.6 Adopting the Suggestions of Suppliers  	 31ivTable of Contents v2.2 	 Hardware, Application Software Selection 	  312.3 	 Technical Considerations  	 382.3.1 Technical Issues  	 382.3.2 Technical Support  	 392.4 	 Financial Consideration  	 393. Implementation and Integration (Ongoing Use) 	 403.1	Physical Space  	 413.2 	 Organizational Management 	  423.2.1 Management Style 	  433.2.2 System Management	 443.2.3 Human Resources Management 	  463.3 	 Social and Psychological Issues  	 483.3.1 The Staff's Attitude  	 483.3.2 Size of the Firm and Status of Computer Use 	  503.4 	 Educational Issues  	 513.4.1 Suitability of the System  	 533.4.2 Supplier's Training and Support Programs 	  533.4.3 Policy and Tactics of the Firm for Education 	  533.4.4 Impact of the Size of the Practice on Education  	 554. Ongoing Evaluation 	 584.1 	 Effectiveness of Computer Use 	  584.2 	 Efficiency of System Use 	  594.3 	 The Economic Gains 	  604.3.1 Cost Amortization and Economic Gains 	  604.3.2. Increases in the Number and Size of Projects 	  614.3.3 	 Additional Services Provided by the Firm 	  625. 	 Expansion 	 62SECTION CAN OVERVIEW OF THE GUIDELINES 	 641. The Initial Decision to Computerize the Practice 	 652. System Selection and Implementation 	 653. System Implementation and Ongoing Use 	 663.1 	 System Management 	  663.2 	 Human Resources Management 	  673.3 	 Office Procedures 	  673.4 	 Educational Programs 	  674. Evaluation	675. Expansion	686. Making the System Profitable 	 68Table of Contents viSECTION DCONCLUSION 	 701. Process of Computerization 	 70	1.1	 Reasons for Computerization 	  71	1.2 	 Initiating a Computer Strategy  	 71	1.3 	 Factors Affecting Computerization 	  72	1.4 	 System Selection  	73	1.5 	 System Implementation and Use 	  73	1.6 	 Evaluation  	 74	1.7 	 Expansion  	 742. Value of Planning 	 753. Guidelines 	 764. Further Studies	76	BIBLIOGRAPHY 	 78APPENDICESAPPENDIX A 	 82Questionnaire I 	 83Questionnaire II 	 107APPENDIX B 	 129Guidelines 	 130LIST OF TABLESTable 01:	 Process of Adopting Computers	 8Table 02:	 Samples of the Case Study 	 17Type of services and projects, intervieweeTable 03:	 Sample of the Case Study 	 18Size, Status of ComputerizationTable 04:	 Perceived Advantages of Computers	 23Case studyTable 05:	 Application Priorities 	 35National Research Council Survey 1990vuLIST OF FIGURESFigure 01: Penetration of Computer Technology	 3Derived from: Building and Environment 1991Figure 02: 	 Penetration of Computer Technology	 4Research, Case StudyFigure 03: Ratio of Computer Articles	4Derived from: Building and Environment 1991Figure 04: Reasons for Adopting Computers	 25National Research Council, SurveyFigure 05: Preferred Sources of Information	 28National Research Council, SurveyFigure 06: Priorities of Computerized Applications	34Derived from: Progressive Architecture 1987Figure 07: 	 Priorities of Computerized Applications/ according to size	36National Research Council, SurveyFigure 08: Range of Computerized Applications	37National Research Council, SurveyFigure 09: 	 Priorities of Computerized Applications/ independent of the 	 38National Research Council, SurveyFigure 10: Attitudes Towards Training the Staff 	 52Derived from: Progressive Architecture 1987viiiACKNOWLEDGEMENTI would like to express my great appreciation to those firms who generously donatedtheir time to participate in the case study and who provided me with an insight intocomputer use in their practice. For the purpose of confidentiality their names remainanonymous.I would also like to thank my advisors Dr. Raymond J. Cole (University of BritishColumbia, School of Architecture) and Dr. John C. Dill (Simon Fraser University,School of Engineering Science).In addition I am grateful to Mr. William A. Gies from the National ResearchCouncil who gave me regular support and the opportunity to be involved with thesurvey conducted by NRC in 1990.A special thanks also to my friends Ms. Shauna Woolley and Mrs. Joanna Zilsel whohelped me with the editing of my material.ixINTRODUCTIONThis research was initiated to assess reasons for success/failure of computerization in architecturalpractices and to develop realistic methods of adopting computer technology.Changes and innovations in the 'tools' used by architects have traditionally been introducedgradually with little impact on design and management tasks as in for example, the evolution of pentypes. In the past two decades, however, computers have been introduced into, and had significanteffect upon, the profession of architecture. While their penetration into architectural practice andmanagement was initially rather slow, their influence is considerable and rapidly increasing.Unlike other design tools, using computers requires extensive training, changes in the managementand operational structure of firm, and it also challenges the design process.In the early 1970s, when computer technology was introduced to architectural practice, only a fewlarge firms had sufficient resources to experiment with computer use. Adopting computers requireda large capital investment, there were few architectural software applications available on the market,and very few people were familiar with, or skilled in, computer use. Also vendors were mainly sellingsystems to engineers, giving minimal or no consideration to the unique characteristics of architecturalpractice. The technical support required for architectural practices to begin purchasing and usingcomputers was simply not adequate.1Introduction 	 2Computer literature in architecture in the 1970s and early 1980s presented the range of technologyand tried to convince architects of the benefits of computer use.The 1980s became the decade for critically evaluating this new tool and examining its necessity forarchitectural practices. Attitudes towards computerization of architectural practice ranged fromscepticism, and hesitation to tentative acceptance. As microcomputers became less expensive andmore reliable, intereq in computing gradually increased in the broader architectural community, and`paperless' offices seemed an achievable objective. The marketplace has matured, and with this thenumber of products and suppliers has grown and the demand from architectural firms increasedespecially over the past five years (figure 01, 02). Articles on computer use in architecture increasedto about 1% of the whole body of architectural literature (Stevens 1991), (figure 03).A study by Progressive Architecture in 1987, indicated that about 95% of over 900 architectural firmssampled in North America had acquired or planned to acquire computers. The survey conducted inVancouver by the National Research Council of B.C. (NRC) in mid-1990, presented the growth ofcomputer use since 1984 (figure 03), and indicated that about 83% of architectural firms inVancouver are currently using computers in their practice for at least one application.Both surveys indicated a growth in computer use in architectural practice, presented reasons for thisgrowth and documented the range (from administrative to more sophisticated architectural software,such as 3D presentations) and priorities of computer applications. Although the respondentsIntroduction	 3represented those most involved and/or interested in the subject, their responses merit consideration.General surveys of this type however, mainly provide quantitative data and can not accuratelyindicate the status of computer use in architectural firms.Derived from:Building & Environment 19919'. of firms using computer1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998 2000yearsPenetration of Computer TechnologyAmerican Architectural FirmsFigure 01Introduction	 4Source: Research Case Studycomputerized architectural firms121 0864201977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991YearsPenetration of Computer TechnologyVancouver FirmsFigure 02Derived from:Building & Environment 1991Number of computer articles (% of API) 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90YearsComputer ArticlesRatio of Computing ArticlesArchitectural Periodicals1.2Figure 03Introduction 	 5Generally, discussions surrounding computer technology exclude the social and physical context inwhich computers are used. Most writers assume that if a technology is economically beneficial, theneffective and extensive use of the system will be assured (Kish 1991). Stevens, however, addresses theimportance of the social components of technology use in architectural practice, and argues that themajor drive to computerize is a non-economical, social one:"The CAAD movement is a social one, and CAAD therefore carries with it animportant social component. This component incorporates key ideologies or beliefsthat are intended to guide decisions about what computers are good for, how theyshould be used, who should control them, who should have access to them, bowpeople should work with them, and what levels of resources should be invested inthem" (Progressive Architecture, 1991).MEDICI Seminars: In 1982, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada initiated a crosscountry seminar series, MicroElectronic Development In Construction Industry (MEDICI I) tointroduce a wide range of computer applications for the construction industry. The mainobjective of this seminar was to assist architects in overcoming the 'fearful attitudes existingtoward computer technology at the time'. The original MEDICI reached five conclusions:1. Software should form the basis of purchasing a computer system.2. Most architectural work can be performed on a personal desk top computer.3. There is no excuse for stalling implementation. The technology is available and system costsare affordable.4. The computer is most effective when the user is the decision maker.5. Preparation is the key to successful implementation of microelectronic technology.Introduction 	 6In 1985, a second nationwide seminar on 'the Implementation of Microcomputers inArchitectural Practice', presented the issues of system management, steps towardcomputerization, management of change, marketing, management of personnel, using ready-madesoftware, and special applications (MEDICI II).MEDICI II offered a step-by-step model to guide an architectural practice through the perceiveddifficulties of implementing a computer system. This guideline, although general, remains validtoday. There has not, however, been any subsequent program to update the information providedby MEDICI II to assist architects in adopting computers.Whereas computer aided techniques have been readily adopted for specific tasks, the notion ofautomated architectural practices, in which information in a variety of formats is movedelectronically within the firm and between external consultants, is still a distant goal indeed:"The paperless' office has turned out to be 'paperbound, and in mostorganizations the computerization of office work has taken place in preciselythe opposite way to that envisaged: on a personal, piecemeal basis" (Stevens1991).Although surveys suggest that a large proportion of North American architectural firms arecurrently using, or planning to use computers in their practice, architectural applications areoften limited to Computer Aided Drafting, as most firms face problems in introducing designapplications. The question now is not 'whether a system should be purchased' but 'what are theeffective ways of adopting computer technology'.Introduction	 7Contemporary literature such as software reviews (Architectural Record), provide readers witha variety of description. However they are often narrowly focused and lack integrateddescriptions.This research examined the use of computer technology in architecture by interviewing elevenarchitectural firms currently using computers in order to evaluate:. 	 The ways different architects adopted computers in their practice. 	 The current status of computer use in architectural practice. 	 The emerging issues of computer use in architectural practice. 	 The factors leading to successful computer use. 	 The factors leading to failures.	 The ways to achieve effective computerization.Following the research interviews and data analysis, a series of guidelines were developed to assistthe principals of architectural firms to:.	 Develop a plan to acquire computers. 	 Reassess the way they are currently using their system.	 Upgrade and/or increase their computer capabilities.The present study advocates the use of a comprehensive, well planned procedure for adoptingcomputer technology, presenting requirements and potential problems. In presenting the processIntroduction	 8of computerization (table 01), a sequential approach corresponding with the stages of the processand not their importance, is chosen.Table 01A sequential process for adopting computers:THE INITIAL DECISION TOCOMPUTERIZE:The process and criteria upon which to basethe decision to computerize.THE SELECTION PROCESS: The procedure and criteria for the selectionof specific system (hardware and software)THE IMPLEMENTATION ANDINTEGRATION STAGE:Procedure for the implementation of thesystem and the continued process ofoptimizing use.THE EVALUATION PROCESS: The methodology for ongoing evaluation toassure optimal system usage, and to identifyand correct any problems. Ongoingevaluation also facilitate the determining ofany need for change, upgrades, or additionsof software and/or hardware to fulfil thecurrent and anticipated requirements of thepractice as well as expansion of services.THE EXPANSION: Procedures for the expansion ofcomputerized applications, number ofhardware and/or range of current services.Following the research, a series of guidelines (appendix B) were developed to assist practisingarchitects in the process of computerization. In developing the guidelines for this thesis, theMEDICI II seminar (where its suggestions were supported by my own research) was ofconsiderable use. It should be stressed, however, that MEDICI II was not the primary source ofIntroduction	 9information in this study, which seeks to:.	 Update the information that MEDICI II made available in 1985.	 Integrate the experience of those architects who are currently using computers in theirpractice.	 Present important factors of computerization in the order they would usually occur.This thesis is presented in four main sections:Section A. Methodology of research: This section describes the process of research and reasonsfor selecting this approach.Section B. Process of computerization in architectural firms: This section presents the results ofthe research and experience gained through the case studies.Section C. Introduction of the Guidelines: This section summarizes the guidelines (appendix B).Section D. Conclusion: This section summarizes the general findings of the research, andpresents some areas for further research.SECTION A	RESEARCH METHODOLOGY	 111. Questionnaire and Interview Design	 132. Sample Selection	 14	2.1 Method of Selection 	  15	2.2 Criteria for Selection 	  153. Confidentiality	 1610RESEARCH METHODOLOGYThis section describes the research methodology, the reasons for choosing such a method and thecriteria underlying the questionnaire design.Until now, the results of surveys on computer applications in architecture have provided only ageneral understanding of its use. Some surveys, like the one conducted by the NRC, addressed thestatus of computer use in firms, and issues and problems being faced by architects. The results,however, generally only provide statistical data on the proportion of firms currently employingcomputers, the type of application software implemented in these firms, their initial reasons foradopting this technology, and the priorities of application implementation.The previous surveys do to some extent reveal current problems but they do not explore these issuesin depth. For example, when firms were asked about their current computer applications, theirresponses provided only a list of computer applications implemented, and not the extent of their use,nor any specific problems encountered.One of the problems mentioned often by respondents in NRC's survey is in the area of 'training' or`learning'. Although the outcome of inadequate training and learning is the same (ill-equipped usersusing the system ineffectively and inefficiently), failure to distinguish between these terms makes itimpossible to interpret the survey results in a meaningful way. General surveys cannot explore the11Section A: Research Methodology 12cause of a problem and provide mainly quantitative information. Although architects need thespecific data on computer use, they also need assistance in effectively adopting computer technology.This investigation included a series of case studies consisting of detailed questionnaires andinterviews. It was anticipated that the experiences of current computer owners/users could provide:1) a clearer understanding of the status of, and issues regarding, the use of computer-aidedtechnology in architectural firms2) directions for developing realistic recommendations for those: a) interested in introducingcomputer aided techniques to their firm and b) planning to improve the current state of computeruse in their practice.Following issues were instrumental in determining the general emphasis and direction of thisresearch.. Success in the adoption and use of computer systems in an architectural practice is increased bythe use of a comprehensive plan for the 'complete process' (table 01) of computerization. The type and scope of computer use, and associated problems, changes according to the size ofthe firm. Psychological (human) factors affect the computerization process. Successful computer use is associated with the effectiveness of training programs and learningattitudes. Management involvement in the process of computer implementation and use is requiredSection A: Research Methodology 131. Questionnaire and Interview DesignA questionnaire with two formats was used for the interviews. This questionnaire provided theresearcher with the sequence of questions and was filled in by the researcher during the interview(appendix A: I). A modified version was designed to inform interviewees of the sequence of thequestions and the reasons they were asked about each topic (appendix A: II).The five sections of the questionnaire were:Section I. General information about the firm:Past history, size, services, organizational management and the growth of the practice prior toand after adopting computer technology.This preliminary section examines the effect of the size of the practice, and the type and size ofits projects, had on the process of computerization, as well as the impact of computer use.Section H. The process of computerization:The initial reasons for introducing computer technology into the firm, the process ofcomputerization employed, emerging problems and potential solutions.This section examines the different approaches and problems experienced by firms which werecurrently using computers in their practice in order to provide directives from the experience ofcomputer owners/users for those architects planning to acquire or improve their current use ofcomputers.Section A: Research Methodology 14Section III. Outside services used by the firm.This section of the questionnaire was included to examine the different types of outsidecomputerized services used by architectural firms, their reasons for using them, and the benefitsof these services, especially with regard to:1) Replacing in-house computer use, when computer use is mandatory for a project and itspurchase is not otherwise planned.2) Assisting architects in evaluating the benefits and issues of computer-aided techniques, priorto purchasing a system.Section IV. Computers in the future.This section includes the interviewees' anticipation of computer growth in their own firm, as wellas views on the future of computer technology in architectural practice in general, in order toprovide an understanding of the extent of advance planning in architectural firms, and the firms'views on the evolution and penetration of computer technology.Section V. Additional information.Suggestions by current computer owners and users not presented in the previous sections.At the outset of each interview the interviewee was given an overview of the range of topics tobe discussed. They were free to terminate the interview at any time or refrain from discussing anyspecific area, and were encouraged to provide any additional information if so desired.Section A: Research Methodology 152. Sample SelectionThe case study was conducted on firms based in Vancouver, and although one may expect someminor variations in other locations due to social and economic factors, architectural firmstypically face similar issues (regardless of geographical location) in adopting computertechnology.2.1 Method of Selection:A total of eleven firms were selected for interviews:.	 