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The Coach: ‘My client is backtracking on our project’s green ambitions’

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Careers expert Matthew Turner advises an architect who feels their clients are not living up to their originally stated aims regarding their project’s sustainability

My client doesn’t take my sustainability aims seriously. We have a project with laudable aims regarding materials reuse, but the ambitions could easily be higher. I try hard to convince my client, but they fall back on the usual excuse of a tight budget. It really frustrates me as the project’s sustainability aims were the reason our practice accepted the work.

It’s great that you are clearly motivated by sustainability and keen to push it through your projects. What you are doing is enacting the kind of principle that Architects Declare is all about.

However, I can’t help sensing a tone of indignation and even intolerance for your client. Remember, they are the one making the project happen, amassing the finances to make it a reality and taking on risks that you, as a consultant, are not.

If you don’t like working for clients, you can always go out and learn their job

Whether we Iike it or not, we are involved in an industry that has myriad partners, complexities, and influences, usually requiring many compromises to deliver.

Jumping up and down will only have limited effect. Delivering sustainability in construction seems to be following a principled and uncompromising narrative – as do you. So if you don’t like working for clients, you can always do what you are implying: go out and learn their job, and be the master of your own projects. 

AJ coach Matthew Turner is an architect and careers consultant who runs the Building on Architecture consultancy. To contact him with your questions, tweet @TheAJcoach or email him in confidence at hello@buildingonarchitecture.com 

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