Edinburgh Chartered Architects Network
Being a sole practitioner can be very isolating.
Over four years ago I was working on a project where part of my role was to record the condition of all the neighbours properties above my clients flat before work commenced. The idea was to limit the extent of any insurance claim in the event our demolitions caused damage further up the building. The work went without a problem but during the project I met another architect, he was friends with a neighbour who was away at the time and he gave me access to their flat to carry out my survey. During discussions, he recommended I join the Edinburgh Chartered Architects Network, an organisation specifically for sole-practitioners.
The Most Useful Organisation I Am A Member Of.
Since then I have come to value ECAN as the most useful organisation I am a member of, certainly on a day-to-day basis. We have just over 40 members at present and organise continuing professional development once per month. The group has an in-house email system, where any member can contact the entire group to discuss issues that arise in practice. This is perhaps the most useful aspect of ECAN, as a recent survey of members shows, we have over 1100 years combined experience and engage in a surprising variety of work. Questions often generate multiple responses on the same day and members describe the group as having the benefits of a large practice, while retaining the flexibility of being self employed. The group has contact at an official level with Edinburgh planning and building standards departments, to discuss policy and implementation. We also place members in the ESPC shop on George Street, twice a month, to answer questions the public may have about their properties.
I was honoured to be nominated and elected as the new chairman of ECAN last month. The group is active, diverse and valued by its members. I have implemented a series of policies, designed to enhance the current roles carried out by ECAN and also to increase our visibility with the general public. We now have a Facebook page and an in house PR team to promote the group and it's members. We are actively looking to increase membership, so if you are a sole practicing Architect (or you know one) in Edinburgh, the Lothians, Fife or the Borders - get in touch.