A day in the life of a Design Manager

Design Manager

A day in the life of a Design Manager

Name: Marc Bornstein

Job Title: Design Manager

What made you want to get into design management?

I started of my career as an architect, but quickly realised I was a much better project manager than I was a designer. I was much more interested in the business/management side of architecture, which would also allow me to utilise and justify my time spent in an MBA programme.

Being a Design Manager also allowed me to be more involved with other disciplines such as M&E, Structural, and a veritable plethora of consultants.

 How long have you been at Thomas Interiors: 3 months

What Does a Typical day consist of:

My days are not typical from one day to the next. As a Design Manager, I am involved in projects from the Pre-Construction Phase all the way through to client handover.

One day I could be with the client being briefed on the scope of works we are being asked to tender for. The next day I could be writing a design and construction programme and working with the QS/Estimating team to price the project. The following day I could be selecting and briefing the subconsultant team for the project. 

There are days I sit at my desk and sketch out design solutions to be implemented on site as well as reviewing and coordinating the design drawings of the consultants.

The days I tend to enjoy the most are the days spent on site and the ones spent working directly with the client.

Tell us about something you’re really proud of in your career so far:

The project I am most proud of in my career was the design and construction of the King Abdullah al Aziz Specialty Children’s Hospital (KAASCH) In Riyadh, said Arabia. KAASCH was a 2,500,000 square foot, 542 bed/16 theatre specialty Paediatric Oncology Hospital. I worked for almost 5 years on this project.

What advice would you give to someone else thinking of becoming a design manager:

Being an architect, in general, is done for the love of design and architecture. It is not a profession that one goes into to become rich. (We leave that for the developers and the lawyers.)

It’s not enough to be a good designer to be a Design Manager. You need to understand all the other disciplines that work within the design arena – from planners, to engineers, joiners, suppliers, contractors and builders. You need to be able to be forward facing, to be able to relate to others on all other levels. You need to be able to talk and explain yourself to the CEO of a company as well as being able to relate to the carpenter/plumber/tile layer on site.

Being a Design Manager is a multi-faceted job that has many aspects and layers to it. And this is why I like being a design manager.

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