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  • Writer's pictureLawrence

How my practice has changed since Covid 19

Updated: Jul 27, 2020

Since the Covid 19 pandemic, many businesses have needed to adapt to new ways of working, in order to meet government legislation and ensure that customers remain safe and healthy when they undertake essential work. This process of change has led to new discoveries and ways of working which are likely to remain well after the pandemic is over. I thought I would share a few changes I have made to my practice in the last 3 months.

More collaborative working

Virtual meetings have become a new phenomenon, and they have proved to be very effective both in terms of meeting up with clients on a more regular basis, and collaborating with other members of the design team, for example structural engineers, where previously a pre-planned and long distance journey might be required. It is no longer necessary to crowd around one computer or set of printed drawings to discuss the project. Instead the project information can be shared with the group to be viewed together.

Improved visualisations for clients

The challenge for most projects is to help the client visualise how the design will look in real life, both during the design process and before construction when the design is finished. I prepare most of my designs on a 3D modelling software called Revit, and I have discovered that it is possible to share this model with clients so that they are able to view the design from their own computer or on their tablet as it develops. It is possible to “walk-through” building, export views and comment on parts of the design which need changing.

Also during the lock-down I have been improving my 3D rendering skills using an external software package called Blender. This allows my basic model to produce photo-realistic images of the interior and exterior of the building, incorporating realistic lighting, materials and textures to take the design visualisations to the next level.

Photo-realistic visualisation of a proposed barn conversion
Glebe barn render

Photo-realistic render for project at Leigh Cottage. Extension and alteration to stone house
Leigh cottage render

Safe site visits

I now keep site meetings to an absolute minimum, but sometimes they are essential to ensure that the design progresses in an effective manner. At the beginning of jobs I always undertake a measured site survey to analyse the site and gather information about any project, but careful planning is required to make sure this is as safe for all of us. Before the visit I will coordinate with the client about the planned measure-up to discuss how we will ensure social distancing measures and the steps taken to disinfect tools and equipment. The measure-up will be postponed if either party is isolating, shielding or simply does not feel comfortable with it at that moment in time.

Rather than meeting all new potential clients on site, as a first step I will now be arranging virtual meetings to discuss all possible new jobs. During this meetup I will try to gather as much information as possible for me to prepare a quote for the work, so we will discuss information about the site and the client's requirements for the project. There is no obligation to proceed any further than an initial meeting, so if you are unsure about whether you need assistance form an architect, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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