One of the reasons I love architecture is because I get to do site visits. I enjoy seeing the progress of an idea on paper come to life through construction whether or not the design was mine. Oftentimes, there are things I forget to bring which I’d wish I didn’t and so I’ll be sharing with you my What’s in My Bag as a junior architect on site so you don’t forget them either!
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And though I now work in a corporation, I’ll be sharing the things I brought with me regularly when I was doing site supervision in my previous job.
When Do I Bring Them and What Bag do I Use
In my previous workplace, we did site visits per project weekly. If there are 5 projects to visit, then there will be 1 site visit per day in a span of 5 working days. It’s different per company. I understand that in some firms, they have stay-in architects to oversee the project.
I use a Kanken backpack for my site visits since it is easier to carry. I wouldn’t want a shoulder bag to fall off my shoulder once in a while because of all the movement and checking on site. You also wouldn’t want to leave your stuff anywhere on site. A backpack is helpful as you get to use both your arms freely.
What I Bring
My metric tape was a best friend I didn’t notice. I always used it and would always regret not bringing it. In small projects, whenever there were additional requests by clients, changes on site, and checking whether plans were followed, a metric tape is what you’ll need.
There are different lengths of metric tape. The 8-m tape works well enough for me.
I also always bring my site notebook and pen. You never know when you need to write something or draw something down. Sometimes, we meet clients on site and they would be explaining things I need to take note of that didn’t necessarily need to be drawn on plans.
As a junior architect, it’s also helpful to write down what my superior architect would say, especially if it’s something that I need to learn or a knowledge that would be handy for the long term (or for board exams).
There are already plans on site but where I worked, we always brought our copy of what we will be checking and discussing that day even if it’s just printed in a short bond paper. We normally worked on small residential projects and so you can imagine the scale of what we only bring.
I always had a folder in my bag for the plans. They were labeled and clipped according to project though it was preferable to have a separate folder per project.
There’s something you don’t ever want to forget on site – water bottle! Filled with water, obviously. Whatever the weather, it matters to hydrate yourself, especially in the Philippines where it is extremely hot.
The walk around, up and below the site could be tiring, but so does the travel itself.
Not that I do but don’t ever forget your phone. We always took site photos at the end of every visit to compare progress and update the team. Not to mention, it’s simply documentation as well.
What to Wear
Now you know what was in my bag, I’ll tell you about what I wore. You wouldn’t want anything fancy on site. We didn’t wear anything you would normally wear in a corporate office. We wore comfortable clothes where we can move and climb ladders without having to worry. You could be standing for hours so definitely no heels. You could be walking in crooked areas so definitely wear some comfortable shoes.
They say that you will not be taken seriously on site when you wear fancy clothes, so it’s safer to wear simple and comfortable ones. Aside from wanting the respect of your fellow workers, you’d want to be comfy in what you wear since you also don’t always know how long you’ll be there.