Planet Architectural Glass, Design Manager

Day in the Life, Planet Architectural Glass Design Manager, Shane Saunders

Today we’re introducing Shane Saunders, Design Manager for Planet Architectural Glass, who has been with the Company for just over a year and a half. Based in our Burgess Hill Office, Shane works on our atria and bespoke projects.

“The Architectural Glass Division deals with a variety of functions – covering domestic and commercial projects, airport work and more, which all bring different challenges and obstacles.

Planet Architectural Glass provide bespoke solutions for a variety of glazing needs. We design support structures which are either exposed or encased; structural steel, to suit glazing that has specific loading requirements; balustrades, atrium screens, etc. We use standard products where possible but also fabricate items when required.

As Architectural Design Manager, my job is to oversee all design, structural aspects, CDM, practicality, quality, safe installation and, ultimately, customer satisfaction.

Having the benefit of being based within our Head Office, means all of our ‘back-office’ departments are nearby, to run through any relevant information I may need for each project. Within the team at Planet, everyone brings something to the table and, talking through ideas and discussing details, make sure we do the best possible job we can.

On a daily basis, I will deal with Architects, Main Contractors, Engineers, Suppliers and our Contracts Managers on site, where jobs are in their construction phase.

On jobs in the pre-construction phase, I deal closely with our Estimating Department, Salesmen, Director of Projects, Regional Director, and many others, to make sure we cover all aspects of the Clients’ needs and requirements. This is a very important phase, prior to the design process, as it enables me to have a clear outline of what we need to do.

Once the job is handed over from the Sales team, it’s time to check specifications and technical drawings, and start looking at how the job can be done. This is the challenging and interesting part of the project, when potential issues in the design need to be ironed out and the end product finalised. Every job is unique and needs its own individual attention to make sure we provide the best finished product possible. Attention to detail is key, having pride in my work pushes me to ensure the quality of the work we install.

As well as working in the office, I also have days when I’m out and about, at design meetings and visiting sites – both essential to the design approval process. Going to site can also help me gain a clearer understanding of the environment the items will be installed in, to visualize the finished look, and how it can be constructed. It is also important to liaise with the Main Contractor as the project progresses as, with most construction jobs, problems can arise during the build which may potentially affect multiple trades.

Once all drawings have been approved by the Client – the requisite components can be fabricated and finished, ready for installation.

A vital aspect of my role is planning, as we have multiple live projects running at any one time, with new ones frequently being added; organising time and resources is therefore paramount. At the end of each day, I update my workplan, make important phone calls and send emails, in readiness for the following morning.

So, there is no average day in my working life – my job is challenging and varied, making every day different and unique, with new tasks and new problems to overcome, needing a fresh way of thinking – this ultimately is what gives me job satisfaction.

If you have a project, you’d like Planet Architectural Glass to be involved with, please contact your regional office.