Williamstown resident, Alasdair Macleod knows how to say, “I’m a building consultant and architect” in 55 languages because he wants to break down the language barriers and greet every one of his clients. Alasdair’s exemplary people skills and unwavering passion for architecture is the reason his long standing business, BSS Group is still thriving today. I spoke to Alasdair in his beautiful, 1930’s styled home to find out about his career and discovered a genuine, warm family man with a strong commitment to his business.
Alasdair always knew he was destined to be an architect. “From an early age I had an interest in design and was also influenced by my father who was a draftsman,” he said. With a burning desire to become an architect, Alasdair studied intensively and received a Diploma in Architecture, Bachelor of Building and Master of Science. An impressive track record working for a number of renowned companies (including being Senior Lecturer at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology from 1982-1987) has contributed towards shaping Alasdair into the renowned architect he is today.
In 1982 Alasdair started his business, BSS Group which is based in Essendon and the company has two other directors, David Gairns and Paul McLaughlin. BSS Group works all over Melbourne and specialises in the areas of architectural design, building construction, documentation and contract administration. “We design approximately two new houses a year and do about 25 house extensions as the majority of our work is building inspections. The way it works is the architect designs it all and then the plan goes to approximately three builders. The architect inspects all stages of the job,” he said.
BSS Group won the Australian Institute of Building Professional Excellence Award in 1991 and the Department of Justice Fair Trading Award twice. “Our commitment to providing a high level of customer service is the reason behind our success. Our 25 staff members follow the motto- first we listen, then we advise. If you haven’t listened to what a client is saying you haven’t done your job. Whether it’s a new construction or alteration, it must never be about your own flamboyant ideas. Listening to what our client is saying is always our number one priority,” Alasdair said.
Alasdair explained how creating the correct theme and style of the home is the most crucial element of being a proficient architect. “To be a successful architect you have to get the theme correct for the overall project. What I love about my career is helping people and it is truly rewarding when someone appreciates what you have accomplished for them. It really makes my career worthwhile,” he said.
One of the most impressive buildings Alasdair has redesigned to date is an extension to a four room cottage built in 1855. “This house was originally built only 20 years after John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner started Melbourne. My son bought the house from the council, built an extension and made the extension look like the original house next to it. My son helped in the building process and the project took about 12 months. I love the whole atmosphere of the home,” Alasdair explained.
Alasdair leads a fulfilling life outside of work as he enjoys keeping fit. For eight years he has been passionate about cycling and rides the distance of 250 kilometres per week. A devoted family man, Alasdair loves spending time with his wife and three adult children enjoying everything Melbourne’s West has to offer. “What I love the most about Williamstown is the water and it’s close to absolutely everything such as the airport, Bellarine Peninsula and city. There is no place I would rather live,” he said.