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Attn. Project Managers: Get a License or SHUT UP!

May 13 '14 73 Last Comment
BulgarBlogger
May 13, 14 2:25 pm

All Project Managers should be licensed. I can't take any of you seriously without a license. You have a high paying position and should have ZERO excuse NOT to be... You order people around as if you were architects yet have no license! Get a license and be a legit architect or SHUT UP!

 

LITS4FormZ
May 13, 14 2:30 pm

Project Managers are Project Mangers because they're supposed to understand $$$$ not how anything actually gets built....

chigurh
May 13, 14 2:48 pm

yep.

Non Sequitur
May 13, 14 3:06 pm

Amen...


 

Nice
May 13, 14 3:38 pm

Project managers have a completely different skillset than licensed architects, and in my opinion a license is not needed. That is why their title is "Project Manager", not "Architect".

curtkram
May 13, 14 3:41 pm

if you're managing architects, you should know what architects do.  if you're managing construction projects, you should understand construction.  why would a project manager's job be to understand money in lieu of understanding the project they're managing?

Nice
May 13, 14 4:00 pm

I agree, they should know what architects do. That does not mean they need a license.

haruki
May 13, 14 5:32 pm

If they are a project manager that implies to me that they are employees in a larger office. If they are an employee there is no need to be licensed. Really only people who have their own office need to be licensed. 

curtkram
May 13, 14 5:47 pm

also no reason to not be licensed right?  If you can get the IDP credit, it shouldn't be that hard.

archanonymous
May 13, 14 7:17 pm

I'm confused - people keep telling me that there is no reason TO BE licensed. curtkram, why do you feel a PM should be licensed? 

 

From a business standpoint, it makes little sense to have licensed PM's. You have to pay them more money, they are a licensed architect, so want to design and not just content with managing projects. They require CE hours, trainings, etc... when you could be sending them to PM seminars outside of the AIA. 

Donna SinkDonna Sink
May 13, 14 7:30 pm

Firms get a break on liability insurance when a higher percentage of employees are licensed. Also I've never heard with any consistency that getting licensed means a bump in salary, unless one moves to a new firm.

You should get licensed for your own sense of completion and satisfaction. (It feels really, really good.) If that doesn't interest you, then don't.

archanonymous
May 13, 14 7:46 pm

Donna, I was not saying one should or should not be licensed, but rather wondering what tangible benefits you (or anyone else here) sees licensure holding for a project manager. (Feeling good is certainly a tangible benefit - not to excuse that)

robbmc
May 14, 14 1:00 pm

The difference is project architect vs project manager. Who would you want in charge of your project.  Project manager is a PC way of saying old intern. This alone says something about you as a person if you went though everything it takes to get into this profession and just gave up before crossing the finish line.  The people who say there's no point in getting the license should be called draftsman, you should have went to a 2 year drafting school and saved yourself the headache.  I can say this I'm a project manager. :)

jla-x
May 14, 14 1:53 pm

 No you shutta fuk up!

jla-x
May 14, 14 2:06 pm

IDP is a financial burden.  You expect someone with a good paying job to go back to an intern position so that they could get a piece of paper that does little more than (make them feel good)  What world are you living in.  If the licensure process was nothing more than taking a test then you would be correct, but in reality the process is an economic burden to the candidate that already has a good paying job.  Your firm is usually not going to support your idp path if you are already hired to do a specific job.  This is the problem. 

curtkram
May 14, 14 2:40 pm

jla, are you suggesting you're as good of an architect as tadao ando, but you're unable to practice architecture because you're being oppressed by the IDP sytsem?  if so, you should post some pics....

if you already have a good paying job in the field of architecture where you're able to get the requisite experience, the IDP burden isn't all that significant.  if you don't have a good paying job in the field, and you're unable to gain experience relative to the field, then you may not be qualified for a position managing projects in this field.

Nice
May 14, 14 2:53 pm

I really don't see the necessity for a PM to be licensed, they are responsible for very different aspects of the project than the PA is. They need to have very different skills and abilities that deal more with the management of people, schedules, and money. In the current state of the profession, the traditional path of Degree-IDP-Licensure is just not applicable to many individuals. I know many people that I graduated with that are on the licensure path, but I know many others that are not and are perfectly happy with that. I do agree that a PM must know the profession very well, but I think it would be more beneficial to them to have experience in other aspects such as construction, and even management from the client side than having an arch. license. I have worked on many projects where the individual responsible for the majority of the design is not a licensed architect.

jla-x
May 14, 14 4:11 pm

Curt, not at all.  I'm suggesting that the narrow prescribed path of us licensure is not the only route to competence.  To say unlicensed people are all equally incompetent is a silly position.    Andos professional path as a self taught architect is proof of that. 

jla-x
May 14, 14 4:25 pm

so to say "get a license or shut up" is basically saying that without a license "you are below me and your experience is meaningless"  That is a quite simple minded and arrogant statement.  I don't think BulgarBlogger would spit the same rhetoric if he/she was in front of a big hitter like Ando.  If you make a blanket statement like that then you should be willing to apply it equally to everyone who does not meet your your narrow criteria for "architect."  If a broad statement cant be applied to a broad range of players then your broad statement falls apart. 

