AA3IPA-Industry and Practice – the Business and Practice of Architecture

Module Provider: School of Architecture, School of Built Environment
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn and Spring (Double presentation)
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Izabela Wieczorek

Email: i.z.wieczorek@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
This module is the third in a series of three modules, each covering different aspects of the industrial, policy and business contexts of architecture, to be provided over the three years of the architecture course. To be effective in the workplace, architects need to understand:

1.The industry context – including the importance of the construction and property industries to society and to the economy; the government policy dimension; how these industries function in practice; the architectural profession (role; concepts of professionalism; professional institutions, etc) (Year 1);

2.The business of projects – including the project-based nature of construction; current project management and procurement practices; the prevailing legal and contractual frameworks for construction and architecture (Year 2);

3.The business and practice of architecture – including practice/office management (covering Business Development, HR, Finance and IT/knowledge management issues); design (process) management; terms of engagement (including liabilities, insurances, etc) (Year 3 – this module).

Elements of this module may be common to modules of other programmes.

This module aims to equip students with a good understanding of the development and management of architectural practice, with a focus on the modern architectural firm.

Assessable learning outcomes:
At the end of this module, students will be able to demonstrate in written assignments:

1. An understanding of the key elements of architectural practice within the context of the contemporary architectural firm; GC 5.1; GC 7.2; GC 7.3; GC 11.3

2. An understanding of the need for the management of the design process (including co-ordination with other disciplines and the need to comply with development control policy and legislation, as well as to respond to the needs and aspirations of building users, developing themes explored in the Industry, Policy and Practice module for Year 2); GC 4.3; GC 5.1; GC 7.2; GC 7.3

3. An understanding of the legal terms governing the engagement of architects, and of architects’ liabilities and insurance arrangements. GC 7.2; GC 7.3

4. The fundamental legal, professional and statutory responsibility of the architect, and the organisations, regulations and procedures involved in the negotiation and approval of architectural designs, including land law, development control, building regulations and health and safety legislation; GC 11.1

5. The professional inter-relationships of individuals and organisations involved in the procuring and delivering architectural projects, and how these are defined though contractual and organisational structures; GC 11.2

6.The basic management theories and business principles related to running both an architects’ practice and architectural projects, recognising current and emerging trends in the construction industry. GC 11.3

Additional outcomes:
Students will also be expected to have developed:

1. An appreciation of what makes a successful architectural business (from a sole principal/trader to the large architectural firm). GC 11.3

2. Their ability to create well-structured pieces of written work.

Outline content:
The module is structured into five topic areas, as follows:

1. The architectural firm – the concept of the firm in economic theory; architectural firms of different types and sizes; legal structures; key issues of firm organisation and management;

2. Marketing and business development – developing opportunities for new business; the importance of communication, presentation and ‘pitching’;

3. Practice management – fee structures and financial management; people and HR issues; IT and knowledge management; other management issues;

4. Managing the design process – concepts of architectural design; key challenges and issues in the management of a creative design process; tools and techniques for design management;

5. Appointments and insurances – legal framework for architects’ engagement; liabilities and insurances; commonly used terms of engagement.

Global context:
While the module is focused on UK practice, important elements of architectural practice organisation and management have wider relevance and applicability to most countries where architecture is an established profession/discipline.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module will be delivered via lectures and group-based seminars/tutorials by experts from the University and from Industry. Where appropriate, case studies and examples from practice will be used to focus and crystalise key concepts. Group-based project assignments may be used to develop students’ practice management skills. Written assignments will help to develop students’ ability to create well-structured pieces of written work.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10 10
Seminars 5 5
Project Supervision 5 5
Practicals classes and workshops 5 5
Guided independent study 25 25
Total hours by term 50.00 50.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 50
Project output other than dissertation 50

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Formative assessment methods:
Case studies and practical examples will be used to challenge and stretch students’ understanding. Group-based tutorials will provide opportunities for regular review of and feedback on students’ development. Group-based project work will encourage students to work in a team environment and develop an understanding of the importance of collaborative working in construction.

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please the Undergraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/files/exams/UgGuide-2014-15.pdf

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 40% overall

Reassessment arrangements:
Reassessment will be by coursework to be completed by August/September

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 18 September 2018


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