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Staff Spotlight: James Chester

By November 5, 2018News
James Chester

Throughout your experience as a customer of David Granger Design, we have a range of processes and teams in place designed to ensure the service you receive is first class.

We’re dedicated to providing you with expert advice on any questions you might have regarding your project. We know the process can sometimes be challenging (especially when it comes to planning issues), so we aim to help make the whole process a lot clearer.

Today we spoke to one of our Architectural Technologists, James Chester, to get his views…

When did you start working at David Granger Architectural Design?

I began working here in November 2005.

What does your role involve

When I started, I came from a job where I was working mainly in the commercial sector (supermarket new builds/extension/refits) so I had next-to-no experience of the residential side of the industry. I started off with the basics; learning to survey existing properties, to draw them up, and then to make simple alterations that would form part of the proposals.

As my role has progressed, I have developed my skill set to become an integral part of the technical team within the office. This encompasses aspects such as producing full working drawing packages, resolving technical issues with clients and builders, and understanding and incorporating Building Regulations into the design. I have also begun to undertake staged inspections on new build properties to provide Professional Consultant’s Certificates.

Since becoming fully chartered (MCIAT – Chartered Member of the Institute of Architectural Technologists) I have seen my responsibilities and workload increase, but it also means a more varied workday and certainly more interaction with clients and builders.

How does your role fit into the journey of a client’s project through the company?

Typically, I am involved in the latter half of a client’s project; being mainly concerned with the technical side which follows on from the design and planning stages of a project.

Once a project has been designed and has been granted Planning Permission, I then progress the project to hand on to others. This could be the builders on-site, structural engineers for support calculations, SAP Assessors for energy efficiency calculations or window suppliers.

Sometimes, however, I am still required to go out on surveys, which happens very early on in the job. I will see a potential project before it gets to me for working drawings. This is always a bonus as not only can it make the drawing process easier (having seen the property first hand) but it also adds a sense of ‘realness’ to the whole thing.

What makes you proud of working at David Granger Architectural Design?

The thing that I take most pride in is trying to ensure that I’ve covered all the bases; that what I’ve drawn is correct and complete and doesn’t knowingly gloss over any problems or sticking points. “That’ll do” is something I can’t abide, so making sure that I’ve tackled any issues rather than ignoring them is critical.

Then seeing something that I’ve drawn being built is a great feeling, especially when I know how much time has gone into getting it to that stage.

What is the most exciting change you’ve seen in the industry?

The most interesting is the move towards renewable and alternative energy sources being used in dwellings.

Many different technologies can be specified. Solar panels, air source heat pumps, or something a bit more obscure such as Micro-CHP (where the gas/LPG boiler also produces electricity when it runs) are all areas that are showing continual improvement. These technologies are something that everyone should consider, whether building a new home or renovating their existing one.

What do you do in your downtime?

When I’m not in the office my time is mainly occupied with my family; Helen and I have a daughter and son who keep us continually occupied. Should I get the occasional minute to myself, I enjoy watching movies or tinkering with computers, something I’ve been doing for more than 25 years now.

What is the best customer experience you’ve had?

I remember a survey in Loughborough on a particularly hot day, and the client laid on cold drinks and homemade lemon drizzle cake for us; not sure that it gets much better than that!

Otherwise, any positive comment that you get back from a client, whether it be just a simple thank you at the end of a project or for a more specific task undertaken part way through, is always a nice acknowledgement of the effort that is put into every job.

What do you enjoy most about working for David Granger Architectural Design?

Biscuits with the 10:30 am tea?!

The best thing is some of the people I get to work with; who I can have a chat and a laugh with, but at the same time rely on them if I have a problem or a tight deadline. Having people like that around me makes all the difference when it comes to being in the office or out on site.