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Boyd, D and Danks, S (2000) An analysis of 'the architectural practice' in the construction industry. In: Akintoye, A (Ed.), Proceedings 16th Annual ARCOM Conference, 6-8 September 2000, Glasgow, UK. Association of Researchers in Construction Management, Vol. 2, 693–702.

  • Type: Conference Proceedings
  • Keywords: architectural practice; supply chain; transaction economics
  • ISBN/ISSN: 0 9534161 4 3
  • URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/ar2000-693-702_Boyd_and_Danks.pdf
  • Abstract:
    This paper presents an analysis of the continued existence of the Architectural Practice in order to determine issues that allow its survival. Wider activities are identified which are not declared in rational models of construction, such as supply chain management which see only the creation of the physical entity of the building. Practices are shown to operate in three dimensions: the task, the social relations of the project and in the longer term the 'professional project' of architecture. The 'professional project' in relation to the social and economic orders ensures its longer term authority in a market situation. This is complemented by an exploration of the transaction costs of the construction supply chain which are high because of the existence of latent objectives and indeterminate activities due to the cultural work of design. These hidden tasks are analysed in four transaction economies: symbolic, functional, social and financial where the objectives are negotiated as the project transpires. This process induces considerable uncertainty into projects which professional practices are able to bound and so dispel much of the anxiety. Thus, the social transaction skills required to negotiate within these economies ensure the survival of the practice, however they also provide the opportunity for manipulation that generates the severest criticism of the practice.