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Firm not Complying with Stay Home order: report them or not?

Threesleeve

I was curious as to what had become of a firm that was the subject of a thread here a year or so ago.  Upon googling them I discovered that they are still practicing, with a new name.  Their new website features several videos of their firm not only staying open but continuing to make site visits (with a camera person) and meeting with contractors, in violation of their county's order for non-essential businesses to close Architecture firms are not considered essential there, unless working on federal critical infrastructure projects.  This firm is working on private residential projects. 

This firm is in another state.  Is this none of my business, or if you knew about it would you report them?  The county has a form for reporting businesses that aren't complying with the order.  I would have to provide my name and contact info if i filled out the form.  If it were you would you do that, or would you figure this is not your concern?

 
May 13, 20 11:36 am
mightyaa

Double check;  I'm "essential" (housing and infrastructure)...  our firm does do residential repair design and oversight of repairs.  Which is a exception here.  So I've been working full time this whole time at the office.  There's basically no recourse; either I show up to work, or get fired just like before this all started. 

   

May 13, 20 12:10 pm  · 
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none of your business. stay focused on yourself.

May 13, 20 12:22 pm  · 
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Threesleeve

Yes, I understand that in some locations and on some projects architects are deemed essential.  The firm in question is in a location where the only architects who have been deemed essential are those specifically working on federal infrastructure projects. 

If they were merely working in their own office, I don't think I would care at all - though I'd still think they're a little stupid and tone-deaf for making videos of themselves doing that, when so many others are unable to work.  What concerns me are the videos they've made of themselves performing site visits, in close contact with others, on single-family residential projects.  The intent of the videos seems to be to publicize that they're staying open, and still making site visits.  There's the obvious health concern, both with the on-site contacts and with whatever other incidental contacts this entails in their travels.  There's also a certain unfairness about it, when most of their competitor firms are presumably heeding the order or at least being more discreet about it, while this firm is basically advertising "hey we're open!"

May 13, 20 12:25 pm  · 
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citizen

See Gregory's comment above.

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@Threesleve - what state is the firm in? Because it absolutely varies. Construction is considered "essential" in our state. Architects, who are required to help keep construction going, are 'essential' regardless of the work they're doing. We are allowed to make site visits and the contractors are allowed to work. I'm genuinely curious which state has shut down non-federal infrastructure only. I'm not paying that close attention but Boston was one of the only places I know where construction had been totally shut down.

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Threesleeve

Yes, I know it absolutely varies - I work in MA, and other states, and it's not at all consistent, even among the locations where my projects are located. I'd rather not say where this firm is, because it's not my goal to identify the firm here and it would probably be apparent to some based on past threads.

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Volunteer

Who gets to determine what is essential and what is non-essential? Like saying you can now walk on a California beach but you can't put down a beach towel and get some rays. Or the governor of Illinois, J.B. Pritzker, saying there can only be two people in their own boat even though five people from the same family usually go. Just idiocy. The country deserves better leadership than this. 

May 13, 20 12:55 pm  · 
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curtkram

mostly the mayor in my area

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Bench

This comment sounds less like you care about the actual question at hand and more like you just need to scream into the void about not getting to use your boat...

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thisisnotmyname

Confirm that they are non-essential and if so, turn 'em in.   There is a lot of bad behavior in architecture these days because people are willing to look the other way.

May 13, 20 3:08 pm  · 
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archanonymous

I've wondered about a similar issue with a few egregious examples of local "firms" promoting themselves as "architects" and pursuing building projects when the firm principals are not licensed architects.


Gregory, would you give the same advice in this case?

May 13, 20 3:22 pm  · 
1  · 

Different circumstance - if you're holding yourself out to be an architect but are not licensed to practice, then, absolutely, you've got to report that action.

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Threesleeve

Thanks all, for the different perspectives.  I do understand the mind your own business sentiment - though if this were a firm in a state where I'm licensed then I would be required by statutes to report this and it wouldn't be a question - it's only optional because I'm not licensed there.  It just seems knowingly sleazy on their part to be taking advantage of all the firms that are following the rules by promoting themselves as the only still-open option.  Also this is a firm with a shady past, which is why it was previously a topic of conversation here.  But I guess that's the problem of their local competitors to report, not me.  

May 13, 20 4:15 pm  · 
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citizen

It's always tempting to snitch.  And sometimes it's justified, though rarely, in my opinion.

