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Recently Licensed - Conversation with Boss

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RecentlyLicensed

As the title states, I recently obtained my license and contemplating when to have the conversation with boss regarding trajectory and compensation. I have my yearly review in a few months but don’t really want to wait that long. Looking for advice if I should wait for my review or how to bring it up. Thank you in advance.

 
Jul 20, 21 12:54 am
Non Sequitur

you should have started the conversation months before getting your license. Did your workload and responsibilities change once you got your license?

Jul 20, 21 6:45 am  · 
2  · 
Witty Banter

I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with waiting until after achieving licensure to start the conversation. A lot of young staff like to proclaim "I'm taking my tests" or "I'm getting licensed by ___" and for a variety of reasons it doesn't happen. Some employers may be numb to some of that and not put much stock into how close someone may be to finishing. It's also fair to remember that not all offices function the same. I can walk over to my employer and ask for a few minutes of his time, not every office has that. That being said I totally agree that workload and responsibilities is the conversation. If OP learned xyz through their licensure process and has either already applied that or feels more prepared to take on additional responsibilities that is what potentially makes them more valuable. The license itself may be nice for marketing or proposals but is fairly insignificant in most cases.

Jul 20, 21 9:46 am  · 
7  · 
square.

agree with the early conversation part, but i don't see the necessity for changing of responsibility and workloads for a raise- in plenty of other professions (teaching, for example), degrees and certifications come with an automatic increase in pay because of the individuals investment in self-learning and earning credentials. only in architecture would getting your license be seen as not enough.. what's the incentive then if you're working at an office?

Jul 20, 21 10:10 am  · 
2  · 
joseffischer

insignificant? supply and demand, responsibilities and workload be d**ned... if they can't supply him with the work he's ready to do, they can pay for an overqualified drafter they need or he will go to someone who better fits his duties.

Agree that the best time was months ago, but the 2nd best time is always now.


Jul 20, 21 2:59 pm  · 
 · 
Volunteer

If your relationship with your boss is so poor you can't drop some good-natured hints you should seek another job. 

Jul 20, 21 7:07 am  · 
 ·  1
b3tadine[sutures]

Good relationship = dropping hints? If the relationship is good, be direct.

Jul 20, 21 7:22 am  · 
2  · 
Volunteer

I fear the subtle gene was left off your genome.

Jul 20, 21 9:02 am  · 
 · 

Stop insulting is gnome. 

Jul 20, 21 10:12 am  · 
1  · 
ivanmillya

If your boss was your mentor (supervisor? Can't remember what it's called for IDP hours), then they're probably well aware of what you're going to be asking them after you've got your license. If they don't ask you to sit down and have a conversation about new responsibilities, expectations, and compensation, then they probably don't want to have that conversation at all. I'd be proactive about taking on more responsibility (if that's what you want; always start with how your license can add value to the firm and how you're eager to use it to help take a more leadership role, don't start with "I passed my tests, I want more money"), and if your boss doesn't want to set a time to talk about it, then start looking for another job.

Jul 20, 21 7:44 am  · 
2  · 
ivanmillya

On that note, you asking for higher compensation should only be linked to taking on a larger responsibility (and therefore liability) in the direction and work of the firm you work for. If you're being asked to sign and seal, you should get paid more. Marking redlines for juniors to complete a set, and dictating the design of work instead of just doing production? More $$$. If you're just expecting to do the same thing you were before you were licensed? Don't expect to get paid more than you already were.

Jul 20, 21 7:49 am  · 
4  ·  1
SlammingMiruvor

On the other hand, if OP is an effective employee and could get paid more, have more responsibility, or growth potential elsewhere, their firm will want to seriously consider providing more money or opportunities for them unless they're willing to let OP walk.

Jul 20, 21 9:26 am  · 
2  · 
RJ87

I'd reiterate the point others have made that you probably should have been mentioning it before hand, but that doesn't help you much now so its a moot point. I'd disagree with what others have said about taking on immediate additional responsibility. My advice would be regardless of if you take on additional responsibility or not ask for the raise on the grounds that you're now a licensed professional. Most folks never make it that far, so try to be rewarded for it. That said, it also depends on what you're making now. You can take a look at the AIA salary calculator as well as the Archinect survey. Assuming you're a new grad you'll probably be an "Architect Level I". You can also consider asking for things like a salaried position, NCARB dues, etc. Congrats on your licensure!

Jul 20, 21 9:16 am  · 
1  · 
RJ87

I say ask for the raise regardless for a few reasons. It's a big deal to get your license in a field where a large portion give up, but it's also a clear benchmark to try and leverage. Often times you'll be at the mercy of someone else to give you an opportunity to earn more money, this is a benchmark you cleared yourself that you should attempt to monetize.

Jul 20, 21 9:21 am  · 
1  · 
SlammingMiruvor

Yup, ask for a raise regardless, and if you don't get one, consider what a new job would look like. Whether or not your day-to-day responsibilities change, shit is changing for your boss(es). You're immediately more valuable from a marketing standpoint. Trust me when I say your firm will be advertising you as an Architect. Your firm's insurance policy premiums may be lowered, sometimes they're evaluated on a ratio of licensed/un-licensed staff. You also personally have higher expenses. Are you an AIA member? Have fun with that additional hit. You have yearly licensing costs now too.

Jul 20, 21 9:54 am  · 
3  · 
ivanmillya

Achieving licensure might signal that OP has the internal motivation to further their career, but the value and purpose of raises is different for (typically wage-based) license candidates vs (typically salaried) professionals. License candidates get raises as incentive to stay and invest in becoming a licensed asset for the firm, and usually based on "I've gotten faster at producing wall sections" or "I can do a preliminary code analysis myself now", which are great. But licensed professional raises are (in my experience) based entirely on the value you add to a firm's portfolio. Things like "I can run this entire project now" or "I have an expertise in building code / accessibility / preservation laws / [whatever the specialty is]." If someone can't provide additional value (or at least show that they have the resources / knowledge set available to do so) beyond what they were able to do as an intern, it doesn't seem to me like they should be getting a pay increase simply because they got a license number.

