How Outsourcing Architectural Processes Can Boost UK Retail

Beautiful on the outside and enticing on the inside, Britain’s retail spaces have two clear objectives to fulfill – lure customers in and close the sale. Structures housing retail merchandise follow certain rules and processes and require accurate and effective design planning to achieve this. Established architectural processes include specific stages of design to produce an aesthetic and reliable result. With various stress factors in the UK retail market at play, outsourcing architectural design drafting, architectural rendering services and other architectural processes presents a logical solution.

Currently dealing with declining wages, consumer debt, high borrowing costs, the effects of Brexit on labour and the changing style of today’s consumer spending, retailers are reassessing the impact of retail space on consumer spending. Architecture needs to adapt to the changing economic environment, and part of the answer lies in outsourcing some of the more technical services of the overall design process, namely the schematic design phase, the design development phase and the construction documents phase. We consider what each phase consists of:

Phase 1 – Schematic Design

Information is collated and two to three design options are created as sketches for the client to consider and to visualise the process. Each design option typically has a cost estimate attached. The client can make any modification to the chosen design. Discussions and changes continue. Site analysis is followed by solving zoning and building code issues. The size, location and interaction between spaces is decided. Basic plans, sketches and architectural drawings are provided to the client.

Phase 2: Design Development

In this phase, the schematic design is revised and the cost estimate is updated. Materials, interior finishes, fixtures, appliances, doors and windows are selected. More details are added to the design. Mechanical, electrical and plumbing services designs are added to the overall design and the analysis of potential energy use may be carried out.

Phase 3: Construction Documents

Detailed drawings with technical specifications are created for the purposes of bidding, construction and application for permits. Technical designs and detailing are finalised by engineers and architects for HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems. All materials are finalised and scheduled. Multiple drawing sets are produced. Electricians receive their own drawings dealing with electric connections and other electrical work. A concrete contractor may get a drawing only to lay foundations and other concrete work.

These phases of the architectural process are technical in nature and are thus suited to outsourcing. Increasingly, UK retail design firms are turning to outsource these processes so as to reduce costs and improve services. Outsourced firms generally continuously measure performance and can frequently be partners in joint service agreements. Benefits of outsourcing architectural processes include:

  • Reduced costs, since the outsourced partner’s (OP’s) expertise, experience and infrastructure is used
  • Innovation and improvement in business
  • Filters out distraction and allows focus on the core business
  • Flexible staffing choices
  • Exploitation of new skills and technologies
  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Gaining the anticipated return on investment (ROI)

For all its benefits, cultural fit is a critical point to consider with outsourced firms. Specialist retail experience, an understanding of business challenges and continuity of skilled personnel can help complete work on time and within retail budget restrictions. Experience in the retail industry and past records along with the proper international accreditations are added pluses.

The effectiveness of proper retail space planning involves the following:

  • Scope & Planning: Client requirements must be analysed, correct methodologies should be discussed and a project schedule must be formulated.
  • Execution: Resources must be trained, documentation must be generated, progress must be monitored and evaluated.
  • Quality Check: To ensure compliance of local codes and regulations, effective delivery and incorporate client feedback, regular and continuous quality checks must be performed.

Many outsourced partners ensure that these processes are well in place and delivered effectively. The reasons to outsource retail design services are both varied and compelling.

Key Reasons to Outsource Retail Design Services

  1. Outsourcing allows principal firms to hire more resources for expansion.
  2. Retail layout plans generated will be of high quality.
  3. Availability of latest technical skills and software capabilities
  4. With routine technical work outsourced, the in-house team can focus on core tasks.
  5. High-quality work at reduced costs
  6. Most retail space drafting and design services, including aesthetic rendering, can be provided by one outsourced firm.
  7. Outsourced firms are thoroughly updated with legal and area-based requirements.
  8. Availability of drafters, engineers and interior designers experienced in retail space design services, skilled at drafting, modelling and rendering software
  9. Firms have flexibility over retail store planning and strategy, therefore have better control over schedules and budgets.
  10. Timely, high-quality services lead to better ROIs, increasing profits.
  11. Overheads are reduced, as less technical professionals need to be hired.
  12. Large projects can be delivered efficiently and on time.

In general, UK retail can benefit from experienced and technically qualified services in store space planning, retail space drafting and design and planning for retail expansion. Overseas partners of reputed firms will produce retail space design services of high quality because they invest in recruiting experienced technical professionals to help grow their business as well as their burgeoning and continuing relationships with industry players in the UK. These personnel keep themselves updated on the latest retail space trends and have worked extensively with global companies. Outsourced firms help retail space modelling, rendering and can manage the complete project. Here’s how:

Retail Space Modelling & Rendering Services

Outsourced firms provide one of most useful services in the retail industry with high quality – 3D modelling and 3D rendering services. Attractive 3D architectural visualisation of an entire retail space, plan, layout or strategy in 3D has significant value for planning and marketing purposes. Detailed renders can include exact colour schemes, textures, fixtures, lighting effects at different times of the day and night and the general look and feel of a retail space.

Complete Project Management Services

When retail space design firms outsource design and drafting services, they are typically provided with a dedicated project manager. These managers liaise with the relevant team members, monitor the services delivered, correspond with regular updates and ensure project completion within schedule, saving the costs.

Many firms in the UK are moving towards outsourcing architectural CAD services, realising the multiple benefits. The bottom line is that the UK retail industry, with its several challenges, can benefit significantly from the assurance of receiving high-quality retail design drawings with detailed dimensional accuracy. Concepts can be digitised and modelled, leading to beautiful and accurate 3D rendered images. Revisions and changes can be made quickly and easily, producing minimal errors on site. Outsourcing architectural CAD services can make it all happen.