In this first post I want to introduce myself and tell you a bit about my background in the construction industry. Since 1994, I have worked in construction, architectural practice, technical consultancy and academia, and I am currently the Course Director (Grade 9) for Architectural Technology at Leeds Beckett University. I am a Chartered Architectural Technologist (MCIAT), Chartered Builder (MCIOB), and Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv). I am also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). I am passionate about the development of others and the advancement of the Architectural Technology discipline.
My career in the construction industry began when I embarked upon an apprenticeship at the age of 16 and successfully completed my training to become a carpenter and joiner. A desire to develop my career further led me into a management role within a construction company. During this period, I completed a HND in Building Studies and was quickly promoted to Contracts Manager. Through this position I dealt with all aspects of the daily running of a small construction company.
Having gained a solid grounding in the practical and managerial aspects of building, I decided to expand my skill base further. I successfully gained employment with a well-established architectural practice in 2002. In this technical design role, I was an integral part of a team dealing with a broad range of projects that included large commercial and retail, education, healthcare, light industrial and residential developments. Alongside this busy role I successfully achieved a First-Class Honours degree in Architectural Technology and an MSc in Sustainable Architecture.
Whilst in practice I was invited to deliver several guest lectures at Leeds Metropolitan University, and published research from my undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations. This inspired a taste for academia that led me to become Senior Lecturer in Architectural Technology at Leeds Metropolitan University in 2007. I taught a range of technical and design-based subjects across undergraduate and postgraduate courses and was responsible for the Course Leadership for BSc (Hons) Architectural Technology. I instigated and oversaw many developments, including a complete review and redesign of the course provision and creation of designated studio facilities, which ensured that the course was revalidated and reaccredited. I gained a Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education in 2009 which provided me with the theoretical basis to design, develop and deliver innovative higher education programmes.
In 2010 I returned to industry and took a position with a national architectural practice leading the technical design and management of large retail projects. Whilst in this post, I recognised an opportunity to establish a company of my own. I formed an architectural technology practice in 2011, offering technical design consultancy and specialising in the thermal modelling of junction details. I maintained my links to higher education by undertaking part-time lecturing at the University of Huddersfield, teaching technology subjects to undergraduate and post-graduate courses. This was followed between 2012 and 2017 by a post at Leeds Beckett University leading research into the forensic assessment of thermal bridging and moisture transfer. In 2017, Leeds Beckett University created the role of Course Director to which I was successfully appointed. I lead the strategic development and delivery of BSc (Hons) Architectural Technology and MSc Architectural Technology and Design, and engage in research, enterprise, and consultancy activities. In 2019, I was awarded a PhD for my thesis “Assessing the Impact of Thermal Bridging on Building Fabric Performance”. Through this original work I developed a methodological framework to quantify the effects of as-built thermal bridging and identify its causes.
Education has been at the very heart of my career, and my vocational, academic, and professional qualifications have been achieved through part-time study balanced with full-time employment. My experiences have led me to recognise the importance of applying learning through practice as an integral part of the education process. This approach is one that I strongly believe can be used to strengthen and develop the Architectural Technology discipline in years to come.