Jul 20, 21 10:07 am  · 
 · 
RJ87

I agree with them being different tracks. But my point is he is moving from the "(typically wage-based) license candidates" to the "(typically salaried) professionals" track. That's a perfect opportunity to ask for a raise, because like you said they just became a "licensed asset for the firm". Becoming a licensed professional should have it's rewards in my opinion.

I'm not saying unload a brinks truck in his driveway either. But at least pay him the threshold standard for a licensed professional, which if you trust the AIA is somewhere around 65k (depending on your market).

Jul 20, 21 10:37 am  · 
 · 
RJ87

I also may be skewed by my opinion that everyone should aim to be licensed & my very positive experience with asking my employer for things when I received mine. I asked for a 20% raise & a salaried position on the grounds that I was now a licensed professional. They 100% agreed. I saw an opportunity to ask for more so I asked for them to pay for my AIA dues, NCARB dues, NCARB certificate, and any costs associated with future CE. Somehow got that too, but that's a rare case.

Jul 20, 21 10:55 am  · 
 · 

ivanmillya - I disagree with your view. Being a licensed professional adds additional value to the the firm simply from the increased marketing potential. In addition a licensed professional is billed at a higher rate. These things alone make a pay increase viable.

Jul 20, 21 10:55 am  · 
4  ·  1
ivanmillya

Chad - Marketing potential can heavily be based on the size of the firm. If you work in a solo practitioner's office (esp. one that has like 4-6 employees), getting your license isn't enough in itself to justify a substantial pay raise, if the owner is the only one designing and stamping. In that world, you getting your license is definitely a signal that you are more useful, but asking for the raise without laying out some sort of plan for how your license is beneficial to the firm's goals just doesn't work any more than trying to get a raise because "I have more bills to pay now that I'm out of school".

Granted, I personally haven't experienced working in large firms with multiple departments so I'm sure it's entirely a different mentality.

Jul 20, 21 11:34 am  · 
 ·  1
square.

and this is why there is a correlation with these types firms also being toxic.. signaling that your employees have no additional value after completing idp and 6(+) exams while simultaneously demanding that they also do more work, better, is only beneficial to the employer. i'd run from this type of atmosphere.

Jul 20, 21 11:41 am  · 
7  · 
RJ87

Ivanmillya- Like Chad mentioned that cost is transferred to the client because the billable rate likely goes up. My hourly rate went from $135 to $175 the day my license popped up. More than covered the raise within a 15 person firm.

 Square - Agreed. It's also indicative of the profession that licensure isn't always an expectation.

Jul 20, 21 11:45 am  · 
2  · 
SneakyPete

The whole upwardly crawling rat fight being described is disgusting. If someone is an excellent employee and does what they say they want to do and has no interest in what some arbitrary asshole decided was "above" that we stop giving them raises? Even if they keep learning how to do that role better? Get the fuck out of here. If forms call people juniors, they should get treated like the elitist pricks they are. Call people intern and get told they're assholes. If I have an amazing project architect who keeps on learning how to put a building together better, why the fuck would I make them a project manager so they could just quit a year later because they don't get to do what they're passionate about? Such a self defeating profession. 

Jul 20, 21 11:48 am  · 
5  · 
SneakyPete

Billable rate is a cop out that many of the firms use, but that's because they don't want to put in the time to tailor their budgets to the team they have. They could leverage lower bill rates to make a better project and negotiate a better percentage with some creativity. Or just bill someone at a higher rate based on their actual importance to getting the project done (the "junior" who did the concept model, made lots of decisions as they did, and created the renderings that got the project approved) instead of a title structure that is totally ignorant of the actual importance of the people involved vis-a-vis the ARCHITECTURE.

Jul 20, 21 12:02 pm  · 
2  · 
square.

100% sp- the "inevitable project manager" is an incredibly restrictive model that both sucks talent from where it should be and also makes people miserable in positions where they don't fit best. i'd personally like to see some people with real management skills/degrees in these roles, not simply ending up there because a bad boss demanded it and gave little thought to firm structure.

Jul 20, 21 1:58 pm  · 
2  · 

ivanmillya - Those are good points. I will add that your value in marketing depends a lot on your past experience and portfolio. I worked in a six person when I received my license. I was given a $3k bonus and a 10% raise. The bonus was to reimburse me for the costs of my exams and study material. The thing is I had already passed six of my seven exams when I started working for that firm. It's all about how much the firm values your contributions and recognizes the dedication it takes to become licensed.

Jul 20, 21 2:29 pm  · 
4  · 

Ricky - be careful. You're stating legal things that are not true. 

Jul 20, 21 3:33 pm  · 
2  · 
ivanmillya

Chad - Granted, when I got licensed, I did get a similar raise & bonus (bonus was to reimburse the costs of exams; study materials weren't covered sadly), working at the time for a firm of 8 or so. But the conversation attached to the raise was essentially that my raise was on the expectation of providing a larger value to the work of the firm (i.e. we're giving you a raise because as a licensed professional we're anticipating you being able to take on projects with more / full autonomy, not so you can keep doing CAD redlines by one of the partners). When I got my license, the expectation was to explore and find some niche in the profession that I could fill in service of the firm (code expert, energy efficient construction detailing, bringing in new client work, etc.etc.). The point of it all was that my raise was no longer attached to simply being better at doing production work, but instead based on additional value that the new architect can provide to the workplace.

Jul 20, 21 3:46 pm  · 
 · 
square.

almost all of it. you would never be sued as an individual unless you did something completely, grossly negligent (maybe not even then). 99% of instances the company is liable, not the individual.. that's the whole reason pllc etc exist. also, you do not take on any extra liability when you become licensed if you've already been operating under a licensed architect- that only happens if you stamp something, which is why you should never do that unless you are working on your own. then, and only if you are a sole-proprietor, would you individually be held liable. but again, this is why on the exams (if you had studied them) the point is hammered home that some form of corporation is best practice for these exact reason, so that the company is sued and held liable, not the person.

