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architects getting f'd on Craigslist

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blah

I think you should report those that don't get proper permits. It just screws other people, i.e. the ones who move into the space later and find all the electrical sheathed in flexible cable rather than hard conduit, and it makes the neighbors think that they can get away with it as well. I had a client left with a $25,000 bill to redo all of the electrical in her retail space because of un-permitted work.

CL is a dangerous place but you gotta pay the bills somehow.

Jan 17, 11 2:45 pm  · 
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olaf design ninja

The AIA should sponsor a group of spies that go around calling in illegal work...
I have seen contractors call in other contractors in new york a few times...why not right? Your guys are union and your siter is OSHA on crack which cost money and meanwhile the guys across the street are illegals with one getting injured a day...

If architects had a union this is something we'd do. Example "Hey you got a permit for that? No? That's illegal and can cost you tons of money. I know some firms that could help you out. No? Ok you know how the IRS can take what they want, well the DOB can make you homeless - you are going down!!!!!"

Of course architects don't have balls like that because architects fear words written on paper.

Jan 17, 11 6:35 pm  · 
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mantaray

Oh we've had nightmares with clients here in Chicago that unknowingly bought spec developer buildings with all kinds of non-permitted work inside. The homeowner ends up totally SCREWED and since the developer is a one-time LLC that disbands after the building is sold there's literally nothing the home-owner can do about it. Not only do they end up on the hook to change it all back to what's permitted, but they also lose out on a lot of home value (since they paid for xyz extra stuff in the house, and then they have to pay to tear it out, in the process rendering the home less valuable). It's a horrible double-whammy.

There is nothing 'shady' about reporting non-permit work. I am proud to say I've called in projects before. Nor is it 'sour grapes' (whatever that means - are you insinuating that I would be jealous that I didn't get the job or something? That makes no sense). It's called protecting the public, and it's my professional responsibility. It's not emotions, it's ethics. You may want to take a class in this.

Jan 17, 11 8:33 pm  · 
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mantaray

Sorry, jbushkey, that was excessive of me. I've had a frustrating day... please excuse my swipe at you, there. I've got nothing against you, always appreciate your comments.

Jan 17, 11 8:40 pm  · 
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blah

Go, Manta, Go!!!!

:-)

No, you're right. A lot of people get screwed by un-permitted work. The time to call it out is while it's being done.

Jan 17, 11 8:55 pm  · 
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zen maker

World renowned, fast-growing boutique, looking for hard working, expert architect, with the following qualities:

- Minimum 5 years of experience
- Proficiency with AutoCAD, Rhino, 3D Studio Max (photoreal rendering is a huge plus)
- Full knowledge of building construction and codes
- Ability to multi-task under extremely high pressure and very tight deadlines (its not 9-5 job, you will be expected to work till midnight and sometimes allnight to meet our deadlines).

If you feel like you have the following quality then please apply by email to secret@secret.com

- compensation: $35-45k/year with benefits and yearly raise consideration.

Jan 17, 11 9:28 pm  · 
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blah

Where's that? or is it satire?

Jan 17, 11 9:34 pm  · 
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headyshreddy

haha i just love how the initial posts reveal third grade writing skills by inviting the public with a question in the first sentence. god bless haha

Jan 17, 11 11:47 pm  · 
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Rusty!

I've long considered most of the anonymous craigslist architecture posts to be fake.

Some people have nothing better to do than to waste other people's time. Wasn't there a thread on archinect where someone openly admitted to posting fake job listings in order to see what the competition looked like?

Jan 18, 11 12:03 am  · 
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jbushkey

Swing away Manta and swing harder next time be because I didn't feel insulted ;) The thought never crossed my mind until I read your apology. You have persuaded me that we should be turning these people in. I did not realize how future owners can be harmed. In my naviete I was thinking it would always be built to code just without paperwork.

What I meant by sour grapes was that turning them in was spiteful because it has no effect on you whether they pulled a permit or not. That is where I changed my mind and like how you pointed out architects have a duty to protct the public.

Jan 18, 11 1:38 am  · 
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Rusty!

jbushkey:

rule #1 of Archinect: never admit to learning anything from anyone on here.
rule #2: keep the course. Yell if you have to.
rule #3: Don't talk sauce about Archinect foo'. In fact, you're not really here.

