CV – A list of mistakes

Venus, Jupiter, and Noctilucent CloudsIf there is a question I get all the time from Students can you look at my CV, so often is to big, full of stuff that the client does not want to know, and all the important bits are hidden away, so todays title of “CV – A list of mistakes” is worth thinking about.

This article on Linkedin, by Laszlo Bock is about right, I might add, keep it short, Keep it simple, use a nice clear easy to read type face, your name and contact details are top right on the first page. Two pages max.

I link the CV I send to my blog, and the full CV, make use of spell checker, and this comes from the worst speller in history, get some one who can spell to read it over.

Do you add a photo, some say yes some categorically say no, I tend to think a passport sized head and shoulder on the top of the first page works.

In this day and age, a simple CV is only the start, get your online presence sorted, a simple blog, linkedin, a Google presence, clean up Facebook, Flickr, Google photos, If you feel good about it, make a short video, and post on Youtube, link it to a blog. Get a Skype account and also a google address, you will need it.

Work examples, do not send, but link a set of good details, plans elevations, and now a 3D model, and leave them in say three formats, Vectorworks, Autocad, and Revit, Sketchup is also good.I use Dropbox to do this, its free and the public download works, and keep them updated, check weekly and improve, do not put up other peoples work, you will be found out, put a good title block on and be consistent.

Colour is not good, except for links, Black type always.

If your sending the CV with a letter, choose a good quality paper to print on, I purchased a very expensive hand made A4 paper, but check your printer can handle it.

Review your CV for each and every job application, fine tune it, research the practice or company, write to a name, Dear sir is ok, but Dear Professor Scaysbrook, adds a certain intimacy.

So many job applications are online, and are via an agency, I hate it, but it’s reality, deal with it, get and keep all the information each one wants, if they want a CV, and there is a choice, use PDF, word doc can be altered or miss interpreted by the software.

Envelope, so many people forget, a cheap Tesco envelope might do, but a matching envelope does catch the eye, worth the expense.

Finally its your future thats a stake, make it a full time job, follow up, keep a note of who you speak to, and that was said, date it.

If its an online agency, keep logging in, check for updates, if its an agency that asked you to email follow up, or last phone and talk, I do this always, and I use Skype to do it, it keeps costs down, if its a land line call.

Skype interviews are now common, get easy with it, practice, do not rush in, dress like its an interview, make sure they link to your skype name, not your cousin or some guy with the same name. try to do it in a quiet place, if you have to use a public computer, use a ear bud, but do not use your phone, at worst an iPad is ok. get and use only a good wifi, getting cut off, or dealing with a bitty signal is not going to help you, practice, practice practice.

Position the device so that it gives a good head and shoulder shot, a good contrasting background and make sure the room your in does not bounce sound, it confuses the audio and make life difficult.

Get used to swapping screens if they ask to see sample, be ready and have a pdf loaded, or CAD program with a drawing loaded.

Practice, get some one to call, I alway offer to do this with my students, in fact i teach and support by this method, it save time and money, so I use it a lot.

Google video calls or hang outs are also becoming popular, again get used to using them.

An Extra Second’s Sleep

The Law Building, Princeton, WVYou may not have seen or noticed it, but the planets time was altered last night to allow the atomic clock to aline its self with the planet, so an extra second was added at midnight last night, and we got An Extra Second’s Sleep.

Why do we do this, well the earth rotates a little unevenly, and the moon which influences the tides slows us down a little every year, so atomic clocks which are so accurate, need to adjust every so often to compensate.

Last time it happened, was in 2012, and it caused computer problems all over the place, although I am pleased to report, my computer a Mac, had no problems this morning.

Want to read more, take a look at the Guardian Article, it has most of what you need to know, also take a look at the NASA article for a little more tech.

So why should we be so interested, what has it to do with Architecture and Construction, very little realy, it’s just one of those interesting bits of information that link into the way our planet works, and the way time regulates even Architecture, the shadows and how they change throughout the year, and by country.

Disaster Management

summer-solsticeYou may well be wondering, why the title “Disaster Management” for a site that looks at the Architectural Technologist and Construction. Well the answer is relatively simple, but as a whole the subject covered  is very complex and wide ranging. But for us Architectural Technologists, and the purpose of this article, we can limit the subject to just material use.

As we design, we specify materials, partly, from a colour, or texture point of view, or a technical aspect, water, wind, sun, security, site location, and for the most part these materials work as the manufacturer intended, they are usually well tested, Agrement approved, and covered by British standards, in both manufacture and installation.

But things go wrong, and here, I want to look at both sides of the argument, that from the Specifier, and that from the Technical representative of the company, which could easily be an Architectural Technologist, one who has gone the traditional route for employment and one who went into a manufacturer.

