Archinect
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What are the best Certifications to pursue in order to become a better Architect? Will clients value the same ones that archtiects will? is LEED still relevant or useful? thoughts on WELL?

titslip

See title.  I have discussed LEED with some architects in my firm and they think clients value it but it is less than practically helpful or relevant as architects should be designing sustainably by default.


Are there other certifications worth looking at?  Some additional letters after my name would be great but I would like them to be practically useful to gain relevant experience. Thoughts?

 
Nov 7, 19 10:33 am
senjohnblutarsky

Employers seem to care far more than clients.  

Clients are fairly straightforward in what they want. They want efficient buildings.  They want low cost buildings.  They want buildings to last a set amount of time.  

Employers want people who know how to give clients what they want.  So, if you feel there's a certification that helps you gain the ability to give clients what they want, go for it.  I don't carry any certifications currently.  They're all money grabs.  Studying the material is fine.  After that, I don't see any reason to keep paying someone to prove to others I'm knowledgeable.  

Nov 7, 19 11:57 am
titslip

This is true about employers vs clients; I think I should have added "clients and/or RFP reviewers" as having an RA for example after your name can be helpful to win projects.

RickB-Astoria

Being licensed being a qualification requirement to work on projects that requires an architect license. Ditto.

titslip

yes, I meant additional RA's on project team under the/a Principal who is an RA .

RickB-Astoria

Ok. I think in procurement of some projects under QBS will be looking at the project team composition and in general, the more licensed members on the team, the better. They try to avoid having too many non-licensed persons in charge. There's obviously more to it but don't think I need to explain it.

BulgarBlogger

The best certifications are those that help you provide a better service to your client. What's the point of becoming LEED credentialed if the only thing you are doing is designing singe family homes? What's the point of getting HERS (Home Energy Rating System) certified if you're only designing schools? It may be good if you want to do both, but unless you're doing both, it makes no sense, other than doing it for your own personal and professional benefit. Not only does it cost money to get, but you also have to maintain continuing education to keep it (also $$$)

Nov 8, 19 9:03 am
whistler

Take a passive house course.  It's the way the building and energy codes are pushing us and the detailing and attention to quality building practices are simply a good reference.

Nov 8, 19 1:07 pm
athensarch

2nd’ed. The course is about a week, then ~3wks of study. FAIAs I took it with got something out of it, and I did as well.

athensarch

We’re seeing clients start to request it for higher ed (mainly dorms). At my firm the PMs told me don’t do LEED unless you want to be the paperwork person. I see LEED as a base umbrella cou
rse, with other specializations pushing the envelope more.

titslip

this is interesting and something I'm surprised to only have heard minimally about in passing, but will look into.

whistler

It's all the rage here and building codes will make passive house / net zero mandatory by 2032, but Passive House standard (at least for small buildings) in about 10 years. Bottom line it makes sense in our part of the world but because it is a performance standard it works in warm and cool climates unlike LEED of similar which is heavy on the administrative side and isn't consistent.

RickB-Astoria

whistler, do you mean "passive solar design based house" as "passive house" basically refers to Passive House standard. I prefer to approach design via passive solar design versus say "passive house". I may use combination passive solar design and geothermal heating & cooling or other technologies to minimize demand or use of public utility.

whistler

Passive House as in; "Passivhaus as a voluntary standard for energy efficiency in a building, which reduces the building's ecological footprint. It results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling"

whistler

Passive solar design can be part of the strategy but in many parts of the world passive solar gain is a problem as the heating load is so great that the introduction of cooling strategies is necessary, ie Arizona or even Northern Canada where the winter sun can provide a great deal of solar gain. the introduction of air conditioning goes against the overall Passive House strategy as Air Con requires a huge energy requirement and therefore increase one's energy footprint. The strategy is really about finding balance between heating and cooling with as little energy use as possible .... Simplified concept is that it comes down to air tightness and increased insulation.

