Architectural Ellipsis

... Intern Architect ...

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    "Intern" replacement coming from NCARB?

    Everyday Intern
    Jul 7, '15 3:52 PM EST

    NCARB recently published the 2015 NCARB by the Numbers report. This is the first since announcing the sunsetting of the term intern, and it looks like NCARB is keeping it's promise to not use it. Remarkably, the only occurences of the word "intern" are when it is used in the name of the IDP. 

    Interestingly though, depsite their claim to not have a replacement for "intern," they did extensively use the term "aspiring architect." By my count it occurs 83 times throughout the document, and occurs twice as "aspiring women architects" for a total of 85 times. They even felt it important enough to define it at the end of the report as "NCARB Record holders who are currently completing the IDP." They also use the term "record holder" though not nearly as much nor as often as "aspiring architect." It seems like it is harder than NCARB thinks to simply remove a term from the lexicon without a replacement.

    By comparison in 20142013, and 2012 the term "aspiring architect" does not show up once in the NCARB by the Numbers reports.


    I tried to post this as a comment in my previous post, but it seems like the commenting function is not currently working.


    • midlander

      'aspiring architect' sounds like a personality type not a professional position. why not just copy the engineers and use 'architect in training'? There's also my perennial favorite 'unlicensed architect', but that would require accepting that the best term for a licensed architect is 'licensed architect', which is obviously a controversial position...

      Jul 7, 15 10:03 pm  · 

      In regards to "I tried to post this as a comment in my previous post, but it seems like the commenting function is not currently working."

      That was a bug and has since been resolved. 

      Jul 9, 15 1:15 am  · 

      Good to see that Archinect.


      I think it is great they use that but changing the name of IDP program can be a challenge though but until the licensing boards works first to get legislation passed in the state to tweak statutes to allow more freedom of the board to approve titles containing the word architect, as contention rises from licensing boards that still has statutes from dinosaur times. 

      A common title for unlicensed design staff are designers and drafters and such. This is still the case. How NCARB will work to rename IDP program is challenging.

      Jul 9, 15 4:06 am  · 

      well...if they drop the "I" it will just be "DP"...Ironically DP is a more accurate name...

      (anyone who gets that is a

      Jul 9, 15 12:58 pm  · 


      You're not licensed?

      Jul 9, 15 1:19 pm  · 


      Jul 9, 15 7:17 pm  · 

      I wouldn't have liked "aspiring architect" any more than "intern" when I was one.  "Aspiring architect" sounds patronizing - like what I'd call my 5 year old nephew while patting him on the head when he shows me his latest conglomeration of legos.

      NCARB has been talking about renaming IDP for several years already - I don't think that will be a major challenge.  One reason for the rename is the public's understanding of "intern", but another is the rapid rise in the industry of "IDP" to mean "Integrated Design Process".  Renaming things is far from a new experience for NCARB - there were at least three titles for the thing currently known as the "Emerging Professionals Companion" during the time that I was a student and intern, and a few different names for what is currently the BEA program - and every time they renamed something it was always an excuse for a flurry of new publications, with new graphic design and color schemes, and mass mailings of postcards, all supported by new fees of some sort.

      "Architect in Training" is already the term of choice in several states.  If yours is one of them then use that.  But if you're in a state that doesn't allow any variation on the word "architect" I wouldn't try to get creative with variations - even the users of the dubious abbreviation "Arct." and the sound-alike "RK-tek" have been fined.  I don't happen to like "intern" and applaud its passing from NCARB use - but no states have banned it, so if you like it then keep calling yourself Intern.

      Jul 9, 15 11:34 pm  · 

      I'm with you alphabits, I dislike "aspiring architect" for many of the same reasons I dislike "intern." The difference is that at least NCARB was advocating for a distinct title with "intern," whereas now they do not advocate for anything. However, they have clearly adopted alternatives to "intern." As has already been pointed out, it wouldn't pass the test for a replacement title anyway.

      "Architect in Training" to me makes the most sense as an alternative, but is still wouldn't pass the test unless you could get some states to relax on the "architect" title to describe those aspiring to the position as well as those legally licensed to practice. Currently, there is one state (total of three jurisdictions) that has "architect in training" as the term of choice (NCARB blog). 

      Before anyone brings up the opinion that we should be more like engineers with the titles using "engineer in training," let me point out that the correct term is "engineer intern" as defined by NCEES in their Model Law

      Jul 10, 15 11:41 am  · 

      I don't think any state will ban the use of the word 'intern' but they will leave it to private sector and when they can, they will phase out the term from official use but it depends on where the term is adopted.... via statutes or administrative rules. In Oregon, I believe it is more or less an administrative rule thing and they can change it in a matter of 2-3 board sessions. States where the term is defined and established in statutes, takes an entire legislative process and that can take a bit longer.

      Jul 10, 15 1:47 pm  · 

      Richard, I think you're right that no state will outright ban the use of the word intern. At best they are going to remove any statutes or rules that identify and define "intern" with regard to architectural practice. The majority will probably just follow whatever NCARB's model law does when it is updated to reflect the new policy.

      Oregon appears to have it codified into legislation, not a rule (at least according to NCARB's graphic). It would therefore require an entire legislative process. In fact, the majority of jurisdictions that address the title at all would have to go through the legislative process rather than an administrative rule change.

      I actually agree with NCARB that a title for interns doesn't need to be regulated (codified into laws and rules). I'm happy with them focusing their efforts on regulation to the title of "architect." However, by nature of their regulation of "architect," it prohibits any title for an intern that uses the word "architect" per nature of not being licensed. So while it doesn't need to be a regulated title, it would be nice for NCARB to clarify an appropriate title much like they did in their full statement for "architect emeritus." 

      Jul 10, 15 2:47 pm  · 

      NCARB's blog is incorrect or incomplete regarding some states' titles. The specifics are more complicated than what they could put in that simple chart. Example: "architect in training" is specifically allowed in my state (which is not the one listed on their blog) - but only for those who have NAAB degrees AND have a current IDP record AND currently employed full time in a firm AND not a student currently enrolled in any degree program. 