The practice employee, suddenly gets a call, the material you specified is not working, its failing, is not up to the job, or words that I can’t repeat here, you get the message, its your fault, fix it, so of to site you go, to see the problem first hand, you have checked the spec, its fine, it’s use is covered, the fixing is correct,  in fact its one you have used many times and as of today, no problems. You check on the contract, talk to some one who might well have experienced this before.

As a precaution, you phone the manufacturer and tell the rep to meet on site, you relay what information you have, and agree a time,

Onsite there is a group of people, all looking at the problem area, and its now that you realise the full extent of the problem, who is at fault, stoppage you are reminded by the site operatives is costly. You are into the first stage of Disaster Management, small it might be, but its a problem all the same.

On the other hand the Manufacturer Tech guy or gal, looks at the material, starts recording the problem, takes samples, and so often as not reports back via mobile phone, decisions are made, you walk, its not a material falure the sub contractor is at fault, was it stored corectly,  or  you negotiate.

As a technologist, I have been on both sides of this fence, and know the pressures that can be applied, mostly financial, both short term and long term. do you as as manufacturer  admit fault and replace, or fight it out, is it your fault or the contractor, or sub contractor. Do you want his business again, do you want the spec with the Architect again, all these come into the frame, its disaster management.

So to is the involvement of Lawyers. If they get involved, all reason goes out of the window, its not just the cost of the time and material, but the very high cost of court and all it entails, are you really prepared for this.

As the tech man from the manufacturer, I have attended site a lot of times, rarely was it a material fault, most it was the wrong material, and in more than one instance, not my material, I have had a bad material match, were the contractor did not realise, using solvent against a plastic extruded insulation was not a good idea, to insulation that looked like mine, but on close inspection was a cheap alternative.

For the manufacturer, Disaster management, so often takes the form of testing, quality control, and extremely good tech literature, explaining how and why your product should be used. For the Technologist in practice, it checking, talking to the manufacturer, accurate drawing, time to research, past experience, reading of tech lit, and making sure agrement certs are available, the manufacturers quality control.

Todays photo is a reminder that last week it was the Summer Solstice, see this Wiki page for a reasonable explanation, We should understand this.

End of another Academic year

Thoughts in YellowI sat at my desk yesterday, and thought, whooo, what am I going do do for at least the next three months or so, with no lectures or presentations to give, but the answer is loads.

I have revisions to my lectures I need to apply, and articles I want to write, and several new jobs to sort, books to read, buildings to visit, gardens to look at, videos I have always thought might be interesting to make, and watch,  students to talk to, and a short holiday to take.

And of course, I have some CPD to sort and do, I  have an excellent list of manufacturers I want to invite to the University to give CPD lectures. Last week Marley came and gave a very excellent update to BS 55354, Changes to the British Standard for Slating and Tiling. I also  have a tiling company, and Velux lined up,

Does this require a list, oh yes, I have tried all sorts of electronic gizmo list apps, but you know what, my Moleskin and a yellow sticky note are the best, I now list all I want to do and use a highlighter to give prominence to the more important tasks, I use linimgresks to add notes of sketch’s doodles or cartoons to add notes to the list, in all, its my system of thought control, which so often runs out of control and needs my list to order. Have you not thought, todo lists on a computer are just to restrictive, no doodle space.

But back to the summer, I already have loads of tasks sorted, but I have left time to ponder, Time is the key to all of this, Time controls far to much, so I have laid time to just sit and watch, think, and doodle, and walk, which reminds me I have to finish my notes on a least two city walks I will give next year.

Oh and if you linked to my lecture notes on my Google drive, take a look in a few weeks, to see if I managed a few updates.

3D Printing and the Technologist

IMG_99923D printing and the Technologist within Architecture, its a subject we see in the press, we hear how items can be made, but as yet I have not seen a real proof that it can be or is being done, yet this video on the 3D Print site, says otherwise, and I think its turning a corner. We can print joints, couplings, and small items, we can even scale up to decent sized objects, but build a bridge, thats the turning point, its the days you can look aback at and say, thats the change point.

The problem is can we as technologists change our ways and detailing to accommodate this new way of building. No more just pick a material, its can I make it better, can I redefine the internal structure, lessen the load, and strengthen the product.

We have to think out side of the box to rethink structures, weather proofing and thermal performance. Can we now see robots printing materials all day and night, specific to the site, doors being built up already in a frame, using all sorts of new materials or waste materials recycled.