Nine architectural firms providing traditional services.	 One architecture related firm providing non-traditional services.	 One computer consulting firm providing computerized services to architects.Eight of the firms were chosen from the NRC's survey responses, while the other three wereselected according to their reputation for computer use and the type of their services.To collect a range of opinions, it was important to capture the opinions of both theprincipals (as managers) and the users (principals or staff). Therefore, in different firms, oneor both of these groups were interviewed. In small firms, the principal typically plays boththe management and the user roles. In medium and large firms the principals mainlyundertake management roles, while the staff are in charge of system use.Section A: Research Methodology 162.2 Criteria for SelectionThe sample selection was based on the following criteria (table 02, 03):The size of the practice (small, medium or large: from 1 architect to a staff of 86)The type of services provided by the practice. 	 The range of computer applications adopted by the practice (from administrative todesign applications)The type of systems (Intergraph, DOS base, Macintosh) used in the practice.3. ConfidentialityThe interviewees were given the option of partial or complete confidentiality, although little ofthe information collected in the case studies is of a sensitive nature.The research concentrates on the experience of current computer owners/users, and not on thenature of the firm. There was therefore, no specific reason to publish the name of the firms,which are referred to by codes. First letter indicates the size of the firms (S,M,L), the number inthe middle indicates stage of computerization (1=admin, 2=1+ special application, 3= 1+CAD,4=3+CADD or management applic. 5=4+ others), and the last letter refers to the type of thefirm (A= architecture, b= non-traditional services, C= consulting), and last digit individualizesthe codes.Section A: Research Methodology 17Table 02Samples of Case StudiesFIRM KIND PROJECTS INTERVIEWEES 1 A 1 Architecture ResidentialRenovationsChurchesPrincipalS2A2 Architecture ResidentialEnergy Anal.PrincipalM4A3 Architecture ResidentialInstitutionalExt.Care housePrincipalM3A4 Architecture ResidentialCommercialPrincipalCAD OperatorL5A5 Architecture RetailInstitutionalIndustrialPlanningProject Mgnt.System ManagerM3A6 Architecture Multi FamilyHealth CarePublic WorkPrincipalM3A7 Architecture General PrincipalCAD OperatorM5A8 Architecture Water FrontMarket PlaceUrban DesignCAD ManagerM4A9 Architecture Condominium CAD OperatorM2A 10 Programming Programming PrincipalSC11 ComputerConsultantConsultingComputerizedServicesPrincipalSection A: Research Methodology 18Table 03FIRM STAFF SYSTEM APPLICATIONS DATES1Al 1 1 PC Administration 1990S2A2 1 1 PC Administration 1985Energy analysis 1985M4A3 7 4 PC Administration 1990CAD 1990CADD 1990M3A4 5.5 2 PC Administration 1983CAD 1989Modelling 1989L5A5 86 41 PC Administration 1982CAD 1989CADD 1991Presentation 1991Project managementM3A6 18 9 PC Administration 1984CAD 1991Project Management Experimented 1990M3A7 20 8 PC Administration 1989CAD 19893D Presentations 1990M5A8 13 2 PC Administration 1984CAD 1989CADD 1991Presentations 1989M4A9 13 1 PC Administration 1970's1 W. St. CAD 1989CADD 1989M2B lo 8 5 PC Administration 1978Programming 1989SC 11 1+ Administration 1991Computerized Services 1991SECTION BPROCESS OF ADOPTING COMPUTERS	 211. The Initial Decision Process 	 211.1 Perceived Advantages of Computer Systems 	  221.2 Reasons for Adopting Computer Aided Techniques 	 242. Selecting the System 	 262.1 Searching for a Suitable System 	  27	2.1.1 	 Hiring a New Employee to Research and Recommend a System 	  29	2.1.2 	 Basing the Decision on the Previous Experience of Members of thePractice 	  29	2.1.3 	 Following the Advice of Other Architects or Perceived Trends of OtherArchitectural Practices 	  30	2.1.4 	 Following the requirements of clients 	  30	2.1.5 	 Adopting the Suggestions of Consultants 	  31	2.1.6 	 Adopting the Suggestions of Suppliers 	  312.2 Hardware, Application Software Selection 	  312.3 Technical Considerations 	 38	2.3.1 	 Technical Issues 	  38	2.3.2 	 Technical Support 	 392.4 Financial Consideration 	  39193. Implementation and Integration (Ongoing Use)	 403.1 Physical Space 	  413.2 Organizational Management 	  42	3.2.1 	 Management Style 	  43	3.2.2 	 System Management 	  44	3.2.3 	 Human Resources Management 	  463.3 Social and Psychological Issues 	  48	3.3.1 	 The Staff's Attitude 	  48	3.3.2 	 Size of the Firm and Status of Computer Use 	  503.4 Educational Issues 	  51	3.4.1 	 Suitability of the System 	  53	3.4.2 	 Supplier's Training and Support Programs 	  53	3.4.3 	 Policy and Tactics of the Firm for Education 	  53	3.4.4 	 Impact of the Size of the Practice on Education 	  554. Ongoing Evaluation 	 584.1 Effectiveness of Computer Use 	  584.2 Efficiency of System Use 	  594.3 The Economic Gains 	 60	4.3.1 	 Cost Amortization and Economic Gains 	  60	4.3.2. 	 Increases in the Number and Size of Projects 	  61	4.3.3 	 Additional Services Provided by the Firm 	  62	5. Expansion 	 6220PROCESS OF ADOPTING COMPUTERSIn examining the ways that each architectural firm adopts computer technology this research revealssome of the similarities and differences, the issues and problems they have encountered and somesolutions discovered through their experience.The results are presented in the following (sequentially listed) chapters:. The initial decision to computerize. System selection. Implementation and integration. Evaluation. ExpansionThe first two chapters deal with the selection of a suitable system. The next two chapters presentfactors influencing the implementation and optimal realization of the capabilities of the selectedsystem, while the last will discuss the expansion and growth of computer use.1. The Initial Decision ProcessThe perception of the principals (decision makers) regarding the benefits of computers is crucialin any initial purchase decision.21Section B: Process of Adopting Computers 22Often the validity of the initial perceptions are not examined prior to the computer's purchaseand use. This chapter will present factors which contribute to and support the decision to changeto the use of computer-aided techniques in the practice.1.1 Perceived Advantages of Computer SystemsThe main perceived advantage in using computers is the 'productivity increase'. Vendorstypically quote productivity improvements in terms of a productivity ratio of 3.5:1 forarchitectural applications (Stevens 1991). They do not however, elaborate on this claim, andfail to indicate any quantitative measure, measure of comparison, time factor or even theways and the context in which the system is used. They also refer to a productivity increasein architectural applications as a whole without differentiating between specific applications.In most cases neither the validity of the initial perceptions nor ways to accomplish realisticbenefits are examined. When asked, the interviewees admitted that, prior to their personalexperience with computers, they had not explored the potential of productivity increase.Most architects found productivity improvements in administration, and some mentionedthat their productivity had improved in other areas, such as drafting (M3A7), energyanalysis (S2A2), and programming (M2B10). In most cases this improvement was derivedfrom delegating repetitive tasks to the computer.In addition, architects perceive that computers can: be used as a marketing tool, improvethe image and credibility of the firm, provide architects with more time to examine moreSection B: Process of Adopting Computers 23design options, increase accuracy, increase the efficiency of individuals, enable easier changesin drawings, provide better quality output, increase the range of current services, and tightencontract documents (table 04).Table 04Perceived Advantages of Computers / Case StudyPERCEIVED ADVANTAGES FIRM S M LBe used as a marketing tool S1A1 *M4A3 *L5A5 *M3A6 *M3A7 *M5A8 *M4A9 *Improve the image and credibility of the firm S1A1 *M5A8 *Provide more time to examine more design options M4A3 *L5A5 *Increase the efficiency of individuals M3A6 *Enable easier changes in drawings M4A3 *M3A7 *Provide better quality output S1A1 *M3A7 *Increase the range of current services M4A3 *Increase accuracy M4A3 *M3A7 *Tighten contract documents S1A1 *Section B: Process of Adopting Computers 24Failure to distinguish realistic advantages can result in unrealistic expectations of the system andsystem users, causing such problems as:Committing to unrealistic deadlines (overly high expectations)Not utilizing the system's potentials (insufficient expectations).For example, one of the principals of M3A4 often deals with last minute crises, as heoverestimates the speed at which the system will process the final productions.1.2 	 Reasons for Adopting Computer Aided TechniquesThe main reasons mentioned by interviewees as rationales for adopting computer technology are:.	 To increase productivity.	 To improve the quality of drawings/their services.	 To remain competitive in the market place.Other reasons are:.	 Their perceptions of the advantages of computers (M4A3, L5A5)The availability and affordability of systems and application software (S1A1, S2A2)The increasing need to process a large range of information in architectural firms (M2B10,S2A2).This is also consistent with the results of the NRC survey (figure 04).ESSZ=MESZSMI=EISSZSMSZSMS=Section B: Process of Adopting Computers 25Source: National Research CouncilSurvey RoeuIty 1990Reasons:Productivity Improv.Quality ImprovementRemain CompetitiveOthers0 	 20 	 40 	 60 	 80 	 1007: ratio of firmsReasons for Adopting ComputersVancouver Architeetural FirmsFigure 04More recently, additional pressure to adopt computer-based techniques is emerging from:Specific project/client requirements (clients' pressure, M3A6)Staff who have prior experience (staff's pressure, M3A4).	 Vendor promotional pressure which presents computerization as an inevitable step.Stevens argues that most 'reasons' are merely rationalizations:"These justifications portray architectural firms as rational, economic units whosestruggle to survive in a competitive economic environment drives them totechnological innovation. There is considerable evidence to suggest that thesereasons are rationalizations, and that the driving forces behind CAAD are of quitedifferent nature" (Stevens 1991 P/A).Section B: Process of Adopting Computers 26He believes that the main reason for initiating computerization in an architectural firm is toincrease the market share by impressing clients (Stevens 1991). This can be interpreted as theneed to remain competitive in the market.2. Selecting the SystemEven though in recent years computer use has become common in architectural firms, effectivemeans of selecting and adopting computers remain undefined.Most firms tailor the process of computerization individually, according to their own availablehuman and financial resources. Often the process is approached stage by stage without advanceplanning, so problems must be addressed as and when they occur.The extent of the initial planning process varies, particularly between large and small firms, asthe scope and cost of their investments can be markedly different. But most firms rely on 'in-house' judgement during this process and the use of external consultants is rare.Although using the system in a way to realize its 'capabilities' is a very important factor in thesuccess of computer use, selection of a suitable system also affects the extent and success of itsuse in the practice.The next section presents methods of research into and selection of a computer systemundertaken by architectural practices.Section B: Process of Adopting Computers 272.1 Searching for a Suitable SystemIn most cases research into an appropriate system concentrates mainly on comparing differenthardware, with minimal consideration for the unique and specific requirements of the practice.Although architects have traditionally employed consultants for their architectural projects, mostof them tend to select their computer system without using the services of a computer consultantto recommend a system appropriate to their needs. About 40% of the respondents of NRCsurvey were interested in using computer consultant services (figure 05). This approach however,is considered to be too expensive and typically the future savings of this approach are notconsidered. In addition there are not many architecture related computer consultants availablein the market.Similarly, architects often attempt to train themselves to understand the advantages anddisadvantages of different systems. They use different techniques such as participating incomputer presentations by vendors; acquiring information from other architects; or reviewing andexploring related literature such as software reviews and seminars reports. Most of the architectsadmitted in the interviews that the preliminary studies require time and energy and can becomeconfusing and frustrating. Therefore often, they purchase a system, problems ensue, and thesearch for solutions becomes an ongoing task (M3A4).Section B: Process of Adopting Computers 28National Research CouncilSurvey Results 1990Sources of informationExperts' present.Users' presentationsWorkshopsPrinted materialsComputer ConsultantsDemo disksContinuing EducationTrade showsNRCVendors' present.VideosEmployeesOthers0	10	 20 	 30	40	50Number of firms	III First choice 	 ED Not prioritizedPreferred Sources of InformationFigure 05Research for an appropriate system usually involves:METHOD FIRMDelegating an 'in-house' member of the practice to research andrecommend a system.L5A5, M5A8Basing the decision on previous experience of members of thepractice.M4A3,M3A4,M3A7,M4A9,M2B 10Following the advice of other architects or perceived trends of otherarchitectural practices.S1 Al,S2A2,M2B 10Following the requirements of clients M3A6Adopting the suggestions of consultants M3A6Adopting the suggestions of suppliersSection B: Process of Adopting Computers 292.1.1 Hiring a New Employee to Research and Recommend a SystemLarger firms can afford to hire someone to take charge of research, selection,implementation, and integration; and to function later as a system manager (L5A5, M4A9).The related costs are justified by the scope of capital investment in hardware/software andfor training the staff. Mid-size (M3A7) and small firms (S1 Al, S2A2) however, can rarelyafford to go beyond their own staff, or even principals for research and recommendation.For example, in firm L5A5, the principals decided to implement design applications aftertwo years of using computers for the production of working drawings. An architect withcomputer experience was hired to research and select the new systems. The system wasselected according to his suggestions even though the new system is different from the oneused previously.2.1.2 Basing the Decision on the Previous Experience of Members of the PracticePrior to computerization, staff can influence decision-making in two ways:1) pressure from staff lobbying for the acquisition of computers in the practice2) staffs input in the early stages.Typically, both of these influences come mainly from those who are familiar with computertechnology and mainly when the managers themselves are novices (M3A4, M3A7).When management have experience with computer technology, they can reach a moreSection B: Process of Adopting Computers 30suitable decision based on their previous experience, the firm's requirements, and anunderstanding of the short term/long term goals of their practice (M4A3, M4A9, M2B10).Sometimes however, the biases of influential members of a practice will override rationalplanning exercises.Management's own familiarity with certain pieces of hardware or application software may,of course, lead to biases (M4A3), but their involvement and commitment to make the systemwork provides a supportive and encouraging work environment for system users. Inaddition, management's expectations will be based on understanding the system's capabilitiesand, therefore, will be more realistic.2.1.3 Following the Advice of Other Architects or Perceived Trends of OtherArchitectural PracticesMost architects are more comfortable relying on the experiences of those peers who arecurrently using computers in their practice (NRC's). This information is either transferredon an informal basis through their professional network, or in the presentations organizedby vendors or institutions.2.1.4 Following the requirements of clientsThe clients expectation can influence computerization to certain extent. They may requirecomputer use for their projects and/or expect the project data in electronic format for theirfuture uses such as facility management.Section B: Process of Adopting Computers 31In addition, most architects believe that the use of computers has improved both the imageof their practice, and their credibility with clients.2.1.5 Adopting the Suggestions of ConsultantsUsing computer consultants is considered too expensive, especially for smaller firms,although the cost could be justified by future savings. These savings would be the result ofsuitable selection, a well planned implementation, and a less time-consuming process.Some architects consult their engineering consultants in selecting their system (M3A7) eventhough the application software used by the consultants is generally designed for engineeringpurposes.2.1.6 Adopting the Suggestions of SuppliersAlthough architects participate in the presentations organized by suppliers, they tend not torely on the suggestions of suppliers as their prime source of advice. Generally it is perceivedthat the information provided by suppliers although helpful primarily have promotionalintention and may not present all of the facts.2.2 Hardware, Application Software SelectionDespite contemporary wisdom suggesting that the implementation of computers withinarchitectural practice should be preceded by a clear assessment of current and anticipated needsof the firm, and that the firm should seek appropriate application software to fulfil these needs,Section B: Process of Adopting Computers 32most practices initially commit to a particular hardware. Only when a firm is committed to ahardware and has attained a working understanding of it, do the ramifications of this approachbecome apparent. Comparison is mainly between workstations versus PCs, and among PCs, DOSplatforms versus Macintosh. Most architects however purchase PCs for the practice.The most common factors considered prior to selection of hardware are:Familiarity (staff and/or principals) with a particular platform (M4A3, M3A4, M3A7)Initial capital investment required to purchase the hardware (SlA 1, S2A2)Hardware reputation (M3A7, M5A8). Ease of use (M4A3, L5A5)While Software selection is generally dependent on the selected hardware, the priorities ofcomputerized application implementation can vary because of:.	 