      Jul 10, 15 2:53 pm  · 

      kjdt, thanks for the info. If you don't mind identifying where you live, which state allows it other than Montana?

      Jul 10, 15 3:15 pm  · 

      I don't think interns are going to be happy with any terms that is less than Architect. They want to be calling themselves Architect but the reason you can't be called architect is simple: unlawful misrepresentation and confusion of the public. 

      It will also open up pandora's box because we have building designers such as myself and many others who are as competent and some more competent than many of the young freshly licensed architects. If we did that, it essentially derail the licensing law by turning it on its head. 

      First and foremost the licensing laws is a part of a response to public outcry after the Chicago fire, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and other disasters involving buildings. With a public outcry, (although was probably modest in reality and politically blown out of proportion through exaggerations), it was a placibo (a pacifier). 

      Aside from that, a building designer (regardless of education or experience path ways or combination of such) will become significantly competent and even more so than an architect with a 5 year B.Arch and 3-5 years experience after awhile. These folks, aside from working under an architect or in contract with (many of whom had gained this experience before it was able to be used for IDP), they work independently as building designers. Some of them even have certifications as certified professional building designers and/or other certifications. 

      Apprehension rests precisely on me, a building designer. I am the reason you may not call yourself an architect. Because I am that 'unlicensed para-professional' that Robert Hoffman refered to in the recent OREGON architect newsletter on page 22., "that can contribute to the dilution of clarity established in Oregon, and other state jurisdictions, surrounding licensure of architects and the practice of architecture. There are currently many individuals working in the broad category of environmental design and architecture whose qualifications vary in competence and focus based on experience, education and training. While many hold professionally accredited degrees in architecture and are workin to complete IDP and the architecture registration exam - working under the direct supervision of an architect - there are many others with advanced education and experience of one form or another who are working as unlicensed designers within the recognized context of architectural practice but well beyond the typical intern/mentor relationship. These individuals are sometimes operating established design business and studios, and are engaging in partnerships within a legal context that can be unclear to the public and uncomfortably close to violation of Oregon law."

      Although I don't agree 100% in the tone but I agree with essential points. There is a vast number of us who are working in this domain of exemption under the licensing laws. Some, due to unclear understanding of the exemption, walks over the line. Lets keep in mind, some of them are your fellow class mates whether now or with older generations. For one reason or another, they deviated from completing licensure. However, we have an essential question, how do we not make clear to the public when we spent the last 100 years saying those who are not licensed may not use the architect title.... or there is no such thing as unlicensed architects. ARCHITECT means state licensed building designer.... since the adoption of the licensing laws. 

      Of course we get confused when we take into account a history of Architecture before licensure came to be. Most people have little understanding of the legal context of architecture but have a little bit better and clearer understanding of the academic definition of architect.

      Lets remember the general public tends to have deficiency in reading comprehension and most have never once in their life read the state adopted statutes. Therefore, they don't particular grasp or understand the difference between "Architect" and "Registered/Licensed Architect". Especially if the message they get for the past 100 years was that they must have a license to call themselves Architect. As it is, as a building designer, I have to essentially give the spiel to inform the client so they understand... hopefully. Essentially by effect of case laws, I essentially have to do that for the contract to hold validity. 

      Aside from that, we need to remember that the licensing laws are in place and the title issue has been a debate going on since the laws were enacted. In Oregon, that is going back nearly 100 years. In the past 96 years, people in the licensing process did not use the architect title or represent themselves and when they do in error use a title that should not be used in positions occupied by an unlicensed person. First thing is first, EVERY SINGLE architectural employer needs to QUIT assigning positions to unlicensed persons where the title is consisting of 'architect', 'architecture' or 'architectural'  that would be a violation of the licensing law if they used the title independently. 

      You can say, "I'm a project designer in the Architecture division of _________________________" but an unlicensed person should not have title like "I'm an 'Architect' in the Architecture division of _____________________". Of course if your firm is an architecture firm vs an interdisciplinary firm, you can make obvious adjustment of the sentences.

      Bottom line: People have natural cognitive difficulty differentiating professional title and positional title. Not only the employees but also the firm and the public even more so when they don't have any reason to assume you are an unlicensed designer when the supervisor (employer) introduces the employee as "Architect" or such titles be it Junior Architect, etc. and the employee introduces himself or herself as such. To the public, they are all "Architects". The added problem that because a serious issue is when such employee is laid off and because of lack of available jobs, they go out to the public offering design services but because they got used to using titles that would violate licensing laws, they end up with disciplinary actions and fines. They should only get used to seeing themselves as Architects AFTER licensure not before licensure.

      That was how these laws and the practice has been for the past ~100 years. It has became more a problem when firms keep progressively assigning positions with titles containing 'architect' or 'architectural' to employees who have not attained licensure. This is a practice that the employers themselves needs to instill as they become at fault for the unclear understanding.

      Sure in architectural history, before licensing laws were adopted, anyone can call themselves "Architect". The thing is licensing laws have been around for longer than most people had been alive long enough to remember a time before architectural licensing laws. This means we need to understand there is a professional/legal application of the title and that of the academic use. As professionals, you should have it understood while in college and within 1-2 years of employment, got used to it.

      There is no legitimate excuse for employers naming position titles consisting of "Architect" or "Architecture" to those who are not licensed... except those explicitly authorized by the laws of the state or the rules of the licensing board having jurisdiction.

      If we change title or authorize the use of the "Architect" title by unlicensed then how do we protect the public from misrepresentation that is really effective.

      As a building designer, I know the challenges it is to keep reminding the client that I am not an Architect when they use that even though I never use the title in regards to myself. If I were to use the title, I would be fined. If those in licensure path were allowed to call themselves "Architect" then get a problem. Would this mean us 'building designers' would be "architects"? I'm enrolled in IDP... ok. I could be said to be on the licensure path even though I do work independently most of the time, lately. 

