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2020 National Architecture Awards | Shortlisted DCWC Projects

DCWC provided services for three projects shortlisted for the AIA 2020 National Architecture Awards. Nominated across a variety of categories, the projects include: Monash Universi.....

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Q&A with Stuart Cowley

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Stuart Cowley, Associate Director of VIC Quantity Surveying, discusses projects he is currently working on, his tips and tricks for working effectively from home and how DCWC is continuing to deliver value to our clients.

1. What current project are you excited to be working on?

Currently, a project I am excited to be involved with would be Northside Communities.

The project is a joint venture development between MAB and DHHS, to provide high quality affordable housing in Northcote, Preston, and North Melbourne. This project is something I am passionate about and I look forward to supporting it for the next three years.

2. How has working from home changed the way you work personally and as a team?

Working remotely always has its challenges, no matter how experienced you are. The biggest of these, for me, is trying to keep people engaged and connected to the workplace. It is really easy for people to become disassociated with the rest of the team, so it is important that we keep connected through email, phone calls, and video chat.

The VIC QS team have at least one weekly meeting all together and we try to keep that to a purely social event, which is proving to be a success.

I am also keeping in touch with other parts of the business too – I think it is important to maintain everything you would normally do in the office.

3. If you were given an opportunity to change careers, would you and what would you do?

Before I became a Quantity Surveyor, I was a sous-chef having worked up from being a commis-chef and then a saucier. Cooking is something I am still extremely passionate about so I would definitely go back to that. However, I absolutely love my job and being a QS is infinitely more interesting, varied, and challenging so I don’t ever see that happening!

4. Do you have any tips on getting the most out of working from home?

I think everyone is different but, for me, I really need to keep the exact routine that I would normally. This means getting up at the same time, making the bed, getting ready in the same way, having my morning coffee, reading the news on my phone, and then starting work for the day. Once in the study, I try not to leave other than for my lunch at 12:30 and then I either read more news on my phone or sit at my desk. The temptation to watch TV at lunchtime is definitely strong but I avoid doing anything that I couldn’t or wouldn’t do if I was in the office.

My partner is also working from home and we tend to avoid too much interaction during the day other than her shouting “tea, please!” when she hears that I’m in the kitchen.

5. Have you discovered anything surprising about yourself, loved ones or colleagues from this period?

It turns out that my dog barks pretty much from 7am to 5pm so that’s been a really fun discovery. However, I have also found out that he’s highly intelligent because he knows exactly when I am on a Zoom call and can even pinpoint the exact moment that I unmute myself.

On a more serious note, I am incredibly impressed by the strong resolve shown by not only the VIC QS team but DCWC as a whole during these challenging and uncertain times. We have come together, working as strongly as we ever have, and are really delivering when it would be easy to take our foot off the gas.

I will always look back at these times and think how incredible it was that we didn’t let this situation overwhelm us and how we banded together to prevail.


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