Jul 20, 21 4:14 pm  · 
 · 
square.

ivan- i still find this an incredibly toxic and manipulative practice. again, i'll point to teachers- when they get a masters or some other credential, they receive a pay raise not with the expectation that they will take on extra work, or change their job structure, but because what they just spent time investing in, themselves, will make them better at what they are currently doing. it's difficult in my mind to argue that that is not bringing more value to the workplace.

but again, this is just another way in which architecture has something completely ass backwards, putting the onus on employees far beyond what is healthy or reasonable. i'm thankful the office i work for doesn't operate this way.

Jul 20, 21 4:18 pm  · 
 · 
ivanmillya

Square - I'm inclined to agree with you that it is generally manipulative. The process of studying for and completing the hours & exams do tend to raise one's skill level. I'm just speaking from my own experience, that, depending on the firm size / culture, the best way to approach the conversation of money is to talk about value propositions. If I were to open my own practice (as I might do in the future), conversations would be about actual concrete (no pun intended) value already provided to the firm instead of that.

Jul 20, 21 4:25 pm  · 
2  · 
ivanmillya

Rick- You know, the Amber Book ARE prep helps explain how liability works pretty well, you might wanna go get a copy of it...

Jul 20, 21 4:38 pm  · 
2  · 
ivanmillya

Prof. Liability insurance covers firms and their employees. Typically they are written to cover specific license numbers (as I understand it; could be way off base about this), which is why a lot of smaller firms only have one (typically the firm owner) AoR even with multiple licensed professionals on staff. See what Square said above.

Jul 20, 21 4:57 pm  · 
1  · 
proto

https://bfy.tw/RJhS

Jul 20, 21 5:32 pm  · 
2  · 
SneakyPete

As usual Rick derails a topic into his own personal version of this:


Jul 20, 21 5:41 pm  · 
4  · 
square.

rick, you are wrong. one of the most helpful and wide-used resources for the ARE (again, you would know all of this if you actually were studying for the exams) is a series of lectures from a construction lawyer who knows the aia contracts/building industry inside and out, and they contradict everything you are saying via actual, real life cases. you should do yourself a favor and listen to these instead of the "very real lawyers" you consult.

https://www.schiffhardin.com/T...

Jul 20, 21 5:53 pm  · 
1  · 
square.

these scenarios are so inane and absurd, the amount of hoops you're jumping through to make "a point" proves how much so.

here's a question for you: how often are architects sued, and more importantly, what percentage of employees of architects have been sued? the answer will tell you that you are making quite the mountain out of a molehill- sure, getting your license could hypothetically in some ridiculous scenario open you up to litigation (as could many activities that come with being a professional in any setting....), but it's such an incredibly rare occurrence that it's really something the average person shouldn't worry about, at all.

Jul 21, 21 10:37 am  · 
2  · 

That is a bit wall-o-text Rick. I'm not reading that.

Jul 21, 21 11:03 am  · 
5  · 

Just Chad?

Jul 21, 21 1:41 pm  · 
5  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

How did a question about a raise...oh. Good god. I can't wait to die.

Jul 21, 21 3:27 pm  · 
2  · 
square.

a bit on me.. but seemed important to call someone out who was offering advice about being licensed while being neither in architecture, nor being licensed themselves (i am, btw).

Jul 21, 21 3:34 pm  · 
 · 

This thread has been thoroughly balkinized...

... Rick, you can stop now.

Jul 21, 21 6:41 pm  · 
4  · 
RecentlyLicensed

I’d like to thank everyone to contributing their input and experience. To give a little more background - I have about 8 years of experience and was recently given the opportunity to take on more responsibility before passing my last exam. I know a raise is coming at my review, but that wont’ be until the end of the year.  I am trying to strategize how my licenses affects the raise. I don’t foresee getting two raises, if I were to bring it up sooner.

One discussion brought up was the title of Project Manager. I have PM experience at other firms but just joined this company a few years ago. I am working my way to prove myself as a PM, hence the recent opportunity in responsibility. I did bring up that I was taking my exams and would soon be licensed during my interview, but as someone mentioned, my boss has probably heard that before. 

Coming back to the title of PM, we do have Project Architects in the office. I am still not clear how the roles are defined at the office, but this is a great discussion point to have and see which best fits my newly gained responsibility and license. 

Jul 21, 21 4:02 am  · 
1  · 

Looks like you have enough to think about, but I'll share my experience from asking for a raise at one office (large international firm) before the scheduled review time. 

The leadership simply said they didn't do raises outside of the scheduled time, and that we could discuss it later. No, my ask wasn't in relation to just getting licensed, but it was in relation to increased role and responsibility that I was about to take on. I wanted some assurance if I took on this role that my compensation would be adjusted accordingly, but they wouldn't even discuss it with me (though they were happy to discuss the added responsibility I'd need to take on). That ended up being one piece of many that led to me leaving that firm shortly thereafter and getting the job I have now. More details over in one of my posts on Money Central if you're interested.

I'm not saying that needs to be your response if they tell you something similar. Like I said, this was just my experience and it was one item of many that led to me making the decision I did. Perhaps just be prepared to be told to wait if that's the office culture.

Also, because it's relevant, I finished my licensure process at that same office and waited something like 8-9 months to ask for a raise at the normal salary review time. I was also waiting for new AIA salary report numbers to use in my negotiations. If I had asked about it when I got licensed and was told to wait, I probably would have waited without issue (I ended up waiting anyway without being told). But my fundamental role and responsibility within the firm wasn't changing at that time. The firm did offer a bonus for licensure which I received at the time. I think it was $2k. My later raise was just under 20% (more on that in the comments). 

Good luck! Let us know how it works out for you.

