I physically sit among engineers – sandwiched between two structural, a mechanical and an electrical to be exact. Just feet away are architects and office staff and we are all within earshot of each other. I’ll be honest, at first this open concept was distracting. The absence of walls made me feel like my work space was ill-defined. But the longer I’ve been here, the more I see first-hand how work flows more smoothly without walls.
After observing the interactions between my colleagues, I see the value in person on a daily basis. Unintentional eavesdropping on conversations between an architect and an engineer yields much knowledge. Boiled down, here’s what I’ve learned:
- Engineers and architects who think aloud in the early stages of design, even before lines are drawn, create a better end product that works together seamlessly.
- Integrated working saves the client time and ultimately money. There are no emails and phone calls bouncing back and forth or delayed meetings holding up work. Projects just flow.
- Architects and engineers learn from each other and begin to anticipate each other’s thinking. They complement each other and strengthen projects when they collaborate.
- Client modifications and other corrective actions are quicker and learning curves smoother when architects and engineers sit side-by-side.
By Britta McKenna, Former Director of Marketing and Communications