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Trust Me, I'm an (Unlicensed) Architect...

Sep 15 '09 37 Last Comment
dsc_arch
Sep 15, 09 5:21 pm

Good article. Hopeless cause...

"If you don’t have an architectural license, it’s illegal to call yourself an architect or perform architectural services—but people still do. Who are they, who’s policing them, and can they be stopped?"

http://www.architectmagazine.com/legal-issues/trust-me-im-an-unlicensed-architect.aspx

 

b3tadine[sutures]
Sep 15, 09 7:59 pm

perhaps we can put this to rest. good, fine the fuckers take their property, do whatever it takes, in this economy it would seem that the only thing that'll get peoples attention is if the staties start grabbing their shit.

having said that; if an IT ARCHITECT starts designing homes or offers their design services then go after them too. but honestly, i think the real problem with Software Architects and their titles, is that it makes it difficult to actually search for real Architect jobs.

if that ain't good enough, then lets get some AK's and go to war.

vado retro
Sep 15, 09 8:29 pm

He should change the name to Backyard Doctor. Then he could charge more.

liberty bell
Sep 15, 09 8:42 pm

His example doesn't hold: The Lawn Doctor isn't performing services even remotely similar to those performed by a medical doctor. The Backyard Architect is designing built environments.

That said, I'm kinda past caring on this issue anymore, except when people use poor logic to justify their laziness: then I get grumpy.

Fred ScharmenFred Scharmen
Sep 15, 09 10:11 pm

Get grumpy, LB! Grumpy is good!

ff33º
Sep 15, 09 10:50 pm

haha, all unlicensed architecture people are so stupid, haha

antipodean
Sep 15, 09 11:02 pm

I'm not entirely sure why the right to practise as an architect is so rigorously protected in the US. It's not a problem almost everywhere else in the Western world.

ff33º
Sep 15, 09 11:46 pm

oh wait, what am i saying....I am not even licensed, yet! (Boy, I cant wait till I am, so I can finally start designing buildings, and looking down my nose at every one who isn't licensed, yet)

trace™
Sep 16, 09 12:31 am

Good thing you corrected yourself there, ff33! I was going to have to jump in and set you straight!!



"Don't mess with..." Hahhaaaahhhhaaaa. Reminds me of a certain "Bring them on", coincidentally a Texan as well. We saw where that logic ended up.


Sad. Even more sad that they outsourced the enforcement. Way to spend those dollars and bolster improved thoughts about architects and architecture. You go. Great PR team, I tell ya.


I can see it now "Hard working entrepreneur is fined for the use of the word "architect" in his lawn care business for $200,000, approximately what he will make in the next decade."

That will surely make people think more highly of the profession.

med.
Sep 16, 09 11:09 am

Anyone is allowed to call themselves an architect unless they actually produce architecture. In the future I'm sure the people who are licensed will be banned from calling themselves 'architects.'

And most bureaucracies like NCARB and the AIA will be quick to allow this to happen since the profession is completely polluted with self-loathing architects.

I've even had computer nerds hand me business cards that said that classified themselves as "architects." And sadly that seems to be promoted by all the organizations aimed at preserving our profession and reputation.

2step
Sep 16, 09 11:22 am

I see this issue 2 ways; The proliferation of the use of the word architecture as it relates to the meaning of "underlying order or structure" married to another term like IT Architecture or Data Architect or the media's usage such as Architect of the campaign, is completely justifiable and actually helps reinforce the idea that there is for all things created an underlying order, or architecture to their creation. Maybe people have forgotten this and hearing the term will remind them we exist and are needed.

Pretending to be an architect as it relates to buildings and the built environment is wrong, and most people are smart enough to distinguish an IT guy from a builder before handing them a check.


In this case its right to force Giedo to change his name as it infers he is involved in landscape architecture however the fine is rather stiff. The dept of prof regulation could very easily had his business license suspended before resorting to such a drastic fine.

Distant Unicorn
Sep 16, 09 11:33 am

I suppose another way to look at this-- An accountant can also be called a computer.

