In order to design a suitable living environment for communities, architects must combine their professional expertise with artistic flair and technical knowledge.
Since urban designers also have to consider the health, safety and general welfare of the community, they need to take into account client requirements, user needs and architectural limitations to find unique and balanced design solutions.
"Our goal is to provide quality and outstanding architectural design service fulfilling our clients' expectations while taking into consideration our social and environmental responsibilities," says Ling Li, director, P&T Group.
P&T is committed to implementing a quality assurance system complying with ISO 9001:2000 international management standards in carrying out architectural and structural engineering consultancy services. All staff members follow the relevant requirements and directives when managing and implementing projects falling within the scope of this ISO certification.
"A dedicated quality management committee constantly reviews our policy to make sure it remains up to date," says Ms Li. "Since the policy is directional rather than operational, we plan to implement different objectives for different service levels."
When it comes to environmental protection, P&T prioritises energy saving and sustainability. Design staff focus on gaining new knowledge and expanding their skills for sustainable architecture.
Group senior management makes a point of attending green initiative workshops, while some staff members obtain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accreditation, which is the recognised global standard for evaluating building sustainability and green design.
Meanwhile, P&T works closely with clients and specialist consultants to identify ecologically sound solutions, from site-planning strategies that take into consideration the local climate to building designs that maximise natural light and ventilation. Other important considerations include using construction methods that reduce construction waste, selecting building materials that minimise damage to the environment and designing systems that use natural energy instead of exhausting the earth's resources.
"Clients are increasingly willing to invest in green buildings and aim for their projects to be LEED certified. Together with specialist consultants, we have achieved the highest LEED Platinum certification rating for one of our projects, while others are registered for certification," Ms Li notes.
Being committed to delivering the highest standard of service, P&T has built up a reputation for excellence and continues to secure major projects throughout the region. Many clients are repeat customers and prominent developers with equally high standards.
In the past few years, clients have started signing memoranda of understanding with P&T in order to secure mutual commitment to ensure that their projects are prioritised.
P&T's major business focus —t o provide quality architectural, mechanical and structural engineering consultation services for the region's building industry —h as remained consistent over the past 140 years.
Many of the firm's projects are based in mainland China, Hong Kong and the Middle East, as well as in other part of Asia such as Singapore, Thailand and India.
"Thanks to the Asian economic boom over the past decade and growing industry demand, our firm has expanded rapidly since 1998," Ms Li remarks.
The firm, with its headquarters in Hong Kong, has regional offices across Singapore, Thailand, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Macau, Shanghai, Beijing, Wuhan and Dalian. Offices are also planned for Chongqing and Vietnam, and total staff numbers have increased from 600 in 1998 to the current 1,300.
P&T manages a large variety of projects commissioned by diverse clients. These range from major mixed-use development projects on a mini-city scale to small private villas, in categories from commercial, residential, retail to institutional sectors, as well as hotels, resorts, healthcare and church projects.
"This is indeed a good time to be an architect. Never before have we seen such a demand for experienced architects as in the past few years. Salaries have increased to keep up with inflation, and staff who are willing to relocate to mainland China or the Middle East are assured of attractive packages," Ms Li stresses.
The company also believes in providing junior staff with opportunities to grow and excel through inter-office information sharing and mentoring. Experienced and committed professionals ready for more responsibilities are awarded with promotions. P&T's human resources policy is based on consistent growth rather than fluctuating manpower levels on a project-to-project basis. As a result, the company has a low turnover rate compared to its industry counterparts.
P&T is optimistic about its future development, believing that the strong regional economy —p articularly the growth in mainland China —w ill continue to bring abundant opportunities for architects and other professionals in the building industry.