      This can be a challenging issue and given the basic message for the past 100 years... this message would raise more unclarity arising to even a greater level than an unlicensed designer using the architect title unlawfully because it would be systemic not just isolated individual cases.

      Jul 10, 15 3:51 pm  · 

      In Oregon, "architectural intern" is only authorized by those when they meet the following:

      (4) An individual may use the title “Architectural Intern” only after:

      (a) Completing a professional degree in architecture meeting the education standard in OAR 806-010-0010(2); and

      (b) Establishing a record with NCARB and enrolling in IDP; and

      (c) Receiving written authorization from the Board to begin taking the ARE.


      The title can be changed to whatever is decided upon but the rule may still be the same basic rule.

      Jul 10, 15 3:58 pm  · 

      I don't think interns are going to be happy with any terms that is less than Architect. They want to be calling themselves Architect but the reason you can't be called architect is simple: unlawful misrepresentation and confusion of the public. 

      I disagree with your belief that interns cannot be happy with anything less than "architect." There are some, yes, but I think the vast majority of us would be ok with a title like "architect in training," "architect's apprentice," or any other that accurately depicts our status in the profession as less than architect, but striving toward it.

      If the problem is misrepresentation and public confusion, then to me the solution seems simple; give us a title that is representative and not confusing. The problem with that, as has been pointed out, is that the regulation of the title architect prohibits use of the word architect to describe anyone who is not an architect ... including those who are not architects. It's like trying to describe the absence of something without actually being able to name the thing which is absent. Very difficult to do and pass the cocktail party test (and we know how much architects like their cocktails).

      Jul 10, 15 6:57 pm  · 

      Don't confuse being happy with just accepting the way it is and that if they want to be called an Architect and practice as an Architect then they have to get through licensure so they focus on that.

      Frankly, you ask someone who seeks to be an Architect if they want the title as such then every single one of them are going to yes "yes" and want it and none of them will be happy with less than that because they are wanting to be at the end point today.... every day.

      Yet they aren't there.

      What are you? You are a BUILDING DESIGNER. EVERY architect is a building designer but not every building designer is an architect.

      The thing is there are those of us who are building designers and members of organizations like American Institute of Building Design as well as independent of any professional association and we don't want the architectural licensing boards where the architect members of such boards are almost exclusively AIA members letting one professional society with de facto control of architectural licensing matters control the term building designer including that of NCARB and the same mindset of people who have the mindset of legislating out competitors instead of honest competition. Be a better professional. You are an unlicensed design professional aspiring to become licensed as an Architect. 

      Right now, if I use the Architect title, I would be fined for upwards of $5,000 not just in Oregon but Washington and theoretically every single jurisdiction on the planet where licensing procedures occur. If I go to people in Oregon or Washington, referring to myself as an Architect, that is a $5,000 fine in either state. The last I checked, the fines are the same. That's a fine for each instance or day. So the penalty can be very severe.

      Usually not fine to that extreme but still serious.

      If we deregulate the title then how does a public accustom to the past 100 years that a person who uses the Architect title has to be licensed. The laws for the last 100 years is a title, practice and licensing law. Very few in the world is old enough to even remember a time when there wasn't architectural licensing.

      How does the public that is uneducated of the law differentiate Architect from Registered Architect and there are those of us who been using the building designer title for some time now.

      If your job is essentially designing then you are a designer. If you want to say what kind of designer than building designer is available to you. That is one consensus that you can thank AIBD (at the time United Designers Association) and its predecessors associations and quasi-associations of designers as well as some architects working to keep the designer or building designer title and some other variants free from being restricted from use from those who tried to legislate the title out. 

      If your main function is project management then you are a project manager. Yes, some people do have peripheral duties. As an independently practicing building designer, my duty is essentially the same as that of architects. My duty doesn't stop at conceptual design nor is it strictly (or so substantially) drafting someone else's design. Yes, there is considerable work on the line of drafting or CAD or BIM work. My role and function is considerably more than that. When I practice independently, the responsibility falls on me. 

      At cocktail parties, just say you are a designer and you work for __________________.

      Generally, I don't go to cocktail parties. Then again, at a social event, you're not there to get projects for yourself and try to be the architect. Just direct them to your boss. After all, where the hell is the architect at the cocktail party. 

      If I had to go out and get architectural projects, I would set up an architectural firm and simply say I am a co-owner of _________________. Yes, where I am, it is legal for me to be an owner of an architectural firm without being licensed.

      However, it is important in any case that I am not representing myself as an architect ESPECIALLY at those "cocktail parties" (or other social events) where we get the projects. This is were you are advertising and personally offering architectural services... right? That should be performed by architects and owners of the firm and marketing. 

      It is not that you can't use the word 'architect' or 'architecture' or 'architectural' but you can't represent yourself as an architect not should you offer architectural services on your behalf or for yourself. You should NEVER offer architectural services on behalf of the firm and offer building design services for yourself at the same time. You can get into some questionable grounds and into trouble if A) the client doesn't remember the facts right, and B) your witnesses doesn't remember correctly because it only leaves your word vs. the client and if your witnesses in error recalls things on the side of the client, you're getting a fine and sorry, no appeals courts. 

      So you kind of get stuck with the fine unless you have evidence which you should have from get go like a recording.

      However that is another topic that would be a deviation of point. 

      You can see how alot of these regulations and how the boards sees these cases. 

      Think about it, the licensing boards are eager to issue fines because they get their funding from licensure and from issuance of fines. It is a revenue source.

      Why would you need the word "architect" in the title? If you are an apprentice then it be "Apprentice" and you explain the context quite clearly in saying: I'm an apprentice of _____________.


      I'm an apprentice at __________________________.


      Or you can say,

      I'm a designer at ________________________________.


      I'm a building designer at _________________________.


      DON'T ELABORATE. Re-direct them to query requests for architectural services to the architect principal. Remember that you aren't there to get projects for yourself. You need to have a business registration/license, a business office of your own separate from the firm's office operating on your own expense and materials & supplies. 

