In an industry long perceived as male dominated, North Midlands house builder Harron Homes are always looking to encourage talented women into their workforce to become a successful female architect. Architectural Technologist, Philippa Bargh, attests to how she has thrived in her career in construction and house building.
Female architect Philippa, 29, has worked at Harron for four years and has worked in construction for eight years. She was drawn into housebuilding during her time at a ‘multi-disciplinary practice’. “During my time there I began to head up small residential projects for developers and it was this experience that made me want to join Harron Homes and develop my career within the sector.
“At Harron I take site feasibility layouts, and conduct an architectural review with the rest of the team to develop the layout in readiness for planning. This is to ensure our sites are aesthetically pleasing, buildable and meet the Local Authorities various design guides to ensure a swift approval.
“Following planning approval, I produce the sites construction drawings. My role also includes keeping house type drawings up to date, ensuring these meet current building regulations.”
This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #BreakTheBias, and Philippa has an interesting take on negative biases that need to be challenged in the industry: “I haven’t experienced much bias in my career – my gender has certainly never held me back from pursuing my passion in architecture. I guess this shows the industry is moving in the right direction.
“However, I have had it assumed previously that I am an admin assistant because of my gender – and this was by a female – so it very much isn’t just men who need to progress in their mindset. I would say as a woman, there are times where you need to prove your worth and be assertive, but if you are knowledgeable, it never takes long to be respected just the same as your male colleagues.”
Harron strives to create a culture which is fair and equal to all, and Philippa feels that this is making a difference in the workplace. “In terms of the physical construction side of things, yes, it is male-dominated. In terms of everything leading up to the build however, I think it is very much an even split – or at least it is here at Harron Homes.
“I don’t believe it’s necessarily important to encourage women specifically into this industry, but it is important to publicise the vast array of roles this industry does cover and ensure they are accessible to all. With the right publicity, anyone can make an informed career choice that suits them.”
Philippa’s advice for any women who are considering a career in the construction industry is “Just go for it! I think there’s a lack of knowledge about all of the opportunities that are available, and everyone in the industry could do more. The industry is vast and varied; brick laying, drawing, managing, sales, commercial, customer care. You don’t need a degree – you need enthusiasm and it’s that drive that can take you where you want to be in the industry irrelevant of your gender.”