Technically, an accountant should be certified and licensed. So, should we (and I mean "you all" and not myself) sue computer companies who make computers for infringement on the word "computer."

I know the word computer isn't necessarily legally protected but there is historical precedence (which is more than enough for the legal eagles) to make it so.

Apple Adding Machines has a nice, legal ring to it.

I don't see a problem with microchip designers calling themselves architects as they are making structures-- of critical important-- even if those structures are microns wide.

But I hate software and IT people using the term "architect."

In addition I agree with others in this thread. More so, I think the Backyard Architect is even more deceptive-- I'm sure people sort of bought into the idea that this supposedly overly educated "threw off the chains of pretension and academia" individual to do "real man's work." [Gag me with a spoon.] That blue collar shtick seems to work well to a point of excess in America.

Other than that, perhaps the severity of punishment should correlate to the quality and soundness of the work. If he was actually following code and producing sound work, I think a lower fine might be in order.

wurdan freo
Sep 16, 09 11:51 am

As long as architects continue to fight the wrong battles they will continue to lose standing in the industry and revenue share. These battles are, of course, the following:

1. What is my title?
2. How do I protect my intellectual property?

It is distracting beyond the point of annoying and has already become a brain drain on the profession. I believe this will continue to get worse. In the long run the bureaucracy will be a detriment to the profession if not kill it as we know it. It is cannibalism.

jplourde
Sep 16, 09 12:15 pm

antipodean -

I think it comes from that licensing is not as integrated into the academic pedagogy as the rest of the world. Architects have to go to an accredited institution for sure, but the qualifying exams are separate from school finals. Therefore you get a lot of people who graduated from an accredited school, but who have yet to legally become an architect. Whereas everywhere else, its automatic upon graduation.


What I don't understand is why the licensing process costs exponentially more than any other white collar professional. The bar in most states is around $270, but the total ARE's including IDP can come to $1200 plus.

jplourde
Sep 16, 09 12:15 pm

antipodean -

I think it comes from that licensing is not as integrated into the academic pedagogy as the rest of the world. Architects have to go to an accredited institution for sure, but the qualifying exams are separate from school finals. Therefore you get a lot of people who graduated from an accredited school, but who have yet to legally become an architect. Whereas everywhere else, its automatic upon graduation.


What I don't understand is why the licensing process costs exponentially more than any other white collar professional. The bar in most states is around $270, but the total ARE's including IDP can come to $1200 plus.

2step
Sep 16, 09 12:18 pm

"In the long run the bureaucracy will be a detriment to the profession if not kill it as we know it. It is cannibalism."

This statement is interesting. I've worked in this business about 30 years, and one thing I've noticed is that the perception among others in the building and construction industry is that we are code specialists, here to get permits and pass inspections for others' projects, is increasing. In our own firm a greater percentage of our billing each year comes from navigating Chicago's permit review process ( as well as the suburbs) and construction supervision and each year less from the actual design of buildings, or if we do it's as design partner to a construction firm or development team dilluting our design fee more. In multi family even the interior design is outsourced to marketing firms. We draw a generic layout and pass the permit review, the marketing people redesign adhering to the basic concept and we then amend the permit on the go as needed. Its quite common practice. The future is rather murky from my perspective.

jplourde
Sep 16, 09 12:21 pm

Code specialists. AKA an expeditor?

Take back the center.

trace™
Sep 16, 09 1:40 pm

Interesting discussion. I'll be interested in seeing where the future leads.


It is true that marketing companies are having more and more of an input in development projects. This, I could argue, is because it seems clear to many that architect's don't know much about profitability/marketing/pr, which, from a developer's standpoint, is crucial.

Architect's have also done a pathetic job of showing how quality design can translate into better sales. Where, in contrast, every other creative profession charges substantially more for the better designers - you get what you pay for.