A specialized task, which will be greatly facilitated by computerization, e.g., energy analysis(S2A2, M2B10)Specific criteria of the project's tender (M3A6)Staff familiarity with certain applications (M4A3, M3A4, M3A7).	 An arbitrary decision to start with a specific application.Computers have applications in most areas of architectural practice: programming, urban design,project administration, project development, marketing, contract documentation, contractadministration and facilities management as well as special applications.Section B: Process of Adopting Computers 33The key decision however, is clearly on whether or not to integrate computers within designdevelopment. The distinction between Computer Aided Drafting and Computer Aided Designremains both ambiguous and contentious in practice. Computer Aided Drafting is defined as theprocess of creating drawings with the help of computers, as distinct from Computer AidedDesign, which is the creation of a building design using computers, entailing a broader range ofgraphic and evaluation capabilities. Although drafting is clearly part of the project developmentprocess, it currently remains a distinct part of the project delivery process. Irrespective of thehighly idiosyncratic nature of design, architects are familiar with the traditional process andtechniques for its execution. By contrast, they are still exploring computer-aided design. Atpresent, computer-aided design is very much one of understanding which aspects of design arebest done manually and which should be automated. This is mentioned by most architects whoare not using CADD applications and even by some current users of these applications (S1A1,S2A22, M3A4, M3A6, M3A7,M5A8).While few firms (M4A3, L5A5, M5A8) use design applications, software generating 3Darchitectural representations is becoming more common. In most cases this is primarily becausethey are excellent marketing tools and impress clients. This attitude appears independent of thesize of the firm. In firms like M4A3, M3A7, M5A8 and L5A5, soon after or prior to masteringtheir CAD applications, and some of their project administration applications, they are eitherinquiring about (M4A3) or actually using (L5A5, M3A7, M5A8) image generating applications.They all indicated that the impact on the client justifies the use of these applications.utweavatwawalaweauvavinUnt\MIMINMIL MN I MUIMIAVOIXOMI7 ■11k 	 A%4111011VRIMM NN AU UNWMILUWSection B: Process of Adopting Computers 34P/A poll results indicate that large and small firms have different priorities in computerizedapplication selection. For smaller firms (1-9) specifications preparation is the most important areaof computer use. The largest firms, however, use computers heavily in drafting and preparingworking drawings, for project and office management, for design and facilities management(Figure 06). These results comply with the results of NRC's survey (table 05, figure 07).Applications:Drafting/working DwgOffice managementSpecificationsProject managementDesignFacility managementDerived from: Progressive ArchitectureRood' rs poll 1987Figure 060	20	40	60	80	100MI Small firms ED Mid—size firms 0 Large firmsPriotities of Computerized ApplicationsAccording fo firms sizeSection B: Process of Adopting Computers 35Table 05Application PrioritiesNational Research Council 1990/ Number of Respondents 37 13 10 9 69# APPLICATION / STAFF 1-5#-%5-10#-%10-20#-%20+#-%TOTAL#-%A Secretarial 21-56 11-84 10-100 9-100 51-73B Accounting 18-48 9-69 9-90 9-100 45-65C Desk Top Publishing 6-16 4-30 6-60 3-33 19-27D Office Management 7-18 3-23 4-40 3-33 17-24E Project Programming 4-10 3-23 6-60 3-33 16-23F Cost Estimating 6-16 2-15 3-30 0-0 11-15G Conceptual Design 3-8 4-30 4-40 4-44 15-21H Presentation 5-13 5-38 4-40 5-55 19-27I Design Development 5-13 2-15 6-6- 7-77 20-28J Electronic Catalogues 2-5 0-0 2-20 1-11 5-7K Working Drawings 7-18 7-53 8-80 8-88 30-43L Project Administration 10-27 2-15 4-40 3-33 19-27M Project Management 7-18 4-30 4-40 3-33 18-26N Communications 4-10 0-0 3-30 0-0 7-100 Facility Management 0-0 1-7 0-0 1-11 2-2P Networking 0-0 1-7 3-30 2-22 6-8Q Others 8-21 1-7 1-10 1-11 11-15R None 10-27 1-7 0-0 0-0 11-15National Research CouncilSurvey Results 1990Applications:SecretarialAccountingWorking DrawingsDesign DevelopmentDesk Top PublishingProgrammingPresentationConceptual DesignProject ManagementProject Admin.Office ManagementNet—workingCost EstimatingCommunicationNoneOthersElectronic CatalogueFacility Management60% firms0	20	40 80	1001-5 staff10-20 staff5-10 staff20+ staffPriorities of Computerized ApplicationsAccording to firms' sizeFigure 07um anwownonutuawaxtutummaxtumwavannutwannumnaumwmawnwaauwanuwannumunumgwaVa MUM RI &WVAM\ MU! kV ■ \NMI A:amtvanummtnonennunwamINawawnwatuwA Ul■. V d N WAV 0:a 	 UMNMUNN WA% VI: U% 1: ' W \: N26. '1Section B: Process of Adopting Computers 37Administrative applications (e.g. word processing, accounting) are the most commonly used(Figure 08). Most architectural practices start the computerization process with these applications(Figure 09). This priority of application implementation may be due to:.	 The wide range and market availability of different administrative applications.	 Administrative applications being more commonly used and improved than architecturalapplications software.	 The productivity increase of adminstration tasks being more tangibleThe lower initial investment, training time and costs of administrative application comparedto architectural applications.	 The greater availability of qualified staff to use administrative software.	 The lack of demand for architects' involvements (no threat to architects).National Research CouncilSurvey Results 1990applications:SecretarialAccountingWorking DrawingsDesign DevelopmentDesk Top PublishingPresentationProject Admin.CommunicationsOffice ManagementProgrammingConceptual DesignCost EstimatingNoneFacility ManagementOthersElectronic CatalogueNet—Working0	20 	 40 	 60	80	100% firmsPange of Computerized ApplicationsVancouver Architectural FirmsFigure 08Section B: Process of Adopting Computers 38National Research CouncilSurvey Recutt 1890Admin.= among 1st50Others 1st. choice3Admin.= 1st. choice45Figure 09Priorities of Application ImplementationIndependent of size2.3 Technical ConsiderationsMany architects, having spent time learning to use system, only then come to realise theimportance of technical factors, such as power. When initially selecting their system, oftenarchitects are not sure of the way they should compare the suitability of different system for theirpractice.2.3.1 Technical IssuesCurrent computer users mentioned the importance of considering the ease of learning anduse (user friendliness); and its power and capabilities to respond to the practice'srequirements .Section B: Process of Adopting Computers 39For example, the principal of M4A3 believes that their hardware is the most appropriatechoice for architectural firms, based on its ease of use which increases its use. In contrast,some architects, like M4A9 and S2C11, pointed out that the less sophisticated systems oftenhave limited capability to allow users to explore and customize their applications, and thatonce users become familiar ( concentrating on what they are doing rather than how it isdone) with a system, its ease of use is not a major consideration although training time fordifferent systems can vary.2.3.2 Technical SupportThe availability of technical support from vendors is rarely considered when comparingdifferent systems. A system's 'down times' and `trouble-shooting' can however, be very timeconsuming and frustrating in the absence of adequate local support. In some situations lackof support causes the loss of information and, therefore, time and money (M3A7).Some firms have selected to purchase an alternative system to reduce the impact of theabsence of local support. Firm M5A8, for example, has strong in-house support (systemmanger and principal). However, as their system does not have any local supplier support,serious problems can become very time consuming and a 'back up system' has beenpurchased to cover the system down-time.2.4 Financial ConsiderationFinancial factors are significant considerations in computer selection. The scale of fmancialSection B: Process of Adopting Computers 40planning varies according to the size of the firm.Financial planning is typically short term and thus cost of implementation, on-going costs, andexpansion expenses are seldom considered (S1A1, S2A2, M3A4, M3A7). For example, firm(M3A4), purchased a number of stations according to their financial capabilities and not theirrequirements. Soon after the system was in use, the need for more stations became apparent. Thedecision to purchase more stations however, was also cost dependent and was delayed byfinancial considerations. so the use of computers was reduced.A more significant observation is that often alternative methods of fmancing and the potentialfor revenue increases generated by computerization are not explored. Among architectsinterviewed, only two indicated that they are evaluating the potential for providing additionalservices in Project Management (M3A7) and Facilities Management (M3A6).3. Implementation and Integration (Ongoing Use)The preliminary planning for computer applications in most firms does not include the issues relatedto implementation and use of the system.Although selecting a system suitable to the practice's requirements affects its successful use, realizingthe capabilities and achieving the benefits of computer use mainly depends on the ways and in thecontext that the system is used. When the system is purchased, the practice confronts new challenges,and so it is important to establish new methods of work.Section B: Process of Adopting Computers 41This chapter will introduce issues that are encountered after the system is purchased:. Physical space requirements.. Organizational management.. Social and psychological issues.. Educational issues.3.1 Physical SpaceThough architects are in the profession of space design, space requirements for computer stationsand users are seldom considered prior to computer purchase.Often computer users work both with computers and in traditional ways, and so need adequatespace for both new and previous equipment as well as ergonomically suitable working space andfurniture.Some architects assume that less space (M3A4, M3A7) and light (M5A8) are necessary for thesystem users and do not provide them sufficient and ergonomically designed space. For example,in M5A8, system users were located in a tight space, far from any windows; the inadequate spaceand lighting could reduce their effective working time and productivity.Even when the system is used to impress clients, and is placed in a prime location for animpressive visual impact (M4A9), the space may still not be designed according to new needs.Section B: Process of Adopting Computers 42In addition, in most cases the work stations are not designed with designated space for disks,back ups, hard copies and other related equipment, which causes difficulty in access toinformation and reduces the speed of work, especially in medium and large firms. For exampleIn M3A7 and M4A9 the users face problems due to lack of an organized space for the currentand back up diskettes, which leads to material being misplaced and occasionally lost.3.2 Organizational ManagementWhile it is generally accepted that management involvement in the process of adopting computersis required, the nature of this involvement is neither clearly defined nor well understood. Somebelieve that senior management must be trained for CAD and understand its limits (McDonald1987), but the importance of management involvement lies in their ability to integrate the newrequirements with the traditional ones.In effectively playing their managerial role, familiarity of architects with computers is useful butmay not be essential. It is mainly Their management capabilities, style, and attitudes whichenhance the success of computerization. In playing twin roles of manager/architect however, theirfamiliarity with computer technology is helpful and even necessary, especially in smaller firms.Organizational management includes:.	 Management style. System management. Human resources managementSection B: Process of Adopting Computers 433.2.1 	 Management StyleManagement style should be responsive to the new situation created by the implementationof computers in the practice. This is mainly influenced by:1) Management's capabilities to perform their managerial tasks2) Management's attitudes and commitment to the success of computer use in theirpractice.Once the system is in place, a new generation of issues are introduced to the practice,requiring the extensive involvement of management in the day-to-day operation of the firm.This involvement must include awareness of different aspects of system implementation anduse and regular evaluation of the progress and problems of implementation and integration.Management should be problem solvers who provide initial and ongoing training andsupport for system users, promote dedication and commitment to system use, reduce humanproblems, expand the realistic potentials of the system, and, create a work environment thatincreases the effectiveness of system use in the firm. There are three different groups amongmanagement:.	 Those familiar with computers.	 Those in the process of learning.	 Those not interested in learning and using computers.Those familiar with computer technology influence the early stages of decision making andare committed to making the system work in their firm (section B: 2.1.2). In M4A3, M4A9Section B: Process of Adopting Computers 44and M2B10, for example, the management had prior experience with computer technology,and as they believed in the benefits of computer use for their practice, they were committedto providing a supportive environment for its use and effectiveness. They also acted astrouble-shooters when required, and reduced the impact of unexpected problems.Most architects, however, belong to the second group, and are exploring, evaluating andlearning computer technology (S1A1, S2A2, M3A4, M3A7, M5A8). The results of thisprocess vary, depending on the method and pace at which management learns, selects, andimplements system use. In small firms this process can be swifter, as the scope of computerapplications is smaller, but in medium and large firms, it can be a prolonged process.Those architects who are not personally interested in computer use often allocate theresponsibility of system selection and management entirely to one of their staff, on whoseabilities the effectiveness of the system rests. Once the system manager moves out of thefirm, new problems may follow (M3A7, M5A8).3.2.2 System ManagementSystem management typically refers to directing and coordinating those matters related tocomputer implementation and use in the firm.In smaller firms, the principal usually functions as the system manager (S1A1, S2A2,M4A3), which reduces the problems of relying upon the system management of a possiblySection B: Process of Adopting Computers 45non permanent staff member.In most middle size practices the system management is unofficially assigned to one or morepersonnel (M3A4, M3A6, M3A7, M5A8, M4A9). These firms often face difficulties becauseof lack of a clear chain of command. Typically, there is no one officially in charge of systemrelated needs and issues such as development and implementation of clear work procedures.Most importantly there is no one officially designated as a `trouble-shooter' (M3A7).In larger practices, an individual is often designated as the system manager/trouble-shooter(L5A5). In these firms usually the scope of computerization, capital investment, and therange of computer use justifies this expense.Typical responsibilities of the system manager are:i. Establishing training programs.Training programs include the initial training, evaluation of educational requirements, andongoing training.ii. Preparation of work procedures.Developing clear work procedures prevents or reduces problems with safety, access toinformation and the system's down times.iii. Standardization.It is necessary to establish standardization for data entry and retrieval, to assure consistencyand easy access to information. This is essential when more than one person is involved withthe projects and system use (M4A9, L5A5). For example, one of the most critical initialSection B: Process of Adopting Computers 46steps in CAD use is setting graphic standards (McDougall 1987). When different people aremanipulating the data, data entry should be standardized to provide a homogeneous finalproduct.iv. Information management.Maintenance of electronic information should be assured by a proper working procedure,including data saving and regular back ups with designated locations for the back up copies.Architects have on occasion lost their data (hours of work) due to lack of back ups (M3A7).Access to information and security of data is especially critical in medium and large firms(M3A6, M3A7)v. System use scheduleSystem use should be scheduled according to the requirements of projects, the system'scapabilities, the availability of computer time and the priority of projects. The systemmanager in L5A5 for example, determines the system schedule in discussion with projectarchitects. The deadlines, importance and requirements of each project determine who haspriority to use the system. The deadline of a project may be delayed, as in M3A4, becauseits principal was not acquainted with his system's time requirements and availability.3.2.3 Human Resources ManagementA common assumption among architects is that less personnel are needed for a computerizedfirm. In fact, in cases such as in M3A7, since computer implementation, the need for staffhas increased, and the firm doubled in size, in only two years. This growth however, couldbe the result of other factors too.Section B: Process of Adopting Computers 47Most architects agree that recruiting staff with previous computer experience has two mainadvantages: 1) it reduces the required time and cost of training, and 2) it provides in-housesupport for the system users. The majority of those interviewed, have chosen to hirepersonnel with previous computer experience (M4A3), often in conjunction with sometraining programs (M3A7). However, there are not many architectural staff with computerexperience available in the market, and even those who are available may not haveexperience with the specific system that is used in the practice. Therefore, engaging qualifiedstaff remains a major problem for most architectural firms.As with other aspects of work, after introducing computers in the firm human resourcesmanagement should incorporate the required changes . Staff are faced with differentproblems when the system is in place and therefore require different types of support.The support and attitude established in the work environment is in large dependent onmanagement style (section B: 3.2.1). Human problems may be reduced or solved byinvolving the staff in the planning and decision making process by developing well definedwork procedures for using the system and manipulating data (M4A3, M2B10), by promotingthe spirit of team work (M3A7), by conflict solving (M5A8, SC11), and most of all byvaluing the staff (M4A9).Section B: Process of Adopting Computers 483.3 Social and Psychological IssuesProbably the most significant issues affecting the adoption and implementation of computers inarchitectural practices are the host of complex human issues associated with the introduction ofnew technologies into an existing work pattern. This important issue is the one least covered bycomputer related architectural literature, and the least explored by architects.Although computer literature in architecture often portrays computerization as simply consistingof tools and equipment, computer technology can only be successfully evaluated in the socialcontext in which it is used (Stevens 1991). The importance of the human issues often onlybecomes apparent to architects during implementation or use, when the attitudes of individualstowards computer technology, their professional status, and social interactions in the firm beginto impact system use.In addition to management style and attitudes, social and psychological components can beinfluenced by:.	 