I had a small design and build practice in Gurgaon, a suburb of New Delhi, India. Me and my team of designers and project managers did what every small design practice and construction firm does. Not Just getting new projects, but managing them was challenging too. All of us were overworked and when team members took leave, I felt like the heavens were going to fall. Being a Principal, I also managed cash flows and managing all the finances was quite stressful.
A lot of my time was spent chasing my team about pending tasks. Coordination with clients, engineering consultants, contractors and multiple vendors was inefficient. Tasks were forgotten, messages got lost, emails were difficult to find, and communication remained scattered.
These issues may seem minor, but they ended up wasting time and cutting into earnings. When we worked on a project, design information was scattered across several computers and retrieving it when needed took extra effort and time. Client presentations and change requests also consumed a lot of studio-hours and approvals were difficult to track. There was always a communication gap between the teams working on projects. Overall, these problems kept us busy and our firm couldn’t grow beyond a certain size.
Years passed, and I followed this same routine, until one day I had a realisation, and I decided to solve my problem through a tech innovation. When I conversed with my peers, I found they faced the same issues too. These issues were omnipresent across design studios. And then I understood – I needed to do something that could get all project stakeholders in sync, not just for the benefit of my own studio, but the industry as a whole. And this insight is what gave birth to ArchChat.