ArcBazar is a crowdsourcing platform for architecture projects. Traditionally, architecture companies were sole selected to perform work or perhaps shortlisted with not many more other companies to compete in a bidding process. On ArcBazar, a client posts a project description including project constraints, timeline and perhaps visuals.
The advantage of ArcBazar is allegedly superior choice from quality architecture firms, competitive or perhaps lower cost and/or competitive or perhaps quicker delivery of architectural design. ArcBazar advertises increased access to high quality/professional architectural services as a benefit to platform users. ArcBazar advertises that even professional architectural outfits can outsource certain architecture sub-tasks to the crowdsourcing marketplace.
On average, ten great designs are proposed.
ArcBazar controls entries through a client-centered selection process. The client evaluates the 10 average proposals based on cost, schedule and proposal quality. The client also evaluates architecture outfit credentials through past work on and outside of ArcBazar. The client ranks the top submissions and the top three outfits collect the project award: 60% for first place, 30% for second and 10% for third. ArcBazar automatically describes a set of documents & deliverables required for project completion.
The client may elect to award bonuses to firms not in the top 3 for exceptional performance. Once the completion has concluded, the client may choose to work together with the winning firms, or perhaps local design & construction firms to finalize details and execute the project. Clients may elect to do the work themselves.
Some established architecture firms have complained that platforms like ArcBazar move higher skill/quality services and professions towards the TaskRabbit spectrum of low cost services. However, co-founder Ana Batista positions ArcBazar as providing a service that targets non-consumption – for example, plenty of small home developments never looked to an architecture/design studio due to being priced out and/or being too complicated to do business with. Counter-arguments include that architecture firms typically engage in RFPs or request for proposals without expectation for substantial, if any, remuneration before being selected as the architecture firm for a project.
Further criticism is that a global pool of architects is not necessarily versed in local design and construction codes, leading to lower quality designs. Furthermore, quality designs & bids that do not fall within the top 3 of a competition end up doing work free of charge. ArcBazar fights back this point by positioning the platform as an idea generator as opposed to a site for detailed construction plans.
The site has a $250 minimum reward, and ArcBazar picks up 15% in addition to the award for designers. It is free to sign up and upload information and kick start a competition.
Harvard & MIT heavyweight investors, professors and businessmen have joined the board.
Growth potential is exciting, considering an order of magnitude cost reduction for architectural design ideas from existing design studios. Remodeling captures 46% of project distributions, interiors 17%, landscaping 13%, new residential 12%, commercial 10% and public just under 2%. 84% of all competitions are based in the US (31% designers in US), 5% in Europe (41% designers in Europe), with Asia at 5% projects. Considering the vast population in the world is outside of Europe and North America, there is certainly growth potential going forward.
ArcBazar CEO estimates the total addressable market size as $22 billion USD.