I am disappoint with all you 'suits' and your love of 'rules'.

Did noone ever live in an illegally converted loft where you put up walls and partitions as you pleased? I would have been mightily pissed if anyone turned us in. Whatever I built in my 20s eventually passed all code requirements when the building went 'legit'.

Certain rules can be bent. Interior renovations of a private residence is one of them. I'm the furthest thing from a libertarian, but even I find excessive oversight of non-structural interior renovations to be bureaucratic BS.

Jan 18, 11 2:25 am  · 
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Funkifier1

Made the mistake of responding to a Craigslist ad once:

I think he wanted to pay somewhere between 2000-3000k to get a full house designed, permited, engineering, and through coastal commission. On a very tricky sloping site with major soil issues.

Nothing like trying to build a 10-15,000 square foot house over looking the ocean during hard times and wanting the architect to go along for the ride.

My heart really went out to him and his financial situation.

Here was his response:

Thank you for replying to our Craigslist posting. It seems you have worked on some interesting projects and hopefully have experience that can benefit our house design. The house you designed, built and sent the photo of is directly across the ravine from our property. We have seen that house from the outside, and while it is a little more modern than what we are looking for ourselves we can appreciate its own beauty.

To be as frank as possible regarding this project, we want to get the entitlement process underway with as little up front costs as possible given the economic climate, and we are looking for an architect (or group) that wants to be involved on this that is willing to be flexible in their costs. Unfortunately we have been hit by the economy (actually having to close our business) and we realize there are many talented architects that have also been hit hard by the economy and in need of work. To that end we are hoping we will find a talented and experienced architect that will find value in having such a unique home in their portfolio. We are not looking for free architecture, but just as we are no longer able to make money as we once did, we are looking for an architect that can design a fantastic residence and champion it through the entitlement process - the 2 coastals and the Pacific Palisades Civic League - at a significantly reduced cost. Hopefully you will be interested in the project and be willing to undertake it at a reasonable cost as it is a tremendous parcel and should yield a landmark residence.

We are aware that their are significant additional costs when it comes time for the construction documents and phase of the project, and expect to work in good faith with the chosen architect once we get through the entitlement process. At that point the future of the project will depend on being able to obtain the construction financing. Again, we may be facing a worldwide depression and realize this project may not get built - that is why we need to keep our fees for the entitlement process down as those are obviously coming out of pocket now and we have all of the uncertainty of where this economy will take us.

Nonetheless, given the extraordinary quality of the location we want to design the best house we can with the hope that building it will be economically viable when the time comes. We would imagine that the project will have a 2 or 3 story primary residence in the 10,000 foot range and likely have a secondary structure of a few thousand feet (most likely located in the rear of the parcel and possibly used to help level the slope).

In order to help us choose the architect we will work with please give us a reasonable cost to do the needed design work to take this through the entitlement process If you could please provide us a breakdown of what your costs would be assuming we intend to build a project totaling in the 10-15,000 foot range. We have already completed the geological and soils studies and have geological approval from the City. We realize there are going to be some outside consultant work needed such as structural engineering and that these will be additional costs. We can also provide a detailed

Also, it will be important that you would be willing to do a preliminary study with some schematic designs of the project for a nominal cost to help us decide on who to work with. We are looking to ask a total of 2 or 3 architects to do so to help us determine to work with. To be fair to you and to show we are not just asking everyone we will pay $300 for the preliminary design studies if you are interested in doing so. We realize this is not a significant amount of money for the time involved but it is to show good faith on our behalf as we have received over 200 responses and so it is hard to decide who would be best to work with and we feel this is the best way to make the decision.

These are tough times for us all but we hope you would find this project of interest. We are very excited to get it underway and to hopefully design a unique and exceptional home. I have attached a few photos and the survey to give you a preliminary feel for the property. Please let us know if this interests you and if so please give us a breakdown of your costs and whether you would do a preliminary study. Thank you.

Martin"

What a dickhead. A short (and regrettable phone call with him later) revealed that his business hadnt been closed but instead he was running from the law in Brazil for making faulty and illegal medical equiptment stateside.

