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Rock Street, San Francisco

In my professional
year out after completing Stage 3 of Architecture, I entered Surbana-Jurong Consultants
in Singapore as the practice to broaden my knowledge and confidence in
delivering the skills I gained from my time at University. Surbana- Jurong
Consultants Pte Ltd in Singapore focuses on delivering an architectural
solution to special and confidential projects, design competition projects, all
in large scales. As an on the job trainee, I was able to contribute design
research/ methodologies for the concept design report and presentations,
provide conceptual ideas, produce layouts/ typologies, presentation graphics
and create study models.


 Considering that I am part of a big firm, it
is marginalized into several, fewer membered teams or group of architects. All
are equally talented, fairly distributed in terms of number of members,
strengths and capacity, so when new projects arise, it can be given to any of
the teams/groups regardless of project type or scale. Those internal team
members consist of architects, structural engineers, quantity surveyors, contractors
and the clerk of work during all phases of the project. Though there are teams assigned
in other offices under the same project which are the external members
appointed to undertake work that I engage with throughout.

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The most important aspect of my Part
1 year out is having the chance to apply the skills that I acquired at University
into the professional world that I was lucky enough to split my year out into
two phases, 6 months at the West Lothian Civic Centre in Livingston before I
moved to the city of my dreams, Singapore. I gained a plethora of benefits by
doing this: I have been living in Livingston since at the age of 6, thus I was
comfortable and familiar with the area I was working at, site visits came with
ease, knowledge on context and site factors became useful in contributing to
the rest of the design team. Not only have I lived in the area, but have worked
in this biggest public sector partnership of the UK during my high school work
experience, even several years back before my year out I was able to meet the
group of architects and how they engaged with the housing, building and
construction services in the same building. We were involved in more council projects
within the town, from council houses, school extensions and regenerating
buildings. It came to a surprise to me that we only used CAD and Sketchup software
throughout the stages of the project, which is one of the several skills I acquainted
with during my time at University.  


The first project I encountered
during my year out was part of the New Building Council Housing Programme with
a commitment to building 3000 homes by 2033, it is in Phase 2 of completion
with 545 homes in West Lothian alone. The outcomes come in a range from flats, semi-detached,
detached and bungalows under the policy and legal (including strategic
environmental assessment, equality issues, health or risk assessment), covered
in the West Lothian Local Housing Strategy applied through Building Act 2003 and
Building (Procedure) (Scotland) Regulations 2004. This requires the design,
construction or demolition of a building to apply to a plethora of Building
Standards in accordance to Schedule 5 marginalised into 6 sections: Structure,
Fire, Environment, Safety, Noise and Energy.

Schedule 5 Regulation 9 in The
Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004 states:
“Every building must be designed and constructed in such a way that the
loadings that are liable to act on it will not lead to: the collapse of the
whole or part of the building; or deformations which would make the building
unfit for its intended use, unsafe, or cause damage to other parts of the
building or to fittings or to installed equipment.”

This effectively guided the design
and the delivery of the architectural service: we had to consider possible load
factors such as dead loads, live loads and environmental loads during designing
stage and how it will affect the construction in terms of its structural
integrity. All corresponding to the site analysis at the beginning all the way
through to construction DWG production and construction kick off. In this
project. As I entered the project during the preliminary design stage, I was
able to contribute my CAD skills to produce a set of architectural drawings
before getting consultation from the BLDG officials for the final compliances. There
I gained the importance of accuracy and working with constraints in an
architectural profession, by working in according to legislations portrayed the
critical details an Architect’s role has on a project.


 In relation to another project I was involved in
at The West Lothian Civic Centre in Livingston enlightened my knowledge in the
importance in a professional context that risk and professional liability brings.
The architectural service for the client was an extension to a Primary School
in the area, the extension with an intended functions of a larger gym hall,
with 3 additional teaching class rooms all in the west end of the building. This
came with additional aspects to take into consideration: how the existing
building linked with the new structure correlating the circulation between the
two, applying the most appropriate form for the new structure where it does not
block sunlight or view and most importantly its structural integrity.


Oxgang Primary School in Edinburgh collapsing
in January 2016 under prevailing weather where the root cause was the poor
quality construction and inadequate wall ties. This design issue was worrying
and lead to more attention given in the construction of the extension. Not only
this, other schools in Livingston were thoroughly checked by the housing,
building, and construction services to identify possible issues and kept well maintained
so problems would less likely arise in the future. Architects are at risk against
claims that are brought by their clients, the clients are the employer in terms
of the standard building contracts and if hypothetically the extension we were
designing came to the same conclusion as Oxgang Primary School, the contractor would
be liable to their client “through the tort of negligence”. However, the
architect would not be immune from liability in negligence if the contract
states that the architect is obligated to overview the stages of the work until
completion. The result of incorrect construction and poor oversight of the
installation would lead the main contractor to be issued a “defect notice”, and
if the defects liability is still in effect, they would be contractually bound
to remedy the mistakes.


Under Construction (Design and
Management) Regulations 2007 states: “These impose statutory duties on
professionals involved in construction, (i) to ensure that any design avoids
foreseeable risks to health and safety of any person carrying out constriction
work or likely to be affect by it.”

It then continues to mention: “A
breach of the Regulations does not give rise to a civil claim, but is likely to
be relevant to any claim for breach of common law duties.”

As the project is notifiable, the
client appointed a CDM co-ordinator to assist, with the Health and Safety File.
The significance of risk assessment in a professional context is critically
important for a project of an extension to a school. In accordance to Plan of
Work 2007 the project was at After practical completion stage also known as
Stage L and this allowed me to be aware that problems and risks can arise after
the building has been constructed. These risks are analysed by Quantity Surveyors
and Clerks of Works before and after construction, one of their
responsibilities is to make sure the workmanship complies with the specifications
stated in the contract documents. An Architect’s role when work is completed in
terms of risk and liability at this stage is that they we must ensure that
those problems that have risen or unfinished aspects of the construction are
all settled for the well-being of those involved in the professional service of
the project and the well-being of the people that interact with the building itself. 

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