Tag Archives: Student

The Dark Side of the Moon

Freddy M -MontreuxI saw this video today looking at the Dark Side of the Moon today, and you know what its like, the mind wonders, I started thinking about music and Genesis, all the moon shots, teaching, and finally ended up thinking how I could use this in one of my lectures, does it really matter to the Architectural Technologist, simple answer is yes, we should try to understand what makes the earth tick.

The moon has such an effect on us, from simply being there, to stopping the earth wobble, to affecting out tides, and hence the weather, to being to subject of so many poems and songs.

But most, it is the training ground for our eventual exit from this earth, but back to today, I think this leads nicely into some of my lectures on the way we navigate, the need to understand how we perceive shadow, the constant motion of shadow and its effect on colour, and texture. I told you many times, my mind wonders, all sorts of things came up watching this video, I so often make notes in my moleskin, and this was a beauty, lists of things as they sprang into mind, link lines sketches and abstract thoughts.

If your one of my students, then as you start using your day book and project books, this is what I am looking for, thought process, ideas, argument right or wrong, concepts, strange links.

Todays photo is the statue of Freddy Mercury on the lakeside Montreux, Switzerland, taken a few weeks ago as we walked to lake, no real link to the Dark side of the moon, but it’s what came into mind,,,,,

Google Drive

Drive_logo (1)As both a teaching medium, and as my primary writing, spreadsheet, and photo store ( next to Flickr ), Google Drive is farley important to me, I use it daily, and link to the various docs, presentations, and spreadsheets, quite a lot.

So I tend to try and keep up with any tutorials, and one of the better places to do this is on Google Plus, but you need to search for it, I use one particular subscription called Simply “Google Drive“, and it has loads of articles, links and good advise.

Next comes Youtube, and again a search for tutorials shows there is quite a bit, although its fairly basic, lots of intro stuff, but some are quite interesting.

10 years and still going

konstrukshon_logo_181108I received several emails via linkedin the last couple of days to say happy anniversary, seems I have been running Konstrukshon for 10 years, it does not seem like it,  there have been ups and downs, clients who don’t pay, site problems and time deadlines, but over all, I like working for myself, 10 years and still going.

Running your own company is something your not taught at college, I learned the hard way, and relied upon my years within practice and a large chemical company to survive, that and my membership to CIAT, without whom I don’t think I could have made it.

So for all you budding entrepreneur’s take heart, its hard work, but the end result is worth it. My best advise, get a god accountant, next make a plan, try to sort out who when and how your going to get work, money and pay your self. Next sort out your office, do not go for an expensive room somewhere, I have effectively worked out of a small bedroom for my last 10 years, all I needed was a good, fast, internet, I keep almost all of my paperwork as electronic, in fact, the biggest room taker in my office is my books.

Time management is the other biggy, here I have to be rigid, and keep to the plan, otherwise I don’t earn money, I tend to work early and finish not to late, which is the other big problem working from home and the reverse of not working, its the oh I’ll just do this and before you know it, its 10 in the evening and your in the bad books with your partner. Manage your time.

Put something away for the rainy day, big fees come in, don’t spend it all, some for you, some for the tax man and some for the unexpected, try to plan for the obvious expenditures, like your computer replacement, say every 5 years, thats how long mine seem to last. Holidays, plan well in advance, and please don’t take your laptop with you, just in case.

Thats it, a quick overview of running your business, it takes a lot more than this, believe me, but if you take one piece of advice its do it, but plan the path, you will not keep to it, but it will provide a life line to allow you to check, and if necessary, pull back inline or amend.    Have fun.





Architectural Technologist -Tender Documents

Today I spent some time looking over Tender documents with my students at Gloucester. I think it’s important that they understand, not only what’s needed, but why. Plus the way BIM and IFC will change the landscape in terms of tender documents.

My slide presentation lasts about 40 mins with interaction and side dialog where I drift into related areas, particularly BIM and IFC. Which I also think is important. But and as alway with this word, the student needs to understand both the cost and the commitment to the tener process, on both the clients team, and the contractor, the latter who might spend in man hours several throughs an pounds pulling together a tender.

So what’s is at the end of all this, well it’s a written report looking at the tender process, filling in the gaps I have left, adding comment and hopefully pictures of real documents.

The slide show is again in google docs shared via the very excellent HTML code docs gives in the sharing process, it’s a live document and as such I have started to add a revision page at the very end, I have also started to add a reference and reading list slide before the revision page to allow further reading, as I find it or students inform me of resources I don’t know about. I am also considering making a hash tag or just plain tag slide for search, as of yet I have not found a way to add tags to the file as a whole in google docs.

The more I use google docs the more I like it! although I have not used it to write a large document! like the technical document and several other papers I am writing, here I like Pages, Apples document offering.

Today’s photo is of Architype, a document organisation software I first met a few years ago whilst working at Parr architects! I loved it! for the organisation it brought.