Jan 18, 11 3:17 am  · 
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Rusty!

funkifier, thanks for sharing. That one's funny. That 'client', a ruthless opportunist, probably eventually found an architect to slave away at $3/h when counted backwards. Such is the sad state of our profession...

I often dream of a world where sociopaths are not actively encouraged and so easily rewarded.

Jan 18, 11 3:32 am  · 
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Some of these are funny and mildly disturbing (I once worked for an architect where the house client, who was trying to do a very modest house on a modest budget, offered cookies as a way of trying to get us to lower our fee. We laughed. She laughed. Then it got awkward).

Really, though, this kind of stuff happens all the time and across a lot of professions. It doesn't offend me personally - you just shake it off and move on...

Jan 18, 11 9:57 am  · 
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blah

rusty:

It's a slippery slope. As a practicing architect, I have seen the financial toll that a very casual and cavalier attitude can bring.

CL is to be avoided. There was a time you could meet some good people on there but now they are merely 5%. It's like EBay. Both were tight-knit communities 12 years ago and now it's the Wild West.

Jan 18, 11 10:05 am  · 
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blah

Greg is right.

Jan 18, 11 10:19 am  · 
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blah

Greg is right.

Jan 18, 11 10:19 am  · 
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elinor

i was once approached by a 'family friend' who had built an entire extension to his house with no permits and in contravention of zoning regulations. his neighbor turned him in for blocking light to his yard (he had built right up to the lot line. So of course he called in desperation asking if i could 'help' him. i had a convenient excuse (wasn't licensed at the time) and told my family NEVER to offer my services to anyone again. Anyway, the guy found someone, sorted it out, and was allowed to keep his extension, who knows how. And the neighbor got screwed.

I also have a friend who has a client who bought a 4-br house where 2 brs turned out to have been illegal. now my architect friend is renovating the house and has to sort out all the bs in order to help the clients avoid any violations. And they probably paid more for the house than they should have.

Last week I was having a beer at my local bar and talked to the guy sitting next to me, who was in real estate in NJ. I gave him my card in case he ever knew anyone who needed an architect. He took it, but said most of the remodeling work he encounters is illegal, and nobody hires an architect.

there's so much of this shit going on that those people who posted that ad probably don't even know what they're doing is off. they talked to their super, who probably told them to build the thing, then find an architect to sign, like everyone else in the building.

ever see the scene in the sopranos where the mobsters unsuccessfully try to extort money from the starbucks manager? that's the difference between NY in the 70s-80s and now. I bet that 20 yrs ago it was more or less impossible to practice architecture in this city and be completely legit.

i for one have no interest in going back there...i see nothing wrong with ratting out illegal work when they're stupid enough to advertise publicly for it. even the 'skiing' or prostitution posters on craigslist know enough to at least use euphemisms..........

Jan 18, 11 11:45 am  · 
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Rusty!
"even the 'skiing' or prostitution posters on craigslist know enough to at least use euphemisms.........."

Looking for an architect willing to get his hand dirty. Must have 420 knowledge. You will get 100 roses in return.

Jan 18, 11 12:27 pm  · 
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olaf design ninja

The fundamental problem is the governing agency for building permits, especially in nyc, is this politically driven group of individuals that under certain circumstances can be both illegally and legally be convinced to overide the very laws they are to enforce.

Legally:

Project is huge and city will bend over backwards changing zoning laws for you
Project was self certified and a few years later some parts of project although illegal and now audited by examaner really can't be changed without huge economical commentment
Client has connections and essentially annoys or harasses the DOB until they just say fuck it and give an exception
Client gets local politicians involved and the politicians annoy the DOB guys and they bend.


Illegally:

Envelope of cash
Self certified illegal dwgs never audited...miraculously disappear and can not be recreated.

Its all a big joke really, no wonder you get posts like that on c list.

Architects, well many, sit around all day reading and re-reading code just to have othe shayd architects file drawings where the examier doesn't notice half the shit the ethically committed architects are flipping out about.


The reality is, if you know what the inspector is looking for and your GC knows the inspector and the "illegal" items are not really a life and safety issue you can get it through. But good luck to the next homeowner when politics change and the DOB goes on a mission.

Check out modular walls systems for new york, making a room requires filing...these guys make a living making rooms without permits.

