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Integrated Architectural and Engineering Approach Is More Collaborative, Potentially Quicker to Market

Articles 10-30-2019

Development projects can pull together a variety of dynamics, agendas, capabilities and even egos to fulfill a client’s vision. For instance, a building architect might create a site plan and then send it to civil engineers representing a different firm. A third firm may provide landscape architecture or MEP engineering services. Yet another may be the surveyor of record.

Harmony can be a difficult goal to achieve because the architect, civil engineer and landscape architect are each competing, so to speak, to generate their specific, yet limited ideas or plans for the space. Their efforts to evolve a property that functions as intended by the developer often lack cohesion or holistic solutions.

The value of architectural design, integrated with in-house civil engineering and other professional services such as environmental, landscape architecture and surveying, can’t be overstated. Those relationships and trusted conversations promote more efficient and effective coordination and may enable projects to be taken to market quicker.

Integrated design services provide several benefits—immediate communication being one of the most important.

Here are four ways clients benefit from architects being supported with in-house, full-service integrated design:

Due Diligence

No developer simply hopes a project location will work out. The site location and architectural design must accommodate the developer’s intended usage to maximize the property value.

Site development due diligence should be performed as early as possible and may include research and investigation of the following items:

  • Current market conditions

  • Environmental impacts

  • Floodplain identification and stormwater management

  • Right of way acquisition

  • Site size, shape and topography

  • Traffic requirements

  • Utility availability and potential conflicts

  • Zoning designations

Interdisciplinary firms such as Halff provide a single point of contact and, more importantly, immediate interaction to talk through challenges and identify sustainable solutions. Some due-diligence tasks can be addressed in a matter of hours instead of days because in-house conversations occur immediately.


In a scenario not including integrated design services, it’s not unusual for a civil engineering firm to receive a site plan from an outside architect without any consultation. At that point, topographical, utility and floodplain information can be applied to the site plan, and the civil engineer might present back to the architect a completely different site plan, reflecting what is required to make the plan feasible.

The potential issue in this scenario is the response is to a plan already drafted instead of the civil engineer having an opportunity to provide valuable input beforehand. That step of blindly investing time in a plan is taken out of the equation when a civil engineer is involved from the beginning.

Many different scenarios may play out within a full-service architectural and civil engineering firm, but the time savings are realized because those conversations occur early in the site development process. The path to alternative solutions can be narrowed much quicker.

To take project coordination a step further, professional egos can present themselves and creative conflicts may arise when multiple firms are engaged in the same project.

Halff’s Architecture practice has the full benefit of collaborating with in-house civil engineers who help solve challenges a piece land may present.

Speed to Market

Speed to market solutions can be as simple as eliminating hurdles. Securing land and money to develop that land are hurdles architects and civil engineers can’t control.

However, if they shorten project preparation time frames—due diligence—the decision-making process occurs more quickly. This is where having a depth of resources to accomplish due-diligence procedures helps optimize quality and improve schedule control.

Real-time collaboration opportunities can cut big chunks of a project schedule.

Collaboration/Solving Problems

Every design team has a common goal of completing a quality project that exceeds client expectations, but working on a project with coworkers usually proves to be more collaborative.

Coworkers can talk through design changes and resolve conflicts more easily because the architect-civil engineer relationship is collaborative, not adversarial. Coworkers can challenge one another and ask if there is a better way to accomplish a goal. Those conversations are allowed to happen without the natural barriers that can occur when multiple firms are involved.

Conversations happen earlier, they are continuous and they produce better results.

Another benefit of this scenario is in-house resources are all on the same network. Any changes an architect makes to a design file can be seen by a civil engineer in real time and vice versa. Random conversations happen in the hallway—they may be quick progress updates or discussions about design changes. The bottom line is communication, vital to every project,  happens spontaneously.

Information is collaborative. It’s immediate. And egos are checked at the door for the benefit of the project.

To find out how Halff architects can offer you the benefit of full-service integrated design, write to

Go to to view recent architecture projects.

Visit to learn more about Halff’s full range of professional services.


Jodi Hausenfluke
(214) 346-6257


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Las Colinas, Texas
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