Architectural Technologist – Measuring – Estimating

PerspectiveSome of my students are learning about measuring and estimating, I have been looking for some simple explanations and found this rather good set  of video that take the student through the :

  • Dimension paper
  • Recording of Dimensions
  • Order
  • Multiple Quantities
  • Deduction
  • Area of a Triangle

Each is no more than a few mins long but they are precise and easy to understand and worthy of any Technologist time to take them in to act as a reminder. I know what your saying when was the last time you as a Technologist even saw a set of papers with estimating notes on them, I can remember the last time I saw one, thats not the point, if I do ever see one, I will know what its all about, and in my current line of Extensions thats becoming more and more likely.

I don’t really like getting into design and build, but I can imagine any small company who does, might be using these methods.

It seems that work on upgrading the standard is ongoing with the introductions of NRM1 and NRM2, but until the BTECH Level 3  is updated I will only be looking at SMM7 but its worth taking note of the following.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) established a working group that has undertaken the RICS Measurement Initiative over recent years with the aim of modernising the existing measurement standards. It sought to provide a link between the measurement for cost planning or early estimates with the measurement for bills of guantities and to introduce a common standard for the cost planning and procurement of maintenance work.

NRM 1 was initially published in March 2009 and has been reasonably well received and adopted by the profession. It has been amended and the second edition was launched by the RICS in May 2012 to coincide with the launch ofNRM2.

NRM2 has been published as a guidance note which reflects industry best practice and the intention is that SMM7should no longer be adopted after July 2013. NRM2 has been developed as a set of detailed measurement rules for the preparation of either bills of quantities or Schedules of Rates for either capital or maintenance projects. It does however deal with the quantification of non-measurable work items, contractor designed works and risks. Guidance is also provided on the content, structure and format of bills of quantities, as well as the benefits and uses of bills of quantities.

NRM3 has yet to be published.



This video is useful as it shows a working paper being used although it sounds like Irish stands are being used not SMM&

Architectural Technologist – Finding the Circumcentre of a Triangle

Ok, you might be asking what or why should I want with this, well to me it's basic draftsmanship, and one I can remember many a seasoned draftsman pondering, yet it's so easy to do, Modern CAD packages might do it for you, that's not the point.

I recently asked a student to show me the way to add a line that was perpendicular to a boundary line, he placed a line from the boundary until the machine said perpendicular, prove that the machine is right I asked, why he said, the machine might be wrong I replied, he could not, yet by drawing two arch's and a line perpendicular to the line could be drawn, and I know it would be right.

So this little video, simple though it is, underlines the need for Technologists to learn how to draw, I learned this a school, but as TD or Technical Drawing is no long taught I wonder on today's students who rely upon the machine far to much.

If you attend one of my lectures, then this sort of drawing will be taught, and for those of you who want a little more CPD time a great study 30 mins.

There is no reason for today's photo, just Dusty was and still is, despite here death, one of the world best singers, and I am a major fan, and as it's the weekend my birthday, and I'm travelling, it's Dusty all the way.


Architectural Technologist – So much to do in Just one weekend

This weekend is a painting weekend, hence the late Sunday blog, it's one job I don't like, I admit it, I hate painting, but for better or worse, my bathroom needs a lick of paint, so out come my trusty brush set, all clean and put away since the last time I was convinced that some part of the house needed attention and we were not going to pay for a man to come in and do it.

Fortunately it's inside and I'm dry, but it's cramp and I have to kneel a lot. . But, that's twice in the same paragraph, the wood work needs attention the original construction used cheap, and I mean cheap softwood that now needs filling and on one place replacing.

Part of the problem is the basic detailing, skirting that just don't meet, door architraves that have been trimmed to fit a corner detail, that could have been avoided by just placing the door correctly.

Still after a long sanding, filling and replacing exercise, I have now got down to the actual painting, I have gone for a simple spec, two coats of primer, well sanded after the first coat, an undercoat, again sanded, but with an old piece of glass paper, and a top coat of Dulux brilliant white gloss. It all looks fresh, clean, and smooth and will last a while, and the chips and gaps I have been staring at for a couple of years, are no longer.

As you read this, I will be reading the Sunday papers, there is no chance of me getting up early to paint, no electronics, just simple paper, I will read the electronic global versions particularly the USA editions, I like to see all the news and in particular the way it's portrayed by each county, so often what we read here can be viewed differently overseas.

In the UK, the “A” level results are out, if you have secured a place in a UK Architectural Technologist University, well done, I think you have made a good choice, this web site has seen a dramatic increase in readers, I hope some of them are first year students looking for information, and I hope I will be able to provide it. But your first job will be to join CIAT, as a student member, if you want to talk and ask why leave a message, I will reply. I will be expanding this in the next few weeks, if your going to Birmingham City University, then one of your first lectures will be from me, outlining our profession and why the need to join.

Today's photo is a screen dump from the step app counter I use, it's look well over 3 hours of walking Cambridge to get the 10000 steps in, so who ever thinks that I should do this on a daily basis, is barking up the wrong tree, a short walk with my dog, put it up over 12,000 and me very tired.

Ever wondered why we are so locked into two main computer OS systems, I am, part of the answer for me is, that there are no CAD program's of any note on Linux, otherwise I would have been there some time back. Why think of this, well today, whilst looking for my paint kit, I found a copy of MiniCAD, ( Vectorworks ) on an old, but old Mac drive, that can not be played on anything other than an old mac plus.