November 2016, Management In a New Office
On November 14th, I started working for Design Engine Architects in Winchester. My first couple of weeks at Design Engine involved working on elevational renders and small CAD tasks for two projects – a college extension in Winchester and a large residential scheme in Lyndhurst. Graphical work typically is done by the part 1 and 2 students and is a good starting point for new members of the team, like myself. I was challenged initially with the task of familiarizing myself with Vectorworks so starting on small CAD tasks helped ease myself into using the new software. The Lyndhurst project was submitted for planning on the 25th of November where my drawings were included in the design access statement. After this deadline, I was put back on the Winchester College scheme producing visual impact images that will be sent to the planners later in the month.
The first thing I noticed at Design Engine was the different office dynamic compared to my previous experience. With more work coming into a larger practice there is a greater need for a good management and support system. Design Engine consists of 5 directors and 3 senior associates to facilitate high work demand and among support staff there is a graphic designer, a marketing director, an IT manager, a receptionist and a finance manager. In my previous practice, I would have been involved in all of these things apart from finance, as well as my main work, to keep up with the needs of a growing practice.
Additional key roles are allocated to individual members of the practice such as a health and safety manager (first aid), a CPD organizer and an environmental damage manager The offices ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certification is familiarized to new members of the practice. Overall a lot of key practice responsibilities can be dispersed to a greater number of people in a larger practice which enables the practice to be more methodical with its management. This helps to maintain greater levels of success and quality control in all areas of the workplace.
An individual project will be given to a team within the office. The team may change over time due to project intensities over its timescale. I was allocated to two different groups in my first couple weeks to projects nearing planning submission which meant the work load for those projects was higher. General resources meetings are held between the directors in order to allocate time and resources to projects with more strained workloads. I continued on the Winchester college scheme till the end of the month as it neared planning submission which is typically when the intensity of a project tends to increase.
In order to relay information of ongoing projects to the rest of the team, a weekly feedback session is held last thing on a Friday. This is a chance to allow the rest of the practice to know what is being achieved and what stages projects may be on. This is also a chance for one or two people to talk in detail about a project that may have passed a milestone in the past week. Monday morning is also set up to share what meetings and arrangements are due to happen in the coming week. This allows members of the team to be aware of important upcoming events and avoid organizational conflicts.