Summer Study

Poppy at lastAs we approach the end of the academic year, my attention is drawn to the simple fact, what shall I do till September, well the answer is where to start, I have research to do, summer study,  lectures to write and so much more domestic stuff, its hard to think what I should be doing and what not.

I want to be able to do more than one thing at a time, and I used to think studying was a singular occupation, not any more, I now listen to lectures and presentations whilst I do so many other things, gardening, walking, travelling, its so easy to pick up lectures from iTunes or in my case so often these days, Google play, plug in and away i go.

For pleasure I so often download good books I want to read on my Kindle, and for that matter, articles and academic papers in PDF format to, its so easy to upload them and whilst I travel on the train I can read.

I also have an Audible account, so I can listen to a good book as well as read it. Amazons system is so good for this, see the link banner at the bottom. They have a deal on, 30 free trial and you get one free book, set it up for your holidays.

I also use my evernote account for papers and web pages I have seen and want to keep, Evernote is so good for this, I can also add notes and links as I read, although I can do this in Kindle, but its not so easy to retrieve the text, Evernote makes this so easy.

Todays photo is just a capture of a poppy we have in the garden, its never really done any good, till this year and we had 9 flowers out at once,

Can I expand CPD to a Higher Level

Protection FilmI have often wondered if my CPD needs a little tweak, can I expand my CPD to a higher level, I read, try to organise training with manufacturers, and attend other professional seminars. I do very well, far better than some, and pail into dust at others.

My point is, can I do better, I think I can, and thats the point of this article, can I add more to my CPD, simple yes, and its all down to an article I read by Todd Nesloneyon the Swivl web site. were he outlines what he calls The Power of a personal Learning Network.

I like this idea a lot, I tend to talk to other academics a lot now and can see what he means, I have started to read academic papers, and expand that by making contact with some of the more interesting people I have found from all over the world.

Without realising it, I have already started this some time back with my often lengthy conversations with Jon Pickup, we did not alway talk about Vectorworks, but construction, and design. Plus my business partner, David, who is always ready to talk a detail through, or tell me of materials I might use.

I use, skype, email, and social media to link, Todd has started a hash tag to link these conversations,  try using #SLS15 on twitter, or #scayPLN

I am encouraging my students past and present to do the same, talk about detail, work, projects, materials lectures what ever.

As for Swivl, I have just purchased one of these interesting little devices, it allows me to video a lecture with ease, I tend to walk a lot going from a white board, to a screen and table, this little device follows me, always keeping me in frame, it does this by following not me, but a simple little hand held unit that also has a microphone installed, hung about my neck. More on this later.


Great Western Arcade Glazing

IMG_9993You know how it is, your in a hotel meeting room and waiting for things to kick of, and you look out of the window and spot a piece of construction that just makes you look again, and todays photo is just that,. The Great Western Arcade is a small passage from Snow hill Station,  its lined with a lot of very nice shops and its covered with a curved glass roof, as always unless you look up its just not seen, but from above its plane as you like, a splendid Patent Glazing roof, plus a host of different details, asphalt, slate tiling, lead work, flashing and old being surrounded with new. The link is to a google search and shows a lot of similar glass details. I have installed this and other photos, plus a screen grab of Google Maps to show the total roof, on Flickr.

I rarely go to the centre of Birmingham so It made my day seeing this construction, I shall go back and take a longer look.

Paper draft – How BIM can use Big City Data

master siteThe following draft is my attempts so far to write a paper on the use of BIM within a building operating system, there is so much to read, and follow up on this subject, and so many discussions to have.


The use of BIM within the design process is now becoming established, both at design stage and during the construction phase as multiple designers use the same model base to add functions to the design via engineers, Heating ventilation and electrical and other participating professionals.

This paper will look at how a building’s central control program can use not only the IFC (a  platform neutral, open file format specification.) file, but integrate it with a host of external smart, city wide data now being generated in many of the larger cities, to give real time references for control of such things as lighting, heating and cooling.



Big City Data,Data,Sensor,Cloud cover, Sun, solar, PV, Pedestrian, BIM,domestic, commercial, industrial, timer,control, IFC, Construction, Materials, CAD, Vectorworks, Autocad,Archicad,Microstation, DWG, Model, Georeferenced, Location, Geospatial, Planning,


Building of the IFC model

As the build design progresses from a glint in the designer’s eye, and the wishes of a client are drawn into a design, first as a pencil sketch then as a 3D computer model, using components to draw rather than simple lines. Vast amounts of data  are being embedded into the model via these components using manufacturer’s technical literature and standard data from Cibse and other government labs,  together with rules that govern the placement and use of that material. The technique is  called BIM, or building information management.

The impact of using BIM this way, is transforming the design process and building sequence. The client, seeing all the changes, is told that it will be in his or her benefit, streamlining the build process, reducing redundant design processes and controlling costs and waste.

