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Staff Development: Taking a Project from Start to Finish for the First Time

By November 7, 2019News
Emma Buck staff development

“Take care of your employees and they will take care of your business,” is a maxim we believe in here at David Granger Architectural Design. We like to take the time to develop our team members’ skills and experience so they can gain their professional qualifications, and better serve our clients.

We recently gave one of our Architectural Technologists, Emma Buck, the chance to manage her first project from beginning to end. Here’s what she had to say about her staff development experience:

Having worked here as an Architectural Technologist for nearly two and a half years, we decided, as part of my development, that I should take a job from start to finish for the first time. Completing work like this adds to my portfolio of experience and will help me gain professional status.

Some family friends were ready to convert an existing bungalow into their “forever dream home”. So, in November 2018, I joined David at my first initial client meeting. We looked around the property and gathered information about our clients and what they wanted to achieve within their budget and timescale.

Following on from the initial meeting, I surveyed the existing bungalow with a colleague and drew up a full set of ‘existing’ drawings. With the current layout on paper, it was time to start sketching out different design ideas. I discussed these with David to get his thoughts and ideas, and he was happy with my proposals.

Staff development bungalow conversion project

Next it was time to start drawing them up in AutoCAD, to get a better judgement on the size of the rooms and to add furniture layouts. This allows the clients to visualise how the spaces could be used. With this being my first time having the reins of a design project, it was quite an experience, learning all the elements involved within the process. It forced me to think in a different way than I usually would while completing technical drawings.

Once I’d finalised the sketches, I had my first meeting with the clients to discuss the designs and hear their thoughts. The clients were pleased with the design ideas and only wanted to make slight tweaks to suit how they would use some of the rooms.

As the meeting went so well, we progressed the project to detailed planning, where we produce a full package of drawings to apply for planning permission. This gave me the chance to learn more thoroughly about the different types of planning applications and was my first experience of completing the paperwork.

The planning application did not go as smoothly as the client, and we, would have hoped. The planners had several objections and asked for alterations to be made due to location. We did our very best to accommodate the concerns to keep both the clients and neighbours happy, and finally, we came back with positive planning approval. I could not have been more pleased for our clients after a worrying couple of months.

Next stages

Now we have set up a meeting to start the next stage of the project, which is producing the working drawings. This will be my first initial working drawing meeting, so Stuart, our technical director, will join me to show me the ropes and what goes on behind the drawing work. The upcoming months will be a big learning curve for me, but I am very excited to get stuck in so I can grow as an architectural technologist within the company.

Although I have been leading the project, there have always been colleagues at hand if I’ve needed help. I am very grateful to have been given this chance, which will hopefully lead on to more opportunities in the future.