Jul 21, 21 12:57 pm  · 
4  · 
Jay1122

when I got my license last month. My boss only promised an unknown amount of "bonus" at the end of the year when I was almost done with the exam a few months back. And I just negotiated a raise few months back because the salary is way too low. I did not get any "Architect" title either. Well project architect is the only title used in the firm. Apparently, it is reserved for the more "senior" level in their mind I assume. Anyway, It all depends on the firm. In my previous firm, anyone licensed will get promoted to title project architect immediately. Salary though, that is always a negotiation. Things like these, you have to talk to the upper management and see what they say.

Jul 22, 21 5:14 pm  · 
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SneakyPete

You are an architect. That's not something some asshole at the company you work for gets to dictate. Put it in your email signature right after your name.

Jul 22, 21 5:37 pm  · 
4  · 

Jay - you're an architect. It should be on your business cards and in your email signature. The term Project Architect isn't a title reserved for 'senior' staff.

In the firm I'm at once you're licensed the ascending titles are:  

Architect 1, 2, and 3

Project Architect

Senior Project Architect

Project Manager

Senior Project Manager

Director of Design

Principal

Jul 22, 21 7:00 pm  · 
 · 
SneakyPete

Bugs me that PM and SPM are "above" PA and SPA.

Jul 22, 21 7:26 pm  · 
2  · 
Non Sequitur

I don’t write out “architect” in my email signature or even on business cards.

Jul 22, 21 8:08 pm  · 
2  · 
SneakyPete

I use RA.

Jul 23, 21 1:14 am  · 
 · 
Jay1122

I am referring to job position titles. I just feel when one is licensed, they should have a job title with "architect" instead of "designer", "associate", "job captain", or whatever titles made up for the equally experienced but not licensed. Of course, there is no right or wrong. Every firm is different.

Jul 23, 21 9:53 am  · 
1  · 

NS - is not using 'architect' on your signature or business cards a Canadian thing? I haven't seen that used a lot in the states.

Jul 23, 21 10:10 am  · 
 · 

Sneaky - In the list above it's really just about tracking experience. Almost everyone is doing some type of project management in our small office. To be fair though, PM's have typically been above PA's because of having to manage staff and profitability.

Jul 23, 21 10:18 am  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

^Chad... no, it's a humble thing from my pov. The clients know who I am and most formal correspondence has my name with "architect" listed in the letterhead so no need to slap it in my email signature. The licencing letters are enough (OAA, OAQ, MRAIC). I find it's the other disciplines (Int Designers, arch techs, interns) that add labels to their signatures.  Same thing with degree letters... nobody got time for that.

Jul 23, 21 10:29 am  · 
 · 

We have it as part of our template signature in emails along with our logo. No typing required.

Jul 23, 21 11:43 am  · 
 · 
randomised

I don’t have any titles in my work signature either, just my name and the office name and particulars.

Jul 23, 21 1:08 pm  · 
 · 

Our email signatures just indicate our name, any promotion/titled position (associate, senior associate, associate principal, principal partner, etc.) and post-nominals that might indicate licensed status (AIA, RA, NCARB, etc.). We don't actually spell out "Architect" or "Designer" or even "Project Architect" or "Project Manager" on our email sigs. Business cards are the same.

Only people with specific titles or positions in their signatures or cards are those with specific firmwide leadership positions of "Director of ________." Not even the managing partners are indicated as such.

Jul 23, 21 1:16 pm  · 
 · 
sillybilly

Employer here. I just cover their exam costs and their AIA membership fees. But I never gave a raise just because any of my staff got a license. Since I'm the only person who stamps drawings and the insurance covers me. None of their responsibilities change. I operate a pretty flat office so there isn't that much hierarchy in people take on a lot of responsibility from the very start.


I'm not sure why people think they're going to get a raise in the same firm they're working for, once they get their license. They are the exact same person they were before they got the license. It's not like you miraculously become smarter the second after you see your "pass." If your experience has been relatively the same, then your value will stay the same.


Your best approach is to apply to a new office to get higher pay.

Aug 27, 21 2:57 am  · 
2  ·  3
b3tadine[sutures]

Well, that certainly sounds like a great office to work for; no real incentive to grow, and every incentive to move on to a firm that values growth.

Aug 27, 21 3:59 am  · 
4  ·  1
ivanmillya

"It's not like you miraculously become smarter the second after you see your 'pass'"

Aug 27, 21 7:46 am  · 
 · 
ivanmillya

Meant to edit...I'm gonna walk back my previous points in this thread a bit...Billy, do you tell your staff when you hire them that you'll never respect them as professionals when they get licensed, or do you wait until they go through all the hours and exams first?

Aug 27, 21 7:56 am  · 
3  · 
joseffischer

I like to think that Billy is truly progressive and has been paying his non-licensed staff above market the entire time because he recognized their skill level within, even if they didn't have a piece of paper recognizing it. Surely the truly uninitiated first hires start with lower pay but if you survive at Billy's sink or swim firm after the first year, he doubles your salary, no matter your future licensing and career plans.

Aug 27, 21 10:05 am  · 
1  · 
ivanmillya

Hm! Maybe if I started at Billy's firm, I could have had a jump from 15k salary to 30! Double salary is double salary, am I right?

Aug 27, 21 10:39 am  · 
 · 
joseffischer

I'm sorry, when were you a first year intern at 15k?

Aug 27, 21 11:14 am  · 
 · 
ivanmillya

Never, it was a joke. However, my first year out of school, I did make a pretty low pay ($16 an hour starting out in a small firm in NYC), but moving firms after a year drastically increased that pay.