Also, a PM is a totally different skill set.  Yes they need to know about architecture, but they don't need to be a licensed architect any more than a microbiologist needs to be an MD.     

BulgarBlogger
May 14, 14 4:38 pm

Just because you don't say something, doesn't mean you don't believe it... The Japanese are notorious for being two-faced... I lived in Japan and the Japanese even admit it. So yea- you are right... I probably wouldn't SAY it in front of Ando, but I'd still believe it. 

BulgarBlogger
May 14, 14 4:40 pm

A PM is to a nerse, as a doctor is to an Architect... the only difference is that a PM isn't required to register as a PM... anyone can call themselves a PM... 

jla-x
May 14, 14 4:50 pm

So what.   Who cares.  Why is this a problem.  If you can manage a project then you can manage a project.  Someone who has been managing large hospital projects for 10 years is clearly more capable of managing a hospital project than a licensed architect who only does residential.   It's all about experience.  

jla-x
May 14, 14 4:57 pm

Just because you don't say something, doesn't mean you don't believe it... The Japanese are notorious for being two-faced... I lived in Japan and the Japanese even admit it. So yea- you are right... I probably wouldn't SAY it in front of Ando, but I'd still believe it. 

You would believe that Ando is not an architect because he didn't go to arch school?

BulgarBlogger
May 14, 14 5:00 pm

It's about LEGITIMACY... something fewer and fewer architects these days have precisely because of your mentality... isn't it embarrassing to pursue a client and say- "great- I can do all of these things, but oops- I'm not a licensed architect." Would you want an experienced doctor who doesn't have a license operating on you?? I wouldn't want them to step 100 feet within the operating room... 

Nice
May 14, 14 5:01 pm

I would say that the nurse thing is way off. A PM is there to make sure that the project does not fall behind schedule (which ALWAYS results in additional costs to the owner). They also make sure that the project is profitable for the firm, and that the firm is meeting all of the expectations of the client. Without the PM (on large projects at least), the design team would not have enough direction and would flounder. For these reasons, I believe that PM's are just as important to the project as PA's are. Our field involves such low profit margins and tight budgets that a dedicated person in charge of the project budget and schedule is absolutely essential. Whether that person has an architecture license or not does not matter in the least.

jla-x
May 14, 14 5:56 pm

It's about LEGITIMACY... something fewer and fewer architects these days have precisely because of your mentality... isn't it embarrassing to pursue a client and say- "great- I can do all of these things, but oops- I'm not a licensed architect." Would you want an experienced doctor who doesn't have a license operating on you?? I wouldn't want them to step 100 feet within the operating room... 

No I wouldn't.  A doctor is different from an architect though.  A Doctors mistakes have immediate consequences.  They make one mistake and you die.  Architects design buildings via drawings that can/must be checked before they do any damage. 

BulgarBlogger
May 14, 14 6:05 pm

you know... more people on here make excuses for why its okay NOT to be licensed than reasons for why it is important to BE licensed... no wonder the profession is going down the shit hole. Then again, its good for all of us who are licensed- less competition. 

jla-x
May 14, 14 6:55 pm

If you are licensed then good for you...its an accomplishment !   but it is not a license to tell others to shut up or to feel better than other people who may in fact be much more knowledgeable or talented than you.   The range of competence/talent between licensed architects is a great. This imo is the problem with the profession.  Formal licensure is a race to the bottom.  Anytime we formalize a title we are basically creating a minimum competence and thus bestowing a title upon minimally competent people.  Informal peer/self granted titles are usually much more telling.   You don't see to many people calling themselves ninjas unless they can truly kick ass.  If there was a ninja school where one could earn the title ninja after a few years of training then the term ninja would be kinda watered down and less threatening if you ask me.  Id be a little more afraid of someone if they were informally/universally recognized as a ninja...

