Internal Exchange

Andra Antone and David Parfitt discuss their internal exchange and the differences between working in a concept team and Technologies.

The challenge of the construction industry is to reintegrate the art of design and the knowledge of technology into a coherent process that brakes the mould of traditional siloed disciplines.  The danger is of feeling isolated, just a wheel in the cog.  At Ryder, architects, technologists and architectural engineers work with a holistic approach to integrate the design process with technological innovation and construction challenges.

The exchange at Ryder between the concept teams and the technologies team fosters a broad range of skills, and knowledge perhaps traditionally not found in architectural practices.

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Andra – architect working in technologies team

It goes without saying there is a great amount of trust between everyone at Ryder.  Central to the practices belief is the development of leadership in all their people and the nurturing of character to deliver excellent results.  The empowerment bestowed on me in the project led to personal development, while the shared responsibility created a sense of inclusion, collaboration and development of new skills.

The time invested was tailored to my skills, and rather than retraining, it helped me plant my feet firmly on the ground and strengthen my speciality as an architect.  The knowledge I gained from the technologies team – seeing the job on site, receiving the contractor and client queries directly was a good way of learning and gave me confidence in approaching briefs, clients and site work.

There are plenty of inspiring of people to follow, generous with their time and valuing your development in a creative open environment.  This created space for ownership, accountability and trust through the passion, dedication, discipline and sense of team, that the people around me foster in a supportive environment.

The advice to those striving for more project ownership would be to find your speciality and push for something you’re really interested in.

David – technologist working in concept team

As a fresh, naive speck starting with two years undergraduate education, my understanding of the entire construction process – procurement, client engagement, bidding for jobs, delivery was initially very limited.

During my first few years at Ryder, including a six month secondment at BIM Academy, the practice continued to strive forward and the intervention of, “When you’re at the top of your game, change your game,” presented at our annual Blueprint in 2015, spurred the evolution of the practice structure with the creation of Ryder Technologies and the concept teams.

We have a huge collection of talent in many forms – my time in Richard Wise’s concept team demonstrated this immediately.  I attempted to become a sponge, in the knowledge sapping sense, not the suck up or underwater creature.  I was always learning.

I felt I added value to the project from my experience gained at BIM Academy and in Technologies.  As a generation, we can revolutionise the construction industry through technological advancement.  The continued investment in IT and communication systems by Ryder allows us to push the limits of available hardware and develop new workflows.  As a result, software capability has increased, driving higher efficiency and generating an enhanced ability to work across a multitude of time zones on any one project, boosting productivity.

This is new, exciting but unrefined and there is still a way to go to align workflows with the expanding software boom paralleled by the dominating software giants – challenging technologies team, BIM Academy and our concept teams to align into one seamless workflow focussed on communication.

The time for me was right for the role and the workflow has so far been working. For my level of experience, the knowledge I have gained from concept, seeing the job to tender, receiving the queries with the support of the technical lead was almost like receiving exam results from a year’s worth of work – a great way to learn.

The entire experience has expanded my understanding of the processes required to get a project out from the ground.  Understanding the context has been an eye opener to what I didn’t know and what I still can find out – inspiring a continuous cycle of learning.

I can see the importance for our people to receive a holistic experience of the entire design process. Without the appreciation of the why, then as technologists we can’t fully identify what is important to us in the design process.

In summary, Andra and I have agreed on almost everything we experienced on our overlaps between teams and we have become good friends in the process – even visiting our Ryder colleague Al Houghton in Barcelona, to see how his secondment was going.

We’ve agreed on a number of key words that summarise our experience – empowerment, value, communication and context.  I would urge you to think about these words and see how they could apply to you.  There are opportunities to be had and when they arise, get involved…

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