SBS Architects is a 22 person Architectural practice based in central Manchester. With both a National and International presence, the practice operates across a wide range of projects, with particular focus on transport and interchange rail.
SBS Architects has made the decision to purchase Union Square for AEC Professionals as a way of modernising processes and improving efficiency as Gary Seed, Practice Director explains. ‘Historically, our drawings would be sent to clients in the post. However as technology developed, and email became the norm, debates began within the practice as to which emails should be manually printed and which should be electronically stored. As employee numbers began to increase so too did the number of emails, making manual printing even more time consuming’.
SBS Architects use timesheets, a document management system and the RIBA filing structure for storing drawings. However, the lack of integration between these systems makes accessing the correct information difficult. ‘When an employee is out of the office we are already able to access their information, the real problem is the time it takes to do so’, commented Gary. ‘Our key requirement is for quicker retrieval of information and the search to satisfy this led us to Union Square’.
The system is the leading knowledge management system for small to medium architectural practices. An off the shelf solution, it stores information in one central repository against the relevant projects, contacts and organisations, enabling the efficient running of a business around core databases and standardised procedures.
As part of the decision making process, Gary Seed attended a site visit to Triangle Architects along with four other Practice Directors. ‘It was helpful to see how another practice uses the system on a day to day basis. It certainly helped us to further realise the benefits of purchasing the system’, says Gary.
The practice recognises other significant benefits of the system, such as risk management; ‘it stores all our data which will be a great help towards building a case should anything go wrong in the future ’ says Gary. Union Square will also help SBS Architects achieve the ISO accreditation it strives for, something that Gary feels would be much harder and slower to attain without it.
SBS Architects intends to take a ‘big bang’ approach to implementation, rolling out the system to all employees in one go. ‘I’m confident about the uptake of the system as many of our employees know other users of Union Square from outside our practice and have received positive reports’ Gary concludes.