Olaf Design Ninja_
May 14, 14 6:56 pm

There is somewhat of a mentality conflict between a "manager" and a "professional" and it ultimately boils down to the conflict between "quantity" and "quality". Management is ultimately about efficiencies and Professionalism is about life safety and quality of life. Its clear where decision making can come in conflict Here. One thing I can assure you of after being at firms that are either really good at management or being professional Architects, the work by professionals is more fun, considerably higher quality, and what people remember including developers who are savvy enough to tell the difference between a Manager and a Professional.

robbmc
May 14, 14 10:32 pm

If you are truly a project manager that runs a project from start to finish you know what you need to pass the ARE.  Not taking the tests is just lazy.  You can get away with this in your 20s and 30s but there comes a time you will be left behind.

robbmc
May 14, 14 10:46 pm

Most of us have spent 10s of thousands of dollars getting our degrees.  Worked years in the profession and still down play the value of our own licensure.  How will the public respect us if we think our own title is worthless! 

jla-x
May 14, 14 11:18 pm

By doing good work.  The public doesn't care how much you spent.  

Volunteer
May 15, 14 7:31 am

I think a license is very important on large projects - a Professional Engineers license held by an experienced civil engineer with the authority to quash the nonsense. An architect's license? Not so much. I mean, really, consider Gehry's Bilbao and its clones. Titanium cladding falling off, leaky roofs, snow and ice shedding endangering people, focused sun's rays exploding cars in parking lots, building occupants complaining of vertigo and nausea just by being in the building, and on and on. This is what an architectural license gets you?

Olaf Design Ninja_
May 15, 14 7:54 am

Actually Volunteer its the opposite, you would know this if you studied for the ARE. With that said jla-x argument and mentality is the source of all these mishaps you mention to which NO LICENSED ENGINEER was capable of squashing. You Volunteered a very weak argument. T

Volunteer
May 15, 14 8:18 am

Of course a licensed civil engineer acting as project manager would have been able to stop this nonsense - by refusing to participate until the drastic flaws were rectified before construction. Same thing with the construction company. The fact that some idiot can design a cartoon of a building doesn't mean that anyone who values their reputation is going to be a part of it.

Nice
May 15, 14 9:01 am

The point of this thread was whether a Project Manager should be respected without a license, to which I say absolutely yes. The debate over the importance of a license is something completely different. If you want to become a licensed architect, then great, go do it. If you do not wish to be licensed then that is great too. A title on the end of your name is no reason to look down on people that may not have wished to obtain that title. Architectural education is so diverse now that it does not make sense to make blanket statements like " I can't take any of you seriously without a license". An architectural license is a wonderful accomplishment but it does not mean that you are any more capable than anyone else, just that you can legally stamp drawings.

curtkram
May 15, 14 9:12 am

what an architect does is design buildings that get built.

in that sense, what a project manager does (if the project involves designing a building that gets built) is within the scope of what an architect does.  there are lots of things architects do.  it's not just picking the curtain colors.  management is one of things an architect is going to need some understanding of in order to design a building that gets built.

a project manager who's project is designing a building that gets built, who does not have an architect's license, stopped short in their professional development when compared with the project manager who did get a license.

not having a license is not, on it's own, a determinate in deciding whether a person is capable at being a project manager.  it does indicate that the person in question didn't bother to finish the process of getting a license.

Nice
May 15, 14 9:19 am

Okay, but if the finish line in that person's mind is not getting an architect's license then how can you say they didn't bother to cross the finish line. My point is that there are so many arch graduates these days, and many of them do not have the goal of obtaining a license. A license is only one professional route to go down, there are many others. I personally have no plans right now to obtain a license. I enjoy my work right now and my goal is more about learning a professional development than going through the motions to get a license. Does that make someone with a license better than me, because they "followed through"? Just because you studied architecture in school does not mean that your end goal has to be a license.

curtkram
May 15, 14 9:32 am

Does that make someone with a license better than me, because they "followed through"?

it doesn't mean they're better than you.  nobody should think that way.  it does, however, mean they 'followed through.'  because they did.  and you choose not to. 

you can decide for yourself whether there is any value in "following through," just as the person hiring the project manager or promoting someone into a project manager position can decide for themselves.  if you work with and for people who don't think an architect's license is worth shit, then getting an architect's license isn't going to be worth shit.  if you work with and for people who do value an architects license, it might be useful to have.

you know, if you go into project management where the project is something other than designing a building that gets built, the architect's license is probably going to be seen as not very useful.

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
May 15, 14 9:41 am

There is somewhat of a mentality conflict between a "manager" and a "professional" and it ultimately boils down to the conflict between "quantity" and "quality". Management is ultimately about efficiencies and Professionalism is about life safety and quality of life.

