top of page
White Brick Wall

I studied architectural technology in university and always thought I would follow the path of becoming an architect. During my studies I was exposed to a variety of different roles available in the construction industry. I had the opportunity to work closely with surveyors, project managers, construction managers and engineers during my degree which widened knowledge of the industry. After completing a placement year in an architects practice I was exposed to the role of Design managers which felt like a role that aligned with my aspirations and my skills set. It combines design and management which were strengths I felt I was developing during my studies. 

The Reality: what does your role actually involve and how does your work affect our lives/the world around us?

My role involves managing the design process of a construction project. Managing the design programme in order to ensure that coordination information is received in-time for the construction and procurement programme.  My main tasks involve holding design team meetings with relevant designers to ensure key design issues are addressed in a timely manner, information is properly coordinated with different trades, ensuring that the design information received not only meets the Employers requirements but meets the relevant statutory requirements such as building regulations, bream and more.  Throughout the day I carry out a variety of different tasks such as addressing site queries from site managers, subcontractors  design-related issues, providing further clarity on details, drawings and working with the site team to find suitable solutions to design issues that occur.

The main challenges I think most people in the industry face is that projects can be volatile and can change very quickly. As a design manager design changes are inevitable and can be difficult to manage and execute if you are not resilient in implementing the change correctly and efficiently. 

What kind of people in other professions do you get to work with within your role?

The great aspect about working in my role and many different construction roles is the opportunity to work with different people from different professions and levels. I work with engineers, architects, project managers but also laborers, subcontractor site managers, specialist designers and specialist craftsmen/women. All these different professionals bring a unique take and view to a project which results in my constant development and learning.

El-diseño-arquitectónico.jpg

What key skills have you picked up during your experience in the industry so far? 

The key skill I have picked up is ‘people skills and communication’. Design management requires a level of technical skills BUT the key skill that helps anyone to succeed and excel in this role is the ability to communicate with a variety of different people and individuals at different levels. As a design manager you are constantly chasing, requesting for information, coordinating and collaborating with different people, this requires a high level of communication and adaptability to suit the environment you are in.

"I think the best part of my role is the people,  my role allows me to work with so many talented and creative individuals. I also have the opportunity to work on a variety of different projects with varying challenges."

 

aaron-gilmore-aQLdDgROIZQ-unsplash.jpg

Whilst construction is demanding you are rewarded with a physical building and accomplishment at the end. You get to leave behind spaces that help communities like schools, flats for local authorities, churches, green spaces that enrich communities. You are able to walk around towns and cities knowing you had an impact on the development and positive changes. 

White Brick Wall
image1 (1).jpeg

I have learnt that there is an abundance of opportunities for women in the industry. In my current position I feel greatly supported by my directors and team to progress to the best I can be, regardless of my gender.”

My name is Janet Osei-Berchie and I am a 29 year old Design Manager working for Curo Interiors
I have always been fascinated with the built environment and how it shapes our everyday lives, this is what led me to pursue a career within the construction industry and to study a degree in
Architectural technology. I have been working in the industry for around 5 and half years now.

Challenges are inevitable. What are some challenges you personally face at work and how do you overcome them each time?

The main challenges I think most people in the industry face is that projects can be volatile and can change very quickly. As a design manager design changes are inevitable and can be difficult to manage and execute if you are not resilient in implementing the change correctly and efficiently. 

What is it like to be a young woman working in your career area?

It's exciting being in the construction industry but I have had both positive and negative experiences. Gender roles are still prevalent. On site, I have had moments when operatives/visitors assumed, as a woman, that I was an administrator rather than part of the managerial team. I find myself having to be more assertive in certain situations.

IMG_1794.JPG

Positively, I have learnt that there is an abundance of opportunities for women in the industry. In my current position I feel greatly supported by my directors and team to progress to the best I can be, regardless of my gender. 

I came into the industry with mixed expectations – both negative and positive – and these have provided me with motivation to work harder for myself and for whom I feel I represent. I want to pave the way, promote and encourage more females to get into the industry.
 

What advice would you give a young woman thinking about a career in your role? 

GO FOR IT! do not shy away because of the stigmas surrounding women in construction. There are great opportunities for women in construction if you want them. There are great support systems within certain organisations that will help you in your development. Just continue to work hard, be teachable and enthusiastic. 

Outside of your role, do you have a passion project/side business you’d like us to share?

I am a co-founder of an arts platform and non-profit called BWA - (black women art network). Black Woman Artist Network is a non-profit organisation aiming to promote, celebrate, connect and support Black Women /Woman identifying Artists. Through events, exhibitions, lectures and more we aim to champion black female artists and create spaces that celebrate and uplifts them. BWA Network allows artists to further develop skills within their craft, submit their work to galleries, exhibitions, events and magazines, and host their own bi-annual exhibitions. We host a variety of events, if you are interested please follow our Instagram page @bwartist_ for more information and link to our website. 

  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram

Janet Osei-Berchie

@bwartist_

bottom of page