Working as a team gets the best result!

As an Architect I love the opportunity I get to help people with their homes, bringing their ideas to life as well as getting to travel and work in various sectors Australia-wide like retail, government offices, schools, commercial fitout and even caravan parks. 

I wanted to be an Architect even when I was a kid, but after issues with a teacher and his methods of teaching in high school I became disgruntled. Maybe Architecture wasn’t the career for me after all? But fortunately, along with a number of other options ranging from Occupational Therapy to Forestry, I ended up applying for Architecture and was offered a position at Newcastle University. My gut feeling said I should take up the offer and (as it turned out) I loved it from that first day and still do all these years later.

This is the beauty of the Construction industry, the passion so many of us have for our areas of expertise and delivering that expertise for others. However, sometimes the execution of that passion clashes and causes issues in our building projects.

For example, a commonly held belief is that while an architect cares how the building looks; the engineer is focused on how it works and these two areas very rarely overlap. Then following the input of the consultants, the builder possibly does not agree with either of them. ‘Fun for all the Family’, as they say!

Throughout all my years dealing with all sorts of clients, consultants, builders and shopfitters, I have discovered that the key to any successful project is to have respect for each others areas of expertise. 

Architects design a building (or fitout) based on a particular design brief from their client. Often there are reasons why rooms are the size they are, an explanation for why windows are a particular size or orientation and possibly a design decision as to the roof angle and materials selected. There needs to be cooperation after the design process to ensure those design decisions are in line with the original brief from the client and (obviously) also in accordance with the Council approvals.

I once had an interior designer go to see a client about their colour schemes, and provide a completely different layout for the bedrooms so they could get an extra bedroom. When I spoke to the client I reminded them of their desire for large bedrooms that could also act as a retreat for both them and their teenage girls. An extra bedroom may have added value if they were going to sell but that was not on their agenda– the future use of their house for their family was the main design objective.

If you couldn’t tell already, I’m passionate about my speciality and doing my part to deliver outstanding projects for clients. At the same time I recognise that in order to deliver these results, it’s not all about me. My number one priority is to see a project delivered on time, on budget and meeting (if not exceeding) the clients’ expectations. For this reason, I don’t have a “my way or the highway” approach- I know that instead, an attitude of co-operation is the foundation of ensuring respect exists between all parties involved and results in the best possible end product for our clients.

by Ruth Newman