Hi Richard, Can you tell us a little bit more about Bouygues Construction and the types of projects the company is involved in?
As a global player in construction and services, Bouygues Construction designs, builds and operates buildings and structures which improve the quality of people’s living and working environment: public and private buildings, transport infrastructures and energy and communications networks. A leader in sustainable construction, the Group and its 53,500 employees have a long-term commitment to helping their customers shape a better life.
How does your role differ from that of a more “conventional” architect?
I work as an architect within a multidisciplinary subsidiary (Bouygues Energies & Services) which offers integrated energy, digital and service solutions. It designs, installs, maintains and operates bespoke technical systems that enable its clients both to deliver quality living and working environments for users and, at the same time, control their energy consumption over the long term.
I am in the fortunate position (though some architects may think it unfortunate!) of working on a day-to-day basis with mechanical, electrical and process engineers, as well as estimators, project planners, quantity-surveyors and project managers all here within the same office. Having trained originally as an engineer and then worked for several years as an estimator at differing levels of the industry before retraining as an architect, my background means I can relate to the different parts of the team and I relish the opportunity for cross-disciplinary collaboration rather than working in silos.
As a result, I have been heavily involved here in trying to align the different disciplines to a connected approach to projects, with a central plan of work stages which map over the other industry schedules of services but are based primarily around the RIBA plan of work 2013.
So what projects you are you currently involved in within the North of England?
We are currently working on the Teesside Advanced Manufacturing Park on the banks of the River Tees. As well as housing advanced manufacturing companies, R&D centres and technology driven organisations, the Park will also have a commercial aspect with possibilities for iconic hotel and performing arts centre schemes, and is thus striving to become not only the centre for cutting edge technology in the North but a landmark development in itself. The opportunity to have a central role in the project development, masterplanning, and architectural design has been especially rewarding as Middlesbrough is my place of birth and is badly in need of economic stimulus right now with recent local events.
Aside from that, I’m also currently involved in the interior design of the headquarters of a leading UK based life-sciences innovation firm, and the tender for a multi-million pound four-stage framework agreement with major global pharmaceutical manufacturer.
As we enter into 2016, what lies ahead for the industry and what are the potential challenges awaiting?
The main thing that springs to mind in 2016 is of course BIM and the 2016 mandate. I think the industry has accepted that BIM is inevitable and is by and large now embracing it. Of course, progress is somewhat staggered from one company to another but it is generally being made a priority as people have realised its fantastic potential.
BIM is a central issue at Bouygues Construction and working within a multidisciplinary has served to be almost the perfect micro-environment to explore and drive the possibilities of collaborative working.
As a VIP attendee, what are you looking forward to most about North England Build 2016?
Northern regeneration is something that is close to my heart, having lived across the North in Middlesbrough, Hull, Leeds and now Manchester. These are exciting times, with the Northern Powerhouse proposal, Manchester booming, HS2, and the 2017 City of Culture in Hull. North England Build is the ideal platform to share information, generate ideas and continue to drive development, innovation and industry within the North.