Architect/Design Manager
Bovis Lend Lease

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Sarah C

00:00:01 My name’s Sarah C and I’m a Design Manager. I’m responsible for heading up a team of architects, engineers, structural engineers, to deliver a design for a project so that we can open when the client wants us to open basically. Obviously I’m responsible for kind of tying all the design together, kind of co-ordinating all the design, and so it’s quite – quite good to sit there and say – right you do that, you do that, you do that – and I want it by this date. So it’s little Miss Bossy Boots.

00:01:20 I wanted to be an architect. My Dad’s actually a Project Director, and my Granddad was an engineer, so it’s kind of within the family. I actually failed my A levels the first time round. I think I got an N, a U and an E! So I kind of lost the sight of what I wanted to do, and did a couple of Art kind of base degree – like a Glass Design degree. And yeah, I don’t know, I just remembered all of a sudden, I thought what am I doing here, I’ve always wanted to be an architect, not a glass blower. And that’s when I re-took my A levels again. It was certainly easier the second time round because I was motivated. I did it through home learning, so I did it at night in me bedroom. Worked full time in the day, went home and I did the whole A level Physics and A level Maths within six months. Got on to Liverpool University to do a degree in Architecture. It’s a really demanding course, you have to do a hell of a lot of course work. Like every four weeks you have to stand up and do a big presentation, and it’s really hard work. So you’d find like people actually slept in the studios for like three days before, trying to get all their work finished, and it was – yeah it was – we ended up quite a good – quite good set of people. Good set of mates really.

00:02:21 Well I was working for an architect in Manchester called Chapman Taylor, and I was helping one of the Architects out on a Planning Application, and he actually went off sick for two weeks, so I had to finish his job off for him. And I got it handed in, boxed off really well, and the Director said – well you’ve done really really well there, what do you want to do for the next two weeks? You can do whatever you want. So I says I really want to be on site. Soon as I walked – walked on site, that’s when I really felt – this is what I want to do. I mean it wasn’t until that point that I actually hundred percent thought – This is it, this is what I want to do. This is the environment I want to work in. When you work in a site office it’s – it’s completely different than working in a normal office. You’ll be sat at your desk for minimum five minutes a day. You’re out on site, you’re doing this, someone comes with a problem, you’re here there and – the immense pressure that you’re under, and the speed that you have to do things on site, it was just – it’s absolutely amazing. So never looked back from that point I think. I remember starting on the first day, and I actually hid – I went to the toilet and I actually hid in the toilet all my architecture books and all my engineering books, (LAUGHS) ‘cause I thought – Oh God there’s going to be someone– someone’s going to say something to me, I’m not going to have a clue what they mean. So I actually hid all my books in the toilet.

00:02:59 You have to be very passionate – just to get over the long working hours you have to be passionate, definitely. The best thing is obviously when – when you’ve finished a project, and you see something absolutely massive that you’ve had quite a big hand in, in getting to the finish line. It’s like a race almost, d’you know what I mean? You set off running, you have a little bit of a slow patch in the middle, and then you kind of race for the finish line. And you’ll do absolutely anything to open on time. It’s – it’s that sense of achievement that, yeah, we’ve actually done it.


Sarah C is a Design Manager for Bovis Lend Lease, she wanted to be an architect at school but failed her A levels and took a glass design course instead. “I thought, ‘What am I doing here? I’ve always wanted to be an architect, not a glass blower.'” So she retook her A levels and went on to qualify as an architect. Now she leads a team of architects on big projects.

More information about Architectural and town planning technicians

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

64%  male 
36%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Architectural and town planning technicians perform a variety of technical support functions to assist architects and planners with the design of buildings and the layout of urban and rural areas.
Entrants possess a variety of qualifications including GCSEs/S grades, a BTEC/SQA award, an Advanced GNVQ/GSVQ Level III or a degree. Professional qualifications are available and membership to professional institutions may be required for some posts.
  • Investigates proposed design with regard to practicality, cost and use;
  • Prepares building plans, drawings and specifications for use by contractors;
  • Liaises with engineers and building contractors regarding technical construction problems and attends site meetings on behalf of architect;
  • Surveys land and property uses and prepares report for planning authority;
  • Issues development permits as authorised;
  • Checks that completed work conforms to specifications.
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Architectural & related 11741
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