Responding To Fee Competition In The Architecture And Engineering Industry
As referenced by the Mott MacDonald chairman Keith Howells and URS boss John Horgan in a recent article, the Architecture and Engineering Industry is currently facing a considerable fee dilemma. So how can firms beat out the competition and win new projects, maintain their reputations and still maintain a favourable margin?
With the introduction of BIM, communication from the design boards to the construction site has become much more efficient. This however also means that owners will become increasingly more impatient with schedules, allowing less time for consultants to make critical decisions. It is therefore becoming the responsibility of the professional consultants to inform their clients of the value of time, but also to be as proficient as possible in making timely, informed decisions.
While consultant expertise cannot and should not be completely commoditised, especially for bespoke design, fee pressures are forcing firms to employ people who can intelligently streamline the ‘things we do over and over’ allowing them to spend the remainder of the limited fee on the tricky parts.
It remains the responsibility of the professional to ‘win respect’ in this way as Mr. Horgan so rightly explains. The best firms must find the balance between reasonable fees and brilliant consultancy, and this comes hand in hand with having complete visibility and control from project inception right through the delivery.
With the right ERP systems in place, Architecture and Engineering firms can take better control of this situation and ensure they bid on the realistic projects and assign the right people to do the right jobs throughout the project duration to ensure a competitive fee can be matched with consulting expertise, efficient delivery and achievable margins.