Aug 27, 21 12:10 pm  · 
 · 
sillybilly

I am not sure what is so hard to understand about my post. Or why people are so triggered. I always run my office with little hierarchy. My staff receive full experience from start to finish. They gain full indepdence at an early start compared to their counterparts who are pigeonholed and barely receive any autonomy in the design process because they have power hungry principals who want full design control. I always give yearly raises and new year bonuses. I do not need licensed staff. I need competent staff. The licensure is just an exam. Being a licensed architect does not make you a better practicing architect, especially if you have already been looking through building and zoning codes, dealing with the permit process, presenting with clients and the city, understanding how to operate during CA, and understand billing. I am courteous enough to cover their AIA costs in addition to their yearly and new year raises and bonuses. I don't need to cover their AIA costs, but I do anyway because I understand how we have perpetuated this absurd credentialism culture. Just read your own comment. You connect respect with licensure. I respect all of my staff and make sure they recieve the professional goals they desire within my practice. Majority of my staff just want to design. They hate the permitting process which is why we now utilize a permit expediter and a code consultant to save more time for design. When I apply for public projects in the RFP and RFQ process, I make sure my staff get the adequate experience they need to look good on paper so that we have a higher likelihood of winning the project. Them being licensed is barely any help for my practice although it may be a personal help for them in the future.

Sep 4, 21 6:43 pm  · 
 ·  1
curtkram

silly, calling your staff "architect" instead of any non-architect surely will make them look better on paper when applying for an rfp or rfq? aside from that, does the licensed v unlicensed make-up of your firm have an impact on liability insurance, or do they even know/ care about who is or is not licensed?

Sep 4, 21 9:56 pm  · 
2  · 
sillybilly

I am the "Architect." I am the one legally bound. I am the one liable for my staff's mistakes. My licensed staff do not stamp the drawings, I do. RFP and RFQ's for public projects demand particular experience for project types. An unlicensed staff member with 5 years of experience working on public schools for an RFQ for a Public School project is more valuable than a licensed architect with 3 years of experience with no public school project experience. I have hired applicants with 3 years of solid ground-up experience over licensed architects with 8 years of fragmented experience because the applicant with 3 years of experience had consistent design, client, programming, permitting, and CA experience, compared some of my Licensed applicants who had fragmented experiences and have never presented to a client before, mostly due to the fact that they worked for a very top-down hierarchy where the principal or PM did the presentations and the junior staff at best just tagged along but stayed quiet. When I interview applicants, I put 3 of our typical shop drawing submittal sets (Steel, PT Concrete, and Light Gauge Steel Framing) in front of them and ask if they know what they're looking at. Time and time again, it's the applicants who have had consistent experience and stayed with one or two prior firms that I hire, licensed or unlicensed. I am not going to hire or pay a licensed architect more money if they do not know how to read structural steel shop drawing or PT slab sets because they pigeonholed themselves or jumped around from office to office. You would be surprised at how many "architects" with 5, 6, 7, 10 of claimed experience but only know how to work in one or two construction types are absolutely dumbfounded when I show them a 500 page set structural steel shop drawing set for a public charter school. My pay is commensurate with experience. Simple as that. Real experience. Not number of years. Again, someone who was part of the entire process of a ground up project, for 3 or 4 projects, is more valuable to me than a licensed applicant who has jumped around office to office with fragmented information and is only know gaining confidence in working by themselves. To the comment below me asking if I would work with an unlicensed doctor. We work with them all the time. They're called Physician Assistants. They save lives, too. We automatically assume that an MD means they are absolutely qualified. I would rather work with a PA who has impeccable bedside manner over an MD with horrible bedside manner. The MD and Law profession does not have nearly as much oversight as an architect. And the MD is heavily based on experience just as it is based on examinations. If you want to discuss further how the architectural path is not nearly the same as as doctor's or lawyers, I would love it. My family members are doctors and lawyers (Cardiologist, Critical Care Pulmonologists, and Corporate Law). I can easily show you how different the paths are and why architecture and its licensure is inflated credentialism. Just scroll above and read how some people are complaining about email signature titles. Yeah - like that's the major issue in architecture. We have bigger issues. Like fair pay. My staff ONLY work 8-9 hours MAX. I do not allow anyone to stay later in the office. I only take 4 projects/year. I only take on schedules that are manageable. My staff have lives out of the office. They have fun designing. I keep track of my staff members when they do quit and move on. They typically go 3 routes. 1 - They go to a starchitects office and get a pay CUT. Our office is design heavy, but we also do a lot of CA and permitting. The staff who love to design hate the permitting and CA submittals, but they love to design. So they go the international route, mainly Europe because of better social safety nets. 2 - Others go corporate because they want lesser responsibility but more pay. They want more specialized tasks. 3 Finally, others move laterally into XR/VR/UI/UX.

Sep 5, 21 12:42 am  · 
2  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

Tldr. Yawn. We get it Howard, all power flows from the divinity of your beneficence. All bow to your awesome skills of being the sole person responsible. 

You're a literal definition of what this profession needs to move away from in order to survive.

You're a dinosaur, and you don't see the asteroid coming.

Sep 5, 21 10:56 am  · 
2  · 
Non Sequitur

I'm not really going to read silly's rants... I know what it says without reading past the 3rd sentence but Silly, you must then have a salary cap for each of your staff if you operate in such a heavy top down fashion. Is you staff aware of when they are at a salary plateau?

Sep 5, 21 11:12 am  · 
2  · 
Wood Guy

Sillybilly, you sound like the kind of employer I would want to have, or be. A few line breaks would help. Type

to get one.

Sep 5, 21 11:18 am  · 
 · 
sillybilly

Sorry, this is my first time using this platform. I will use the comment below button for line breaks. 

Sep 5, 21 11:45 am  · 
 · 
joseffischer

this was a good read... Sadly, without actual location and salary ranges, I don't have the full picture. Like I said before, Billy may be on the up and up, pay accordingly for his top talent, and is just able to keep such a tight ship that he's still profitable, even with top-heavy staff.

Sep 7, 21 10:27 am  · 
 · 
trimtab28

I understand this from a pragmatic standpoint and have known plenty of offices with that attitude. That said, that is an excellent attitude to have if you want staff to leave. A lot of places will offer more money for the credential, even if the person isn't magically smarter overnight or stamping drawings themselves. Realistically, someone with "AIA" at the end of their name is going to command a higher salary than unlicensed staff, even if their tasks are the same. All things equal in terms of years work experience and even day to day tasks, there is a body of knowledge someone licensed will have simply by dint of the process of getting licensed that a regular designer wouldn't. I mean, would you rather have a paralegal or a newly minted lawyer write you a contract if they've both been out of school for 5 years?

