I am leaving Portsmouth City Council Asset Management Service at the end of this year to move to Hampshire County Council Architects department to join their team and continue working in the public sector on schools and public buildings.
I have put a selection of the work that I have completed at Portsmouth over the last three years to show the type of projects I have undertaken and also to try to show to me what I have achieved there and how I need to improve.
I have worked on a new sports hall that had contaminated land, knotweed, was adjacent to a SSSI and had a significant flood risk from the sea. This is now coming to completion.
Highbury Community and Children’s Centre is PCC’s first certified BREEAM Very Good rated building that provides facilities to an area of deprivation and antisocial behavior.
Presently a new Youth and Community centre is at detailed design stage and will incorporate a ground source heat pump, photovoltaics and be highly insulated to reduce carbon emissions by 35% on current Part L standards. This may sound relatively modest when compared to other projects, however I have had to work hard to achieve the funding and backing from the council to aim for a higher sustainable criteria for our buildings.
A new refurbishment of a school and a new Seafront Water sports centre are plans for the future that will be taken forward without me but which I would love to see completed. Portsmouth desperately needs to make more of its sea front area and a new coordinated Seafront Strategy should be adopted by the Councillors to enact this.
During my time at the council I have obtained my BREEAM Accredited Professional status and also become proficient in Revit which I will be bringing to Hampshire County Council to aid the transfer to BIM technology.
It is unusual to be working in the public sector as an architect now (as opposed to the 1960s/70s), as so much of recognised work is undertaken in the private sector – it appears that they are a lot more successful at marketing themselves, PFI and BSF are outsourced and also I think that their is a belief that the public sector is not radical or cutting edge enough to warrant attention, and we do not seek it actively enough.
My experience of working in both private and public sectors have shown me the differences, however fundamentally in both types there are dedicated hard working people in both committed to creating and completing buildings. Contrary to what Eric Pickles and this Government would have you believe local authorities undertake a difficult job that is very minimally recognised in pay or peer attention. I believe the current focus on the public sector is harmful as a greater balance should be sought and a race to the bottom is not the answer.
I have worked with very dedicated, hard working and enjoyable professionals who have to work within the demands of councillors whims, health and safety risk aversion and form filling that extends a normal project delivery. Negotiating these issues and completing a project is a success in itself.
I look forward to my new role in Hampshire and hope that I can continue to learn and progress as an architect. I hope to develop my sustainability knowledge and in particular my design skills in a new environment.
All the best for Christmas and the New Year.