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PUNTIS, Walter Ernest (Lieut Col)

Born: 1880 07 06
Died: 1944 04 27


Year registered: 1928

Worked for the PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT in Pretoria after the Anglo-Boer War. He was born in Portsmouth, England, and educated in Portsmouth and in London, schooled for the Imperial Civil Service into which he passed in 1896. He was appointed a junior clerk in the Royal Courts of Justice, Bankruptcy Division. In 1898 he was offered a post as a junior accountant on the staff of the newly formed Australian Bank Assets Realisation Corporation and, after serving a year in this post was granted leave of absence, volunteering for service in the Anglo-Boer War. During the war he contracted a fever and was invalided to Netley Hospital in England and discharged from further service. Puntis then turned from banking to building and commenced training as a quantity surveyor in about 1900, becoming a pupil in the office of his cousin E Alexander Young, ARIBA, FSA, who was district surveyor in Lewisham, and he studied privately at London University. In 1901 he left Young's office to join Fowler & Hugman, ARIBA, FSA, in London where he met Tom MOORE. Moore was appointed chief surveyor to the Transvaal Public Works Department in 1902 and instructed to bring two assistants with him. He offered one of the posts to Puntis who accepted it and thus returned to South Africa. Puntis served in the PWD for the rest of his career and was appointed assistant quantity surveyor in 1912 on the reorganisation of the PWD after Union. In 1919 he was appointed first grade assistant quantity surveyor and in 1927 was promoted to the post of (chief) quantity surveyor, PWD. Having served as chief quantity surveyor for the Union of South Africa and the Mandated Territories for twelve years, he accepted an offer to enter private practice and in July 1935 retired from public service to work in partnership with AT BABBS & LABDON in Johannesburg and Pretoria. Puntis was a member of the Central Council of the Institute of South African Architects from its inception in 1927; in 1928 he was admitted and registered as an architect of the Transvaal Provincial Institute of Architects and was entitled to practise as an architect. In 1932 he became a Licentiate member of the RIBA and was elected President-in-Chief of the ISAA in 1935. He received the King's Silver Jubilee Medal in 1935. Puntis lived at Hillside in Waterkloof, Pretoria in 1931, but moved to Johannesburg where he died at his home in Forest Town. He was remembered by colleagues as a military man who had come to the PWD directly from the army. He served in the First World War where he achieved his rank and gained the OBE.

LRIBA 1932; FSI; MIA; MCQS; OBE (1918); VD. (LRIBA nom papers (1932) 4133; PWD ar 1915, 1918; SAAR May 1935: 127, 128; SAAR Jun 1944:160-1 obit; SAWW 1908)

All truncated references not fully cited in 'References' are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.