Staff attitudes and social interactions.	 The size of the firm and the status of computer use in the practice.3.3.1 	 The Staff's AttitudeIn some cases the architects and architects-in-training who use computers find themselvesperforming those tasks that were, traditionally, the role of technologists or technicians(M5A8). For example, they function as system operators providing services such as printingSection B: Process of Adopting Computers 49labels for those who are not familiar with computer use (M5A8). They may also facecomments like: "good architects don't use computers" (M5A8) which are products of socialconflicts with those not using the system.On the other hand, most technicians and technologists who use computers benefit from moreinvolvement in the projects than they traditionally would have (M3A6, M3A7), sometimeswith gains in respect and income also (M4A9). They can become involved in the project atthe planning stage, instead of at the stage of design development and working drawingsproduction, as often happens.In some medium and large firms, after the system is in place and in use, social conflictsdevelop in the practice (M5A8). Staff will be grouped into: 1) computer users, 2) those whodo not use the system but agree that it is a required tool for their firm (or architecture), and3) those who do not believe in the benefits of computer technology for their firm or inarchitecture. Tension and conflicting discussions between these groups can develop, whichwould affect the team-spirit traditionally existing in architectural firms.Staff perception (prejudgment) and attitudes towards computer use has different origins:.	 Feeling threatened by technology.If the staff feel that computer use is threatening to their performance (by reducing theirproductivity during the learning period or by changing the quality of their product), orSection B: Process of Adopting Computers 50to their job security, they can develop negative attitudes towards system use..	 Not being sure of their own ability to learn computer use.Fear of learning computer technology often results in a lack of desire to learn or usethe system..	 Previous experience with computers.Those who previously used computers and could not learn their use or did not fmd itresponding to their needs, could develop negative attitudes towards computer use..	 Philosophically against the automation of architecture.This attitude potentially creates social conflicts in the firm. Often those resistingcomputer use either continue to perform in traditional ways or find their professionalcareer in those architectural firms using traditional methods of service delivery. Thegrowth of computer technology in architecture will determine the period of theirsurvival in the market.3.3.2 Size of the Firm and Status of Computer UseSocial conflicts can increase according to the size of the firm and the number of the staff.In small firms, staff typically become involved with the process of computerization from theoutset. More direct communication reduces social conflicts.Section B: Process of Adopting Computers 51In a large firm, individuals are often influenced by the psychology of the work environment,instead of affecting it. Therefore, once a supportive attitude is established for system use, itwill be followed by the present and (especially) new staff (L5A5).Middle size firms typically face more problems than small and large firms (M5A8), as thereare usually sufficient numbers of staff to create social conflicts and often no one is officiallyin charge of system management and problem solving.In addition to the size of the firm, the length of time and extent of computer use in the firmchanges user attitudes. After the system has been in use for a period of time, most of theproblems related to implementation and initial use of the system have been dealt with, andmethods of dealing with most ongoing problems are developed. Therefore, the staff canconcentrate on the use of the system rather than upon system related problems. The requiredtime to achieve this stage varies from one system, and one firm to another. It is typicallyindependent of the size of the practice and is related to the availability and effectiveness oftraining programs; the extent of computer use and problem solving supports.3.4 Educational IssuesArchitects often initially commit to the training of all staff, perhaps due to their urgency to keepup with computer technology and their competitors (figure 10). However they warned against`force feeding computer technology' to the unenthusiastic (P/A poll 1987). Training oftenfollows the implementation of the system in an informal manner. Most architects mentioned the50r 	 40aspo 30nda 	 20nts10Section B: Process of Adopting Computers 52need for a customized training course organized by suppliers, user groups, or institutions (NRC).Learning and training are, as many architects indicated, a major concern and they are bothaffected by effectiveness of educational programs. A supportive environment for 'learning',however, increases the effectiveness of the 'training' program. Learning however, is mainly aproduct of an individual's ability and desire to learn and use the system.Derived from: Progressive Architecture1987How do you foal About training staff?60train all staff	train interested one train junior staff 	 training not worthyMi Owners EMN EmployeesAttitudes Towards Training the StaffOwners, EmployeesFigure 10Section B: Process of Adopting Computers 53In addition to staffs attitudes, other factors that can affect the effectiveness of training are:. Suitability of the system. Supplier's training and support programs.	 Training policy and tactics of the firm.	 Impact of the size of the practice on education.3.4.1 	 Suitability of the SystemWhen a system is selected on the basis of the firm's requirements, it will be more responsivewhile in use (M4A3, M4A9, M2B10). User friendly systems can reduce the time of initialtraining (M4A3), and increase use, but may also provide less capabilities.3.4.2 Supplier's Training and Support ProgramsOften the availability and extent of vendor's training and support programs are notexamined (M3A7, M4A9).3.4.3 Policy and Tactics of the Firm for EducationThe educational program should include initial training and ongoing training andeducational support. It is essential to quickly provide the staff with an organized and welltargeted initial training, followed by ongoing training programs.Section B: Process of Adopting Computers 54In situations where the time for training of the staff and the integration of the electronicworking habits is prolonged:	. 	 The technology is perceived to be difficult to learn (M3A4, M3A7, M5A8)	. 	 The job description of system users gradually becomes that of service personnel(M5A8), to provide computer services to non-usersDivision between the system users and non-users can create social conflict (M5A8,S2C1 1)	. 	 Keeping up with computer technology advancements becomes a difficult if not animpossible task for the practice	.	 Most importantly, the time taken to entrench the system can demoralize workers in thepractice.In addition to training, ongoing educational programs can be established by providing:Support for staff to participate in seminars and computer courses (M3A7)Suppliers manuals and customized in-house guidelines. These include: rules of systemuse, in-house work procedures and standardization	.	 The possibility of a 'hands on' approach to experimenting and learning computer use(M4A3). Very often, in an attempt to minimize the initial investment, extra computersare not purchased, and the available systems are shared between different projects andusers (M3A4). In this case there is little time for novices to explore and learn the system	.	 Vendor's presentations to inform the staff about new developments in computertechnologySection B: Process of Adopting Computers 55.	 An in-house trouble-shooter.This can greatly facilitate the training as well as the effective use of the system. In manycases users are hesitant to explore a system's capabilities because there is no oneavailable to answer their questions (M3A4, M3A7, M5A8). If there is one or more staffmember familiar with the system, staff feel more confident to explore and learn moreabout it (M4A3, L5A5, M4A9, M2B10)In addition, existing pressure to use the system increases the desire of staff to learn anduse computers (M4A3, L5A5). When system use is optional, the learning curve andsystem use decreases (M3A4, M3A7, M5A8).3.4.4 Impact of the Size of the Practice on EducationThe size of the firm can influence the extent of training programs, their results and to someextent the learning attitudes.i.	 Small practices:Advantages of small firms are:.	 As the extent of computer application implementation is small, less new informationhave to be absorbed by users.	 Usually the extent and type of computer applications implementation is less threateningto architects.	 There are less personnel and more direct communication which provide more possibilitySection B: Process of Adopting Computers 56for information exchange	.	 Direct involvement of the principals as users will promote efficient training, and createa reliable source for trouble-shooting.The problems however, could be:	.	 More tasks are allocated to less people, resulting in less time available for learning andexploring the system (S I Al).Smaller projects, like individual residential, provide fewer opportunities for the users toexplore the system potentials and applications.	.	 Users are exposed to a limited variety of projects and so fewer system abilities will bediscovered	.	 There are fewer personnel, resulting in less expertise and exchange of opinion	.	 The limited budget of the practice does not allow much financial support for thetraining of staff.ii. Middle size practice:Typical advantages of size in middle size firms are:. The scope and number of the projects are more than in small firms and thereforepresent a greater challenge for system users to explore and experiment	.	 There are more resources available to finance the training program and to assign anindividual to system management	.	 The level of the initial investment, the scale of the projects, and the number of staff maySection B: Process of Adopting Computers 57justify a customized training program (in-house or external)There are more personnel in the practice who can interact to provide a variety ofopinions and new ideas.Disadvantages could be:.	 The impact of an inadequate training program on a larger staff.	 Architects using the system may be under-utilised by performing simple tasks such asprinting labels.iii. Large firms:In most cases the large practices have an advantage with regard to the training process. Oncemanagement is committed to the success of the system and is convinced of the importanceof training is a major role player:. 	 Initial training is provided on a more formal basis. 	 Adequate resources exist to assign an individual to system management who canundertake the organization of training programs. 	 The expenses for an in-house and/or external training program is both affordable andjustifiable. 	 Learning the system can become a requirement for the staff. 	 More information resources available to the users. 	 Suppliers are inclined to provide better services for large firms.. 	 A larger range of projects leading to a wide range of system capabilities.Section B: Process of Adopting Computers 58The problems could be:Training a large number of staff could be more difficult than training few people.	 A system problem has a greater potential to escalate.4. Ongoing EvaluationMost discussions of computers in architecture focus on their initial introduction, and the transitionfrom traditional to automated techniques. In most cases regular and clearly defined evaluationmethods are not in place. Typically, architects did not have any method ongoing, or otherwise, ofevaluation for effectiveness, efficiency, or economy of system use.It is important to distinguish evaluation from control, for once evaluation becomes a process forcontrolling staff and financial resources, it becomes merely an extra task for the practice. Theevaluation process examines:. Effectiveness of computer use. Efficiency of system use. Economic gains.4.1 Effectiveness of Computer UseIncreased productivity, both of individuals and the practice, is a key measure of the value ofcomputer use. The usual areas of productivity gains are in reductions in the amount of time spenton re-drawing, in correcting errors, and in exploring more design options, along with quickerSection B: Process of Adopting Computers 59access to information. When questioned, however, most architects had no satisfactory measureof improved productivity, and assumed the advantages of computerization without attemptingto modify or quantify them. Many also believed (also unmeasured) that, while productivity hadimproved in administrative applications, their CAD and/or CADD had reduced the productivityof production at the beginning (M3A7). Others linked productivity increase to the use of thecomputers for special applications, such as energy analysis (S2A2).4.2 Efficiency of System UseThree of the main elements in the promotion of efficient system use are:.	 Attitudes toward computer use.	 System's capabilities. Time management for system useBoth, staff and management attitudes can impact the extent and efficiency of computer use inthe practice. In firms where system use is optional (M5A8), its use may increase very slow andits capabilities are not explored. In other firms (M4A3), where increased computer use isrequired, the system's capabilities to respond to the practice needs can affect its efficient use, ascan the initial and extended training programs which introduce the system's capabilities to users.When there are fewer stations than projects, scheduling system use becomes necessary (L5A5,M3A4). Sometimes a minimal extra investment to purchase more computers can improve andincrease system use (M3A4).Section B: Process of Adopting Computers 604.3 The Economic GainsMost architects perceive that computers improve the productivity and hence relate that toeconomic gain. However, computer owners/users have not been able to measure the productivityincrease, or turn it into to economic gain.The evaluation of the economy of computer use entails:The cost amortization versus economical gains.	 The increase in the number and size of projects.	 The increase in the type of services provided.When evaluating the economics of system use, the real cost of adopting computers should beevaluated against both direct benefits, such as saving time by doing repetitive jobs on computer,and indirect benefits, such as increasing the credibility of the practice or control over finances.4.3.1 Cost Amortization and Economic GainsArchitects use different methods to amortize the cost of their system. Examples are:.	 Charging clients for system use on an hourly basis:Firms investing in expensive equipment have at times billed clients for its use on anhourly basis. However, most architects agree that clients will not accept having to payfor computer time, as opposed to design expertise (Moreno 1987). In fact, sometimesclients expect a fee reduction due to increased productivity, (M3A6, M2B10).Section B: Process of Adopting Computers 61.	 Computer cost as overhead expenses:Overheads in architectural firms have risen considerably over the past fifteen years, whilerecent graduates provide a large pool of inexpensive labour to the profession, labour thatwill remain cheap well into the next century (Gutman 1988). Substituting cheap, mobile, andeasy to replace labour with expensive inflexible capital investments simply does not makeeconomic sense (Stevens 1991)..	 