Episode 12

Published on:

18th Jan 2024

Returning to Practice: A Conversation with Ann Vanner | 012

The episode features an in-depth conversation between host, Jon, and guest, Ann Vanner, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists and a Chartered Architect who recently returned to practice after a long break. They discuss Ann's experiences and challenges upon reentering the world of architecture, the changes she has noticed in communication modes, document management, planning process, and more. The discussion extends to the importance of continual learning, forming partnerships, aligning visions, and recommendations for those considering a similar transition in their careers.

Today's Guest...

Ann Vanner is a Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Architectural Technologists, a Chartered Architect, an academic, and a Living Future Accredited Professional. Ann’s starting point and approach to architecture is Practical Creativity. Her practical background spans over 20 years, in architectural practices in the UK and Germany. She brings an unconventional and unwavering passion for the built environment and a desire to make a positive change in the environment and for those who she works with. Ann has recently returned to practicing architecture.

Episode Highlights...

00:00 Introduction and Overview

00:52 Meet the Guest: Ann Vanner

01:51 Ann's Personal Interests: Sailing

03:14 Returning to Practice: The Decision

05:50 Changes in Architecture Practice: Planning Process

08:00 Changes in Communication and Document Management

13:27 The Importance of Continuous Learning

15:03 The Benefits of Partnership in Practice

19:03 Tips for Starting a Partnership

25:04 Advice for Returning to Practice

29:26 Connecting with Ann Online

29:54 Closing Remarks and Preview of Next Episode

Key Takeaways...

👉 If you're thinking about returning to practice or starting a practice, know that it's a learning process. Don't be afraid of this; embrace it. Being able to adapt to new technology (like email and YouTube tutorials) and being open to learning new skills can significantly ease the transition.

👉 Communication methods have changed significantly, email and different digital communication methods are central now. Managing the information flow through these channels can take time and patience, but maintaining proper documentation and communication is key in any business.

👉 When starting a partnership-based business, ensure that there's alignment between the partners on the vision, mission, and values of the practice. Have open and honest discussions and regularly check-in with one another to keep the alignment.

👉 Running a personal practice or starting a partnership based business gives you the freedom to create a work environment that suits your preferences and lifestyle. It can be more fulfilling and can bring a new spark of enthusiasm to your career.

👉 Document management techniques have changed over time. Modern practices tend to digitize their documents for easier management and tracking of project history.

👉 Continual learning is essential in architecture. The methods, tools, and technologies associated with architecture are always changing, so continuous learning is crucial to keep up-to-date and remain competent in the field.

👉 Balancing your strengths and weaknesses with your partner can lead to a more effective and productive partnership. Be aware of your strengths and lean on your partner for areas where you are weak. 

👉 Finally, it's also crucial to make brave moves when needed. If you have an aspiration or a dream, such as reopening a practice or starting a new one, sometimes the best advice is to just do it. It may not be easy, and it may require a considerable amount of effort, but the rewards can be significant.

Links Mentioned In The Episode...

Ann’s Email


Habitat Architects Website


Habitat Architects Facebook Page


Habitat Architects Instagram


Habitat Architects LinkedIn Page


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In The Next Episode...

Next time Jon talks about quarterly planning and the benefits of planning your business year in quarters.

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About the Podcast

Architecture Business Club - For Architects, Architectural Technologists, Surveyors & Designers
Helping busy architecture professionals build a better business with actionable tips and tactics.
Architecture Business Club is the weekly podcast to help solo and small firm architecture business owners build a profitable, future-proof architecture practice that both you and your clients love! It’s an inclusive place (for ALL architecture business owners). So whether you’re an Architect, Architectural Technologist, or Architectural Designer…If you sell architectural services and want to improve the way you do things…This is THE podcast for you.

I’m Jon Clayton, your show host, and a Chartered Architectural Technologist based in the UK. I’ve been in architecture for over two decades and running my own (solo) practice for 10 years+.

Each week you’ll hear from inspiring people from the world of architecture and business who share actionable tips to help you improve how you work, save time, or make more money. I’ll also share my own experiences running an architecture business in occasional solo episodes. We cover everything from mindset, money, business strategy, sales & marketing, productivity, systems & workflows, client experience, outsourcing, software, technology, and much more.

Episodes are kept as short as possible by cutting out the fluff and getting straight to the point. So expect interview episodes of around 30 minutes or less, and solo episodes of 5 to 15 minutes.

New episodes are released every Thursday at 6am GMT / 2am EST.

Welcome to the Club!

About your host

Profile picture for Jon Clayton

Jon Clayton

I’m Jon. A Chartered Architectural Technologist and the founder of Architecture Business Club. I've been working in architecture for over two decades and running my own architectural design business for over ten of those years. My mission is to help you build a better architecture business on your terms. So if you're a sole practitioner (or small practice) architect, architectural technologist, or architectural designer, I want to help YOU. I'm a Northerner but now live with my family in Norfolk, UK. Outside of work, I'm a guitar tottin', kayaking, movie trivia buff.