The fenestration industry is one that has seen many changes over the years, from new products and materials to developments in thermal performance and security. In this blog series, we get to know our senior staff members a little better, starting with Chris Haines, design director, who has spent the last 15 years in the industry having progressed through various roles in the design department to get to where he is today.
In his role as design director, Chris manages the design department which involves liaising with architects and producing technical drawings. The team works closely with clients to ensure that the resulting drawing is compliant with the specification provided. Chris fundamentally has a link to every stage of the process, including procurement, fabrication, and installation, as the specification and budgetary requirements have to be adhered to at every step. Also, Chris is consulted on any queries that emerge regarding each project.
Chris joined AB Glass having little to no knowledge of windows, doors, curtain walling and the fenestration industry as a whole, but had a background in architectural technology which served as a good basis and understanding of construction, technical drawings and architectural requirements.
We have adopted a similar recruitment strategy this year with new trainee designer, Matthew, who also has a degree in architectural technology. You can read about Matthew’s appointment here.
An aspect of the role that Chris particularly enjoys is being part of the creative process and working alongside architects to give the projects life. The collaboration process is important in order to achieve a functional and aesthetically pleasing product.
When asked about the changes that he has seen in the industry during his time with us, Chris identified that projects are becoming more complex and larger scale, but also that developments in cloud-based collaboration software now allows for consistent communication between AB Glass, architects and project coordinators.
The introduction of government led BIM (building information modelling), involving 2D and 3D modelling, means that we can see the project from the architects’ point of view. BIM extra allows for uploads to be made from both ends and has driven online-based collaboration. The pandemic has accelerated the use of these tools, and has resulted in less face-to-face meetings, something which Chris hopes will return in the future.
Chris was quick to pinpoint the Passivhaus project in Exeter as his highlight project of 2021. The Passivhaus leisure centre, the first of its kind in the UK, is a sustainably focused project that required strict requirements in order to reach the optimum level of thermal performance for the structure. Full details and specifications of the Passivhaus project can be found here.
When speaking about the design director role itself, Chris said:
“Seeing a project through to completion is the most rewarding aspect because I am involved from the initial drawing phase of the process, so when those drawings eventually come to life, it brings a sense of pride and achievement.”