Architecture SMEs get a helping hand in the digital realm

High-speed broadband, cloud systems and online business tools are just some of the services that will be available to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the architecture and construction industry following an announcement by Senator Kate Lundy for the Australian Services Roundtable (ASR) today.

A $500,000 Australian Government grant has been provided to the ASR to develop a series of customised digital business kits to help services firms get online to drive productivity and find new markets, with architects, engineers and related building industry specialists benefitting in phase one of the project.

Speaking at the launch, Australian Institute of Architects’ CEO and ASR Director David Parken was pleased that the Institute was able to partner with ASR, the peak national body for services industry organisations, in the first round, which will be delivered over the first year in the five year program.

‘This is an important initiative for the architecture industry, with 90 per cent of Institute members working in SMEs. Another significant factor is the reliance of the industry on digital technology such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Integrated Project Teams.

‘BIM is a major game-changer for the construction industry, allowing streamlined information flow between collaborators. This reduces doubling up on modelling and documentation and is therefore integral to the advancement and efficiency of the sector.

‘BIM and the associated Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) techniques currently being pioneered and employed rely heavily on high-speed internet in the delivery of large files on a daily basis. This transfer of information is not only happening on local projects but also overseas, with many local architects undertaking projects in the Asian market, an area of significant financial growth.

‘Construction is a major contributor to the Australian economy with approximately $200 billion of annual activity across the residential, commercial, engineering and infrastructure sectors; therefore, having an efficient and productive design sector is integral,’ Mr Parken said.

The digital business kits will provide much needed support and advice tailored for smaller practices to boost workflow following the recent slowing of the industry.

Click here to see BRW‘s coverage of this announcement.