Very interesting. I am still hoping for that segregation that does allow for specialties, experts in particular areas, and hence will be able to charge more and command more respect.

b3tadine[sutures]
Sep 16, 09 2:12 pm

we can't even agree why these douche bag no architects are wrong. sad.

as for the ARE fees, let's remember something, bar exams are state specific, ARE's are not, so take that 270 - assuming it's the same for every state, which it probably is not - and multiply that by 50 states it comes to over 10k.

go to your AIA chapter, get involved in the government affairs committees and stop complaining and start doing something about it.

you don't like the ARE's? take all the tests, pass all of them, get licensed, and become an NCARB volunteer, quit complaining.

dsc_arch
Sep 16, 09 5:31 pm

<< In our own firm a greater percentage of our billing each year comes from navigating Chicago's permit review process ( as well as the suburbs) and construction supervision and each year less from the actual design of buildings, or if we do it's as design partner to a construction firm or development team diluting our design fee more.>>


I am seeing this more and more too. Is this a Chicago / Northern Illinois thing only?

won and done williams
Sep 16, 09 5:46 pm
Is this a Chicago / Northern Illinois thing only?

i don't think so. i often feel like many if not the majority of clients use architects as a means to cover their own liability, i.e. the architect functions merely to ensure that a building meets code. if it doesn't meet code, owners have someone to point the finger at. sure, architects have always had to follow building codes, but when the value of an architect in a client's eyes is merely to stamp drawings, the value of the profession as a whole has been deeply compromised. for 99% of architects, this is where i see the profession headed. it definitely makes me take pause as i move forward with my career.

Fred ScharmenFred Scharmen
Sep 16, 09 5:57 pm

I've posted this before, but what if we do it the other say round? Anybody can call themselves a whatever architect if you fit the following criteria:


Are you self critical?

Do you have a coherent set of ideas that parallels production and allows you to talk about why you make the choices you make?

Are you able to position those ideas relative to the ideas of other peers and define a space for conversation or debate?

Is the task large enough that it requires a division of labor, a split between concept and execution, and the continuous maintenance of evolving consensus between multiple stakeholders?

Do you contribute to the public realm?

Do you add more to the solution of a problem beyond the simple fulfillment of the brief?


Or, in simpler terms:

self awareness & theory & discourse & consensus & community & surplus

That's what architects bring to the table.

This kills two birds with one rock: we expand and legitimize the title and the metaphor, and it would also disqualify a lot of hack 'building designers' with stamps, too.

hey zeus
Sep 16, 09 11:50 pm

i'm studying and taking exams just to get that nuissance of not having a license out of the way...

Jack - up here in the NYC i've broken Architects down into 4 categories, with few =1 to many = 10

- 3 - Architects - full service design and CA firm, consulting engineers only consult. the firm designs and executes from start to finish. large fees and they get them - everyone senior in the office reminds you of the 80's for some reason. Corporate giants.

- 4 - Litigation Architects/Investigative - Expert witnesses who are really lawyers or detective, rare only because you need about 30 years experience to even be worth the pay

- 7 - specialists of some sort - facade, waterproofing, ADA, egrees, events

- 8 - Interior Designers that are Licensed architects

- 10 - DOB paperwork pushers/code consultants, lawyers write stuff, architect's draw stuff

Long story short - industry is too damn advanced and complicated for the old school architect image to exist or even function. Clients figured that out long ago. Clients hire CM's and PM's because they know most architects are barely capable of manageming a business let alone a multi-million dollar project with extreme government complexities and economic factors beyond most people's comprehension.

there's really nothing great about this profession in this country. i'm only still in it because i think i can help change, i'm retarted like most architects i guess

jplourde
Sep 17, 09 5:42 am

oh b3ta...

What percentage of lawyers or doctors do you assume get licensed to practice in more than one state? The difference is their constituency is more typically localized. Even mid-sized firms often practice in more than one state, and I have friends who are registered in as much as 8 states.


Furthermore, the ARE's are state specific. In order to stamp drawing's in another state one has to acquire a 'reciprocal registration' and the fee averages about $100-150. Some states such as California require the applicant to sit additional exams, which have their own additional fees. California's total cost for reciprocity amounts to $335.