Jun 25, 22 5:22 pm  · 
 · 
trimtab28

I understand this from a pragmatic standpoint and have known plenty of offices with that attitude. That said, that is an excellent attitude to have if you want staff to leave. A lot of places will offer more money for the credential, even if the person isn't magically smarter overnight or stamping drawings themselves. Realistically, someone with "AIA" at the end of their name is going to command a higher salary than unlicensed staff, even if their tasks are the same. All things equal in terms of years work experience and even day to day tasks, there is a body of knowledge someone licensed will have simply by dint of the process of getting licensed that a regular designer wouldn't. I mean, would you rather have a paralegal or a newly minted lawyer write you a contract if they've both been out of school for 5 years?

Jun 25, 22 5:22 pm  · 
 · 
OldJason

Makes perfect sense. But as a person who is working towards licensure, I also get the feeling of wanting a raise for achieving it.

I am both half way through exams and hours on my AXP, but no way I would be able to carry a project from beginning to end with high competancy in a year, when I would probably finished with the remaining half. When I first saw ~3700 hrs of AXP required, I thought it was absurd. But now I think it is the bare minimum.

A respected professor of mine who runs her own firm does give immediate raise after licensure as an incentive: incentive to get licensed in the first place and incentive to grow thereafter as well. She believed that licensed professionals would go further in their life-time careers compared to unlicensed ones.

Jun 28, 22 9:17 am  · 
 · 
,,,,

absurd credentialism culture


Ok, would you use the services of an unlicensed doctor, lawyer, pilot?

Sep 4, 21 8:47 pm  · 
2  · 
,,,,

A PA is a nationally certified and state-licensed medical professional.

Sep 5, 21 6:56 am  · 
 · 
sillybilly

You asked if I would go to an unlicensed doctor. A PA is not a doctor. They are a medical professional, but they are not doctors and must work UNDER the supervision of a doctor. They do not have as much autonomy as a doctor. They have less schooling than a doctor (2 years). They do not do residency like a doctor. This is like an architect with only an associates or 4 year degree, with half of the intern hours and takes an exam.

Sep 5, 21 9:48 am  · 
 · 
Wood Guy

I'm not licensed and don't even have an architecture degree but most of my architect friends tell me I have equivalent knowledge and experience. I know a few other designers with more skills, talent and experience than the vast majority of architects, and a lot of architects who shouldn't even be practicing, in my opinion.

That said, I often say, including to potential clients, that it's riskier to hire a designer than an architect--architects follow a time-tested process to help ensure that they know what they're doing, and though a designer (like me) may say they have equivalent knowledge, there is no third-party validation that they do.

The comparison to doctors is always funny--there are many levels of medical professionals, including MD, DO, PA, NP. There is a shortage of MDs (and architects) in my area so many have PAs or NPs for their primary care. Technically they are supposed to be working under an MD but at least around here that's on paper only; they don't actually do anything unless it's a special case. Naturopaths can even be effective, based on personal experience, though many are shysters.

Sep 5, 21 11:09 am  · 
1  · 
square.

the process, aka the complying with zoning and code, is what makes using architects less risky, not the fact that they have a license. in other words it is because architectural services (in more ways than design services) must comply with restrictive legal requirements that buildings are safe.. the license is a credential that has more to do with economics and supply than with safety.

Sep 5, 21 11:40 am  · 
2  · 
sillybilly

I don't want to belabor the PA / MD topic. But a PA CANNOT run their own practice. Period. No autonomy. That's a fact. A designer can. A designer, like John Pawson, like Heatherwick, like thousands of other designers (who are not licensed, btw) can run their own design practice. They obviously work with AORs. \

Sep 5, 21 12:24 pm  · 
 ·  1
tintt

I had an eye exam last week and it was only $100 for about an hour. I charge more than that. Quite a bit more. No comparison. ;)


Sep 5, 21 12:27 pm  · 
 · 
b3tadine[sutures]

$100 for 15 minutes = $400 hr?

Sep 5, 21 2:03 pm  · 
1  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

Many architects have only a four year degree, unless those that are practicing in Wisconsin are doing something wrong. Additionally, the exams are now given concurrently, while students are in school.

Sep 5, 21 2:05 pm  · 
 · 
Wood Guy

Square, I'm curious about your comment regarding architects complying with zoning and code. Again tooting my own horn on behalf of the non-licensed, I don't know anyone, including in the online forums I frequent here and elsewhere, who knows residential code or zoning regulations better than I do. I'm sure they exist, and I fully admit to knowing next to nothing about anything non-residential. But I don't understand how a license impacts learning about the building codes and zoning regulations.

Also, I retract my statement above--I don't think Silly is a boss I'd work for. Then again, neither is anyone else.

Sep 5, 21 4:44 pm  · 
1  · 
square.

wood guy, in some ways that's exactly what i mean- it's not the license that determines if buildings are safe and habitable, but the complying with zoning and codes that does.

non-licensed designers are kept from complying with certain codes because states require a license for a certain type of project, but at the end of the day it is the specific requirements of the code being complied with that matters most.

put another way, the license acts as a type of gate keeping, disallowing certain professionals from complying with certain ordinances. i think you could argue that this is a another form of compliance, but when you boil everything down to the simplest elements, again it comes down to code.

Sep 7, 21 8:35 am  · 
1  · 
joseffischer

I used to know the IRC inside and out. I used to also know the IPC enough to plumb my own house. This was back when I was doing that type of work over a decade ago. Part of my own understanding of an architect's responsibilities is the ability to pick up information they may no longer be intimately familiar with and be able to digest the issue in a timely enough manner to provide a solution for the team in question and still remain profitable. Another part is knowing when that is no longer the case and to advise for consultants. I can do a hardware set for schools. I guess I could also review a 500-page steel shop drawing set. Instead I only review like 50 pages of that and the rest goes to my structural engineer. It's not my responsibility and the job doesn't have the hours for it.

