Looming Overwhelming Complication


Does anyone else feel like there is a looming cloud of complication that just keeps growing with each project?  I have been a project architect for a few years now, and it seems that the projects keep getting more & more complicated.  All the systems and codes keep getting more nuanced.  While trying to keep up with all of them, inevitably things are missed.  Is it just me, the projects and the company I am working for or do other people notice this? Consequently, this is killing my desire to be an architect to the point that I have been looking at changing careers.

Sep 19, 18 1:46 pm

What comes after project architect? Isn't there a promotion possible so that you let someone else deal with that crap?

Sep 19, 18 2:18 pm
Non Sequitur

things only get complicated if you're not paying attention.  

Sep 19, 18 2:21 pm

that's not true, and if it is for you you've already missed things

Non Sequitur

Nope, incorrect. Taking one's time to do things once and correctly helps. Watching others scramble also helps. 8-)


Yeah, massive blind spots up in here.

Non Sequitur

We have a few very good clients who are well experienced and thus, we get quite a different view of things and other offices/projects. We're ahead, but just...


I feel you, natoid.  For me, its the asbestos issues with the local authorities - neverending I swear.  Also contractors who have no clue what they're doing are killing my buzz.  I regularly get submittals that are utterly useless and when I ask for basic information, like the name of the product or manufacturer, I get simply a blank stare.  I feel like its getting worse everyday. 

Sep 19, 18 2:27 pm
Non Sequitur

My solution to the ridiculous empty/incomplete GC submittals is outright rejection within a minute of receipt. Works well when you can catch the email right away.


I do this. I've also talked directly to the owner of the company to about the quality of these submittals (as well as this contractor's unprofessional behavior during meetings and towards the client in general) and seen very little change.

Non Sequitur

In one large project, we ended up getting additional fees due to the GC's incompetence and low quality submittal process.


Normally at the beginning of a project if I see issues, I talk to the contractor and try to couch it as 'help me help you' - if you send me something that is well put together and complete, I can send it back quickly, often with an approval. If you send garbage, it's going to take a long time to review and often times, it leads to a resubmission. For some reason, this doesn't seem to matter that they have to submit and they just install whatever they want without any submittal review at all.


As someone who switched sides and now makes those submittals. 1) Don’t copy paste specs from completely unrelated projects and maybe you’d get better submittals


Dammit hit enter^ 2) I would be stoked on any architect immediately rejecting. This would be worlds better than sitting on it a week past the allotted review time and then rejecting.


As a fellow architect who switched sides, I cannot agree with your first point more! The specifications, while not as sexy as a drawing, are more important. Too often the drawings and specifications are disconnected. A crappy submittal can often be attributed to a crappy specification.


I'm not sure that my projects have gotten far more complex over the years.  I do bemoan the fact that the industry is so cyclical and dependent on market forces.  There is so much construction occurring now that everyone is ridiculously busy. This obviously affects our ability to control oversight.  Couple that with limited bandwidth at the permit desk and under-skilled tradesmen entering the construction force.  Yes, sometimes it can feel like a delicate house-of-cards just waiting to come crashing down.  

I'd say just work to find balance in your life.  No need to leave the profession--especially if you mostly enjoy it.  Keep things in perspective and remember that what we do is important, but not 'saving babies or curing cancer' important. 

Sep 19, 18 3:00 pm

Building codes are essentially energy codes now, and they are increasingly tough to meet. A bunch of traditional wall assembly types do not meet modern building codes at all. Space in a masonry cavity wall is 4 1/2-inch max. You can't do fuck all with that anymore. 

Green building initiatives like LEED have also become extremely tough to meet. They are due to release LEEDv4.1 "sorry for the impossible previous version". 

GCs have really embraced the negotiated project delivery methods, and are constantly finding new creative ways of fucking with the architect. My favorite is "let's price the entire system before the Architect has even designed anything". 

At the end of it all, shit still gets built. If you turned a profit or are not embarrassed of your work is another matter. 

Sep 19, 18 3:29 pm

"GCs have really embraced the negotiated project delivery methods, and are constantly finding new creative ways of fucking with the architect. My favorite is "let's price the entire system before the Architect has even designed anything".


Choose your clients carefully.  

Sep 20, 18 11:56 am

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