Non Sequitur

Whistler, I’ve been casually considering passivehauss. Is there cross over from it’s focus on small buildings to larger commercial ones?

whistler

Yes, more complicated but there are precedents for large MF housing, community centres, fire halls and small industrial buildings. Building use becomes more of an issue due to movement in and out of building which impacts the control of the "conditioned" environment. Exact same principals as a small residential building but definitely a more complicated strategy above and beyond the standard benchmark that those building might normal be designed to.

athensarch

Non Sequitur, check out the Cornell Tech dorm as a larger precedent. It's a 26 story ~350 unit Passive House building.

athensarch

Fxfowle also did a feasibility study on it for tall resi https://www.nypassivehouse.org/passivhaus-feasibility-study-released/

Non Sequitur

Will do. Thanks.

Wood Guy

I'll second the Passive House recommendation. It's only getting more popular, and the training is actually pretty useful. There are two different organizations providing training and certification, PHIUS (passive house US) and iPHA, the original, international version. There are pros and cons to both but at the end of the day they're pretty similar. I did the international training but would probably do the US one if I were to choose today. 

Nov 8, 19 1:20 pm
titslip

I'm curious as to why you recommend PHIUS over the iPHA (via PHI?) certification. I'm assuming it covers more typical us construction techniques and materials. I would immediately go for the PHIUS, but it requires a 5-day in-person training as part of the certification which may be hard to swing. Does the international certification cater at all to specific regions or US building standards?

Wood Guy

From what I understand, WUFI Passive, the energy modeling program that PHIUS uses has a graphic interface and is more user-friendly, especially for visually oriented people, than the PHPP, which is a giant spreadsheet with many data inputs and many opportunities for error. The PHPP is metric-based; there is an alternate version that uses IP units instead of metric but it can be clunky. Plus WUFI provides hygrothermal analysis of assemblies, useful and likely to be important in high performance buildings where moisture accumulation is more likely to cause problems than it is in typical, crappy buildings.

PHIUS was the first to launch climate-specific requirements, but PHI now has something along those lines as well, but I'm not up to date as it's a newer feature.

My personal issue with PHIUS is that they took the name of a program created by someone else and put together their own, similar but different program, but kept the same name. I find it that to be morally wrong and it has caused a lot of confusion in the market.

bowling_ball

In about a decade of practice, not one single client has even asked about LEED, never mind requested it as a certification. I've managed about $200M in built work over that time. Nobody really cares.

Nov 8, 19 9:46 pm
RickB-Astoria

I have. However, when it comes to colleges and universities and similar type projects, I've heard more of project clients in these sectors looking at LEED. This push for LEED has somewhat diminished some in the last 5 or so years because the base line code requirements are already getting there and the benefits of LEED certification of buildings have been somewhat diminished. I have heard it once with a residential client but the benefits were not really there or needed for such a project. If you are getting some kind of money kickback or whatever like a sizable energy credit or whatever like from the Energy Trust of Oregon then yeah... clients would seek it more but this has been more with non-residential projects. The biggest gain they get is often in long term reduction of cost in terms of utility bills. We know they will go up over time but an 80-90% reduction of the electrical bill and over 50% reduction of the natural gas bill and all that usually makes up for what may be a little higher initial cost of construction work per sq.ft. and even the cost of the whole project can be paid off in terms of savings in a couple decades easily. It might not make much sense if you are a 5-10 year tenant in which case, it is likely better to rent then to own. However, I think some clients aren't worried about the complete ROI to them but maybe the benefit to the environment in the long run. Sometimes, you have to ask if building a new building or renovating with sustainability in mind is the best solution.

BulgarBlogger

Probablys ome corporate or retail clients who only care about their branding... residential domestic and international highrise developers don't care much either.

Volunteer

"JPMorgan Chase announced today that it has achieved the highest possible rating, LEED® Platinum, from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for the renovation of its global headquarters at 270 Park Avenue in Manhattan, making it the world's largest renovation project to achieve Platinum ...Jan 18, 2012"

Then Jamie Dimond decided to tear it down. Mayor De Blasio and the AIA agreed. 

Nov 14, 19 7:37 am

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