Jan 18, 11 6:57 pm  · 
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olaf design ninja

To elaborate on my point and I have seen versions of this -

DOB examiners and inspectors are human beings first off. Most are not overly committed as if they were in the military or making ass loads of money. Some had jobs completely not related to construction and desing prior to working up the ranks to examiner or inspector. In cities like NYC even with self certification of plans and essentially a lottery like plumbing inspection (like the cable company they may come in 4 hour window if not plumber self certifies), even with all these tools the examiners and inspectors have a limited time (typically 20 minutes) to digest everything and make markups and comments...long story short they miss things

So...its not suprising no one really thinks things should be filed or done legally since there is nothing consistant about this industry.

Jan 18, 11 7:14 pm  · 
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elinor

haha...i grew up in NYC, back in the days when people did whatever the hell they wanted. it was kind of crazy, really, but great for underage kids and strivers trying to make it. there's no real explanation other than that NYC was a corrupt, borderline lawless place that nobody important cared about because it was bankrupt.

this is why the dob is what it is. my whole family worked in construction-related fields. i could tell you stories. :)

as far as i know, you're not allowed to self-certify anymore. but i could be wrong.

Jan 18, 11 7:28 pm  · 
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jbushkey

Rusty you forgot rule #4
Any player who happens upon another players hiding spot must cede the territory to it's original finder.

Funkifier1
What kind of an ahole can look at you with a straight face and ask for a discount to design his 15,000 sqft beach house? "Hi I am building a $2 million+ house, but I will need you to work for below minimum wage to realize my dream" WTF???? I did see that he was also cheating sick people.

Jan 18, 11 8:39 pm  · 
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olaf design ninja

You can still self certify if you are still allowed to.
If in random audit they find issues they then audit everything you are doing and if they deem it necessary you lose this privilage.
We just self certified an aprtment job...a wall and a door - that goes for about 15k, our fees were equal to construction.

I wish nyc was still like that...granted parts of brooklyn still operate that way, thank god for people who have far greater laws than the gentile.

Jan 20, 11 7:06 pm  · 
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Does Asymptote advertise for interns on Craigslist?

Jan 20, 11 8:06 pm  · 
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Quentin

Small High-end Residential Interior Design Firm

Intern wanted (Unpaid)
CAD, Sketch up skills are required.
Must have a car. Students welcome!
Flexible hours, part - time.

Work closely with designers, Attends meetings with clients, visit to Design Center etc.

Jan 21, 11 7:55 am  · 
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Justin Ather Maud

This issue has been smoldering for at least a hundred years. The recession just provided the oxygen for it to go magnificently incendiary. The turn around will extinguish the flames, and allow it to go back to smoldering....

Jan 21, 11 9:20 am  · 
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beekay31

Yes, and then we can all go back to putting off for another 5 years ever coming up with a solution to all our woes until next time.

Jan 22, 11 8:16 pm  · 
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Jamb'd

Downtown Milwaukee architectural firm seeks project architect for design, production and construction administration activities. Projects involve multi-family, mixed-use, public offices and higher education.

Candidates need to demonstrate these qualifications: Master's degree in Architecture, 5 to 10 years of design and production experience supervised under a registered architect, building code knowledge, preparing technical specifications, governmental planning approvals, consultant coordination and management, project and team scheduling and client relationship management. Progress in IDP and licensing exam should be stated. Position will be full-time hourly, no benefits.

* Location: Milwaukee, WI
* Compensation: Hourly range of $15 to $25 an hour depending on experience.

Jan 25, 11 10:51 am  · 
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brooklynboy

Architectural mid-size firm located in Brooklyn has an opening for a full-time project Architect . The office is looking for an administrative assistant for general office help as well as assisting in the drafting of CAD drawings . Familiar with NYC Code & Zoning a plus.
This position requires proficiency in AutoCAD and a bachelor degree in architecture .
Please email your resume to garfinkelarchitects@gmail.com

Do they want a secretary or an architect?

Jan 25, 11 11:25 am  · 
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jbushkey

both of course for one paycheck. The drafter/IT guy is pretty common too.

Jan 25, 11 1:00 pm  · 
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jbushkey

both of course for one paycheck. The drafter/IT guy is pretty common too.

