#Meettheresident – Eoin O’Shea
Tell us a bit about yourself and your business?
Hi I’m Eóin O’Shea and I am a Chartered Architectural Technologist. I run a CIAT Chartered Practice called PIM Smart where I specialise in 3D modelled technical layout designs with technical drawings and schedules generated from same. In my role this involves a balance of office design work and site application of same to set-out works. Generally I work alongside contractors on commercial projects however also work directly with clients on smaller scale architectural design projects and can provide a variety of services for everything else in between.
Any projects you’re currently working on?
Currently I’m working on technical façade design & construction layouts for a new academic building at Maynooth University and a new railway control centre at Heuston station in Dublin.
What was the biggest hurdle for you starting out and how did you overcome it?
Controlling time is always a big hurdle, especially when starting out on your own as all the additional roles such as finances and business admin need to be fulfilled on top of your day to day work. Without a big team around you to delegate, it takes some time to break down all these roles into bite-sized chunks and schedule time better so you aren’t totally overwhelmed and working crazy hours. I’ll not say I’ve perfected it yet and still sometimes you just have to commit a bit more time when a big handover date is due, but you learn to cope a bit better and balance your work and personal life in more creative and flexible ways. The big benefit of working for yourself is just taking a few hours or days off when things relax a bit before the next big workload.
How do you stay creative/inspired?
As a Chartered Architectural Technologist, I enjoy drawing on the wider community of my fellow ATs through involvement with my professional body, Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists, and CPD/social events offered through this network for inspiration. As technical professionals, our CPD events could be on anything from screed design to utilisation of drones for site review which are always really wide ranging, interesting, informative and helps motivate me, my work and approach to same. I also try to keep up to date with modern design trends and practices to keep me inspired – a design magazine/website called Dezeen is one of my favourites – but also enjoy Pinterest and other scrapbook like websites for ideas and developing reference points. It’s not always information relevant to my current work but there’s always something new to learn and it’s great to see what is happening further afield within the Architectural/Engineering/Construction design sector for inspiration.
Who is your creative hero?
I learned my trade working with my father who runs a small architectural technology practice in my homeland of Fermanagh. It was generally small scale designs and dwellings in rural locations we were working with but my father always approached each project with honesty and a practical sense in getting best value for money and utilisation of space for the client regardless of circumstances. It wasn’t generally flashy architecture due to the budgets we were working with but I learned a lot through my apprenticeship in terms of morality, practicality and design appraisal skills I took forward into my career and endeavour my best to emulate with my designs and clients.
What piece of software/ tool/ equipment would you struggle to run your business without?
I utilise a program called Revit by Autodesk to generate my 3D model designs and extrapolate all my drawings and schedules for projects from same. It’s an integral tool to what I do and offer to my clients so it’s also important for me to keep up-to-date with how best to harness it as new features are released every year.
What’s your top tip/piece of advice for anyone wanting to start their own creative business?
I would say finding gaps in the market is the best place to start to identify your best chance core business output. It may not be exactly what you want to do longer term but gets you started in the immediate term for about 70% of your work output whilst you find your feet and pay the bills! You can always grow the other more exciting 30% of your work along with your brand and all being well, employ more people to do the humdrum tasks longer term whilst you concentrate on more exciting innovative work outputs.