Ross Harris – Vectorworks
Ross brings his wealth of experience in the building industry and Council into his role as a Vectorworks Trainer.
Ross’s career path has been shaped by his passion for building and transforming ideas and drawings into real structures.
Ross has spent over 15 years with construction firms in Auckland working in various capacities – starting as an apprentice builder through to site manager. His projects included commercial and industrial units, franchise homes, new builds and renovations on recent to turn of the century villas.
In 2005, Ross joined Papakura District Council and stayed on through the amalgamation creating Auckland Council. In his role as a Senior Building Official, he had a major role in Papakura District Council’s accreditation system for Building Consent Authority (BCA) accreditation and registration, processing and inspection of complex projects, court proceedings, determinations and staff mentoring.
Seven years later, Ross was back in the rough and tumble of the construction world. CAD software was well entrenched, but the new word on the street was BIM – architects and designers overseas were transitioning from 2D CAD to high tech 3D methods, Ross could see this was the future of design and set about a determined change in career paths. Armed with Revit LT, Ross used his construction knowledge and computer smarts to learn the software in and out, moving on from Council to a Structural Engineering firm to rollout Revit in their office.
After the second wave of Canterbury earthquakes, Ross went back into building officialdom and worked for a private BCA, processing consents as part of the nationwide effort to get building up and going in Christchurch.
After a stint as an office manager for a design practice, Ross set up Aspect Building Design in 2014 and has been designing everything from bespoke villa extensions to Kiwifruit packing sheds and offices as well as land subdivision work.
Since 2015, Ross has been using Vectorworks in all projects exclusively and is constantly looking to push the boundaries of the software from project to project.
Brendan Balemi – Vectorworks Architect, Interiorcad, VectorWoP, Quantum
Valuing flexibility in a fast-changing world, Brendan Balemi applies that vision to his role as a Vectorworks trainer.
Brendan’s career path has been shaped by his practical bent and an adaptable response to life’s challenges.
After completing a building apprenticeship in Hamilton in the 1980s, he moved into joinery. For a decade, he worked in a trade he still loves but had to leave when manufacturing solid timber kitchens and the like triggered occupational asthma.
So, in the late 1990s, he turned his skills to operating CNC machines. For six years, he working with automated programs that have revolutionised machining processes, and it was during this time that he developed his fondness for CAD. Looking around at software, he chose Vectorworks 3D for its rendering and affordability. As he puts it, “it gave the biggest bang for the bucks”.
Working with Vectorworks since 2000 helped Brendan pick up the program language. “I’ve learned a lot in the industry and I’m not scared to learn and teach myself,” he says. He also benefitted greatly from fellow trainer Jonathan Pickup’s training and knowledge.
Based in Waihi, Brendan has established an architectural design business, and his knowledge of software has developed further in applying it to the building industry.
“All software is USA-based,” he says, “and you need to localise the application.”
Brendan is finding his new role as an architectural designer dovetails well with working as a Vectorworks trainer.
“I realised I like working with people rather than councils. People aren’t a container to be filled, but a fire to be lit. I love helping people and seeing them realise the potential of Vectorworks.”
Brendan’s background in joinery and building suits joinery clients who use Vectorworks InteriorCAD.
“The rate of change in design and building is phenomenal,” he says, “and it calls for a lot of information. It helps to be adaptable, to be able to think on your feet and to change with the times.”
With his CNC experience, Brendan also provides an important bridge in connecting Vectorworks InteriorCAD design software to CNC hardware. He is able to make connections work where others have tried and failed.
Jonathan Pickup – Vectorworks
Jonathan Pickup says the best advice he’s ever had was Megabits’ David Best telling him he should write training manuals for Vectorworks.
“It was also the hardest to take,” the Vectorworks’ trainer and professional architect adds with a smile.
For two years – after putting in a full day at an architects’ practice in Hawke’s Bay – Jonathan worked four hours every night writing a training manual for the Vectorworks9 version. Soon after, he started work on a manual for Vectorworks 10.
“I got too busy writing manuals to do architecture,” he says. “One of them had to go.”
While he misses the dynamics of design, Jonathan appreciates he has a talent for writing easy-to-follow tutorial manuals for architects, landscape architects, designers, educators and students.
Every year he updates his Vectorworks Essentials, Vectorworks Architect, 3D Modelling in Vectorworks and Vectorworks Landmark manuals. He is also the author of Vector-workout – a downloadable movie which he describes as “a visual teaching revolution”.
“It’s amazing when you think these guides are being turned out of Napier and are used worldwide.”
Graduating Bachelor of Architecture from Auckland University, Jonathan gained his registration before heading to the UK for eight years. There he learnt to use several CAD packages, including MiniCAD, and began teaching this forerunner of Vectorworks.
On his return to New Zealand in 1997, he established archoncad, a Vectorworks training and consulting company. He also organises the Vectorworks User Group, writing a monthly online task-based manual for international subscribers.
Jonathan says that while some Vectorworks users benefit from face-to-face sessions, most find online training very effective. Working online allows him to respond promptly to queries New Zealand-wide and saves on the financial and environmental cost of travel time. He is able to capture a training session as a movie file and send it to the client who can then download it.
“They can see my screen and what I do, and can play the movie it back and forth. It works brilliantly as a complete record of everything covered in the session.”
Jonathan’s advice for learning Vectorworks is to keep using it. “If you’re not working on a project,” he says, “work through the training exercises every day.”