Sep 7, 21 10:33 am  · 
2  · 
Wood Guy

Square, understood, and re-reading your comment now it comes across differently.

Rick, I know about that group and my point is that third-party validation has nothing directly to do with whether you're a good designer or understand codes and ordinances. I have my own third party system--past clients, colleagues and the many articles I've written, and questions I answer on forums. You could call it free-market licensure. You shouldn't, but you could.

Sep 7, 21 6:24 pm  · 
1  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

The 500 sheet steel shop is meant to convey something, what I'm not sure. I've been at offices, doing school projects, and the steel shops - including the piece drawings - are not so daunting. The items I spent most of my time scrutinizing, were those drawings/pieces that were exposed to view. Like josef noted, that's what my structural engineer is supposed to review.

Sep 7, 21 6:43 pm  · 
 · 
sillybilly

It appears people have not read my "long rant" and clear assumptions are being made.

I do not run a "top-down" office. I run quite a horizontal office - the staff stay on projects from start to finish. They own the design. They talk to the clients. They coordinate with consultants. They are the ones at the OAC meetings. They are the ones on site. I don't jump my staff around from project to project. My staff learn how a project gets built. My staff understand how design intent moves from concept to reality. My goal is only to guide when needed and answer any questions. My job is to get more projects and make sure we do not get sued. 

Someone saying I am the "literal definition of what is wrong with the profession" is clearly just throwing around ad hominems and has not read anything I wrote. I explained how I run my practice. Can you please tell me how this is wrong? You cant. What's wrong with the profession is that many architects have wrong goals. They comply with horrible work hours and client schedules. We normalize staff coordinating between 15 different consultants and barely get paid for those services. Can you please point out any other profession where you have to coordinate between, Structural, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Civil, Geo Tech, Landscape, Dry Utility, Traffic, Wayfinding, Product Reps, Permitting, CA, Client presentations and barely make six figures with 5-7 years of schooling? You can't. Some of my staff who have transitioned to UI/UX and are making more than me. Architects think that making a lot of money and designing what you love are mutually exclusive. There's nothing wrong with making good money and designing. Finally, many principals do not realize that the best ideas do NOT come from the top. That's why my staff almost have full control over the projects they manage from start to finish. From programming to punchlist. So please, can you point out why I am the epitome of what's wrong with the profession? As I said before. No one in my offices works longer than 8 hours. It's an office policy. They have lives. I do not take on crazy schedules. I make sure we are compensated fairly from the client during CA since that's where the biggest losses take place in a typical practice. 

I am not sure how transparent some of your offices are, but If your principal does take on RFPs and RFQs, take a look at the titles some of your colleagues receive. The titles are fluid. Sometimes a staff is labeled as a Project Manager or Project Architect on one RFP but as a Designer on another RFP because each RFP/RFQ has different criteria. This is not new. This happens in almost any RFP/RFQ process in any profession. 

Even when it comes to billing. Sometimes staff are labelled as a project architect with a bill rate of $180/hr and on other projects they're labeled as a designer at $100/hr. My old principal used to do this. Your principal probably does this. Unless you're a partner or a principal in a corp office, no employee (unless you're a partner / principal in a large corp office) is making $180/hr strictly from architecture. 


Sep 5, 21 12:17 pm  · 
 · 
b3tadine[sutures]

"Can you please point out any other profession where you have to coordinate between, Structural, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Civil, Geo Tech, Landscape, Dry Utility, Traffic, Wayfinding, Product Reps, Permitting, CA, Client presentations and barely make six figures with 5-7 years of schooling?"

You literally defined what an architect does, who else would do this? A comparable anology would be Surgeons. They coordinate with anesthesiologists, surgical technicians, nurses, pharmacology, administration, insurance, product and drug reps, state boards, other professional bodies and patients. Can you tell me anyone else who can do that?


Sep 5, 21 1:35 pm  · 
 · 
b3tadine[sutures]

My biggest hang up with your particular attitude, is that you full well know, like all other licensed architects on this forum, the power the designation of Architect has outside of the practice, among the lay person. The ability to speak with a measure of authority, to be empowered to bring in new work, to connect with, or network in a way that the word designer does not carry.

Additionally, the way you represent your practice in the way you do, the use of "My" and "I" throughout, is certainly demonstration of Roark, and his singular genius.

But hey, maybe you don't want anyone else to bring in work, perhaps expanding the use of your plural pronouns is not something that you value.

Sep 5, 21 1:48 pm  · 
1  · 
square.

I run quite a horizontal office - the staff stay on projects from start to finish. They own the design. They talk to the clients. They coordinate with consultants. They are the ones at the OAC meetings. They are the ones on site.

the term "horizontal office" is always a cover for a strongly hierarchical office, a way for heavy-handed principals to claim their staff are highly involved when in reality the situation, like the one described above, is one in which staff do the majority of the work without things that would make the office truly horizontal: decision making in acquiring projects, involvement with business, ownership stake in the firm, ability to decide what and how they work on, etc. without these things, the reality is you're just too busy to control everything on your own.

to echo beta, all this is evinced in the fact that you refer them as "my" staff, a view of some type of ownership.

Sep 5, 21 2:46 pm  · 
2  · 
sillybilly

Other professions that deal with coordinating multiple disciplines are compensated far more than the typical architectural practice. You are looking at it in specifics. Yes, no other practice coordinates with said engineers, but what other practice coordinates with 15+ disciplines, with 5-7 years of schooling, 10 years of experience, but barely make 6 figures if that? None. Surgeons make well over $150K-$200K a year starting. They go from $60K fellowships to six figures. With less oversight compared to the architectural practice. Oh I see. So now you have a problem with the pronouns I use? That is the issue? You think I imbue Ayn Rand prime mover mentality, yet I clearly presented how MY staff (I am the one that hires and fires, I am the one that pays the staff at the end of the day) take ownership of the practice and how the best ideas do NOT come from the top? Did you miss that part? Your naivete is clearly evident by saying things like "You don't want anyone else to bring in work." I am not hiring staff to find clients and projects. You need to stop depending so much on useless titles.