Complaining? I'm just calling it like I see it.




765,

High aspirations and good intentions are not enough to push a building through. One needs to accept liability and responsibilty as well. The best architect is a generalist in the truest sense. Meaning she is able move fluidly between 'self awareness & theory & discourse & consensus & community & surplus' AND procurement schedules, design schedules, contractual apparatuses, fee negoiation, and asset allocation. Without these skills, she's powerless to advocate her opinions.

Aspiration without responsibilty is ivory tower naiveity.

like wise, Responsibility without aspiration is banal at best and dangerous at worst.

b3tadine[sutures]
Sep 17, 09 5:45 am

ARE's are not state specific. NOT. i took the bulk of my exams in Minnesota for Connecticut and got my license for CT before MN. reciprocity or comity is not about the ARE's it's a procedural thing between NCARB and the particular state boards.

jplourde
Sep 17, 09 5:51 am

The point is that legally, you cannot practice in another state without obtaining reciprocity. Which often costs money.

I agree the ARE's are usually a one off deal. I am not saying one needs to take another ARE series for every state.


Are you drunk? Who uses 'not' anymore? Oh yeah, mid-west, nevermind, question answered.

b3tadine[sutures]
Sep 17, 09 5:55 am

if i was from the midwest, but since i am not, NOT, from the midwest...yeah, and you are complaining....and my point is that the bar exams ARE state specific. the additional exams you speak of are state requirements, and not, NOT ARE requirements.

liberty bell
Sep 17, 09 7:28 am

jp, you misunderstood beta's use of "not" to be like that jokey use of it, what was it, a SNL character?

And in so doing you accused a whole bunch of people of being dumb. Well played.

liberty bell
Sep 17, 09 7:31 am

Oh, wait, jokes on me; I misunderstood beta. Yeah, guess I'm an idiot. Carry on.

jplourde
Sep 17, 09 7:36 am

In a sense we are both right and both wrong. He's right in that you do not have to take separate ARE's for each state. However, taking the ARE in one state does not allow you to practice in all of them.

And it turns out I did misunderstand his use of 'not.' Silly me. Shoudlnt comment before the morning coffee...

liberty bell
Sep 17, 09 7:52 am

I haven't had coffee yet either and I guess I don't know what the hell anyone is talking about. Ugh. ;-)

won and done williams
Sep 17, 09 8:15 am

a good NOT joke never fails to crack me up. NOT!

ahahahaha, but then again, i'm from the midwest.

b3tadine[sutures]
Sep 17, 09 8:28 am

just for clarity's sake and as i noted above; reciprocity and comity are, if anything, procedural and have little to do with the ARE's. the ARE's are obviously a component, but some states allow taking the ARE's before completing IDP, and some states have some other components; oral exams or some juris part, but the ARE's don't test you on state specific code issues, which it would if it were state specific...examples; frost depth in MN, wind zones along NJ coastal regions....

vado retro
Sep 17, 09 9:51 am

represetning the midwest! NOT!!!

antipod
Sep 24, 09 9:44 am

jplourde, you are sadly mistaken if you think that those of us working outside of the US are automatically 'registered' upon graduation. If only that were really true!

New Zealand (where I graduated) and the UK (where I'm working now) both have government registration bodies (there NZARB and the ARB repectively). When I left NZ the registration process wasn't too onerous, but here in the UK it's basically another year of study depending on where you do your 'Part III'.

In both situations the registration study revolves mostly around legalities of building contracts and requirements rather than specific building code knowledge.

liberty bell
Sep 24, 09 2:03 pm

How much more would I like NCARB if they were called "NZARB"? It just sounds so much cooler. Kind of an evil alien ruler name.

will gallowaywill galloway
Sep 24, 09 7:37 pm

to be fair antipod, that extra year of study in UK is not full-time. and you can be cool and do it at the AA. it is not particularly onerous. usa is much more of a hurdle and gets you less when all is said and done.

nzard is awesome.

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