Preeya Singh joined DPW in 2007 and took up her current post as Chief Architect in 2009. She describes herself as someone who loves to design and is specifically trained to work on the planning and design of buildings.
“Architecture is beyond just buildings, in my view, it is an art that works hand in hand with science to design places where people can live, eat, work and play” She explains.
Singh is the youngest of three daughters and says her upbringing largely contributed to her following the field Architecture.
“My late parents raised us to fend for ourselves and taught us not to compete with anyone, as each one of us has our own destinies and will contribute to this world, in our special way”
“My Mom also said that if you are waiting for someone to recognize the value you bring, you may well be waiting forever” She added.
She further went on to say that no one will appreciate your contributions until you appreciate them yourself and that, one has to work hard for recognition and be counted in.
“My parents instilled values that we are strong young ladies, very capable of achieving anything we put our minds to.
Singh explains that at an early age, she displayed interest in Art and Technical Drawing and was one of the first two female students (1984), in the history of her school that went against the norms and enrolled in Technical Drawing as an examination subject.
“Even at this stage I never considered myself equal to the male students, but just simply regarded everyone as being the same because I saw no distinction then.”
Singh regards herself as being very fortunate for working with a team of respectable and professional men.
“I was accepted from day one and must highlight that we work extremely well, even under some very demanding conditions” She explained.
She encouraged all young aspiring females within the Architectural Field or any other field to work towards becoming a person of value and integrity.
“Young people should practice to speak with confidence. Now if your communication style seems a bit weak, practice being assertive but that doesn’t mean you have to be rude or hostile.
“Simply drop the apologies and qualifiers when you speak and others will see you as more authoritative and confident. Know what you are saying and say it with strength” She explained.
On her highlights as a registered professional in her field of occupation Singh outlined that over the past few years, she assisted with Mentorship Programmes and combined efforts that helped candidates obtain Professional Registration status.
“I am currently mentoring three other Candidates, two of which will write the PPE in October 2019” Singh said.
She added that women across all spheres faced similar challenges and encouraged people not to deal with work related conflict personally but instead find common ground and deal with matters professionally.
“As in any field, there are challenges on a daily basis, so Instead of engaging in conflict rather avoid it.”
“I constantly teach myself and practise how to learn to communicate by acknowledging the conflict and asking, so how do we move past this?”
“Professional Registration has been a ‘magic key’ in advancing my career path within the Department , however exposure we receive in terms of the latest technology and training in most recent Building Standards and regulations needs to be addressed collectively within the Department” She explained.
She added that registered professionals execute their operations in the existence of the Professional Development Programme (PDP) within the department
“The PDP Tool is an excellent platform to identify training needs, however due to budgetary constraints this training is not constant. We also experience challenges with obtaining quotations for such training as they are offered only by a handful of such Service Providers” she alluded.
Weighing in on Women’s month, she viewed it as a time to stop and reflect not only on the workplace but in all aspects of life and recognise how far we have come.
Wrapping things up Singh said she is inspired by the words of late Zaha Hadid (Architect) who was the only woman internationally who won the Royal Gold Medal.
“Women’s power, and indeed that of any minority, is to introduce different languages, different gestures, and extraordinariness. By ignoring the status quo which focuses on doing things in a pre-empted way, you can be more creative, and are far more likely to normalize female success” Hadid uttered.
Asked about the requirements needed for Architects to be recognised as registered professionals, Singh explained that in terms of the Professional Practice Examination (PPE) Policy, the following requirements must be met before a Candidate is eligible to write the PPE.
“A Candidate can only apply to write the PPE if he or she has completed the full period of required recognised practical experience and this implies that the Candidate must adhere to a range of conditions, before he/she will be allowed to write the PPE”.
“For persons registered as Candidate Architects the candidates must have been registered for a minimum of two years for” She added.
She went on to say that Candidate Senior Architectural Technologists and Candidate Architectural Technologists the minimum is three years for persons registered as Candidate Architectural Draughtspersons.
“In addition, the candidates must have submitted the required number of Monthly Training Records (MTRs) for the period stated above and then the period of internship shall commence on the date of registration, confirmed to the Candidate in the letter confirming their SACAP registration number”. Singh explained