Computers as a required cost:Some architects however, consider computers as simply a required tool for their firm. Theybelieve that the effective and efficient use of the system (as with any other tool, e.g.telephone systems) will justify its cost (M4A3). In this case a simple calculation by theprincipal indicates that as each system is used on a full time basis (200 h./year), over the firstfive years of purchase, the system will cost the firm about $1.00/hour (appx. cost of eachsystem= $10,000).4.3.2. Increases in the Number and Size of ProjectsThe participation in more and larger projects, (both through new clients or standing clients withnew requirements), is mentioned as an economic gain by architects (M3A6, M4A9, M2B10).Most architects indicated that having computers improves the practice's professional image, andtherefore increases the firm's market share. They also indicate that using the system formarketing can increase the economic gains.Section B: Process of Adopting Computers 624.3.3 	 Additional Services Provided by the FirmIn most cases the potential of additional revenue by extending the services of the practice, areleast examined. For some architects (S2A2, M2B10), special services, like energy analysis andprogramming, were a purchasing requirements, but only a few (M3A6, M3A7, M4A9), exploredthe possibility of providing services like project and facility management extensively.5. ExpansionIn this thesis, expansion refers to the growth of computer use and its expansion in the firm.Expansion in computerized applications is usually due to satisfactory experiences (M4A3, L5A5)and/or need to improve the situation. Expansion in the number of hardware however is mainlybecause of increased requirements (M3A4), or initial under estimate of station requirements.Selection at the expansion stage is often based on a clearer and more realistic understanding of thefirm's requirements and the technology's capabilities than at the initial purchase stage. Financial andthe compatibility issues are the main concerns at this stage.In most cases, regardless of the size of the firm, expansion is not an integrated part of the initialpurchase planning, despite the fact that most architects have a vision of future computer applications.SECTION CAN OVERVIEW OF THE GUIDELINES 	 641. The Initial Decision to Computerize the Practice	 652. System Selection and Implementation 	 653. System Implementation and Ongoing Use 	 663.1 System Management 	  663.2 Human Resources Management 	  673.3 Office Procedures 	  673.4 Educational Programs 	  674. Evaluation	 675. Expansion	 686. Making the System Profitable 	 6863AN OVERVIEW OF THE GUIDELINESThis research explored some of the issues faced by architects during the adoption and use ofcomputers in their practice. As thesis research reviles some firms are facing problems due to lack ofclear planning. Most of these problems and/or their impact can be reduced by advance planning. Aseries of guidelines are developed and included in appendix B of this paper, to present someimportant factors to be considered in the planning for the process of computerization, to:. Assist architects who have little or no experience with computer technology to initiate anddevelop a plan for implementation of computers in their practice. Assist those who are in the early stages of computerization of their firm to reevaluate and ifnecessary modify their approach. Assist architects who are currently using computers in their practice to review and if necessarymodify their approach. Assist architects in using their computer consultant's time and recommendations more efficientlyand effectively.These guidelines are developed based on the findings of the research, the experience gained from thecase studies, and suggestions of MEDICI II seminars. Their structure follows the sequence of thestages of computerization which is the way the process is typically addressed by architects (stage bystage, with no advance planning undertaken). Although the guidelines do not present all the factorsin detail, the intent is to introduce those issues that appear to be most important.64Section C: An overview of the guidelines 65Obviously the recommendations included in the guidelines will be of different value for firms atdifferent stages of computerization (those at early stage may find it more useful). However a reviewof the recommendations may uncover some factors overlooked even by those more advanced incomputer use.This section will briefly introduce the guidelines.1. The Initial Decision to Computerize the PracticeMost unrealistic expectations from system use are the result of an initial misjudgment of the firm'srequirements and of the computers capabilities to respond to them. Once management decides thatcomputerization is consistent with their philosophy and objectives, they need to develop a clearunderstanding of the benefits of computer use for their practice and establish realistic expectationsaccordingly.2. System Selection and ImplementationThe guidelines explore the selection stages in more detail as it often appears to be fairly confusingfor architects. This stage of the process includes application definition and selection, hardwareselection, and financial planning. Architects typically select their hardware first (mainly accordingto financial considerations) and then decide about their application software. This approach couldlead to the purchase of an inappropriate system. Therefore it is suggested that system developmentfollow the application requirement studies.Section C: An overview of the guidelines 663. System Implementation and Ongoing UseRealizing the system's capabilities and increasing its effectiveness in the practice, depends on the waythe system is adopted and used. Management's ability and desire to identify and respond to newrequirements and problems could influence the attitudes towards, and status of, computer use in theirpractice. A well planned implementation reduces the time and cost required for making the systemproductive, it can also diminish unexpected problems. Important requirements to achieve effectiveimplementation are space design, initial training, organizing existing data, preparing for systeminstallation, availability of a system manager, effective human resources management, clear officeprocedures and ongoing educational programs. These are presented in the guidelines.3.1 System ManagementThere should be at least one person officially in charge of system management to coordinate thedevelopment and implementation of work procedures, standardization, evaluation methods, andmaintenance procedures. The system manager can be in charge of all system related issues suchas problem solving, scheduling the system use and recommending on the time and requirementsfor expansion of computer use.To prevent problems that may occur in case the system manager leaves the firm, either thisperson should be selected from the permanent members of the practice (e.g. partners) or at leastone other person should be involved.Section C: An overview of the guidelines 673.2 Human Resources ManagementIt is important to realize that the staff are the key to effective and efficient computer use.Effective human resources management is important which includes involving staff to the processof computerization, allocating tasks to the right people, providing clear job specifications, conflictsolving, responding to staff problems and most importantly valuing the staff.3.3 Office ProceduresDeveloping clear work procedures defining new methods of work including standardization,information management; and security of system and generated data is essential. This couldreduce repetitions, confusions, errors, loss of information, and damage to system and data. Itcould therefore, increase the efficiency of individuals, improve the quality of products, andprovide easy access to information.3.4 Educational ProgramsThe guidelines present initial and ongoing educational programs necessary to reduce the 'fear'of computer use, to introduce the benefits of computerization for the individual and to the firm,to teach the system to staff, and to improve the efficiency of system use on an ongoing basis.4. EvaluationEvaluation process can examine effectiveness of system use according to the firm's objectives,productivity of different applications, efficient use of system capabilities and equipments, and canSection C: An overview of the guidelines 68help identify the need for expansion. Ongoing evaluation can also assist management to recognizeand remove problems and therefore increase the effectiveness of computer use. The guidelines presentthe need for developing and using evaluation methods and a series of general considerations in thisregard. They do not however, define any specific method.5. ExpansionThe guidelines include this stage in the initial planning process so the selected system will beresponsive in the firm's long time requirements (up to expansion). In addition, at the stage ofexpansion, current and anticipated requirements of the firm should be examined again. Although thecost considerations are important, it is more important to respond to this need soon after it isrecognized. If the initial system is not suitable to the firms requirements this could be a good timeto consider the change to a more suitable system and prevent the potential future dissatisfactions.6. Making the System ProfitableIn addition to productivity improvement that is typically considered as economic gains, the guidelinesconcentrate on the profitability improvement through revenue increases. Additional revenues can begenerated by increasing the number of projects and most importantly increasing the range of currentservices.SECTION DCONCLUSION	 701. Process of Computerization 	 701.1 Reasons for Computerization 	  711.2 Initiating a Computer Strategy 	  711.3 Factors Affecting Computerization 	  721.4 System Selection 	  731.5 System Implementation and Use 	  731.6 Evaluation 	  741.7 Expansion 	  742. Value of Planning	 753. Guidelines	 764. Further Studies	7669CONCLUSIONThere is little doubt that the use of computers will influence the nature of both, the architecturaldesign process and management practices. The rate and extent of these changes will depend on thecapabilities and cost of computer technology, as well as the ability and desire of architects tounderstand and apply the benefits of computing in their practice.This thesis has explored the status of computer use and its related problems through a literaturesearch and case studies consisting of interviews and questionnaires. Eleven firms in Vancouver wereinterviewed providing in-depth information about their approach in adopting computers in theirpractice and the problems they faced at different stages. Their experiences were useful in exploringthe status of computer use and developing a series of guidelines for architectural firms. Theinformation however, could perhaps be improved by providing the questionnaires to the intervieweesin advance, dividing the interviews in two sessions, and observing the computer use in the practicefor several days.For the specific stages of adoption of computers the following general conclusions can be derived.1. Process of ComputerizationFor most firms the transition from traditional processes to computerization, for which usuallylittle serious planning is undertaken, is both slow and frustrating. Often decisions are based on70Section D: Conclusion 71the limited expertise of the members of the practice, and the full range of requirements such astime, dedication, education, commitment, evaluation, regular supervision and involvement areseldom present. The general process is to simply commit to a system, and then evolve.1.1 Reasons for ComputerizationThe decision to adopt computers is usually rationalized by the need to:.	 Increase productivity.	 Increase quality of firm's services.	 Remain competitive in the marketOther reasons are:.	 The improved availability and affordability of computer technology.	 The increasing need to process a larger range of information.	 Project/client requirements.	 Staff pressure.	 Vendors promotional pressure, which presents computerization as inevitable.1.2 Initiating a Computer StrategyThe extent of initial planning varies between firms, particularly between large and smallpractices. It is however, usually short term with the main reliance on in-house judgement.Few firms use external consultants to evaluate their unique requirements and direct themthrough the complete process of computerization as this is often considered too expensive.Section D: Conclusion 721.3 Factors Affecting ComputerizationIn most cases the three primary factors affecting the selection of a system are financial,technical and human.Financial planning is typically short-term, and most architects simply weigh the initialinvestment for purchase of a system against their available budget. On-going and expansioncosts, alternative methods of financing and cost amortizing are seldom considered. A moresignificant observation is that often the additional potential revenue increases generatedthrough computerization (such as indirect income increases and extra services) are notconsidered in the planning process. This indicates that computerization is seen as areplacement technology rather than one capable of offering new opportunities forarchitectural practice.The technical attributes of a system appear to be the most widely explored criteria prior toselection despite the fact that they are the criteria the least understood by practisingarchitects. There is a clear need for objective, architectural-related sources of information.In addition, in attempting the successful introduction of new technologies into an existingwork pattern, the impact of the attitudes, experience and commitment of management andpersonnel is highly significant.Section D: Conclusion 731.4 System SelectionAlthough the implementation of computers should follow a clear assessment of current andanticipated needs and selection of the type of application software appropriate to fulfil them,most architects initially commit to a particular type of hardware.Usually the two major considerations in selecting a system are the initial cost of thehardware and the ease of learning and using the system. Clearly, the nature of theseconsiderations depends on the size and priorities of the practice, and the extent of researchfor suitable systems.Although many other realms of architectural practice offer considerable potential forcomputerization and indeed represent the larger part of the computerization, the decisionas to whether to implement computers within design development is considered as key inmost firms. Administrative applications however, are generally the first or one of the firstapplications implemented in the practices.1.5 System Implementation and UseGenerally the issues of implementation are addressed after the purchase of the system. Oncethe system is installed, most firms face the requirements for adequate and appropriatelydesigned space, qualified staff, effective training programs and the necessity of providingclear office and work procedures for staff. Often the problems are addressed as and whenthey occur.Section D: Conclusion 741.6 EvaluationSeldom there is an established method of evaluation to examine the effectiveness andefficiency of system use, to identify and correct problems, to explore the potential of revenueincrease by increasing the range of projects and services, and to identify the time andrequirements for expansion.It is generally assumed that computers will increase the productivity of individual members(and therefore of the practice). When questioned, however, most architects have nosatisfactory measure of improved productivity due to the adoption of computer techniques.The evaluation process can also examine the efficiency of system use which comes from theextent to which the system (hardware/software) and its capabilities are being used. Inaddition to suitability of the system and effectiveness of training programs, a number ofhuman issues impact the extent and efficiency with which a computer system is used.1.7 ExpansionAlthough initial implementation is often a frustrating process for most architects, itrepresents a technological 'gate' that the practice is unlikely to retreat from.Need for expansion can be due to:. A requirement for more computer stations, due to an increase in the number ofcomputer users or an initial misjudgmentSection D: Conclusion 75.	 An increase in computerized applications due to satisfactory experience or a hope toachieve more (or improve the situation).Expansion is often conducted with a better understanding of both the firm's requirementsand the capabilities of computer technology. Often cost and the compatibility of the newsystem with the existing one, are the main considerations.2. Value of PlanningMost of the problems that are faced by architectural firms, can be either reduced or methods ofdealing with them can be established by advance planning. Although selecting computers is anarea architects are not trained for, by developing and following a clear plan they can increasesatisfactory results. Issues incorporated in computer implementation and use are those thatmainly impact its effectiveness in the firm and are directly dependent on sensible managementstyle and planning procedures. Despite the haphazard nature with which architectural practicehas introduced computers, the successful implementation of computerization still derives from:. Assessment of the current and anticipated requirements of the practice, with differentsystems evaluated accordingly.	 Realistic expectation of the system.	 Involvement of management in the process of research, selection, implementation, and use.		 The computerization process extending beyond the initial purchase, with commitment tosystem design, implementation and development.	 Considering the importance of human issues and responding to themSection D: Conclusion 76.	 Educational programs (initial and ongoing training, and ongoing support for learning).	 Established work procedures.	 Having an individual in charge of system management and related issues.	 Having a method of evaluation to examine and help realize the system's capability, and toincrease its effective, efficient, and economical use..	 Availability of technical services.3. GuidelinesFollowing the research a series of guidelines were developed for practising architects (AppendixB). These guidelines are based on the experiences of the current computer owners/users, findingsof the research and suggestions of MEDICI II. The guidelines suggest that advanced planningis required to increase the success of computerization and present a series of factors to beconsidered in the process of planning.4. Further StudiesThe continued penetration of computers into architectural practice will raise many challengingquestions for the profession. Further studies could include:.	 Developing methods of evaluation of effectiveness, efficiency, and economy of system use.	 Developing methods of cost amortization and standardization of fee chargesExploring different potentials and requirements for increases in the range of servicesExamining issues of security, liability and royalty (electronic data).BIBLIOGRAPHY77BIBLIOGRAPHYAtkin, Brian. "The Right Choice." Building 252, 7488(12) (20 Mar. 1987): 68-70; 7489(13) (27 Mar.1987): 61-63; 7490(14) (03 Apr. 1987): 59-61; 7491(15) (10 Apr. 1987): 87-88; 7492(16) (17 Apr.1987): 60-61.Barr, P. William. Barr. McCormick & Associates, Private communicationsCole, Raymond J. and Neate, Roger P. eds.  Using Microcomputers More Effectively in ArchitecturalPractice - Proc, Vancouver: School of Architecture, University of British Columbia, 1987."Computers: Systems Show Grows and Matures with the Professional Involvement." ArchitecturalRecord 176, 8(7) (July 1988): 37-39."Computers: Round-Table Tackles the Difficult Issues." Architectural Record 177 (Feb. 1989): 159-161; (April 1989): 133+.Coplan, Norman. "Law: AIA Code of Ethics." Progressive Architecture  68, 3 (Mar. 1987): 61+.Croseley, Mark Lauden. "Parametric CADD: Redoing Drawings." Architecture (AIA) 76, 11 (Nov.1987): 103-105.