Completed his Bachelor of Architecture degree at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1981 then joined RFB ARCHITECTS where he was project architect for several commercial and industrial projects. In 1982 he was transferred to Rhodar Consultants, a multi-disciplinary group set up by RFB Architects, Ove Arup Engineers and Southby Bhil Detert and Slade Quantity Surveyors.
In 1983 he worked in association with Mike SMUTS and MUHAMMED MAYET ARCHITECTS, prior to conscription in July 1983. During National Service several domestic projects were undertaken to supplement National Service income. On completion of National Service in July 1985 he was re-employed by Rhodar Consultants as Senior Architect.
In March 1988 the Rhodar JV was dissolved and Richard joined his father's practice AR Waller and Associates in London. The partnership was set up to provide architectural services to Rupert Murdoch's News International for the establishment of a new Printing Works in the UK Midlands. The challenge was to design and document a 72,000m2 industrial facility at a capital cost (including presses and equipment) of £400m, of which Phase 1 had to be complete by December 1989 i.e. 20 months from inception. Construction started in September 1988 and due to the construction boom in the UK few staff were available. Richard returned to South Africa where he set up a satellite office employing South African staff and was able to complete a large section of the documentation in this way.
Richard returned to the UK in January 1989 having wound up the SA office, and continued with the project until it was complete in 1993 at which time all staff were retrenched. He then set up a small joinery business around London carrying out domestic works including Kitchens, Bathrooms, Conservatories and miscellaneous joinery, and gaining experience of plumbing, electrical, and other finishing works.
Late in 1995 Richard joined CPC Project Managers in London, and shortly thereafter was asked to set up a CPC office in South Africa assisted by a CPC UK colleague. CPC UK had formed a joint venture with AMDEV, the project management arm of AMPROS (Anglo American Property Services). This joint venture was not successful and at the end of 1996 CPC UK withdrew funding for the CPC SA.
Richard together with his colleague agreed to fund the business and set up the new CPC SA as an affirmative business with a highly qualified but young PDI staff, and invited three PDI principals of architectural and engineering consultancies to take up a 51% shareholding. The business blossomed and within 30 months was earning a substantial Fee Income. The foundations of the business were well established with sound management systems and progressive HR policies and practices.
The business focused on project management of Construction Projects and Management Consulting projects. Richard's responsibilities included Financial, HR, and Administrative management and whilst some construction project management was undertaken, he was responsible for non-construction project management.
Clients included ACSA (Airports Company South Africa) at Johannesburg International Airport and Cape Town International Airport, SARCC (South African Rail Commuter Corporation) in Katlehong and Pinelands, Johannesburg Housing Company, DWAF (Department of Water Affairs), a few ISO 9000 projects, and the IEC (Independent Electoral Commission) 1999 elections and the set-up of the IEC together with KPMG. In July 1999 CPC UK offered to buy out the PDI shareholders, which was accepted.
In October 1999 Richard left CPC to set up Greenhouse Management Services, a management consultancy focused on Management Systems and Quality Management including ISO 9000. Greenhouse metamorphosed to include Facilities Management (FM) and IT Maintenance and Support (ITMS). The common thread being that FM and ITMS were both based on the development of a management system/process for effective implementation.
In 2001 Richard under Greenhouse (initially in joint-venture with Simeka Management Consulting) was approached by the Gauteng Education Development Trust to prepare a Business Case for the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre (Science Centre) in Newtown Johannesburg. After the preparation of the Business Case, Richard's role grew into that of Development Manager for the implementation of the project.
Richard enhanced his research experience of science centres and museums by attendance at local science centre conferences, and additional visits to many science centres and museums both in South Africa and abroad. He was elected onto the Council of the South African Association of Science and Technology Centres (SAASTEC) in Dec-2000, where he played a key role in developing strategy plans.
In 2005 Richard found himself back in the building and construction industry in the design, construction management and joinery and finishing works of the rebuilding of his family home. In 2006 Richard set up a joinery and cabinet-making business with his brother, who had returned from the UK, in a management and administrative role.
Richard's interest in cultural and heritage projects saw his recent involvement in the following heritage submissions to the PHRA-G:
Richard liked to apply his diverse skill-set to challenging projects, where he could "make a difference".
Early in 2018 Richard was afflicted with Leukemia and after a brief illness, bravely borne, passed away in Johannesburg.
Resume provided by Mark Hindson of Greenhouse Architecture – adapted and edited by William Martinson