      I have that here in Astoria, Oregon. Otherwise, things get problematic. You understand that you are generally to seek projects for yourself on your own dime. When you are licensed, then you can offer architectural services and do that form the business.

      I could do that in Washington upon registering my business as a registered professional design firm with Washington licensing board and would have to have a designated architect in a position of responsibility and usually that implies an ownership sake but can possibly be addressed contractually. Again, I can't claim myself as an architect and it would be similar to a construction contractor offering architectural services as long as they have an architect employed or on contract or a firm on contract and the person is duly licensed in the state where such services are offered.

      Granted doing so may get OBAE into an uncomfortable position because of my locality being technically in Oregon but services offered to Washington state citizens and businesses for projects located in Washington. Then again, if I did that, I wouldn't give a sh-t because I already have my place of business in Oregon so why would I waste gas to drive across the bridge to Washington and also filing additional business taxes. 

      There is ways to go about the issues but ultimately you have to be clear and forthright.

      At the end of the day, we all know you want the "A R C H I T E C T" in your title. Just finish licensure and you'll have the title. Why is designer or building designer unacceptable to those of you working towards licensure or unlicensed designers or unlicensed design professionals.

      I have looked at licensure path for some time know as you maybe aware. I know the baseline of wanting to use the architect title. I also know architects who already have the license are going to be a challenge (by and large) in letting the title they worked their asses off to become licensed to be used by those who haven't used the title. How much hell would you hear from most of them if the laws and rules were changed so I can use the title architect.

      There is the 'protectionist' stance of protecting the title use by restricting it's use. They aren't open to negotiating. They sure the hell weren't during the recession. I've heard some of them calling us building designers like myself and compared it to organized crime. Think about that one. That wasn't exactly kind and friendly and open to negotiation on the title.

      Harsh... yeah. I have had that experience. You'll find the biggest and hardest sell among "residential architects". Architects that predominately focus on residential projects. Due to their choice of focusing their practice on exempt buildings, they placed themselves in competition with building designers who haven't completed licensure and it is a war zone at times. It can even be challenging to even have civil discussions between 'residential architects' and unlicensed designers (whether by the title building designer or residential designer or home designer). I'm speaking from experience. Who's right or wrong is besides the point. 

      You can look at both sides with valid points and yet both have difficulty co-existing without one being a subordinate to the other.

      When looking at the issue, deregulating the "Architect" title is more challenging then dropping the use of the intern title.

      Jul 10, 15 11:46 pm  · 

      Richard I've seen a lot of threads from you about being a "building designer" - you should understand that that term is in wider use in some parts of the country than others, and that may affect its viability or appeal to an unlicensed person.  

      The AIBD is the main proponent of that title,  but the AIBD has virtually no presence in the eastern part of the US, so the title is largely unfamiliar to the public. I'm in the northeast, and my state and the majority of surrounding ones have zero NCBDC certified building designers - in fact I think you could probably count the number of them in a 1000-mile radius on one hand - hence "buliding designer" is just not a thing here.   So "building designer" doesn't have the appeal to those-formerly-known-as-interns here as it might somewhere where it's more widely recognized - in fact I think people here would hear in it a ring of disingenuousness - it might sound like it was specifically being used to skirt rules, which is exactly the opposite of what young architecture school grads want to convey about themselves.  I just don't see "building designer" catching on among that group here.

      I saw the title rules from a Canadian jurisdiction recently and thought they had a good solution: they also did not allow any form of "architect" in titles of unlicensed people - but they had the exception of allowing "architecture graduate" for those with architecture degrees who are on the licensing path.  That seems like a solution that most architecture grads would probably prefer over the motley variations on designer, drafter, technologist...

      Jul 11, 15 2:25 pm  · 

      Technically "architecture graduate" is 100% ok to use anywhere.  If you have the degree then it is your right to convey is your property and any attempt to prohibit one from doing so would be a clear violation of constitutional property rights including due process  

      Jul 11, 15 3:12 pm  · 

      actually, "Master of Architefture" is also ok if it says that on the degree that you own...

      Jul 11, 15 3:13 pm  · 


      AIBD actually does have a presence in in the eastern part of the U.S.

      Also, if you are in a state where there is no exemptions then you aren't going to find the term building designer being used very much. Some places use the term residential designer more because the exemption is strictly residential.

      AIBD has been through cycles of growth and then contraction. 

      Although "Certified Professional Building Designer" is a legally registered trademark of AIBD/NCBDC, it is a protected title in that sense. 

      However, when 'building designer' and variants of such titles have been in use since before licensing laws and they been generally used by those unlicensed if they differentiate themselves from say... an interior designer or a landscape designer. Some just use designer when they do all the above. 

      What state are you in?

      There is at least one CPBD (Certified Professional Building Designer) in Mass. Another one in Maine.  There is several other building designers who would qualify for CPBD and probably were CPBDs in the past but haven't renewed their CPBD status during the recession or prior.

      There is a guy in New York (although he is probably practicing mostly out of state despite being in New York State where he lives. After all, building designers practice aren't exactly bounded by state borders entirely. They go where the projects is and where they can legally practice.

      5 of them in Pennsylvania. 

      There is several more that are sufficiently qualified for CPBD certification exam candidacy. A number of them may even have have CPBD status in the past but didn't renew CPBD certification during the recession and prior.

      Jul 11, 15 4:43 pm  · 

      Ok, maybe I should rephrase: AIBD has very little recognition in the consciousness of people in this region.  

      I'm sure there are many people - probably thousands - who could qualify for CPBD status - the point is that very, very few pursue it around here, so it's not a title with which most are familiar.  You tend to post as though "building designer" is the automatic default for anyone in the industry who isn't licensed - I'm trying to make you aware of a regional difference.  Your state board seems to run a regular business of umpiring the battles between the architects and "building designers" in your state - obviously it's a more widely adopted term there.  It's not here (I'm in NH and teach and practice throughout the US).

