Moving Client Side

Reece Nevel

June 07, 2022

Moving Client Side

Are you an Architectural Professional that has or is considering a move ‘client side’?...

Throughout the month of June, Adrem will be publishing a mini-series of 6 interviews with architectural professionals that have successfully made the transition. We will be covering what prompted the move, how they navigated the transition and the advice they have for individuals that would like to follow their footsteps.

The individuals we interviewed now work for housing developers, construction firms, restaurant brands, property developers, real estate tech firms and others.             

Interview One: Rebecca – AJ100 to Multi-Disciplinary Global Contractor

What prompted the move?

“I had a technical interest in a particular construction specialism & wasn’t getting the concentrated exposure I wanted within architecture. There were also aspects of architecture that frustrated me, like the amount of time you’re expected to spend on design work for competitions that are never going to get built. I’m definitely more of a technical person that likes to see things happen, so it was the right way to go.”

Is there anything you miss (or don’t miss) about architecture?

“It's definitely not the sociable environment in the same way that you get in practice, like you’re part of a community. Architecture is quite known for it’s sociability, lots of studios will host after-hours drinks, events + so forth, plus there’s this shared experience of all pulling towards a collective goal. When you’re working for a contractor or client, no one’s staying after work to chit-chat, it’s straight in the car + home to the family! People come to work to work, not to make friends”

What are the right (and the wrong) reasons to go client side?

“If you’re just going for the money + you’re not interested in the role in itself, it’s a bad move. You could be in a job you hate + no option but to take a pay cut to go back to what you enjoy, which will probably feel worse than if you never left!”

What advice would you give to someone who wants to make the move?

“If you haven’t already, double down on your stage 4+ experience – clients and contractors are looking for this. There are very few “design-led” architects on the client side, that’s not what they’re looking for. Clients are looking for compliance, reality, buildability. So upping your technical knowledge + becoming an expert will stand you in good stead.”

“Finally, if you’ve only ever worked in studios, you might get a bit of a culture shock…. I’ve seen more than my share of “1970s”-type humour (think mother-in-law jokes, etc) – might not be everyone’s cup of tea! But it’s fine for me as I knew exactly what to expect & generally just find it funny.”

If you’re interested in making a move client-side, developer-side, or contractor-side, send your CV + portfolio to the Adrem Architecture team to start a conversation. We have multiple opportunities available!

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