Professionalism is about integrity, ethics and performance regardless of field or title.

jla-x
May 15, 14 11:31 am

Olaf, FG is a licensed architect though.  How do you explain that?  

robbmc
May 15, 14 11:46 am

Some firms may not care if you are licensed.  In these types of firms its been my experience the PM has little client interaction and are fed information through the principal who meets with the client. Most people wouldn't be happy if they hire and architect and after signing the contract the owner introduced them to their PM who is going to handle your project. Said PM would then have to constantly clarify they aren't an Architect, because in this situation you would have to clarify when introduced to people your aren't the architect you work for the architect.  Its unpleasant and you get the look (why do I have to deal with this yahoo, where's the architect)  If your an office troll you probably don't know what I'm talking about.     

jla-x
May 15, 14 5:12 pm

If your an office troll you probably don't know what I'm talking about.     

You're

Olaf Design Ninja_
May 15, 14 8:28 pm

Jla-x...it's not a hard argument to explain.  FG has a firm with 100's of people and has projects that have 100's of people involved including licensed engineers...when you experiment - shit's going to happen.

but this thread is about managers vs professionals.  I was a project manager in less than 2 years out of school.  It's not that hard to do, but then again many architects are crappy managers - like those kids that stared at chip board models overnight and then half awake presented a half baked project  - as if the staring at a chip board model and doing an all-nighter would provide enlightenment...or the crazy old farts that scream and yell about their design as if people are supposed to read their minds - first sign of a bad manager is expecting the underlings to read their minds.  hell, some architects even make bad management decisions because they don't won't to look stupid, need to be fashionably understood correctly, or the stick is so far up....ego can kill a good management decision.

if you are licensed and not stamping the drawings then you can make more "manager" like decisions, but when it's your neck on the line and most likely you are considerably under paid for the liability you are taking on - simple management decisions aren't easy.

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
May 15, 14 10:40 pm

A manager can't be a professional?

Simple management decisions are easy, that's why they are simple.

robbmc
May 16, 14 9:56 am

A manager can't be a professional Architect.  You can work in the profession but you’re not a professional until you hold the license.  I wouldn't want an almost doctor working on me, or an almost lawyer defending me if I was wrongly (or rightly I suppose) accused of a crime.  The license signifies to the public/client you are considered an expert by the state and your fellow professionals.  I suppose if you don't now and don't ever plan to work with clients it doesn't matter if you’re licensed or not though.  

EKE
May 16, 14 10:00 am

We encourage all of our architectural staff to get their license as soon as they can. We offer study assistance and a financial incentive for licensure. It benefits both the office and the individual. 

Nice
May 16, 14 10:29 am

Correct, a manager cannot call themselves an architect without a license. They can however, manage architects and be a project manager, and many times a very effective one at that. I know many clients that do not care if the individual that they have direct contact with does not have a license. They are only concerned that the architect stamping the drawings has one.

robbmc
May 16, 14 11:56 am

I concede you do not need a license to be a project manager and if this is your end goal that’s acceptable.  You are limiting your future options by stopping short though.  What reason could you have for not testing?  I think people have an over inflated expectation of how hard these tests are this isn't  rocket science you do this every day.  

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
May 16, 14 12:43 pm

An architectural license is highly overrated. I know lots of licensed architects that aren't worth a shit.

There are lots of licensed doctors that aren't worth a shit, too. And drivers.

jla-x
May 16, 14 12:46 pm

A manager can't be a professional Architect.  You can work in the profession but you’re not a professional until you hold the license.  I wouldn't want an almost doctor working on me, or an almost lawyer defending me if I was wrongly (or rightly I suppose) accused of a crime.

Architecture is different from medicine and law.  When you go to a doctor many decisions that they make rely on people who are not an MD.  Blood work gets sent out to labs, cultures are diagnosed by micro biologists, etc...Many of the drugs that they prescribe are also designed by non MDs.  All fields benefit from specialists.  These specialists are not failed doctors but rather accomplished specialists.  No reason why architecture should be any different.  Some people may just want to be PM's for whatever reason.  I wouldn't, but nothing wrong with that.  The thing that bothers me is that the architecture profession is constantly trying to weed out diversity.  This is a problem.  If we cant respect other professionals we will all miss out on the wide range of specialty experience that does exist.  

Also, you are correct that the tests are not that hard, but some PM's come from non-arch school backgrounds.  Some have experience in construction, some have degrees in management or construction management....So yes, to get a license with such a non-conforming background would be very difficult and costly.   

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