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Akio Moriwaki
Akio Moriwaki
As head of global marketing for the AEC Industry at Dassault Systèmes, Mr. Moriwaki launches and promotes groundbreaking Industry Solution Experiences including "Optimized Construction," "Façade Design for Fabrication," and "Civil Design for Fabrication." He is a member of buildingSMART.

The Architect’s Cheat Sheet: 3 Questions Your Client Needs You To Answer

April 17th, 2014 by Akio Moriwaki

Architects, you are in the sometimes-tricky position to help your clients craft the space of their dreams, within the constraints of reality.

When you’re hired to plan a project, and your client team is starry eyed over the unlimited possibilities, don’t forget to carefully consider the 3 essential business questions that only you can address.

To win the project, it’s critical to address their aesthetic, branding, and programmatic needs.

But to construct a long-term success, below are the key questions the building owner/operator needs you to answer.

Experienced architects and planners should be prepared to address the following 3 questions in detail after your building/space planning process is complete.

Question 1: “Should we renovate an existing building, or develop a new building?”

Clients may approach the problem with an assumption about how this question will be answered, one way or the other.

Your schemes should uncover options that your client hadn’t considered—and flesh out issues with their expectations.

Be sure to present any problems that you’ve identified, and propose how to work around them.

Tweet Q1: To renovate or build new? 3 key questions only architectural planners can answer

Question 2: “How do government, internal, external, environmental or other requirements influence the design and layout?”

You’re trained to take into account a much wider set of conditions, above and beyond the clients’ requests, that must be met.

The client depends on you to advise on meeting regulations, make sustainable choices, and comply with hidden stakeholders’ wishes to reduce long-term headaches and roadblocks.

Show them you’ve thought about their regulatory situation, and that you know how to navigate it.

Tweet Q2: What regs apply? 3 key questions only architectural planners can answer

Question 3: “How much will it cost to build and operate?”

Thinking holistically about the lifecycle of the building will score points with the financial stakeholders of the space.

Integrated design-build-operate practices take into account users’ and operators’ perspectives for economic and eco-friendly motives.

Underscore your own understanding that building and space design can make or break an operating budget, and how you recommend minimizing costs.

Tweet Q3: How much to build AND operate? 3 key questions only architectural planners can answer

One final question to ask yourself:

Extra Credit Question: “How quickly and effectively does your space planning process address these essential questions?”

You have a short amount of time to whip up a selection of schemes which you’re proud of, which don’t compromise the client’s requirements, and which solve even more problems than they are likely aware of.

What tools do you use to model various spaces, reduce re-work, collaborate with the client, analyze costs, incorporate requirements, and make smart decisions?

Please tell us in the comments!

Tweet bonus question for architectural planners: Are space-planning tools helping the process?

Related: Accelerate Your Building & Space Planning Process

Integrated Planning is a flexible, instinctive building & space design system. It enables architects, planners, and clients to quickly visualize requirements and iterate on building concepts using 3D digital modeling.

Users enjoy an accelerated design process and make informed decisions that save time and cost. Accelerate your planning process with Dassault Systèmes.

Learn more:

Tweet: Q1 of 3 To renovate or build new? “3 key questions only architectural planners can answer” #architecture @Dassault3ds
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Categories: AEC, Building & Space Planning, Business Processes, Collaboration, Dassault Systèmes

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