For Week 5 on the takeover the reigns went from one of the longest serving team members to the newest member of the GLM team – Eilidh Walker.
Originally from Stornoway, Eilidh has joined the Highland office of GLM and is a Chartered Surveyor. Over the course of her takeover, Eilidh took us through her journey with sustainability from otters to royal palaces. She shared aspirations and ambitions and a flavour of her roots, the Hebrides!
Post 1 (Images : Above right and below)
My first experience of sustainability while working in the construction and built environment sector, came when I was on my student placement while studying at Glasgow Caledonian University.
Here I saw first-hand, methods of undertaking substantial construction projects but also respecting the environment, the local residents and wildlife.
During my time on the Lochboisdale Marina Development on the Isle of South Uist, I assisted the site engineer daily, assisting with setting out and monitoring the works in line with the drawings. There was an over-arching importance of retaining the natural environment and leaving it undisturbed, striving to protect the natural environment and its inhabitants.
I had the additional duty to check a number of otter holts to assess their activity. Visual sightings were almost a daily occurrence. Checking footprints around the holt gave an interesting insight into their movements while the works were ongoing which did not seem to affect them. Provisions were also made in the design of the marina’s access road and causeway at sub-terranean level to form an otter crossing.
This project was a great initial example in a rural environment of how sustainability can be achievable. Satisfying the 3 pillars of Sustainability; Social – providing a place for visiting leisure craft and a place for locals to enjoy. Economic – allowing the local marine industry to grow. Environment – maintaining, protecting and assisting wildlife to flourish.
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As a young surveyor, prior to my APC training, having the opportunity to see construction elements stripped back gave me a firm understanding of historic construction methods.
Having this experience, it allowed me to understand the methods and materials used historically, combining this with the methods and materials used in more modern times.
This has allowed me to use the knowledge to play a part in the maintaining and repairing of older traditional properties such as Abbey Strand, Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh. Not only has the learning benefited me, it has also played a part in sustaining a particularly prestigious period property and its features.
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It is great to see construction work on the islands or in any rural setting. This particular project on ‘The Broch’ on the Isle of Harris, stands out thanks to its contemporary design features and aesthetics. Its design emulates that of the Carloway Broch, an iron age Broch on the neighbouring island of Lewis.
It is a fantastic example of a new build property, inspired by the local history and heritage to create a luxurious space for the enjoyment of visitors to the islands, whilst supporting the local economy. In addition to this, it is great to see a new build incorporating natural materials, having a facade of natural stone and a turfed roof.
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Situated within the extensive mature Castle Grounds in Stornoway overlooking the harbour, Lews Castle has been a feature on the landscape since it was built in 1847 by Sir James Matheson following his purchase of the island. The castle changed ownership over the years and was also used for a variety of different purposes. However, it was fully refurbished and opened to the public in 2017.
This is a building that has been carefully refurbished bringing employment to the island and a venue for locals to enjoy. Lews Castle is also a past GLM project as GLM were the architects tasked with the design of the apartments within the upper floors of the castle.
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Over the course of the week, I have taken a snapshot view of my experiences at various points through the early stages of my career. Also looking at properties on the islands which have, in my opinion, satisfied some of the fundamentals with regards to sustainability.
For my final post I look to the future. There are so many potential projects for GLM within the Hebrides. It brings me great pleasure to use the skills and expertise I have gained revitalising properties of local interest and significance. Being able to return to my roots and work within the communities I grew up in is very satisfying. Seeing the benefits and sustenance such buildings provided the local community and seeing these structures returned to their former glory is the reason I became a building surveyor. Seeing buildings survive and communities thrive.
Our Instagram Takeover runs from April, for about 4 months, so why not head over and get involved, follow along and see, live, what more of the team have to say. You’ll find it here.