---. "The Many Uses of Computer Aided 3D Modelling."Architecture (AIA) 77, 7 (July 1988):119-122."Design Electronically." Progressive Architecture 68, 8 (Apr. 1987): 113-123.Fallon, Kristine. "Beyond Computers as Pencil." Architectural Record  Feb. 1991: 50+Gies, A. William. National Research Council of Canada (RAIC)  , Private communicationsGutman, R. "Architectural Practice: A Critical View." Prinston Architectural Press 1988.Kvan, Thomas. "The Coxe Group Shows How One Firm Got Control of its CAD Cost." Progressive Architecture Nov. 1990: 43.Linschewski, Hans-Christian. "Computers: Practical Tips for CAD and Management." ArchitecturalRecord 175, 9(8) (Aug. 1987): 51-53.Lohmann, William. "Specifications: becoming a Specifier" Progressive Architecture 68, 3 (Mar. 1987):61+.Lord, David. "Simulation of Lighting Design." Architecture (AIA) 77, 6 (June 1988): 106-108.78Bibliography 79McDougall, Ian. "Computers: The Electronic Pencil; One Small-Firm Approach." ArchitecturalRecord 175, 7(6) (June 1987): 45-47.$ 	 I- -	 ss -•$   4   • 	 ..  SI 11 " IS $ 	 •I      Microcomputers in Architectural Practice The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. 1985.Moreno, Elena Marcheso. "Amortizing the Cost of CADD." Architecture (AIA) 76, 8 (Aug. 1987):93.National Research Council (RAIC) A survey on Computer Application in Architectural firms of B.C,1990.Osborne, John. "Architectural Cadet Ship." Building 252, 7479(3) (16 Jan. 1987): 82-83.---. "Granny Takes a Bigger Byte." Building 253, 7530(3) (15 Jan. 1988): 76-77.---. "An Apple A Day." Building 252, 7526(50) (11 Dec. 1987): 70-71."P/A Reader Poll: Computer use." Progressive Architecture 68, 3 (Aug. 1987): 15-19.Ross, Steven S. "New Products: A/E/C Systems." Architectural Record  176, 8(7) (July 1988): 122-127.---. "Computer Products for Architects." Architectural Record 177 (Feb. 1989): 148-151.---. "Using Your Micro to Specify." Architectural Record 175, 10(8) (Sept. 1987): 134-137.---. "Software Review for Architects." Architectural Record 175, 12(10) (Oct. 1987): 154-158, (Nov.1987): 163+.Sanders, Ken. "Emerging Trends in Architectural CAD Software." Architectural Record  177, 3(March 1989): 130-135."Software Review for Architects." Architectural Record  177 (March 1989): 137+.Stevens, Garry. "The Impact of Computing on Architecture." Building and Environment 26,1 (1991):3 - 11.Stevens, Garry., and Kish, Emil. "CAD and The Profession." progressive Architecture  May 1991:141-143.Stewart, Alastair. "CAD Solve Terminal Problems." Building 252, 7524(48) (27 Nov. 1987): 56-57.---. "Micro Practice." Building 252, 7480(48) (23 Jan. 1987): 54-55.Bibliography 80Stokdyk, John. "Computer Technology: The Sky is the Limit." Building 253, 7563(36) (02 Sept.1988): 55.---. "Computer Technology: Photo Synthesis." Building 253, 7566(39) (23 Sept. 1988): 67.---. "CAD Versus Practice." Building and Environment 26, (1991): 13-15.Teicholz, Eric. "The Current Strengths and Weaknesses of Scanning Technology." Progressive Architecture Apr. 1991: 55+."The Maturing Micro." Progressive Architecture 69, 4 (Apr. 1988): 126-131.Weingarten, Nicholas. "Computer: Myths and Design Reality." Progressive Architecture  68, 3 (Mar.1987): 61+.Witte, Oliver R. "The Uses of Computers in Management of Information." Architecture (AIA) 76,6 (June 1987): 116-118---. "The 'Best' of CADD Software " Architecture (AIA) 75, 2 (Feb. 1989): 107-112.APPENDICES81APPENDIX AQuestionnaire I 	 83Questionnaire II	 10782Appendix A: Questionnaire I 83CASE STUDYAdopting Computers in Architectural FirmsA research for Master of Advanced Studies in ArchitectureUniversity of British ColumbiaSchool of Architecture1990-1991Advisors: Dr. Ray J. Cole, U.B.C.Dr. John C. Dill, S.F.U.By: Mitra KiamaneshAppendix A: Questionnaire I 84NAME POSITION DATECOMPANY:ADDRESS:PHONE:FAX:	 #CONFIDENTIAL: All 	  Part 	  None 	Appendix A: Questionnaire I 85CONTENT:1. GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE FIRM.1.1 Milestones in the firm's development1.2 The range of work in the firm1.3 The range of the services1.4 The organization management and work flow1.5 Future plans2. THE PROCESS AND STATUS OF COMPUTERIZATION2.1 Reasons for computerization2.2 Process of computerization2.3 System configuration2.4 The effect of computerization2.5 The expectations from the systemAppendix A: Questionnaire I 863. OUTSIDE SERVICES4. THE FUTURISTIC VIEWS4.1 Computers in the firm4.2 Computers in architectural practice5. ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONAppendix A: Questionnaire I 871. GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE FIRM:APPLICATIONS: Administration, Design, Drafting, Project Management, Estimating, Others.NUMBER OF STAFF : Ar. Architects D. Design A. Administration 0. OthersCONFIDENTIAL TASKS Before Comp.M 0/M 0/CAfter Comp.M C 0Added byComputersCOMMENTS#COMMENTS:Appendix A: Questionnaire I 882. THE RANGE OF WORK IN THE FIRM:TASKS: Adminstration, Marketing, Accounting, Contracts, Tracking of the information, Etc.M. Manual, C. Computerized, 0. Outside servicesCONFIDENTIAL  Appendix A: Questionnaire I 89The Range of Services:STAGES: Predesign, Schematic design, Design development, Construction documents, Bidding and negotiations,Construction contract administration, Post construction,SERVICES: General architectural services, Extra services, Other related services.M. Manual C. ComputerizedCONFIDENTIAL Appendix A: Questionnaire I 901.4 The Organizational Management and Work Flow.QUESTIONS:1. The flow of work in the firm?2. The changes to the organizational management required or produced by computerization?3. The interaction within the organization before and after computerization?THE ORGANIZATIONAL MANAGEMENT:CONFIDENTIAL Appendix A: Questionnaire I 91THE FLOW OF WORK:CONFIDENTIAL Appendix A: Questionnaire I 921.5 Future Plans.OBJECTIVES: Expansions, Location, Organizations, Projects, Human resources, Clients, ...CONFIDENTIAL THE REASONS FORCOMPUTERIZATIONACHIEVEMENT REASONS SOLUTIONS#COMMENTS:Appendix A: Questionnaire I 932. THE STATUS OF COMPUTERIZATION:2.1 	 Reasons for Computerization:CONFIDENTIAL Appendix A: Questionnaire I 942.2 The Process of Computerization.2.2.1 Decision making:Starting date:DM Decision Makers, Inv. Users (Involve), Exp. ExpertsCONFIDENTIAL  SOLUTIONS COMMENTSPLANNED RESULTS, +&-COMMENTS:Appendix A: Questionnaire I 952.2.2 System development:CONFIDENTIAL Appendix A: Questionnaire I 96System Development:A) Feasibility studyB) Desired changes to the practiceProjectsSizeClientsOrganizationOthersC) Required changes to the firmEnvironmentalOrganizationalHuman resourcesManagement styleD) SelectionUser requirementsSystems specificationsCostE) FinancesLoanOther projectsAvailable cashOthersCONFIDENTIAL Appendix A: Questionnaire I 97F) Cost amortizationG) Implementation & IntegrationEnvironmental ChangesCustomizingStaff changesTrainingH) ApplicationI) Time milestonesJ) Ongoing issuesMaintenanceUpgradingEducationEvaluationK) Future expansion of the systemCONFIDENTIAL Applications Issues SolutionsDate SystemHard/Soft wareReasonsSelectedUsersCOMMENTS:Appendix A: Questionnaire I 982.3 The System Configuration.CONFIDENTIAL Appendix A: Questionnaire I 99THE SYSTEM CONFIGURATION:CONFIDENTIAL  Appendix A: Questionnaire I 1002.4 The Effect of Computerization.Effects of the...Practice (Philosophy, Size, Staff, Organization, Location), projects (Kind, Size, Quality, Quantity etc..),Clients (Number, Kind, Impression), Finances, OthersCONFIDENTIAL Appendix A: Questionnaire I 1012.5 The Expectations from the System.BY: Senior management, architects, design staff, administrative, clients, information resources.CONFIDENTIAL Appendix A: Questionnaire I 1025. OUTSIDE SERVICES:CONFIDENTIAL Appendix A: Questionnaire I 1036. THE FUTURISTIC VIEWS:6.1 Computers in the Firm.1. Future Plans.2. Time Forecasts.3. Requirements to Achieve Them.4. Approach.Comments:CONFIDENTIAL Appendix A: Questionnaire I 1046.2 Computers in Architectural PracticeWhat is your futuristic view of computer applications in architectural practice?CONFIDENTIAL Appendix A: Questionnaire I 105NOTE:1. Word of advice:2. General reasons for success or failure?3. What can help you to improve your system use?CONFIDENTIAL Appendix A: Questionnaire II106Appendix A: Questionnaire II 107CASE STUDYADOPTING COMPUTER IN ARCHITECTURAL FIRMSA Research for Master of Advanced Studies in ArchitectureUniversity of British ColumbiaSchool of Architecture1990-1991Advisors: Dr. Ray J. Cole, U.B.C.Dr. John C. Dill, S.F.U.By: Mitra KiamaneshAppendix A: Questionnaire II 108NAME POSITION DATEMarch 13 th 1991COMPANY:ADDRESS:PHONE:	 FAX: 	 #CONFIDENTIAL: All	  Part 	  None 	Appendix A: Questionnaire II 109INTRODUCTION:The main objective of this research is to provide an insight aboutcomputerization of architectural practice.The purpose of this interview is to explore the present status and evolvingissues of computerization in Architectural Practices in Vancouver.The size of the firm and the extent of its computerization are the two maincriteria in selection of the firms for the case studies.The results will indicate the evolving issues of computerization. They canalso provide some solutions for effective computerization of architecturalpractice.The collected data can remain partially or completely confidential. If agreedby the interviewee, the results will be included in the thesis and subsequentpublications.I thank you in advance for your cooperation.Mitra KiamaneshAppendix A: Questionnaire II 110CONTENT:I. GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE FIRM1.1 MILESTONES IN THE FIRM'S DEVELOPMENT1.2 THE RANGE OF WORK IN THE FIRM1.3 THE RANGE OF THE SERVICES1.4 THE ORGANIZATIONAL MANAGEMENT AND WORK FLOW1.5 FUTURE PLANS2. THE STATUS OF COMPUTERIZATION2.1 REASONS FOR COMPUTERIZATION2.2 PROCESS OF COMPUTERIZATION2.3 SYSTEM CONFIGURATION2.4 THE EFFECT OF COMPUTERIZATION2.5 THE EXPECTATIONS FROM THE SYSTEM3. OUTSIDE SERVICES4. THE FUTURISTIC VIEWS4.1 COMPUTERS IN THE FIRM4.2 COMPUTERS IN ARCHITECTURAL PRACTICE5. ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONAppendix A: Questionnaire II 111Appendix A: Questionnaire II 112I. GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE FIRM:In order to assess the current status of computerization in an architectural firm, it is importantto identify the characteristics of that individual firm.1.1 Milestones in the Firm's Development.Objectives:The purpose is to identify:a. The growth path of the firm in general, and/or related to computerization;b. The first time computer was implemented in the practice;c. The sequence of applications implemented;d. The impact of computerization on the firm.QUESTIONS:1. Date of the firm's incorporation:2. Number and configuration of the human resources:3. Type and value of the projects:4. Important changes in the firm:CONFIDENTIAL..Appendix A: Questionnaire II 1131.2 The Range of Work in the Firm.1.2.1 Ongoing tasks:Objectives:The objective is to investigate the:a. Nature of the tasks performed in the firm;b. Areas that computers are integrated;c. Potential impacts of computerization on the tasks and performance;d. Unexpected tasks introduced to the work after computerization.QUESTIONS:I. 	 What are the tasks performed in the firm before and after computerization?2. How was the approach to perform the above before and after computerization?3. Which tasks became possible due to computer application?4. 	 Is there any extra work created due to computerization?Appendix A: Questionnaire II 1141.2.2 The range of the services:Objectives:The objective is to explore:a. The range of architectural services provided by the firm;b. The range of the extra services provided;c. The possibility of extending the services to other related areas by computerapplications;d. The impact of the computers on the above.QUESTIONS:1. What are your general architectural services?2. What are the additional related services?3.	 What are the impacts of computerization on the above?CONFIDENTIAL..Appendix A: Questionnaire II 1151.3 The Organizational Management and Work Flow.Objective:To identify the organizational management of the firm and therefore to explore theissues of computerization accordingly.QUESTION:1. Describe the organizational management and the flow of work in the firm? (please usethe next page)2. What are the changes to the organizational management required or produced bycomputerization?THE ORGANIZATIONAL MANAGEMENT:CONFIDENTIAL..Appendix A: Questionnaire II 116THE FLOW OF THE WORK:Appendix A: Questionnaire II 1171.4 Future Plans.Objective:The future plans of the firm will indicate:a. The short term and long term objectives of the firm;b. The status of computerization in the planning process;c. The overall impact of the computers as viewed and/or planned. (On the size of thefirm and projects, clients, human resources etc...).QUESTION:1. What are the firm's objectives for the future?2. The time forecasts?3.	 What are your plans to achieve the above?3.	 What will be the role of computers in the firm and in achieving the above?CONFIDENTIAL..Appendix A: Questionnaire II 1182. THE STATUS OF COMPUTERIZATION:2.1	 Reasons for ComputerizationObjective:To explore the:a. Initial reasons for computerization;b. Level of satisfaction in achieving the goals;c. Identified problems and issues;d. Suggested and/or experienced solutions.QUESTION:1. Why did you decide to implement computers in your firm?2. Did you achieve the expected outcome?3. What were the reasons for success or failure of the initial plan?4. What are the potential solutions in your opinion?Appendix A: Questionnaire II 1192.2 The Process of Computerization.2.2.1 Decision making:Objectives:To explore the:a. Duration of decision making;b. People and issues involved in the decision making process;c. Resources and personnel supporting the process.Therefore to identify the:d. Impact of the initial planning on the system implementation and use;e. Issues of planning process;f. Different planning and decision making processes.QUESTION:1. When did you start to explore computer implementation in your firm?2. Who were the decision makers?3. Your resources for information?4. What were the issues?5.	 How did you overcome them?CONFIDENTIAL..Appendix A: Questionnaire II 1202.2.2 System Development:Objectives:The purpose is to recognize and compare:a. Different approaches to system development;b. Different issues and solutions;c. Reasons for any problems;d. The impact of the process on the firm and the system use.QUESTION:1. What was your process of system selection, implementation, integration andapplication? (please use the next page)2. Was the process planned, and improved accordingly?3. What are/were the evolving issues?4. What are/were the reasons initiating these issues?5. How did you resolve the problems?6. What are the solutions for the remaining problems?7.	 Given the benefit of hind sight, what would you do differently next time?CONFIDENTIAL..Appendix A: Questionnaire II 121THE PROCESS OF SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT:CONFIDENTIAL..Appendix A: Questionnaire II 1222.3 The System Configuration.This section will mainly provide the required information to identify the status ofcomputerization in architectural firms of Vancouver.It will also indicate the:a. Systems and applications most commonly used in the profession.b. Reasons for selection of the different systems, and computerization of differentapplications.c. Time span between implementation and integration.d. Issues and potential solutions with different systems and/or applications.QUESTION:1. What is your system configuration? (please use the next page).2. The sequence of computerization?3. The reasons for selection of the computerized applications?4. The reasons for selection of the system configuration?5. The previous and present issues?6. The implemented and/or suggested solutions?Appendix A: Questionnaire II 123THE SYSTEM CONFIGURATION:CONFIDENTIAL..Appendix A: Questionnaire II 1242.4 The Effect of Computerization.The objective is to explore the impact of computerization on the:a. Firm's organization, direction, size, staff, etc;b. Scope and nature of projects;c. Clients (kind, number, impression);It will also investigate the changes in productivity.QUESTION:1. What were the impacts of computerization in your practice?2. What are/were the pros and cons of those impacts?3.	 What are/could be the solutions?CONFIDENTIAL..Appendix A: Questionnaire II 1252.5 The Expectations From the System.The purpose is to identify:a. Present and future expectations of different groups from the system (pre and postcomputerization);b. Criteria for the comparison of different planning and application processes;c. Reasons for over/under expectation from the system.QUESTION:1. What are/were the senior management's expectations from the system?2. What are/were the staff expectations from the system?3. What are the differences between the planned expectation and the reality?4. What do you expect from your system in the future?5. 	 What do you think the computers can do for you and in general?CONFIDENTIAL..Appendix A: Questionnaire II 1263. OUTSIDE SERVICES:Objective:a. To establish the range of outside services currently used by the architectural firms;b. To identify the advantages and disadvantages of the above services.QUESTION:1. Outside services used before and after computerization, and in the future?2. the reasons for using them?3. the related issues?4. The solutions?5.	 What kind of services do you believe will be of use?4. THE FUTURISTIC VIEWS:4.1 Computers in the FirmHow far will the architects go...?QUESTION:1. What are your plans for computer use in the future?2. What is your time forecast?3. What is necessary for achieving this objective?4. What are your plans in this regard?CONFIDENTIAL..Appendix A: Questionnaire II 1274.2 Computers in Architectural Practice.How far will the computerization go ...?QUESTION:WHAT IS YOUR FUTURISTIC VIEW OF COMPUTERIZATION INARCHITECTURAL PRACTICE?Appendix A: Questionnaire II 128NOTE:CONFIDENTIAL..APPENDIX B129GUIDELINESThe following guidelines will present a structure for the process for adopting computers inarchitectural firms. They are presented according to the sequence of the computerization process andnot the importance of different stages.These guidelines should be customized according to the particular situation of your firm. Theyadvocate the importance of following a clear and complete planned process in adopting computersin the practice. To do so they present one approach for, and some important factors to be consideredin, this process. The following six chapters discuss:1. The initial decision to computerize your practice2. The process of computerization3. Making your system operational4. Evaluation5. Expansion6. Making your system profitable1. The Initial Decision to Computerize Your PracticeBefore you decide to use computers in your practice, you need to evaluate if computerization isconsistent with the philosophy and objectives of your firm. If the answer is favourable, you shouldexplore:. Characteristics of computer systems130Appendix B: Guidelines 131. The advantages of computer use for architectural practices. The advantages of computer use for your practice.1.1 Characteristics of Computer SystemsYou need to have a clear and realistic understanding of the capabilities of computers for botharchitectural firms in general and your specific needs.1.1.1 Computer Capabilities:A computer is very effective as a tool for repetitive work and can process data quickly andaccurately. A computer will not, however, think, create, organize material stored in it, makevalue judgement, give you the skills you don't have; or manage your business. In making aspreadsheet, for example, it can neither validate your data, nor interpret the results.1.1.2 Requirements for Effective Computerization:Some requirements to increase the effectiveness of computerization are:.	 