Architect in Profile

Sally-Anne Balmer, Architect and Technical Team Lead at NBS, took the typical route to qualify as an Architect in the UK via a combination of academic studies at Manchester School of Architecture and two years’ experience in the industry before final qualification. Being a member of the RIBA and subscriber to the NBS for several years, she was interested in gaining a different perspective of the construction industry. Joining NBS has allowed her to develop her research and technical authoring skills within the emerging digital environment and offer suggestions for tool improvement from a subscriber’s viewpoint.

Sally-Anne Balmer

is an architect and Technical Team Lead at NBS


Yes, although I nearly took an engineering route coming from a family of engineers! I have always enjoyed the application of design in problem-solving, and fascinated by the influence that good (and poor) design can have on the quality of the built environment and human nature. Architecture offers the opportunity to contribute positively to an individual’s experience as well as the broader society. I soon realised the multi-faceted nature of architecture meant that it was the career that ticked all these boxes.

What do you think is the greatest challenge for architects today?

Raising awareness of the importance of design has always been a challenge and remains so.

Current construction processes are increasingly complex and under greater financial and time pressures. The validity of the design process is still somewhat undervalued. It is crucial that sufficient time is allowed at the enabling stages to allow the remaining process to proceed efficiently with reduced risk.

Having a structured and collaborative approach can maintain consistency and help minimise errors. NBS has developed NBS Chorus with this in mind, which assists design teams in a collective working environment and significantly improves communication, accountability and verification as projects progress.

What can we expect to see from NBS over the next year?

Firstly, we want to keep improving our cloud specification platform, NBS Chorus. One big priority here for us is to focus on audit trail, publication history and tracking revised information through the project timeline. Increasingly, the industry is demanding a transparent process for information management that results in record information at handover. We think that our collaborative platform, NBS Chorus, will be a best-in-class industry tool that delivers this for our customers.

We are also working on improving the content we deliver for manufacturers. Specifiers need this to be consistent and know all of the information is there so they can make the right decisions quickly. By focusing on enhancing this area of NBS, we can help our manufacturer customers provide greater value to our specifier customers.

Finally, we don’t want to do this just in the UK. We now have NBS established in both Canada and Australia, and we want to push on making NBS the de-facto standard method of specification writing in an increasing number of countries internationally.

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