"That's a great idea, SIR"

Scene: super tight schedule interior fit-out project, 3 weeks ago:

Me (female) to contractor and client: "I think it would be more efficient to go ahead and pull a demo permit and get demo done ASAP as that may prevent any coordination issues that we might uncover that will affect the design."

Contractor and client (mix both female and male): "Let's just finalize the design and get pricing before we pull any permits."

Scene: phone call, this week:

Consultant (male) brought in to PM: "Let's pull the demo permit ASAP as that will save us time on any coordination issues."

Contractor and client: "Fabulous idea! Great! Way to save us money and time, SIR!"

-end scene -

This shit happens all the time. It's not *always and only* gender-based, but it happens far too often for it not to be at least sometimes based on a belief - held by both women and men - that women don't really understand how construction happens.

A ton of feathers still weighs a ton.

May 24, 19 9:23 am

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All 15 Comments

Gender issues aside, why would anyone listen to an architect? WTF do we know?

May 24, 19 9:46 am

Based on what the AIA tells the public, architects just make make pretty things.


Just out to get the client


Happens all the time. 

May 24, 19 9:57 am

Not exclusively a gender issue Donna. 

for me it's been 2 things, 1. a closed ecosystem in the town, everybody knows everybody else for 35 years and I'm here only 10 years.

2. A foreign architect? what do you know?.

but being right and not say "I told you so" is my private reward.....

May 24, 19 10:20 am

So far I've resisted the urge to respond with a "Per my previous email...."


Why resist the urge?


You should send all parties that email.


Yes, cutting those assholes down to size is one of life's great joys. Why would you deprive yourself of the pleasure?

geezer, I personally don't get any joy at all out of telling people off, even when they deserve it. It pains me to point out someone else's mistake, and I obsess for days afterwards over whether I was too mean or could have avoided the conflict by being better in the first place. I hate it.


So wrong.

May 24, 19 10:54 am

It's all in Chapter 6,482 of my new book entitled Why People Suck.

May 24, 19 11:22 am

I would seriously buy that book.


It may turn out to be a 50 volume set, leather bound.


I diagnosed a sewer vent problem for a neighbor who rents their house. They want to hire an inspector anyways because what does an architect (female) know about plumbing?

Jun 1, 19 8:55 am

When I read the title I first thought it was "That's a great idea, SIRI", but perhaps SIRI is a few months down the line before she takes over. Big Sister rather than Big Brother. 

Jun 1, 19 11:05 am
Def respond with ‘Per etc.’ let them know they’re flushing money down the toilet hiring that PM.
Jun 2, 19 4:37 pm

I wonder (everyday) why we bother with such a dumpy, low class profession.

Jun 3, 19 9:59 pm

For the money and babes, of course.

atelier nobody

It's not totally gender-based, but women do get this kind of shit much more often than men. I've occasionally gotten it just for being the shortest (male) in a room full of 6'+ guys, but I've seen my female colleagues have to deal with this kind of thing on virtually every project.

Jun 4, 19 8:01 pm
Just curious, what if the PM was a woman and proposed the exact same thing...
Jun 5, 19 6:09 am

Nice bait, pity it's so transparently disingenuous.


I think it’s a valid question, you clearly disagree, ah well.

random, I said that this kind of behavior is not always and only gender-based, right in my post. In my case, there is likely almost always a gender aspect to it - I've never been on a project team that was entirely people of my gender. In your case, you have likely experienced similar treatment when a PM/construction manager/contractor (of the same gender) brushes off or belittles your opinion because he thinks your knowledge as an architect is limited. When clients don't trust our knowledge, and bring in a separate consultant "expert" to drain fee and repeat what we already know, it sucks. When there's a gender, sexual orientation, or racial difference in the mix it sucks even more. That's what intersectionality is, and if you don't understand it there is TONS of information on the internet about it.


Donna, I know what your initial post said and agree with you. But clients bringing in PM consultants/experts has nothing to do with the gender, race or sexual orientation of the architect. They bring them in because they earn them money/save them money in the long run even if us architects think/know they’re superfluous. Therefore, would you have made this thread if the PM who suggested your previous suggestion and was complimented subsequently was not a straight white man but a black female lesbian?