Jan 25, 11 1:01 pm  · 
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beekay31

There is a PM/CM position on Craigslist Chicago right now going for $45K. Any takers?

Jan 27, 11 8:05 pm  · 
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Cherith Cutestory
Downtown Milwaukee architectural firm seeks project architect for design, production and construction administration activities. Projects involve multi-family, mixed-use, public offices and higher education.

Candidates need to demonstrate these qualifications: Master's degree in Architecture, 5 to 10 years of design and production experience supervised under a registered architect, building code knowledge, preparing technical specifications, governmental planning approvals, consultant coordination and management, project and team scheduling and client relationship management. Progress in IDP and licensing exam should be stated. Position will be full-time hourly, no benefits.

* Location: Milwaukee, WI
* Compensation: Hourly range of $15 to $25 an hour depending on experience.


This seems pretty inoffensive compared to most of the ads on Craigslist. Sure, the lack of benefits suck, but $15/hour is $31200/year and $25 is $52000/year minimum (since hourly employees usually collect overtime). I can't imagine that Milwaukee has a tremendously high cost of living. Even the job requirements are pretty basic.

I've seen much worse than this.

Jan 27, 11 8:11 pm  · 
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jbushkey

7 years of school + 5 years of work = $31,200/year - benefits? According to an online cost of living calculator $31k in Milwaukee is like $44k in Boston. Is there another "profession" where a masters degree and 5 years of experience would get you that salary and no benefits? You would probably get laughed at if you told this to someone getting a masters in another field.


Without further ado may I present to you the 2011 architecture success plan!

Materials, design, codes, zoning, LEED, BIM? Forget about it (don't kill yourself becoming an ace). All nighters at the studio? No way! Get your ass out to the bar for your all nighters. Networking is where it is at in 2011. If you want to enjoy your work *AND* get a decent paycheck you have got to land projects.

Outed said in another thread
get out there, hustle your networks and see if you can find a project, any sized project. don't worry that you can't do it yourself - just be the guy who can deliver the deal. then find a firm you think you can trust and broker a deal with them: you get a 'normal' salary and get to work on the project in exchange for bringing it to them.

The alternative doesn't look so good if you like to do crazy things like eat meals that are not ramen noodles or see a doctor without getting sicker when you realize it just cost you two weeks pay.

Jan 27, 11 9:31 pm  · 
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St. George's Fields

"Is there another "profession" where a masters degree and 5 years of experience would get you that salary and no benefits?"

There's lots of other professions.

In many other professions, many people rarely make as much as that! The national average income for someone with a bachelors degree is $43,000 a year. Someone with a Master's degree only makes $52,000

And if you're a woman... well, women with advanced degrees only make an average of ~$50,000 a year.

The average entry-level salary for an architect is more than most people ever get paid in their lifetimes.

Jan 27, 11 9:59 pm  · 
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beekay31

Milwaukee isn't cheap, just cheaper than the largest cities, such as neighboring Chicago, which is comparatively cheaper itself than coastal cities. Based on my travels all over this country, I would call the cost of Milwaukee decidedly average. And if that's the case, I fail to see how anyone can describe a $31K salary for someone with a Masters (much less a "professional", which is a $70K average salary nationwide) even remotely comparable to $53K, the nationwide average. Remember that includes all workers in rural areas too. Let's not forget Milwaukee is the 26th largest city in the US (i.e. average rank for largest cities in a state), and that's down from 17th only 2 decades ago. $31K is plainly awful. So is $43K unless you live in a small town with a likely 5-digit population. I made that much upon graduation with only a bachelors and zero experience over a decade ago.

Jan 28, 11 1:11 am  · 
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creativity expert

Uxbridge,
from what i have seen, you're 52,000 average for a masters is about right, but the part i totally disagree with is that women with advanced degrees only make an average of 50,000. In my last firm, women were making the same as I was, and a lot of them were placed in positions of authority. Though I was clearly much more experienced than all those ladies, they were bossing me around and eventually when it was time to let people go they had cunningly maneuvered me into a position where I had no projects to work on.

I think those women have been watching all those movies about "English royal's" because from what I hear, they got rid of a lot of people with vast amounts of knowledge, and have created a core group of women that has basically taken over, and most of them didn't even know how to do CA, CD's, DD's, no experience at a job site whatsoever. That's just another reason why I am determined not to play the role of a victim and am going to be my own boss.