      Five people in Pennsylvania, one in Maine, one in Mass - that demonstrates my point.  Yes I concede that's a few more than I count on one hand, but not nearly enough to put the title into the collective consciousness, or to make most recent architecture grads inclined to adopt it.

      Jul 11, 15 5:26 pm  · 

      ...and Richard, you seem to have a strong vocabulary but your lazy grammar always weakens your credibility.  Grammar for Building Designers, lesson 1:

      1. "There is" is singular.  When you're referring to more than one of something you should always use "are", not "is" - as in "There are several more who are sufficiently qualified...." or "There are several other building designers".

      2. "Than" is used for comparison, while "then" refers to time, order, or consequence.   Some examples of the correct use of "then" are: "I went to the store and then I ate lunch"  or "If I don't take out the trash, then my house will smell like New Jersey."    Examples of correct use of "than":  "I would rather jump off a cliff than eat a cockroach", and "Richard can jump higher than Kozumelle can jump."

      3. "I seen" is high school dropout English.  There is no instance in which that is ever correct.  "I saw" is the correct use of the past tense, as in "I saw Richard jump yesterday."   "I have seen" is the correct use of the present perfect. We use the present perfect for something that happened at an unspecified time, as in "I have seen Richard write about building designers four thousand times on Archinect."  

      Jul 11, 15 5:47 pm  · 

      The north east is far more protectionist than the west...with the exception of California...

      Jul 11, 15 6:15 pm  · 

      Anyway, you all missed the main point.  The title of a person pursuing licensure is pretty irrelevant...the title of a graduate of architecture who is not pursuing a traditional path of  practice is the real issue.  I am an M-arch graduate, but I use the title artist or designer because that is what I currently do...I do not design work is within the realm of "architecture" in a historic sense but not in a legal one...Most clients do not care about titles or licensure of designers...They do however care about the license and insurance of the contractors...

      Jul 11, 15 6:30 pm  · 


      That is because architecture school doesn't teach that and AIA tends to run the schools and you know probably very well that AIA don't exactly work with AIBD due to historical issues.

      Let me put it like this, "Certified Professional Building Designer" is not as well known but the title 'building designer' is in fact ALOT more common. You don't have to be an AIBD member to be a building designer. I can get a list of professional members of AIBD which in NH alone is 7. Building Designers which includes those who uses the term Residential Designers or Home Designers. If you do a google list, the list can get a bit bigger.

      You don't have to be a member of AIBD or certified for the title 'building designer' or 'residential designer' or 'home designer'. Certification is required for "Certified Professional Building Designer" and certification is available to anyone who would qualify regardless of where you are. The issue is more public awareness because AIA tends to treat AIBD and NCBDC as non-existent and that is deliberate and intentional and has been that way since the 1950s.

      Add that to NH also has design-build operations. Building designer is a word that in English language for designer of buildings so by default the term and also title because it is the noun for anyone who designs buildings. Before licensing law, building designer and architect were one and the same. They were just synonyms. When licensing law came into effect, architect means a person who is licensed that designs buildings. The title building designer is not restricted as the title architect. So ANYONE and EVERYONE who makes a living designing buildings for other people is a building designer. That is what you are when you engage in practice of architecture or practice of building design of exempt buildings.

      This has been default since the laws were enacted because how else can you call anyone else who isn't licensed? There isn't any other word in English. Residential designers simply denotes anyone who designs residential buildings as is Home designer. This means architects and non-architects alike. This is throughout the entire country. Those who are licensed uses the title Architect. Those who are not uses alternative titles. Some places uses residential designer or home designer more but those who engage in projects small commercial, residential and other building types may often use the term building designer.

      For the design-build operations, they are building designer and construction contractor at the same time but their businesses will usually use "Design-Build". Some businesses in NH uses Building Design. The reason is that contemporary trends in the last 20 years in residential and other small building projects is 'design-build' as that becomes popular with small projects.

      So they get a construction contractor license, hire or subcontract / contract the tradesmen and do the design and oversee construction. However, the design-builder is building designer and construction contractor (or builder) at the same time. The more recent trend in business model is more consolidating design and construction when it comes to smaller projects.

      This isn't particularly unique in Oregon as it is in New Hampshire. The reason I point it out is public awareness. Stop acting like public awareness has to already be there. You sound like these kids we have today with all that entitlement and want everything and do nothing to get it. Public awareness is there. The biggest issue in getting AIBD members or even those pursuing CPBD is they don't perceive any special benefit. Here is the thing, when you are certified, you are resting the clients apprehension of contracting you. You even can rest the assurance of a building officials because building officials will simply look at it this way... someone who is third party certified is likely to be of a higher quality than some Joe Shmuck with nothing. A certification is better than no certification. Licensure is basically a certification at the heart of it. Sure, a B.O. might not know what CPBD is but when shown what it is, they will generally feel more assured that you are someone who knows something than nothing. That is a benefit. It won't get you to do things that require an architect license. 

      That is besides the point.

      Bottom line isn't whether to get the CPBD status which anyone can choose to get. If you want government recognition in building codes and such, it takes numbers and a voice and guess what, it doesn't get done for you. You have to be part of that voice.

      AIA doesn't represent independent practicing building designers. They don't really want us. NCARB, NAAB and Architecture Schools for the most part is an AIA project. They use political forces at the universities to keep AIBD out. They have been doing that because AIA and AIBD has been enemies so to speak for 5 decades because AIBD doesn't fit the grand master plan they wanted which was to have AIA be in total control of accreditation of architecture programs, exam licensing, etc. Basically be in control of who can be enrolled in architecture school, how many and control how many and who can practice architecture in the United States. In some aspects, AIA has questionable defacto influence over this.

      Why would you not use the title building designer if you are not licensed and design buildings of various types not just houses. If you do, then isn't building designer appropriate title that describes what you do. If your role in a firm is designing buildings then isn't building designer by DEFINITION appropriate. It also doesn't violate licensing law.

