As founding partner of SHH and Company Chairman, architect David Spence has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. He’s the client director of the company and takes care of all residential projects in their studio. He makes sure that all of the work in the studio is working efficiently. His advice to any aspiring architect out there is to visit as many buildings by the past and current great architects as you can and always keep your eyes wide open.
Both my parents are architects and I began building camps and tree houses when I was 5 or 6 years old. I started my career in building, doing an HND at building school. It was only after completing several projects and working on a number of construction sites that I decided to go on and read architecture. It’s something I have never regretted. My early days in building have proved to be a great advantage in the long run too. They gave me a great sense of balance between conceptual work and a scheme’s real-world buildable potential.
I have grown to love architecture and design more and more. It is a long term professional and emotional investment, rather like marriage: it takes dedication, commitment and enthusiasm! I love the challenges that clients give us every day. Over the past two decades, many of our clients - and the public as a whole - have become more aware of their built environment, of design as a whole and of the need to be environmentally-conscious. All three of these elements have significantly improved our working life.
Now with 30 years of experience and an ACIOB qualification, Spence shares how a studio should be working efficiently.
Each project is individual and has its own work stages and this forms the program of when work should be done. We set deadlines on each and every stage of each and every project in the studio - from private super homes, offices, fitness/ leisure centers and schools to hotels, shops and restaurants and we have regular team project updates to ensure we are on target to meet those deadlines, with project heads or team leaders empowered to raise the alarm if anything goes over budget or falls outside the time frame. It’s really just about having good processes in theory and really keeping to them in practice.
Surviving and working through this current recession isn’t the easiest thing, though at SHH, they have their strategies that keep them successfully in the game.
Never have all your eggs in one basket. At SHH we don’t just specialize in one area but several. We are also a global concern and that spread of territories has also helped us. Finally, we have invested more in business development and marketing in the recession than at any other time. You have to fight for the work that is out there and fight to make sure you are in the forefront of people’s minds when the work starts to flow a bit more!
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