Charles Nelson AIA, LFRAIA

I am an American-trained architect with a half-century of diversified experience, and have made Melbourne my home since 1984.

I’ve had some lucky breaks that have allowed me to work with over 200 design firms on ISO 9001 systems over 15 years. From that grew the opportunity to author a book: TQM and ISO 9000 for Architects and Designers (McGraw-Hill, 1996). That, in turn, led to being considered (by some) as an “authority”  on the application of ISO 9001 to the design professions.

From that recognition came the opportunity to author quality management sections in the American Institute of Architects’ Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice, 13th edition, and its Update 2003. It also lead to becoming editor and principal author of Managing Quality in Architecture: A Handbook for Creators of the Built Environment, published in 2006 (Elsevier).

Professional service: I was honoured to served on the American Institute of Architects Practice Management Advisory Group 1999-2004, was the 2003 Chair, and edited its electronic newsletter in 2004.

Along the way, I’ve written several continuing education programs for the Royal Australian Institute of Architects Education Division, including its Risk Management course,  and served as chair of the Professional Development Committee, RAIA Victorian Chapter.

I was asked to author the CHECKIT! series of project quality control guides, published by the RAIA, and used by architects throughout Australia for the past quarter century. As a result, the Design Professionals Insurance Company (now XL), the second largest US architect/engineer insurer, requested advice on adapting its risk management training programs to comply with ISO 9001.

Quality Systems: These various projects developed into a lot of training; I have presented over 100 full-day workshops on quality management over the past 25 years, and many conference seminars on risk management, project management, strategic alliances and design management. I have presented workshops on design and construction quality management at 12 annual American Institute of Architects National Conventions.

Project Management: A lifetime of managing design and construction projects has resulted in training hundreds of Australian, New Zealand, Japanese and US design practices in improving their project management and quality control skills.

Those experiences put me in position to manage an intensive program to build design process management expertise in Japan’s largest real estate developer group, Mitsui Real Estate. This project, extending over 2001 and continuing through 2002-2003, involved the re-thinking and the complete rebuilding of Mitsui’s project procurement and delivery systems. It was a fantastic learning experience, as much for me as for the people I worked with.

This assignment grew to include the re-positioning of Mitsui’s condominium marketing program, and the development of a new brand strategy for Mitsui, based on new concepts in ensuring project quality.

Currently, I am Managing Director of Melbourne-based Building Technology Pty. Ltd., representing Boston-based PSMJ Resources, Inc. in the Asia-Pacific region, trading as PSMJ Resources Australasia. In this role, I provide training in Project Management and related design topics, as well as senior-level consulting in mergers and acquisitions.

I’ve served as the Technical Editor of PSMJ’s Project Management newsletter, and I write many of the articles for this and other PSMJ publications.

Some other recent projects include:

  • Development of a project management training program for Japanese project managers, to introduce them to Western approaches to project management;
  • Management of an Australian acquisitions program for an international design consortium;
  • Several years as Senior Advisor to Tokyo-based PM/CM Japan KK;
  • Executive Advisor to four design practices in Perth, Melbourne and Auckland; and
  • Advisor to Bangalore & Singapore-based Space Matrix – the fastest growing design office in Asia, on its development of an ERM type practice management software system that they intend to commercialise.

Project management software: Over the past five years, I have worked to develop a new approach to automating project management functions for design practices.

The result is a revolutionary breakthrough in design process modelling that provides a universal taxonomy for all built environment design – that in turn simplifies and facilitates the integration and coordination of design functions across professional members on a project team. For more information, see

Organisations: I am a member of The Australian Institute of Architects, The American Institute of Architects, AIA Hong Kong Chapter, and a member of the Project Management Institute.

I have been trained in the UK Prince2 project management method, and certified to the Prince2 Foundation level. In 2006 I was deeply honoured as a Life Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects for my many years of contribution to the society.

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