For many clients, appointing an architect will be a new experience involving important decisions, high expectations and sometimes, high emotions. Regarding client relationships, what should architects be mindful of when procuring and undertaking projects and are there tools and skills that can be used to ensure good collaboration, communication and trust is at the heart of every project?
Nigel Ostime will open this 2.5 hour discussion panel with a presentation that uses the findings from the Working With Architects Survey to pinpoint the services clients value most and discuss the benefits of working with the RIBA briefing toolkit to improve client relationships and satisfaction.
Will Foster and Cindy Walters will then share their experiences of working with a wide range of clients, offering guidance and advice on how to:
- Understand what a client wants and engage them in a way that makes them feel like their views are valued and being listened to.
Articulate what services you will be providing for your fee and how to be clear about what services you are not providing
How to ensure the flow of information is smooth and how to best communicate technical information
How to gain feedback from a client and learning from projects
Establishing realistic timescales for responding to queries
Nigel Ostime is Project Delivery Director at Hawkins\Brown Architects. He has wide experience in the design and delivery of complex projects in a range of sectors including aviation, infrastructure, offices, residential, retail, and town-centre mixed-use. He is a member of the RIBA Practice & Profession Committee and chair of the RIBA Client Liaison Group, which provides an interface between the Institute and client representative bodies. The group has been responsible for gathering data from construction industry clients to assess the value architects bring to their projects and where this could be improved. Nigel is author of the Small Projects Handbook (2014), the RIBA Job Book (2013) and the Handbook of Practice Management (2013) and is currently developing a new edition of the RIBA Client’s Guide to Engaging an Architect and a Briefing and Evaluation Toolkit.
Cindy Walters was born in Australia, studied in South Africa and moved to London in 1990 to work for Foster+Partners, setting up Walters & Cohen with Michál Cohen in 1994.
Cindy has worked on a diverse range of education, leisure, cultural and commercial projects, including Bedales School in Hampshire, Vajrasana Buddhist Retreat in Suffolk, the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art at Kew Gardens, and Regent High School, which won a RIBA National Award in 2016. She is currently leading several projects, including Newnham College, Cambridge.
Outside the practice, Cindy regularly contributes to academic and professional institutions as an external examiner and guest lecturer. Her long-standing involvement with the RIBA Awards Group has included roles as a member of the Lubetkin Prize jury, Stirling Prize jury, and judge for the President's Research Awards, and in 2016 she was asked to join the RIBA Validation Board. She is also one of Design Council Cabe’s Built Environment Experts and a trustee for the Young Women's Trust. Cindy is currently undertaking a PhD at the Bartlett. In 2012 Cindy and Michál were awarded the inaugural AJ Woman Architect of the Year Award.
Will Foster setup practice prior to qualifying from his student bedroom in his mid 20's. Without hardly any delivery experience he managed to secure large residential contracts which lead to forming Foster Lomas with Greg Lomas. The practice now has an impressive client list of global industry leaders with diverse portfolio of projects. Key to the practices success has been great communication to secure client trust.
Will is now assisting the RIBA with the client survey and attending panel discussions on effective client communication.