Some changes in organizational and office management.	 Financial investment. Time commitment.	 Changes in the office layout.	 An organized approach to work and delivery of architectural services.Appendix B: Guidelines 1321.2 The Advantages of Computer Use For Architectural PracticesA review of this information will establish your understanding of the benefits of computer usefor architectural practices and will suggest its potential benefits in the short and long term(example: table A).Table APerceived Advantages of ComputersI. True for architectural firms in generalII. Applicable to your firmPERCEIVED ADVANTAGES OF COMPUTER USE I. II.Required to remain competitive in the marketCan be used as marketing toolImprove the image and credibility of the firmImprove the productivityProvide more time for architects to examine design optionsIncrease the efficiency of individualsReduce employee hour/projectAchieve quicker projects turnoverIncrease accuracyReduce the number of errorsEnable easier changes in drawingsProvide better quality servicesIncrease the number of current projectsIncrease the range of current servicesAchieve better time managementTighten contract documentsAppendix B: Guidelines 1331.3 The Advantages of Computer Use for Your Practicea. List the advantages of computer use for your practiceb. Examine their validity in different areas of work in your firm.c. Select the reasons for adopting computers in your practice, in order of priority.d. Identify the computerized applications (specific or generic) which can enhance eachadvantage.Weigh these reasons against the requirements for computerization of your practice (thisevaluation is, of course subjective) (example: table B).Table B:Advantages of Computer Use for Your Practice.a. ADVANTAGESFOR YOUR PRACTICEb. FOR WHICHAPPLICATIONSc. reasons d. applic-ationExample: productivity increase administration:letterscontract administrationetc.Word Pro-cessingAppendix B: Guidelines 134The results of the above will help rationalize the decision for computerization, indicate what toexpect from computerization, and help evaluate the effectiveness of computer use.If you have a temporary need for computer use (due to a specific project's requirement, or youneed to examine computer technology prior to purchasing a system), you could either use outsideservices, which would give a general idea of computer advantages and problems, or lease acomputer, with an option to buy, which would allow you to evaluate a particular system.Once you are committed to computerization, designate or hire an individual to take charge ofthe process, and develop and follow a clear plan.2. System Selection and ImplementationA clearly defined process for computerization will increase the probability of success. The processof computerization includes:. Application definition. System selection. Financial planning. Making your system operationalAppendix 13: Guidelines 1352.1 Application Definition.You should identify your needs and priorities for computerized application implementation. Indoing so the intention should be to improve the way work is done and/or the result achieved. Acomputers should not be considered as a tool to perform tasks the way they are presently done.2.1.1 Current Application RequirementsEvaluate your current services and tasks (example: table C):.	 What, precisely, do you do?.	 Is everything that is done necessary?.	 Is some or all of it computerized?.	 Does anything need improvement?.	 Can computers improve the way things are done, and/or the results?Appendix B: Guidelines 136Table C:a. Current Services and Tasks.b. Is it necessary?c. Is it computerized?d. Does it need improvement?e. Can computerization improve the process or the results?f. What are the priorities?g. Which applications? (generic or specific)    a. PRESENT SERVICES: b c d e f g        Building evaluation              Facility requirement study              Feasibility study              Project management              Programming              Conceptual design              Design development              Construction management                                                           PRESENT TASKS:              eg. writing memos, specification,..                                                                                                                   Appendix B: Guidelines 1372.1.2 Wish List and Anticipated Application RequirementsList your anticipated services and tasks (example: table D):. What do you want to do in future?. 	 Is this necessary?. What do you have to do in future?. Can computers accommodate this?TABLE D:a. Anticipated Services and Tasks.b. Is it necessary?c. Can computers accommodate it?d. What are the priorities:e. which applications (generic or specific)?a. ANTICIPATED SERVICES: b c d eFacility evaluationFacility managementEnergy analysisConsulting services to architectsComputerized services to architectsEtc.ANTICIPATED TASKS:Bulk mailingEtc.Indicate the priorities for computerized application implementation:1) Applications that can improve the current services, both methods and results.2) Applications that can accommodate future expansion.Appendix B: Guidelines 138The results of Table C and Table D will:.	 Indicate your current application requirements in priority.	 Indicate your anticipated application requirements.	 Provide some criteria for system selection, such as the current and anticipated expectationof the system.	 Help you in planning for the expansion of current services.	 Assist you in evaluating system effectiveness.	 Assist you in the expansion stage.2.2 System SelectionSystem selection includes the selection of application software and hardware. You first need toidentify the application software that can, respond to your present requirements, andaccommodate your future tasks; and then select hardware that can run those programs.2.2.1 Selection of Application SoftwareSoftware consist of two types: system and application. System software manages thehardware (eg. reading data from a disk) and provides services like file handling to theapplication software. IBM PCs generally use a system called DOS, APPLE Macintoshes useMacintosh Operating System (MOS), and workstations generally use UNIX. Applicationsoftware deals directly with the user's interest.When selecting your application software, you should have a clear idea of what you areAppendix B: Guidelines 139looking for, and should also understand what different programs are intended to do, andlearn what they can be extended to.i. Understand what different programs are intended to do:Software applications are often suitable for several work functions. When selecting yourpackage (Word processing, Spreadsheet, Data Base, A/E or Business Accounting, Graphics,CADD, etc.), explore what else they can do in addition to what you expect them to do.Software Work Functions Recommendations:- Word processing.•Contract administrationSpecificationsSimplified working drawingsMarketingSecretarial- Spreadsheet:Engineering calculationsContract administrationSimplified working drawingsDesign programmingSchematicsDesign developmentProject managementExecutive managementEstimatingBookkeeping/AccountingOffice managementFinancial managementMarketingAppendix B: Guidelines 140- Data Base:Office managementSystem drafting materialProduct information filesMarketing and client/contact information files- NE or Business Accounting:Bookkeeping/AccountingOffice management]Financial management- Specialty programs:Engineering calculationsDocument checkingSpecificationsEstimatingDesign programmingSchematicsDesign development- GraphicsSimplified working drawings- CADDDesign drawingsSimplified working drawingsWorking drawingsIt is often preferable to purchase word processing and spreadsheet software first, as theyhave the most varied uses. In addition:.	 There are more choices available in the market than architectural applications.	 It is easier to recruit and replace staff who can use them.	 They are no threat to architectsAppendix B: Guidelines 141.	 They can be applied to the most repetitive tasks.	 It is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to introduce the benefits of computer useto your firm and staff.	 It is a simple way to start organizing your information and office management.	 They reduce the administrative time of architects and increase their time forarchitectural tasks.ii. Know what you are looking for:Based on your requirements studies (2.1), you should develop some realistic specificationsfor software application, indicating the capabilities your software must have, and those youwould like it to have.Examples of criteria for your Application Software1. What capabilities must your software have?2D draftingTechnical report writingManage supporting documentationData compatibility: DXF and/or IGESAuto-dimensioning of drawingsNumber of associated drawingsProgrammabilityParametric designMirroringConstruction lines and removalSymbols libraryEase of useLocal training and supportSketchingSpecification trackingAppendix B: Guidelines 142Bills of materialsSupport various input methodsSupport HPGL and HPGL2Graphic user interface or command line2 What capabilities do you like it to have? For example:3D draftingWireframeHidden line removalSurfacesMultiple light sourcesRendering ability for presentationsInterface for survey/site data for civil engineeringdigital terrain mappingsite planningroad/street designland developmentFacility managementspace planningdesign and layoutStructural engineeringdesign and analysisHeating, Ventilation and Air conditioning designduct work and pipingenergy analysisLandscapingCustom build user interfaces for your applicationsColour PostScript supportSpreadsheet and database compatibilityHeads-up drafting or menu oriented3. Make a wish list. For example:Visualization and walk-through capabilitiesUltra-realistic 3D renderingInteractive walk-throughNISC and PAL video production facilitiesFreehand drawing and illustrationAudio integrationAutomated raster to vector translationAppendix B: Guidelines 143Get home earlier!Virtual reality design environmentiii. Locate suitable softwareIn selecting suitable software, you should:.	 Consider the suitability of the software for your applications.	 Limit your search to architectural packages for your architectural application(mechanical and electrical CAD software are not suitable).	 Evaluate the availability of local support.Some sources of information for low cost generic software are:- Retail computer stores,- Computer magazines (eg. PC magazine)- Architectural journals (eg. Architectural Record, Progressive Architecture)- User groups: hardware and software (AutoCAD group)- Swap meets- Data base networks- Other computer usersTrade shows (NE Computer shows)2.2.2 Hardware selectionTo select and purchase your hardware, you need:. To have an understanding of computer technology.	 To explore hardware choices.	 To determine your computer and work station requirement.	 To select your supplieri) Have an understanding of computer technologyIt is important to learn a few words and be conversant with sales representatives, whencomparing competing equipment.Appendix B: Guidelines 144The basic parts of a computer system are- INPUT Card, Keyboard, Digitizer, Light pencil, Mouse, Voice, Scanner, Track ball- MEMORY AND PROCESSING Chips, Central Processing Unit (CPU), Circuit Boards,RAM, ROM, Cache, Math Co-processor- STORAGE: Tape, Hard disks, Diskettes, CD ROM RAM.- OUTPUT Printer (Terminal, Laser, Dot Matrix), Plotter (Pen, Ink-jet, Electrostatic),Video, Display, SoundSome other terms are:- CAD: Computer Aided Drafting or Computer Aided Design- CAAD• Computer Aided Architectural Design- CADD: Computer Aided Design and Drafting- BIT The smallest "on/offn measurement of data. Eg. the amount of data that can beprocessed simultaneously (8 bits, 16 bits, 32 bits).- BYTE: One character, letter or number, representing eight bits of information.- CPU: Central Processing Unit. The brains of the machine.- KB/MB: Memory capacity is usually stated in the thousands, Kilobytes, and also oftenstated as Megabytes (millions). (Kilobyte means 1024 bytes but is sometimes roundedto a thousand in general usage).- MICROPROCESSOR: "chip" Central Processing Unit. Identified by manufacturer'snumbers: 280, 6502, 8088, 68000.- MIPS.• Millions of Instructions per second; a crude speed bench mark- MFLOPS: Millions of floating point operations per second; a measure of the CPU'sperformance- HARDWARE. Input, storage, processing and output equipment.- APPLICATION SOFTWARE: Programs for specific tasks such as word processing.Appendix B: Guidelines 145- OPERATING SYSTEM: Internal instructions that operate the equipment. CPM, MS-DOS, UNIX Operating systems determine the compatibility of software.- RAM: Random Access Memory.- ROM: Read Only Memory. Built in memory; non-programmable- PORTS: A pin connector to hook up peripheral equipment (RS-232-C and SCSI areindustry standards for port connectors.)- PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES: Basic, C Pascal, Cobol, Fortran.- NETWORKING: To access common data. 1) cable connecting two or more computers,allows one computer to access the files on another. 2) several computers cabled to acentral computer that deliver file to any user.- FILE TRANSFER: 1) through an electronic hookup, 2) by saving and transferring datadisks.ii. Hardware choices:Choices of hardware for architectural firms are limited to Workstations and PersonalComputers (PCs). You can also consider the purchase of Portable (lap top) computers forsome applications out of your office.Workstations: 'Hewlett Packard, Intergraph, IBM, DEC SGI, SunMicrosystems and NeXT".- high performance computers which use UNIX operating system- multi-user/multi-tasking- high-speed math/graphic- network ready.Personal Computers (PC):"Apple, IBM, IBM compatible".- one user at a time- stand alone- networkable.Appendix B: Guidelines 146Portable:	 "Apple, IBM".- battery operated,- less powerful than desk tops- not a primary work machine.In evaluating different hardware, make sure it will actually run the software you need(software selection section 2.2.1). It is important to verify the claims of sales people by tryingthem out on a task that you will use it for. Be aware also that your needs will grow as youbecome familiar with the system and plan for this growth. It is clearly important that inyour evaluation you include maintenance (Is a service centre available? What are the costs?What if your machine goes down at a critical point? Can you get a repair or replacementwithin 24 hours? Or should you have a back up machine?).When comparing the cost of different systems, examine what you get for the quoted price,and compare systems with similar capabilities. You do not want the speed of the system toslow you and your thinking/creating process. Therefore you should shop for a system thatcan respond to your near future requirements as well as your initial expectations. It is alsoimportant to evaluate the graphic capabilities which are critical for CAD and CADDapplications, and the Networking capabilities which provide the possibility of high speedcommunication between computers for file sharing, back ups and shared printing plotter.iii) Determine your computer and work station requirement- Number of required stations will be affected by:. Type and number of applications to be computerized.	 Number of hours each application will use computersAppendix B: Guidelines 147Physical layout and size of your office, and.	 Basic work flow in your office.One method to determine the rough number of required work stations is presented byMEDICI II (this method clearly provides an approximate estimate and not the exactnumber):To determine your current computer needs estimate computer time you require to delivercurrent work functions:- For office business, management, administrative tasks, assume 25% of current hoursrequired.- For technical task (engineering calculation, specification writing, schedules) : assume 50%of current hours required.- For graphic production tasks: assume 75% of current hours required.- Include any office tasks which are already computerized: 100% of current hours required.- Estimate non-productive system hours for learning, experimentations and system down-time.Add approximately 25% to total time that system will be in use.iv. Select your supplierIn choosing your supplier you should examine:Their business recordTheir reputation (check with other architectural firms)Appendix B: Guidelines 148.	 Their financing terms.	 The support and maintenance they offer, and.	 The possibility of working with them in the long term.Most importantly, compare and negotiate the rates and terms of different vendors.Computer business is a very competitive market and there is room to negotiate discount,terms of contracts, additional support and/or accessories on your deal, and maintenancecontracts such as repair, replacement, and unusual conditions of use (e.g. night, weekends).2.3 Financial PlanningThe true cost of computerization is not limited to hardware and software. Hardware packageprices generally include a terminal with a very minimal amount of memory and no means ofgetting hard-copy output. There are also some indirect expenses that determine the true cost ofcomputerization. In addition, there are some ongoing expenses associated with the use andupgrading of computers that should be included in financial planning.Typical expenses determining the true cost of computerization are..A. Research and Development Costs:Initial and ongoing:-In-house- Consultants.B. Capital Casts:* Hardware Casts:Appendix B: Guidelines 149- Display monitor- Central processing unit- Additional memory- Keyboard- Disk- Printer, Plotter- Modem- Additional function boards* Software Costs:- Application software- Programming- Standardization* Accessory Costs:- Anti-static mats/rugs- Dust covers- Furniture (desks; seating; storage for documentation, disks and paper; etc.)- Other* Renovation Cost:- If necessary, to renovate the office to accommodate the space requirements* Financing Costs:- Loan- Lease* Installation Costs:- Delivery- Set-up, testing- Electrical- HVAC* Training Costs-- Course/seminars- Tutorials/training programs/tapes- Magazines, books, etc.C Operating Costs:* Power* Supplies alaper, disks etc.)Appendix B: Guidelines 150* Maintenance Costs-- Hardware- Software2.3.1 Explore different sources of financing the system costSome of the ways cost can be financed are through available cash, proceedings of projects, loans,and Grants.2.3.2 Develop methods of cost amortizationDifferent methods could be considered for cost amortization. Examples are:.	 Billing clients based on hourly use of the system. Charging the system use as part of overhead.	 Considering an additional fee for those projects requiring computer use. Charging the system costs for tax exemptions2.4 ImplementationYour management attitude is critical to the success of computer technology in your practice.Advance planning will reduce unexpected problems and increase the effectiveness of system use.You should realize that:.	 