ArchiTeam’ s research initiative, RASP (Research for Architects in Small Practice), is up and running. Contracts between the University of Melbourne and ArchiTeam have been signed and exchanged. Dr Peter Raisbeck is currently seeking a research assistant, to support him in the task (more on that below).
In early 2019, ArchiTeam and RAsP will be asking members to provide information towards the research project: “Do small practice architect designed renovations improve capital gains in the Melbourne residential property market?”. The research team will gather and analyse this data, and prepare the research paper. It’s going to be fascinating to hear the results, and I for one can’t wait to hear where the truth lies.
Look out for the research questions that will be forwarded to all members next year. The more members that can participate in the project, the better. We will keep you posted on progress, and make sure that there is plenty of time to gather the necessary data.
Thank you to the many of you who have supported and continue to support RASP: it’s only just beginning!
Dr Peter Raisbeck – RASP Update
The crowdfunding of the RASP project has positioned ArchiTeam as one of the few architectural organisations where there is money to research the value of architects. There is no other research fund like this in Australia, and I am hoping that with the successful completion of this project ArchiTeam can, seek further funds, and build the fund over coming years.
At the moment we are working to find a suitable research assistant for the project. This process will involve advertising through the Melbourne University HR system. While the end of the year is looming, with all of its working panic and out of control haste, we are hoping that we can find someone before Christmas. If not then in early January.
The Research Assistant
Because of the nature of the project, the Research Assistant will need a unique set of skills. This position is ideal for someone interested in pursuing research in the nexus between academia and architectural practice. The Research Assistant (RA) will support the project through interactions with the ArchiTeam board and its corresponding community of practising architects. At a broad level, this will involve data gathering, formatting and analysis. Let us know if you know of anyone who might be suitable.
More specifically the research assistant will require skills including: Quantitative and statistical analysis experience and skills including a working knowledge of SPSS and Excel. A broad understanding of key challenges confronted by architects today and critical issues in the built environment. Ability and proficiency to use graphic design and presentation software to create and refine complex maps and charts. Written and verbal communication skills including the ability to draft communications and reports, and to convey complex information in a manner that is clear, concise and accessible to a broad audience.
Most Importantly, the Research Assistant will be involved in helping to create two comparative data “pools” (architect and non-architect) and then analysing the data that has been gathered. In each of these pools, I envisage there will be around 30 different projects, or data points if we can call them that, in each pool. Each data point will have information related to size, typology, capital costs and other time related real estate data. Maybe even fees!
In line with the above, an essential issue for the Research Assistant and myself to tackle will be related to data integrity. Addressing this issue will involve making relevant comparisons between the different data pools, selecting the data to go into each pool, and considering any previous studies (if there are any), time and cost metrics, project size and the relative complexity of different projects.
In addition, we will assess some of the qualitative attributes for each data point into quantitative metrics as required. In parallel with this, as suggested above, this will also include the assessment, comparative analysis and weighting of each data point and its quantitative attributes. This will, as a matter of course, require the development and maintenance of a robust data spreadsheet and database. It goes without saying that, the research Assistant and myself will set up mechanisms to liaise directly with ArchiTeam members and liaise with various data providers if necessary, as the data analysis proceeds.
Once we have enough data points in each pool we will conduct a statistical analysis of the data pools included the development of comparative time, cost and property data metrics. This will involve the production of descriptive statistics and the regression and correlation analysis of the data pools as required. These actions will then give us some results!
Geography and location will be a vital issue in this research. I am thinking that limiting the data points to the inner ring suburbs might help overcome this. However, as we do not yet have the data points from either ArchiTeam members or from other real estate and property data providers I cannot say what the best way to construct the comparative pools is. If I could predict that, this project would not be research!
As many architects know, the problem is real estate markets are notoriously lumpy in the sense that each asset traded in the market is different, in size, type and project circumstance. This is why we developed the pool method. It is far too complicated to use a “paired” comparative method and so in previous research we came up with the idea to pool the data as the basis of the comparison. The research will also depend on the range of time or chronology that the data points represent. The last ten years might be good and both pools will need similar time frames. However, it again depends on what data we collect.
ArchiTeam has a real opportunity to lead the research space for architects. The other professional associations are not currently doing research that demonstrates the value of architecture. They are not so concerned with small practice-focused research. In addition, Australia’s ARC funding system has not served small practices and architecture well, and the research outcomes for the profession have been scant. This project will establish ArchiTeam as leaders in architectural research and research funding space. As a result, I think this will enhance outcomes for both ArchiTeam as a whole and its many members.