ISO certified | The seal of quality for today's architects

Cost reduction, better referencing, customer satisfaction... What tangible benefits do ISO-certified architects reap?

+12%: This is the increase in the number of ISO 9001 certifications worldwide in 2022. Quality of service and environmental respect have become essential issues for architects wishing to meet the expectations of their clients and public authorities. In this context, obtaining ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certifications is seen as a mark of professionalism and a vector of competitiveness. But what do these standards specifically represent? What concrete benefits can they bring to architects? OOTI delves into these two quality norms!

What does the ISO 9001 standard mean for architects?

The ISO 9001 standard sets out a series of requirements for establishing a quality management system within an organization. It aims to ensure client satisfaction through the systematic provision of products and services that meet their expectations.

For your architectural activity or technical office study, obtaining an ISO 9001 certification offers numerous advantages. This standard firstly helps you better structure your project management processes, from contract signing to delivery, including design and construction monitoring. Clear procedures are defined for key functions such as plan verification or validation of changes to the initial project.

The ISO 9001 standard also promotes greater customer satisfaction. Requirements for regular communication on project progress or measuring their satisfaction level allow for the rapid detection of potential problems and their rectification. Certified architects inspire more confidence thanks to their commitment to quality.

What does ISO 14001 mean in the construction field?

The ISO 14001 standard assists in implementing an effective environmental management system. Its goal is to reduce the negative impacts of activities on the environment through a structured approach.

This standard helps you push the boundaries of sustainable design by integrating parameters such as orientation or insulation. It can also assist in recommending greener materials or optimized waste management on construction sites.

Beyond the act of building, the ISO 14001 certification impacts the entire internal value chain of architectural firms. For example, it encourages the digitization of plans or raises team awareness of eco-friendly actions. It's proof of your environmental commitment—a factor that distinguishes you to clients who are increasingly attentive to these issues.

Why adopt these certifications as an architect?

The ISO 9001 and 14001 certifications may seem like constraints. Yet, they offer multiple benefits for architects.

They allow you to save money by optimizing your internal processes. The continuous improvement advocated by these standards also leads to greater team efficiency and a reduction in errors, thus costs.

On the environmental side, certified architects prove their ability to design sustainable buildings, in line with regulations and the expectations of clients.

Finally, these certifications strengthen the reputation and professionalism of architectural firms. They reassure clients by attesting to the respect of high standards in terms of service quality and environmental management.

An example with Arte Charpentier Architects illustrates the positive impact of certification perfectly. Eager to strengthen its processes and secure its projects, the agency adopted effective shared management tools, capable of ensuring impeccable work quality. After more than 15 years of experience, this approach is now fully integrated by all teams.

What is the certification process?

It all starts with an initial audit within the architectural firm. In concrete terms, an external consultant will analyze your work methods, identify your strengths and areas for improvement. Based on this, you can define a quality and environmental policy that matches your strategy and formalize appropriate procedures.

For example, precise protocols for plan verification or client follow-up will be drafted. Quantitative objectives in terms of deadlines or waste management may also be set. The idea is to have a personalized roadmap towards excellence!

Once this management system is finalized, a certifying body such as AFNOR or Bureau Veritas will conduct a thorough audit of several days at your premises. Interviews with your teams and the examination of your processes will determine their compliance with the ISO 9001 and 14001 standard requirements.

If the result is positive, you will obtain your certifications! Annual follow-up audits will then verify their maintenance through your continuous actions to optimize processes and client satisfaction. Of course, this process is simplified here. For more information, approach a certified body.

And if you want to start by optimizing the management of your agency or design office, ask us for a demonstration of OOTI. We will be delighted to show you our software that will allow you to optimize your processes.

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