The nature of business may change somewhat, becoming e.g. less labour intensive and morecapital intensive.	 People are still the key to productivity.	 Products the firm sells will stay the sameAppendix B: Guidelines 151.	 You should examine and question the existing patternsQuestion change objectivelyYou should be receptive to evaluate proposed changes.	 You should be committed to reasonable changes.	 You should look for opportunity with change.	 You should keep a realistic view of change.	 Stress in the work place may be created and you should develop methods to reduce it.To reduce the problems associated with change and increase the benefits of change, youshould:.	 Establish goals for the system based on your business. Develop and follow a management plan.	 Establish a strategy for the process of introducing and using computers in the office, byscheduling the process, determining the true capital investment to be spent, and allocatingthe responsibilities.	 Get your staff to understand and support what you are doing.	 Exchange ideas with your staff.	 Consider outside input, such as consultants, other professionals, clients, building officials,and contractorsEncourage experimentation.	 Monitor the process, which includes reviewing the results considering intangible results suchas faster turnaround, useful by-product, and employee responses; encouraging improvements,Appendix B: Guidelines 152and supporting the efforts.	 Plan for new requirements in advance.	 Establish and follow a clear office, system and information management policyIn your planning process you should consider space design, staffing requirements, training, useof existing information, and installation.2.4.1 Space DesignPrior to purchase of system, suitable work space should be designed and prepared. Spacedesign should provide designated space for:equipment: computer, disk drive, screen, keyboard, printer.	 Additional accessories: wires, cables, proper electronic power.	 Paper.	 Disk storage: current and previous electronic information.	 Software storage.	 Current and previous hard copies.	 Back ups (in the office and out of the office).	 Manual and referencesDifferent incoming and outgoing memos and notesRoom to post reminders (saving and back up procedures);.	 Room to post notes.	 Visual attraction to relax eyes from constant looking at computer monitor.Appendix B: Guidelines 153The main considerations are:.	 Availability of required physical space.	 Position of user to the input devices and display.	 Lighting.	 Noise.	 Ergonomic office furniture, and.	 Flexibility to accommodate further changes.2.4.2 Staffing`Good staff are the key to effective use of your system. Although the number of peoplecopying, tracing and performing repetitive tasks will reduce, qualified personnel are neededto operate your system. You can therefore, either train present staff or recruit new staffalready familiar with computer use (preferably your system).There are some benefits in recruiting qualified staff for computer use, in that you will savetime and cost of training, the new staff will provide training and trouble-shooting servicesfor others, and it makes your system operational soon after installation.2.4.3 TrainingInitial training plays an important role in reducing the 'fear' of computer technology,increasing the desire to use your system and, most importantly, reducing time for makingthe system operational.Appendix B: Guidelines 154Soon after it is decided that computerization is a suitable choice for your practice, initialtraining should take place to introduce your staff to the basics of computer technology, theadvantages of computerization for architectural firms, and the benefits of computer use forthe individuals and for your practice.Once your system is selected you can initiate targeted training programs for your staff.Training should teach the system to the staff, and target its use to the firm's requirements.Different sources of training will be:. Presentation by supplier. Outside courses. In-house courses. Manuals and computer literatureLearning time can be affected both by individuals' attitudes, and the environment in whichindividuals perform. To decrease the learning time:.	 Plan a campaign to reduce the fear of automation;.	 Keep staff informed, and welcome their input.	 Emphasize benefits of computers primarily for individuals, and then for the firm.	 Plan the teaching sessions short.	 Use office policy as a guide and not an orderProvide a variety of possibilities for staff's interaction with the system (hands onapproach is very effective)Appendix B: Guidelines 155.	 Be open and not judgmental to hear and understand staffs problems.However, you should not tolerate staff who resist learning and using computers andsabotage your effort. If they are key staff and valuable to your firm, they can perform intraditional ways without using computers. Otherwise, they should be replaced as soon aspossible to reduce the training cost and diminish the development of negative attitudestoward system use in the practice.2.4.4 Use of Existing DataPrevious projects and information will be useful in future. You should select those thatshould be transferred to electronic format and those which can be used as they are (hardcopy). In both cases the filing and access to information is critical, therefore, the previousfiling system should be reevaluated and re-organized if necessary.2.4.5 InstallationTo reduce the installation and initial set up time, you will rely to some extent on yoursupplier's support. Make sure your supplier is performing according to his responsibilitiesand time commitments. A proper preparation prior to installation will speed this process(check the requirement with your supplier).Appendix B: Guidelines 1563. Ongoing System UseFor an effective ongoing system use you should:. Plan a step-by-step process within the framework and objectives of your practice, where youdevelop clear office policies, and establish consistent patterns for work functions. Anticipate new problems, errors and unexpected situations. Plan problem solving procedures, and provide an ongoing source of trouble-shooting. Establish a process for overlapping the old and new procedures3.1 System and Office ManagementOne individual should be in charge of system management. All computer related issues shouldbe communicated to the system manager and related to the appropriate sources through him/her.The system manager should coordinate:. The development of new work procedures.	 The design and development of standardization.	 The process of change and overlapping procedures.	 Problem solving procedures. The security of information. The ongoing educational and training programs.	 The efficient use of the system (schedule, capabilities)The development and use of the evaluation methods(quality, efficiency, effectiveness and economy)Appendix B: Guidelines 157	.	 The maintenance of system and information	.	 Scheduling the system use	.	 Evaluate the growth requirements and time.3.2 Human Resources ManagementPsychological matters are one of the most important considerations in management of personnel.These issues should receive considerable attention, to promote interest, dedication and jobsatisfaction among the staff. Typical problems are:	.	 Resistance of staff to new technology and new work requirements	.	 Dissatisfaction from the professional status quo (eg. architects functioning as systemoperators)	.	 The slow learning curve	.	 Fatigue due to system use	.	 Intensity of work	.	 Social conflicts among system users and non-usersMost of the human issues can be addressed, solved or reduced by:	.	 Involving your staff especially the key members of the firm in the process of computerizationfrom the early stages	.	 Explaining the reasons for adopting technology, and potential problems/solutions to theemployees	.	 Having a proper initial and ongoing training program in placeAppendix B: Guidelines 158.	 Trying to remove the bugs and problems of system use as soon as they are identified.	 Developing clear work procedures.	 Developing clear job specifications.	 Using the right people for the right tasks.	 Dedicating responsibilities with clear expectations.	 Responding to your employees problems and needs.	 Valuing your staff.	 Expecting the staff to learn and use the system3.3 Office Procedures:You should develop and implement clear office procedures. These procedures should be flexibleand modified on an ongoing basis, and should include a chain of command in the practice,sources of information, and sources of problem solving. They should address work procedures,standardization, information management and security.3.3.1 Work ProceduresA large portion of office procedures are repetitious (necessary or unnecessary). To reduceproblems and errors, you need to develop clear work procedures, by establishing clear andunified patterns for performing tasks (such as backup), and eliminating repetitions andunnecessary tasks.Appendix B: Guidelines 1593.3.2	 StandardizationYour practice is already performing most or all of a computer's capabilities in traditionalways: Typewriter, calculator, file cabinets, phone, memory etc. What the computerintroduces are new methods, and it is up to you to develop new work functions.The concept of 're-usable' work/data is the key to increased productivity. It is important torealise that hardware and software are designed to reuse data. Therefore the user mustoperate the system to increase the reusability of effort and reduce the repetitive tasks.There are many forms of repetitive work in an architectural firm:.	 Repetition within the industry: code checks, specification, numbering systems,government forms and standards etc..	 Repetition within an office: Transmittal letters, change orders, Memos, field reports,agendas, contracts, proposals, invoices, time sheets, pay checks, etc..	 Repetition from job to job: General notes, consultants lists, titles, specification sections,schedules, etc..	 Repetition within a job: Names, addresses, project directory etc.Standardization provides easy access to available information, and increases the 're-usability'of this information. For example, in using a word processor, many standard letters anddocuments can be saved, customized, and used for different purposes. They can be modifiedmore quickly and easily than with conventional tools. Other examples are saving theAppendix B: Guidelines 160standard details, labels, logos, layers etc. in CAD, which, with easy and fast modificationcan be used for different drawings or projects.3.3.3 Information Management:When using computers, different kinds of errors and problems may occur:1. Sometimes it is harder to identify input errors on the screen than on paper, and proofreading hard copy is necessary.2. A disk may occasionally crash.3. The user may loose the sight of the whole project while concentrating on the parts. Asusing computers sometimes requires more accurate information, the user may loose thesight of the importance of a part of design, as opposed to the whole project. Forexample, at the early stage of conceptual design, a user might concentrate on the detailsof a door rather than the layout of the building.4. Different people have access to information, and may manipulate data by accident.5. Access to information sometimes becomes difficult and sometimes even impossible.You need to establish clear methods for storing information, and accessing and retrievinginformation.i) Storage of informationa) A rational storage system:1. You should build your own reusable information data base to be able to use them inAppendix B: Guidelines 161long term, and2. The storage system should accommodate a rational and easy search and retrieve existinginformation and established patterns.Data management (hard data and electronic data) is a very basic, fundamental and vital stepin work procedure development. You should organize your data files carefully to avoidconfusion, difficulties in accessing data, loss of information or unnecessary duplications.In doing so you should consider the data that is common in different stages of a project, indifferent projects or for other purposes, such as, contract documents, and build up a database of this information for future use. Your storage system should be designed in a waythat makes sense and is clear to users.b) A 'separation-template- assembly' system1. Separation: distinguish unique data from standard patterns.-	 Unique data-`job specific' active information: this is the information that is usedspecifically for certain projects.Standard patterns- 'task specific' passive information: this information could beused in different projects (eg. firm's logo, details of door)2. Template: create job specific elements, such as overlay standard patterns with uniquedata (combine the project information with these general information that you wish touse from existing patterns).Appendix B: Guidelines 1623. Assembly: compile completed work function. Combine layers of unique and standardpatterns.ii) Access to information:In accessing information, a standardized storage system accommodates easy access toinformation. When storage of the information follows a clear pattern, confusion is reducedand file names and locations are clear to users. There should however, be control (eg. byhaving password for individuals) of sensitive data so it doesn't get damaged or misused. Theaccess plan must maintain enough flexibility to allow work to be done, so that your data isprotected but access to information is available for those who need it.3.3.4 	 SecuritySecurity exists to protect your system (hardware and software) and the data and programsyou have generated. In order to protect your system, you should have one person in charge,develop clear procedure for system maintenance, and schedule the access demand. It isimportant however, to encourage entire staff to use the system, as the hardware and softwareare only tools. To protect your data, you should develop a storage system that back up allof your work, and use active and archive files (duplicated `off-site' in case of fire).3.4 Ongoing Educational ProgramsOngoing educational programs are essential for your practice. Some sources are:.	 SuppliersAppendix B: Guidelines 163Continuing education courses (UBC, BCIT, VCC)User groups (for exchange of information).	 Schools of architecture.	 Technical schools (BCIT, Capilano College, VCC).	 In-house customized training programs.In addition to the initial and ongoing training, existence of following will improve the results ofeducational programs:.	 An in-house trouble shooter and access to an external problem solver in access.	 Manuals and references.	 An evaluation method to examine different methods of training and their effectiveness.	 Methods for improving the efficiency of system use.4. EvaluationOngoing evaluation will help identify and remove problems and increase the effectiveness ofcomputerization. It will:. Recognize and reevaluate your computer objectives. Establish a quantitative method for evaluating individual and firm productivity (prior to andafter computerization). Consider evaluation for improvement, and not for control of staff and fmancial resources. Evaluate individual productivity in different tasks and in different situations. Evaluate system productivity for different applications and performed by different individualsAppendix B: Guidelines 164. 	 Correct the problems as soon as they are identified.5. ExpansionThe desire for change should not be confused with the need for expansion. While market orientedchanges are regularly taking place in computer products, your system will always do the task it cando now. However, if your system is not responding to your requirements, you should considerimprovement or replacement as soon as possible.The need for expansion may be caused by:. A requirement for more computer stations. The need to increase the number and type of computerized applications, or. An increase in the range of the current services.In planning for expansion, you should base your decision on both your current requirements; theneed to purchase a new equipment and/or application software which is compatible with your presentsystem; and your anticipated requirements for further expansion. To do so it is necessary to repeatthe requirement study once again.6. Making Your System ProfitableThe most important benefit of computerization in your practice should be on increase in profitabilitythrough an increase in revenue, as opposed to a reduction in expenses. This can be achieved byAppendix B: Guidelines 165improving productivity, increasing the number of projects, or increasing the range of current services.6.1 Improving Productivity:Productivity increase is the result of individual and firm productivity improvement. To evaluateand improve productivity, you should:.	 Use computers for those tasks that benefit most from computerization.	 Allocate the right people to use computers.	 Establish a quantitative measure for evaluating the productivity of individuals in differenttasks.	 Identify the problems reducing the productivity of individual and practice.	 Solve the problems as soon as they are identified.	 Recognize and appreciate any improvement in productivity.6.2 Increasing the Number of ProjectsYou can increase your market share by capturing new clients, holding on to present clients, andrecapturing the previous clients.In introducing your practice's computerized capabilities, emphasize the benefits of computer useto your clients, benefits such as:.	 The improvement in the quality of information.	 The possibility of interactive design with the client.	 The availability of the past dataAppendix B: Guidelines 166	.	 The availability of the project's data for their future use in facility management	.	 The reduced time for working drawing production	.	 The reduced fee for the production stage	.	 More time available to design or construction phase for the existing fee	.	 More accurate estimatingThe increased quality control for construction due to accuracy of construction documents	.	 The improved coordination at construction stage	.	 The reduced time for construction due to reduced errors and omissions, and the developmentof grids and plans in early stages making the fast tracking possible	.	 The reduced cost of construction due to reduced errors, omissions and conflicts	.	 The flexibility and speed of changes	.	 The increase in the quality of services and finished products	.	 The possibility of providing more presentation material in less time	.	 The provision of promotional material6.3 Increasing the Range of Current ServicesAn effective method of increasing your revenue is to explore and evaluate the potential ofincreasing the range of your current services.In addition to traditional architectural services, firms could consider such services as:	.	 Building evaluation	.	 Facility requirement studiesAppendix B: Guidelines 167.	 Feasibility studies. Programming. Project management.	 Construction management.	 Facility management. Special services such as energy analysis. Consulting services to other architects.	 Computerized services to other architects.


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