Case study

Senior associate director (MCIAT) — Neil Kee

Discover a career in architectural technology; where like Neil, you can enjoy the challenge of your work and find that learning comes naturally

How did you get your job?

I contacted Benoy once I had graduated as I knew a few people who worked with them and because I liked the types of project they were doing at the time. Benoy projects in the UK are generally very innovative in their design and construction and I wanted to get these types of buildings on my CV.

I really enjoy designing and constructing great buildings with amazing peopleā€¦It's all about ideas, no matter what stage the projects are at

How relevant is your degree to your job?

I would not be able to work on the projects or in the various worldwide regions if I hadn't obtained my BSc in architectural design, technology and production. The subject of study was essential.

What are your main work activities?

I am currently running the new Changi Airport Terminal in Singapore, Terminal 4. The project is at a very critical tipping point in that it is moving towards the construction period but we still have a few concept design issues to resolve. Due to the projects point in the programme my time is now completely split between the main office and the site office.

When in the office my day would involve organising my design team and explaining my concept ideas in order to help move the project forward. I will then be looking at detail design items and shop drawings that are coming in from the main contractor. Due to my position within the company I will also make time to contact potential new clients to see if I can present Benoy's latest capabilities to them.

When on site, I will be doing one of two things; either meeting with the contractor and sub-contractors to resolve design and details in large workshops, or I will be meeting with the client to present our latest concept information or to resolve any design detail issues that have been passed to me by the contractor.

What are your main career ambitions?

I have worked my way up to the position of senior associate director at Benoy Architects in Singapore and have successfully attained my chartered membership with CIAT as a chartered architectural technologist, MCIAT. My career has developed by my wish to travel and experience various worldwide markets. To pinpoint my exact career ambitions is actually quite difficult. I suppose I am still only looking a few years ahead at a time. I will continue to try and secure the most exciting projects so that I can design and deliver them to the best of my ability.

What do you enjoy about your job?

The architecture and the people I work with. I really enjoy designing and constructing great buildings with amazing people. I enjoy meeting new people and sharing new ideas. It's all about ideas, no matter what stage the projects are at.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

It has to be time management. In South East Asia you sometimes feel that you need to take time to invent a cloning machine. It can't be that difficult can it?

Any advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

Enjoy yourself and be yourself. Architecture is a very difficult business to be in and you have to learn a lot. Don't be worried about the extent of your learning as all of this will come with experience.

Try to identify the types of projects that you enjoy and focus on those if possible. I have found that when I enjoy my work, learning just comes naturally; almost a by-product of enjoyment.

Don't be scared to express your opinions even if you think you're wrong, as there is no such thing as a wrong opinion. What is worse is if people don't hear your opinions.

Push yourself and make sure you are always on the edge of your comfort zone. One last one; get to know who you are working with and socialise as it makes life a lot easier.