A guide to a successful collaboration with real estate developers for architects

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In real estate, each new investment means stress for a developer. Every step developers take, every breath developers make, they worry and think about what can go wrong. Will the construction costs suddenly escalate? What if there will be a downturn on the market? How sure can they be of the smooth cash flow from the investors and the bank? Is there any chance for materials or labour delays? What if the city council shuts down the project?

A peaceful construction and a smooth sales processes are what a developer dreams of. However, a small lapse on one of the development stages can cost a developer everything.

collaboration developer architect

Developing an investment

Just think for a moment about the first phase of the development process. It’s mainly emails and phone calls fired back and forth between you and a real estate developer. Every one of these messages or calls is full of comments to the project with propositions, little changes to be made or pointing out the mistakes. Every remark made with the best intentions – to create the best project.

When you finally meet each other halfway and create the final concept, it’s the end of your collaboration with a developer. You don’t need to worry about what happens next. You’ve done your job. There’s nothing left for an architect to do here; you can move on to another project.

While you enjoy working on a new assignment, a real estate developer is on trial. It’s time to prepare the presentation of the investment for the city council, the community living in the neighbourhood where the investment will stand, and the investors. After that, a developer needs to obtain a sufficient interest rate that will secure them a bank loan. What if a developer comes out empty-handed from any of those meetings?

However, a real estate developer can’t rest on their oars after obtaining all needed approvals. Construction stage means other problems that can suddenly pop up. There’s a deadline to meet. Any delay in labour or materials delivery, nasty weather that can slow down or even postpone the work must be taken into account. But there is no way to predict how long the hold-ups can be. Not to mention pre-sales and sales. Even though there is an interest in the investment, it doesn’t mean the whole development will be sold out.

The question here is, why an architect doesn’t have an active part in the whole process? How can we change that and make the entire development process smoother and more manageable?


Imagine being an active part of the development process. You become an architect whose designs become the fundamentals for other promotional materials. Finally, you can fully identify with the investment and not only with its concept. Doesn’t it sound great?

How can you make the picture you’ve just seen a reality?

You’ve probably had a brush with tools provided by Google Drive. Isn’t it comfortable to work with multiple people on one document at the same time and leave comments with necessary propositions, ideas or changes within the file? You probably already work on the 3D models. Now, imagine an equivalent tool that will enable you to collaborate with real estate developers on a project at the same time and see their remarks. Wouldn’t it make your collaboration with a developer effortless?

…developing a common vision

How the collaboration between you and a developer goes is a “to be or not to be” of the investment. With the new technology such as VR, AR, MR and 360° visualisations, the vision above becomes a reality. Investing in these solutions can change your professional life for better. Eliminate tons of emails and plenty of phone calls. Make your collaboration with a developer easier. Become a genuine part of the entire development process.

Visualising early in the design process enable avoiding costly change orders and make sure that everyone is on the same page. We’re not talking here only about visualisations and 3D models, but about creating a virtual experience. Such a VR presentation can be done remotely or sent to a developer, enables a developer a better understanding of the space, and provides instant feedback for an architect. Hence you can avoid failure in collaboration at the concept stage that can severely affect further phases of the development.

Once you establish the common vision, you create not only the concept of the investment. At the same time, you deliver marketing and sales materials. You’re able to provide a developer with all the content they need for their presentations already at the design stage. Because of that, the sales and marketing processes at further stages of the development become more integrated, smoother and faster. Due to new technologies, you solve a developer’s main problems – you improve the development process and minimise a developer’s fears.

You create a difference that will make a developer’s life easier.

We’ll be talking about how technology can improve your collaboration with a developer in detail at Im-Arch Conference in Venice. Connect with me on LinkedIn to schedule a meeting!