Architecture taps into offshoring
By siliconindia | Friday, 23 March 2007, 05:00 Hrs
Kolkata: Dozens of Indian architects in Kolkata peer over a blueprint of the Las Vegas based Tropicana Casino & Resort. After all, they are the ones generating plans for the Tropicana, as part of their work for Cadforce Inc., a Marina del Rey (Calif.) startup that is helping bring offshore outsourcing to the real estate sector in the U.S. The company has 150 designers and computer technicians in India and the rest 41 in the U.S., and is of a growing number of real estate companies jumping into offshoring the business. According to a survey by Harvard University and the American Institute of Architects (AIA), some 20 percent of U.S. realty firms say they are offshoring, while an additional 30 percent are considering doing so. "Clients are demanding shorter and shorter turnarounds, smaller fees, and better details," says Harvard doctoral student David del Villar, who helped lead the study. Digitization is driving the trend; as more architectural firms adopt sophisticated computer tools that allow them to render entire buildings in 3D, it is becoming easier to work remotely. This is coupled with a lack of tech skills on this front in the U.S. Many firms, like California based Acres Group say that outsourcing pays. Acres has been able to take on 75 percent more work, while cutting its fees by 30 percent by outsourcing some tasks to Cadforce. "They do the most time-consuming, technical work. It allows me to do other things, like get more clients and concentrate on design," notes President of Acres Robert Liu.