      I don't mind NCARB using the term in a manner that doesn't restrict the use to those who are NCARB record holders. It isn't their trademark. It is acceptable to describe anyone who designs buildings whether independently or not. If a firm uses the title for positions in the firm, that is perfectly fine. 

      Technically when an intern uses a position title of Architect then it is technically a title violation of architectural licensing laws in many places when such a title is NOT authorized by the licensing board rules or the governing statutes.

      I will have to say this, if you are not licensed, architect or architectural should not be used in any occupational title used whether it be assigned as a job position title, or a self-appointed title in a business or part of the business name of an unlicensed person (in the case of a business name, unless they are a licensed architectural firm or otherwise authorized to use that in the name of their business when complying with the laws and rules governing businesses using 'architect', 'architecture' or 'architectural' in the business name.

      Building Designer is an english language default. As for regional differences, there isn't much in this regard. The only regional difference in the matter is if you use "residential designer" or "home designer" because your practice focus is residential and you do little to no commercial projects especially in a state that doesn't have exemption for commercial projects 


      You are operating as a designer and construction contractor and hence: Design-Build is used. 

      Otherwise, you have no other title that defines a person who designs buildings. If you are designing commercial and residential buildings and such, then you have either building designer or you violate the licensing law with the Architect title.

      What would you rather be doing, paying $5,000 a month or more to the architectural licensing board for fines every month (because the fines would get up there pretty quick and even when the meetings are once every 2-3 months)...... or would you use a title that is appropriately descriptive of what you do that doesn't cause you to violate the law.

      Guess what, You don't get the Architect title until you are licensed. That is not up for negotiation. AIA, the body of licensed architects won't let that happen. 

      So there.... use building designer or like titles or violate the licensing law and be banned from licensure forever.

      Jul 11, 15 6:41 pm  · 


      True. Majority of Architects can't build a dog house let alone a human house.

      Yes, they care about the contractor being licensed because the contractor is the one that actually does anything the client really wants. The client doesn't really want an architect or designer because we just produce a bunch of paper. So we just are an inconvenience to get a permit.

      That is what they think of us... typically.

      Jul 11, 15 6:45 pm  · 


      I am writing these posts at a fast pace. There is no grammar checking being done as these posts are not meant to be grammatically correct academic reports. If you haven't noticed, there is not a grammar checker built into the rather small text box.  If I were to write a blog post, it might be appropriate for grammar checking. 

      I do not spend the time to check if I have the right 'then' or 'than'. Yes, I would get docked points in an academic paper for grammar. Therefore, I am not going to use Microsoft Office or OpenOffice to write comments on Archinect. The memory and processing resources would be excessive and with a heat sink that isn't that great, I am not doing that. 

      When it comes to academic papers, I usually have grammar checker underlines and I also have more time to check. I do not spend 3-5 days to post a comment as one has in writing an academic paper.

      I spend the time to get the thoughts in my head onto the little text box as it goes. Therefore, I focus on the points and make changes when I see a point that isn't correct. I also have issues with multiple lines of thoughts at the same time and also my mind sometimes starts a line a thought one way and changes mid-stream. I may correct those in a paper when I print it out and proof-read. I do not spend that time for a post because I post comments in as much close to real time, such as IRC (Instant Relay Chat), as can be. If I am writing a report, I am using a different process.

      Jul 11, 15 7:08 pm  · 

      If you hold grammar rules, you will also hold the entire English composition rules which includes proper formatting. Oh... wait... internet forum comments do not comply with proper English composition rules. There isn't proper mechanisms for margins, footnoting, page numbering, bibliography and proper citation mechanism, etc. 

      Jul 11, 15 7:14 pm  · 


      Explain exactly what you are doing that is within the realm of architecture from a historical sense but  isn't in the legal sense and not design buildings?

      Jul 11, 15 7:25 pm  · 

      Richard it does't matter if there are 5 or 7 or however many members of AIBD in New Hampshire.  That's an insignificant representation.  And as for history of the boards vs. AIBD - I really don't think there is any such history in this region.  AIBD is pretty much inactive and a non-entity here.  

      As for 3rd party certification: I can't imagine any official caring whether something is stamped or submitted by a "certified building designer" or not here.  It has about as much worth as stamping drawings with the bottom of a Dr. Pepper bottle. Either the project needs a licensed architect or engineer or it doesn't - there's no middle ground.

      I'm trying to help you with the grammar. You come across as an intelligent person, but stubborn and under-educated.  Archinect posts are one thing, but you have several of the same issues on your business website.  You spend a lot of time insisting that there's no difference between someone with an advanced degree and someone with your many years of self-study and community college, but then you advertise yourself in a way that reads as ignorant and sloppy. You don't have enough processor power and a heat sink that can hold up to word processing? What kind of confidence is that going to instill in your ability to deliver CAD drawings or models?

      Jul 11, 15 7:53 pm  · 

      Richard, I think a lot more people would be willing to engage in a discussion with you if you didn't write comments at such a fast pace. You probably do not have to fire up the old memory hogging word processor for grammar checking. If you slow down, take it one line of thought at a time, and make sure you are communicating clearly, then it will be a lot easier to get your point across in a way that others understand. 

      Jul 11, 15 8:17 pm  · 


      Sure I can use a word processor but I don't spend the time I would in writing responses to a forum as it would a report. However, with an unreliable heatsink, I have to be watchful of cpu temperature.  

      Thank you for looking at how to improve my grammar. Can you point me more to which site you are seeing the major grammar issue. My website does need more work which I know. Most of my client projects aren't much to really show because they are small projects. I haven't gotten into the stock plan kind of business. I also do not showcase academic work that much on a business site or projects that almost doesn't require even a building designer. I am apprehensive about showcasing projects that discloses client names and hence draw phone calls to my clients. I don't want people calling my clients pestering them with questions and messing with their sanctity of privacy. It would be easier to show case stock plans type work but here's the issue... I don't particular do stock plans because I'm in the business of passive solar design and sustainable/green design which basic principle means you don't do stock plans. Its an ethos matter. How can be green/sustainable and designing to site specific conditions including solar path with stock plans where the ethos is about designing in a non-site specific manner. This becomes a ethos/design principle conflict. My historic preservation work is another matter altogether. I have to figure how to resolve those matters but I haven't spent much effort on the website stuff when website programming isn't really my area of interest in software development. 