If you're so concerned, rather than rat them out, why not just call them and point out your observation?  Then they're on notice and you've done your "civic duty" without the slimy feeling of having tattled.  Win-win.


May 13, 20 5:13 pm  · 
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Threesleeve

They don't need me to point out my observation - they're making it clear in their videos that they're aware that they're in violation of the law and they've made a conscious decision to try to profit by being the only one open and making site visits. They're working with a contractor who is taking the same position.

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citizen

So I'm curious then (not sarcastic, but serious)-- why the quandary?

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Threesleeve

I just wasn't sure whether I should be doing anything about it. What they're doing makes me angry both for the public health ramifications and because they're taking advantage of the situation financially when other firms there are hurt by it, but it's far removed enough from me that it may not need to be my problem. I was just wondering what others would do, if anything. There seem to be more on the side of mind my own business than on report it, so maybe that dispels guilt i would have had about not doing anything.

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citizen

You're right, that is a quandary-- compelling factors for both positions. My $0.02 says, when in doubt, don't. As you mention, it's likely that lots of folks closer-by are already aware and could say something. On the other hand, in a case where some harm is imminent and you're the only one who can help, that would justify saying something.

Part of my reluctance comes from shoe-on-the-other foot thinking.

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revolutionary poet

So....In (parts of) Russia you have to fill out a form on the internet, the authorities show-up if you're possibly approved and then let you out for whatever you need to do.

As citizen notes, if you're so concerned, presumably for Society and not just pissed off at someone who is not following the rules, then call the firm first. This is the US, freedom first, everything else thereafter...Freedom includes making stupid decisions.

May 13, 20 5:20 pm  · 
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CodesareFUN

I’m gonna report Balkins for pretending to be an architect. 

May 13, 20 7:47 pm  · 
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Grab your popcorn. Show is about to start.

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x-jla

Rick goes to Timbuktu to design a garage remodel.

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CodesareFUN

Do you use contracts written in crayon?

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sameolddoctor

Architecture as an essential business ... ahahahhahaha ... no wonder we are paid so well!

May 14, 20 12:51 am  · 
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midlander

inessential is usually better paid. actors and athletes vs firefighters or police officers. dermatology vs family practice.

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archi_dude

Mid you forgot the sales / marketing department vs. the actual technicians and engineers creating the product or implementing the service.

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mightyaa

Depends on the project. I'm working on repairs to 36 townhomes; started as a simple roof replacement, but substrate is rotted. We look, top truss cord is also rotted, plates have peeled, tons of mold. Age restricted community. So, do we tell them "good luck with that, we're shut down and recommend you find a hotel" or put together a repair plan and get it fixed up rapidly? And by "I", I mean I'm the PM, directing a PA, a structural engineer, a mechanical engineer (ventilation is the causation), and the GC and all their subs. And that is just a minor thing I'm doing. 

 Where it gets 'goofy' is either you are essential as a firm, or you aren't. It isn't determined by what task you are performing. So... mostly I'm writing reports; I can do that from home, except my firm is "essential" which gives my boss the ability to force us all to come to work. My belief is I could go out and do the 'essential' task like those townhomes, and stay at home for anything I don't have to be out and about for; but I don't make that call.

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archanonymous

For me this is the biggest issue - people are not making smart judgements about how they can best help out - no sense of collective responsibility or action. It's just "oh we're essential we are staying open" vs considering whether people actually need to come in. Or "government says I can go to the store and pickup food so i'm going to either pickup or deliver every meal and go to the grocery store like normal"

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In NYC under the EO from Cuomo, first it was like a handful of jobs were essential, but as time went on more and more items became essential.

mightyaa's story is an example of why that would happen. Lawyers or smart people get involved and go - this is a bigger problem now, how can we solve this? They call their lawmaker up, complain, lawmakers discuss, lawyers figure out jurisdictions and how to read the laws, we're asked to email basically the mayor's office, etc.. and boom your job is essential again.

I think what's important here, to understand how the USA works versus those more fascist countries (because you know that word is just thrown around for anybody these days) - with the law, navigating and challenging it in due process and fairly, it always provides you the freedom you may desire. It doesn't always work-out, sometimes its for unfair reasons (politically or media skewed the case), but often it's society countering your legal argument stating - what about us?

Once you get to really practicing architecture you get that I would suggest. In school its all theoretical, but do a few zoning hearings (simplest example here) and you will understand essentially what the USA is about "politically" (forget the news media version of politics...).

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