The other thing to remember is that offices really do have a double standard, when it comes to degrees, its like once the managers become more business men than architects, they forget that a Barch educated person is usually a much more experienced individual, considering that we don't go back to college, because we already spent 5 years earning a professional degree, and most of us go straight to work. as opposed to a person with an March that at the most spent 2 or 3 years getting that March. I also think that during the interview they try to say you lack experience in certain areas so they can justify paying you less. Then a week later they hire a person with an March, and pay them at least 10k more, and to add insult I teach them.

Jan 28, 11 4:36 am  · 
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creativity expert

yes i know, you're should have been your. thank you ... smart asses

Jan 28, 11 4:51 am  · 
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creativity expert

Construction Expert
Highly experienced and Illinois licensed architect, civil/structural or mechanical engineer, or general contractor/specialty subcontractor to support local construction law firm with cases involving delay, design errors, site productivity, accidents and quality of construction. Construction contracts administration and claims experience are helpful but not essential. Substantial document review involved in position. May be suitable for telecommuting. Prior testifying experience is a plus. Must have BS/BA in relevant field or higher.

Feb 5, 11 2:42 pm  · 
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shellarchitect

Looking for someone with a background in architecture to handle the bidding process for a national retail developer constructing medium size new construcrion projects in mutliple cities. Your job will be to take calls from bidders with questions on the plans and specs. Receive, collate and put together a bid tabulation. We largely have the plans complete for these buildings so there is little actual drawing production to be done. We are using plans from prior projects for the most part. You will work out of your own office so you must have an office of some sort with phone, fax, email, website etc. You must hold regular office hours and answer the phone when people call with questions on plans, bid dates or general questions about the project.

Please propose an hourly rate for your services and provide a resume.


What happened to the original designer/copyright holder?

Feb 10, 11 1:04 pm  · 
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shellarchitect
Milwaukee08

From what I remember, Milwaukee has always been below average nationwide. Back in '02/'03 I remember reading the average starting salary in architecture was around 28k in Milwaukee, where the national average was around 32-34k. Now that may have been for people with unaccredited 4 year degrees, I don't know, but one would assume that salaries for new M Arch grads would be similarly low.

Part of the issue may be Milwaukee being home to Wisconsin's only accredited architecture school, thus a good supply of new grads every year. Being Wisconsin's largest urban area, there are few other urban places around for new grads to go, either Madison or take the leap down to Chicago.

Feb 12, 11 11:35 am  · 
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brooklynboy

I am looking for a NY State Licensed architect to provide energy calculations and stamp the plans for my personal residence. Drawings are on an AutoCad dwg. file. I am a builder with 30 years of experience and the drawings are for a very traditional wood frame structure of apx. 3200 sq./ft. Please provide an email address or phone # and I will contact you.

Feb 12, 11 1:10 pm  · 
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beekay31

I'll do it. I'll charge him a day's pay for 15 minutes of work, too.

Feb 13, 11 12:13 am  · 
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jbushkey

Risk your stamp on some one else's drawing for a days pay?

Feb 13, 11 12:38 pm  · 
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jbushkey

I haven't gotten to the point where I would check drawings so maybe it is not that complicated. I would love to read some comments regarding reward vs liability on this type of small job.

Feb 13, 11 12:40 pm  · 
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architerp

How are architect's getting f'd on Craigslist? Only if they respond to, interview, and accept the lousy job posted.

These types of crazy job postings can be found in all categories. Want to see a field that gets shit on? Browse the admin section and see what kind of crazy stuff employers expect people to do for $9/hr, 25hrs/wk. It's ridiculous.

Take a stand when you see one of these ads, flag it and have it removed.

Feb 14, 11 12:45 pm  · 
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Cherith Cutestory
Rusty!

from mad vision post above:

"Great news, No resume is required, Just e-mail one of your favorite projects that you have true feeling for, even if its drawn on a napkin*
*Also e-mail a casual Photo of yourself (no links to pix please), in just pdf or jpeg. "


And that's not even a highlight.

Feb 14, 11 2:09 pm  · 
 · 

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