      Most people in my area get more business from newspaper recognition than they do from website. If you are positively talked about in newspaper or otherwise become a good recognized name, you get more query for services. I've got more work through network of connections and to some extent from newspaper recognition then I have had from websites in this kind of business. It is more who you know and social connection than it is website. At least for me, that has been what it has been.

      As for my business website:


      Lets see..... there isn't really much at this time there aside from the 'bullet points" list of services at:

      Jul 11, 15 9:38 pm  · 


      Richard, I think a lot more people would be willing to engage in a discussion with you if you didn't write comments at such a fast pace. You probably do not have to fire up the old memory hogging word processor for grammar checking. If you slow down, take it one line of thought at a time, and make sure you are communicating clearly, then it will be a lot easier to get your point across in a way that others understand. 


      Good points though. I have to get used to writing slower. With online communication, I tend to try to respond in minutes not hours. I'm kind of use to real-time communication. I worked with people over internet that way when writing computer programs with team members in geographically separation significant that they can't just meet in person.

      This kind of modern communication, I was doing back in the 1980s on Q-Link, Compunet (don't ask how one did that without getting broke on very long distance bills.), etc. 

      In which case, you had to be fast and responsive as well as you can't sit idle proof reading for too long or you get  drop carrier.

      Imagine that, get dropped because you didn't keep typing.

      Jul 11, 15 9:52 pm  · 

      On your website you have issues with singular vs. plural - the same type I explained above (for instance when you refer to an architect and/or an engineer, that's singular - use "is" not "are".)

      Then there's your thumbtack page - not just sloppily written but in a tone that's bound to scare away any potential client.  I'd take that down completely if I were you.

      As for your project content for the website: why don't you just do what most of us do and post residential projects without identifying the client's name or location.  For example, "Private Residence, Oregon" would be enough.  

      I agree with you that your website likely isn't the route by which most prospective clients will initially find you.  However, in my experience most prospective clients do visit websites as part of their due diligence in selecting an architect or designer, and it does a great deal to support the professional's experience and credibility.  I've often had clients tell me that viewing examples of my work were why they selected me, even though they've usually been referred by others initially.

      If you don't have real projects to post, you might start with example plans.  Assign yourself a real site for your imaginary project, to get away from your objection to developing stock plans with no site considerations.

      It just seems like you're trapped in a circle of insisting you're a professional building designer, but not being able to move forward with designing buildings due to so many excuses and examples of unprofessionalism.  You're putting up a lot of barriers to your own success.  

      Jul 11, 15 10:40 pm  · 

      On your website you have issues with singular vs. plural - the same type I explained above (for instance when you refer to an architect and/or an engineer, that's singular - use "is" not "are".)

      I am trying to look for that issue of singular/plural use issue as noted on the main site at this link:

      in this section:

      * NOTE: Some services and projects may involve or require the services of an Architect and/or Engineer that are licensed/registered with the state having jurisdiction. This maybe out of prudence or out of requirement of law or regulation of State, Federal, or Local government authority.

      I probably should put an 'an' before engineer. The plural is mostly with 'services' and 'projects' but I think I used singular tense with 'Architect' and 'Engineer'. It is one of those cases where singular or plural can be tricky because it can be either.

      Then there's your thumbtack page - not just sloppily written but in a tone that's bound to scare away any potential client.  I'd take that down completely if I were you.

      Thumbtack page... hmm.... I have to look. Don't recall it but have to look for it. Deleted account. It should delete the site content there but it may take some time for residual link points and I am uncomfortable that it is categorizing me under "architectural designers" instead of building designer. Remind me in a week or so if they remove me from that category completely. I don't have much more control beyond that nor know to exactly contact Thumbtack personnel where I have a real human contact. 

      As for your project content for the website: why don't you just do what most of us do and post residential projects without identifying the client's name or location.  For example, "Private Residence, Oregon" would be enough.  

      I agree with you that your website likely isn't the route by which most prospective clients will initially find you.  However, in my experience most prospective clients do visit websites as part of their due diligence in selecting an architect or designer, and it does a great deal to support the professional's experience and credibility.  I've often had clients tell me that viewing examples of my work were why they selected me, even though they've usually been referred by others initially.

      If you don't have real projects to post, you might start with example plans.  Assign yourself a real site for your imaginary project, to get away from your objection to developing stock plans with no site considerations.

      I don't have many 'classy' projects from  real clients that I feel comfortable showing on a webpage because most projects locally are limited in nature. It isn't what I am capable of designing but the kinds of projects I had been getting aren't exactly high end.

      After all, it wasn't long after I started my business, aside from a few prior stuff, when the recession hit. Most projects during the recession were dinky stuff that doesn't really demonstrate what I am capable of with my knowledge and skills. I'll work on that but hardest part for me is coming up with client programs with imaginary clients. There is a dynamic that a third party client brings to defining the project. It is not an objection to that idea.

      Jul 12, 15 12:36 am  · 

      It should be " Architect and/or an Engineer who is...."

      Also "may be" is two words here, not "maybe", "requirements" is plural, and "local" isn't capitalized...


      Re your Thumbtack page - I'm referring to this:

      "A. The client should keep in mind the following:

      1. They should have substantial money secured.

      2. Project budget should be twice the estimated cost of material and contractor's labor and overhead & profits or in other words, the cost of construction would be around half the amount that is secured because there needs be budgeted amount for paying the architect/building designer appropriately, the engineer and sometimes other consultants and costs as well as contingency budgeted in. Therefore the scale of the project must reflect that.

      3. When designing a new home or major renovation/remodel or other intensive research or design intensive project, there should at least be a year or two between initial contact with the architect/designer and submitting for permits because the work often involves considerable work and also considerable time even for the client in reviewing and understanding what the architect/designer provides a client in documentations, memos and so forth.