Although the many 3D CAD packages will more than likely retain their individual file formats and methods of working, platform neutral models do exist to allow them to collaborate, IFC being the most dominant.


Buildings automation link to external data

The 3D Model is not limited to the planning and construction phases, once the building is complete and handover to the client is arranged, maintenance of the building can easily be orchestrated using the model and specifications it can generate.

Enlightened clients could take the IFC model and all the rich data it contains, and use it to help run the building more efficiently, from the initial control of people, and their movement within the building from security of access to the semi automation of services. but this is still using the model to generate flat 2D views with little or no automated interaction

Anjomshoaa I (2014) Blending Building Information with Smart City Data, breaks this simple autonomous link and introduces the concept of extending and integrating the IFC open platform format 3D models together with internal building sensor data and city wide sensor data that is now being generated with a central building control program, that might have the ability to interrogate incoming weather, compare it to the model and apply rules to calculate temperature gradients, and possible condensation risk, adapting the heating system as required, doing away with the strict time and general season clockwork approach with a more realistic knowledge based system, based on imminent weather change, using the external data it can find from local and long range sensors located across cities.

The Rise of the Smart City

A vast number of large cities are now becoming, what can only be described as Smart, perhaps this is a little bit exaggerated, but in essence correct, as the old copper wire communication network is replaced with city wide fibre optic and WiFi networks capable of massive data transmission rates augmented  with a variety of network aware objects generally called the Internet of Things like sensors, which can collect data on incoming cloud cover, temperature, humidity wind speed, and a host of traffic movement. Internal sensors place on and within a building are also becoming common place running autonomously from simple temperature to more sophisticated control of solar generated power and hot water.

Solar collectors, which are increasingly being incorporated into new building designs and retrofitted onto existing buildings, for power generation for both internal use and for supply to the national grid, increasingly require sophisticated sensors to predict sun path movement, and cloud cover to increase efficiency, could easily incorporate external data from regionally located sensors to help predict cloud cover, correct angle of incidence to the sun, plus incoming danger of high winds buffeting large solar arrays.

The HiTemp project run by Birmingham University 2014, funded the placement of 28 sensors split into three different types to collect data ready for collection, all having having individual URL addresses. a host of different sensors and all powered by small solar PV cells.

These sensors place on existing infrastructure such as lamp posts,  together with  public and private buildings are recording and freely transmitting a host of information such as  GPS position, wind speed,rainfall, temperature, cloud cover, and humidity, which can be used by clients buildings that incorporate BIM data within a Building Management System (BMS) using programs like DeviseNet, creating what Batty M,2012, Smart Cities of the Future, describes as the WoB, ( Web of Buildings )

Mobile phone users can also play a part in the smart city, texting, on twitter, and social networks the comparison of weather data against social media comments will provide useful comparisons (Caragliu, A.,)

From the domestic, through to the larger commercial and industrial level, the current static temperature control systems so often rely upon a simple timer, to control the heating system, secondary local thermostats try to limit heat to individual radiators or zones, and are slow to react if at all,  to external temperature change, having no knowledge of the external environment and the way the structure of the building they are heating will react to temperature change, and public use, resulting in overheating damaging condensation reversal and inefficient boiler use.


The Internal Brain

It is the link between the building control program, and the external data that is the next big step in the development of the Smart city,which will provided leaps in efficiency and due in part to correct use of fuel, and its generation, to correct maintenance and material specification.

Questions such building security, access by emergency services such as police and fire brigade for floor plans and lift, window and door control need to be answered, plus autonomous selection of the best available power supply, Solar, heat pump, or national grid. Plus the interoperability between buildings, for they should share equally.


Anjomshoaa I (2014) Blending Building Information with Smart City Data,

Birningham University 2014 HiTemp

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Fully transparent solar cell

Samil streetIf there is ever a game changer in the near future, within Architecture, then this is it, fully transparent solar cell that is see through and will collect solar energy. In August 2014, researchers at Michigan State University have created a fully transparent solar concentrator, which could turn any window or sheet of glass (like your smartphone’s screen) into a photovoltaic solar cell. The excellent article on the Extreme Tech web site has more. With the introduction of Elon Musk’s new battery and ever increasing alternative methods of storing energy, this new technology is the game changer.

At the simple end, replacing the current glass with the new, is going to be a substantial task, but fitting it to new buildings is going to push the design of buildings into almost fully glassed enclosures. But the real problem for both new build, but more for the existing stock, with be gathering the power and feeding it to a storage array, notably Elon Musk’s battery. But it will change how we will use glass in the future.