If it was only about clients bringing in a PM to take up time and money you'd agree with me and not be bothered. The fact that I accused someone of discriminating against me based on gender has you bothered. Why is that? I know.


Well if you already know...


The PM your client hired proposed something you mentioned earlier and got a compliment for it, does that equal gender discrimination? Boy, I have a lot to catch up to then.


gender discrimination would be if donna's voice isn't heard because of her gender.


I'm really getting sick of people talking over my female staff and colleagues during project meetings.  I have in the past week had to speak up numerous time to say "Excuse me...let her finish"  to clients or contractors in our office. A while ago a client told a female designer in my office "lets make sure it works before we do something cute".  really made me cringe. 

Men are taking note of this behavior. I'm speaking up.

When I can. It's hard when it is a client paying the bill though. Phillip Johnson's "architecture is prostitution" quote comes to mind. Hard to find a civil respectful John among these developer and their reps.   

Jun 5, 19 11:51 am

A firm I worked for lost a long-term client because the contractor they worked with wouldn't work with a woman (me).

Thank you, Jonathan. TBH I feel like interrupting and talking over one another in work meetings is much more common now than it was 15-20 years ago, and it's not all about gender - I think we are just becoming much more casual as a society and some of it is counterproductive. Then again, I don't want business meetings to be run with talking stick protocol!


People, both men and women equally, talk over and interrupt me and everybody else in meetings... rather a sign of the times then gender I guess.


I identify as a male but at work only. 

Jun 5, 19 4:00 pm

have you updated your email signature to include "he, his, hm" yet?


My email signature is Beyonce.


‘My email signature is Beyonce.’



I would click "like" if that was an option...


Salutations, SIR.


curtkram, i received an email from someone who has that right after his name --- what's that about? (this person's gender was not in question)


click "like " on comments you like on facebook. I suppose it's a way of expressing emotion over digital media.


proto, you were asking about the 'he, him,his' and i answered with an explanation of liking tintt's comment. i actually am that dumb, but the 'he, him, his" is about transgender and what pronoun/gender you identify with. it could be just that they're showing support for transgender people, or it may be a policy with their company.


something went wrong

Jun 9, 19 5:28 am

"When clients don't trust our knowledge, and bring in a separate consultant 'expert' to drain fee and repeat what we already know, it sucks."

Sometimes its what we know and the "expert" doesn't...

I worked on a project where the client hired another architecture firm to peer review our curtain wall design. The other architecture firm touted themselves as "experts" but after seeing their comments I take issue with that characterization. Largely it was an exercise in responding to their peer review comments professionally while ignoring most of their input. Surreptitiously, it was an exercise in showing how poor their advice was so the client could see they were wasting their money on hiring them, and making us respond to them.

This all was coming to a head because the client largely wanted to follow the peer reviewer's advice ... after all they were the experts, right? ... and it seems they were growing inpatient with our reluctance to simply copy/paste the peer reviewer's comments into our documents. 

I got to write an email one day illustrating how bad the advice from the peer review was and ask for specific direction on how the client would like us to proceed with one particular comment. It was a situation where the peer architect was trying to implement measures above and beyond an industry standard they thought didn't go far enough in the name of better quality control. However, probably because they hadn't bothered to read the standard, they didn't realize that their comment was actually less restrictive than the standard, and if we were to follow their advice we would be allowing inferior product on the project because of lower quality control.

I carefully crafted an email to the client (CCing the peer reviewer) explaining the issue, explaining what their comment would allow, explaining what the standard required, and asking if the client would like us to implement the "expert's" advice, or leave things as we had specified. Their one line response to my email was something along the lines of, "Thank you. No change is needed." After this exchange, the client eased up and the peer reviewer stopped pushing so hard to get us to follow their advice as well. I wish I would have saved that email when I changed jobs, because it was pure gold. As nerve-racking as the task was, it was ultimately the best way forward.

TLDR ... Sometimes you need to write the email to set the client/record straight.

Jun 10, 19 12:58 pm

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