      4. An architect or building designer provides more value to a project then just things that can be easily measured by dollars. For example: Quality of space. How the space and relationship of different function areas are to each other for efficiency, thoughtfulness, and experiential qualities. Things that exceed shear dollars.

      Note: These aren't always outlandish or like a Taj Mahal. These can be affordable and rational.

      5. When commissioning me, I am an independent contractor not an employee. I am be commissioned for my knowledge and skills not for being a drafting employee. This mean, I do this to be paid. I am a business not a freebie charity. My job is to find solutions to best solve your challenges but sometimes there are regulatory barriers that may prevent some ideas the client may want. This means, I have an obligation under standards of law to be forthright and candid and even tell you the bad news so that we can find a workable alternative solutions. Therefore, my job is more than just telling you what you 'want' to hear but what you need to hear.

      6. I am paid and I command a fee based on estimation of time, risks, costs, and other business considerations like contribution margin and profits for a sustainable business as well as a reasonable living income. I'm not doing this for minimum wage or below minimum wage. I didn't go to college for over a decade for working for peanuts. Therefore, I am not the cheapest out there. However, I am flexible to a certain extent on price when in reflection of the above while analyzing the scope of work. It has to pencil out. It has to be mutually beneficial for me as a business and you as a client.

      7. There are others that low-ball at ridiculously low prices from which the quality would be questionable. These quality issues may or may not be noticeable to the untrained eye of a typical client (a non-design professional). They may look pretty with fantastic graphics but loaded with technical errors that may result in life-threatening as well as costly issues to correct. As a design professional, my job is to uphold professional standard of care in all aspects pertaining to health, safety and welfare of you the client and the public at large. I also have to respect the financial consequence of the design decisions not only to you but the implications it may have on other properties.

      8. Designing and constructing a building is a social act with implications on others and not just yourself.

      9. I do not edit or make modified alterations of plans from newspaper clippings or other sources. Those are copyrighted by the original designer/architect. However, I may look at and consider attributes for inspiration for designing a house for you, the client.

      10. When I prepare schematics or other preliminary drawings, they are not to be submitted for permits. All works I prepare is copyrighted to me and I do not relinquish my proprietary ownership rights to the plans and specifications and they are only for the work defined in contract otherwise that would constitute copyright infringement. I state the importance and clarity upfront about these two important issues. One is a health, safety and welfare issue and the second is that I protect my copyright and take the issue seriously as they can have considerable liability implications to me as well as there is money in licensing those plans. After all, those licenses also would be for covering and sort of compensating for additional liability insurance coverage and possible premium impact. These insurances aren't free and they are a necessity in case of possible lawsuit over anything. When lawsuits happens, there is a lot of finger pointing and everyone is trying to skirt the responsibility and pass the buck like a hot potato. As a business, these are serious considerations. There could even be other additional fees associated with licensing and construction of multiple buildings on the same plan via a license that includes additional drawings for foundation or other subtle modifications for different or updated codes, construction administration/observation and so forth for assurance what is built substantially complies with the plans and specifications. 

      A. I view my work in building design as an avenue of creative problem solving. The aspect I enjoy most is the creative problem solving. When a client comes to a design professional, they come with issues and challenges that needs to be solved. These issues or challenges range from regulatory to resolving different and sometimes clashing design ideas and making sense of those ideas and find a solution. The challenges and issues surrounding a 'design problem' is many and it is the sort of joy of solving things challenges creatively and a satisfied paying client that pays well. After all, I don't work for free. Yet, I seek to put value for every dollar spent and some of which is not clearly measured in how many dollars I reduce on project cost. There are many factors to value in a project. "

      Jul 12, 15 1:32 pm  · 

      I thought I just deleted the Thumbtack site.

      By the way, correction "Architect" or "Engineer" should be lower case unless used as a title. John Smith, Architect = correct

      John Smith is an Architect.    = incorrect

      John Smith is an architect.    = correct

      I take liberty in the bullet list for visual clarity. The font of the Houzz template is a little awkward to change so I'll figure out how that would be changed to a better one.

      Jul 12, 15 3:21 pm  · 

      Majority of Architects can't build a dog house let alone a human house. 

      Hyperbole; ten point deduction.

      Jul 12, 15 9:00 pm  · 


      *droops head. * Hyperbole.... damn... hyperbole penalty.

      Jul 12, 15 11:32 pm  · 

      jla-x wrote:

      food for thought...


      Yes, I read that but I'll get to that sometime this week, hopefully. I have to put somethings into priority mode then get back to this.

      Jul 13, 15 3:14 am  · 

      Richard, that's a really interesting article, thanks for finding and posting it. The de-licensing issue rages on in my state and I'm halfway through writing an article about it myself; that article is a great reference!

      Jul 15, 15 8:47 am  · 

      Actually, it was jla-x's who founded and posted it. I saw it before somewhere else. I requoted his post so to basically in a reply to it. so as to return the discussion back someone more closer to topic.

      Jul 15, 15 12:26 pm  · 

      "Architect in Training"

      Registered Engineers already have a successful E.I.T. system in place.  Assimilate the same title and its process to acquire, maintain and transcend it to reach the next level (architect) into architecture.

      Professional, registered engineers are obviously doing things right that architects are not.  At least 20% better if quantitatively measured against profitability.

      Managing the profession wisely really isn't that complicated.  Oh wait we are talking NCARB and AIA....strange mix of egomania, insecurity, ignorance, naivete, and incompetence.

      Jul 23, 15 3:25 pm  · 

      Block this user

      Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

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About this Blog

An ellipsis [...] is used to signal an omission, an unfinished thought, aposiopesis, or brief awkward silence. Architectural ellipses are those aspects of the profession we (perhaps intentionally) omit, gloss over, or let dwindle in silence. Generally applied this blog should encompass many aspects of the profession. Yet, as an intern architect (now architect) I'll focus primarily on the architectural ellipses that occur in the internship process (and beyond).

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