John Pawson's first architectural project was with the Calvin Klein flagship in NYC. He was an architecture school drop out. Can you please tell me who the AOR was for that project? Zaha Hadid became known and got connections through her artwork. Not her architectural degree. Can you name some of her AOR on projects? Hiroshi Sugimoto is a professional photographer. Can you name the AOR that stamped his homes? Olafur Eliason is an Artist. Can you name the AOR who stamped his drawings? If anyone is caught up with the mystique of "architects" and "roarkian" archetypes - it's you. Just look at how you equate "The ability to speak with measure, connections, to network" with the title of "Architect." This isn't a movie. Your title alone ("Architect") is not going to get you jobs, networks, or connections. You have clearly bought into the hype. I am not saying do not get licensed. I am saying, getting licensed will not warrant MORE PAY if you do not have the experience and ideas behind that title. If you want to start your own practice and stamp your own drawings, or do international work, then yes, getting licensed is a necessity.

Sep 5, 21 2:51 pm  · 
 · 
square.

billy, other sane professions reward their members upon receiving credentials (e.g. teachers get automatic pay bumps with a masters) without the pathetic celebrity groveling. your view of architecture, and this part of the discipline, is extremely broke.

Sep 5, 21 2:55 pm  · 
1  · 
sillybilly

As I said in my original comment. I cover their exam costs and their AIA yearly fees. I give yearly raises and new year bonuses to ALL staff. Them passing an exam, when they have been doing the same work BEFORE the exam will not warrant them a higher salary than their unlicensed colleagues who do the SAME work. What's broken is thinking that licensure is definitive aspect of worth. It's not.

Sep 5, 21 3:11 pm  · 
 ·  1
b3tadine[sutures]

Are you an AIA firm?

Sep 5, 21 5:08 pm  · 
 · 
b3tadine[sutures]

You pay staff based on the labor of said staff. Let's dispense with the idea that you aren't making a profit off of the work and labor of "your" staff. Just curious, when you fail to bring in work to pay your staff, how do you resolve that? How much PPP did you get in 2020? How much did you cut back on the hours of "your" staff, and what pay cut did you take?


Sep 5, 21 5:13 pm  · 
2  · 
square.

not reading this.

Sep 7, 21 8:59 am  · 
4  · 
ivanmillya

Oh yeah Ricky, that's good. Let's all start referring to employees as property... I don't think this a hole you want to dig .

Sep 7, 21 2:21 pm  · 
1  · 
square.

once again he's completely missing the main gist of this conversation and making a mountain out of a molehill

Sep 7, 21 2:38 pm  · 
1  · 
sillybilly

the term "horizontal office" is always a cover for a strongly hierarchical office, a way for heavy-handed principals to claim their staff are highly involved when in reality the situation, like the one described above, is one in which staff do the majority of the work without things that would make the office truly horizontal: decision making in acquiring projects, involvement with business, ownership stake in the firm, ability to decide what and how they work on, etc. without these things, the reality is you're just too busy to control everything on your own.

This just shows clearly how you know nothing about running a practice. 

Principals are not going sit and wait if staff agree what projects they acquire. This is a fantasy.  If you as an employee do NOT like the project types of said office, then don't apply or work there. It's simple as that.  If all your staff are involved with trying to find projects, taking care of business interactions, deciding WHAT they work on, then they should open their own practice. These are qualities of someone who OWNS a practice. You are literally devoid of any semblance of reality.  This is what you're asking for:

decision making in acquiring projects, involvement with business, ownership stake in the firm, ability to decide what and how they work on, managing projects, designing, projects, drawing projects, doing CA, permitting, coordinating with consultants. 

Really? - and I am what's wrong with the profession? How do you expect to pay a staff member who puts on all those hats? A firm owner of 3 staff who does residential work will NOT care what their staff think of what residential projects/clients they acquire. They're not going to say to a client, "Wait, let me check with staff to see if they want to work on this project." Is this a joke? No wonder half of the comments in here are so triggered. You literally are thinking in such unrealistic terms. 

Keep arguing about email signature titles and wanting full ownership to do every single thing in a practice including deciding clients and project types (this one is a first I have ever heard), and decent working hours, and fair pay, and using plural pronouns. As I said before, architectural goals are way off the mark, and your comment clearly proves it. You're making such a big deal out of plural pronouns? I guarantee you half of the architectural practices you look up to and on this very platform glorify architectural practices that do not convey the team members (at best, only senior members).  

Sep 5, 21 3:06 pm  · 
 · 
square.

my response was to your claim of a “horizontal” office; it’s not, it’s still hierarchical as you make the most important decisions and dictate various aspects. this is what having authority looks like (note i did not claim one was better than the other). at the end of the day you’re the one rambling through semi-incoherent paragraphs, arguing with a lot of things no one is saying. i’m sure you’re an absolute delight to work for.

Sep 5, 21 4:06 pm  · 
3  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

Silly, you have zero idea what is going on in the world.

A decent practice looks like this Julie Snow, or is that not high enough a profile for you?

Sep 5, 21 5:16 pm  · 
2  · 
sillybilly

Hilarious. Julie Snow? Her office (Yes, HER office, not their office...or is that too Roarkian for you?) does fantastic and meaningful work that we should all be proud of. But not all offices are comprised of 30 people. You can't pinpoint a "decent" practice since the culture of each office varies depending on quantity of staff, project types, and office structure. You can't compare the studio culture of a small residential practice of 4 people to a medium sized office of 30 that does institutional work to a corporate office that does skyscrapers. Believe it or not, there are offices out there that are more diverse than Snow's, where white people do not make up more than 80% of the employee demographic (like in Snow's practice 30 employees, 25 are white). Or is that too woke for you, I would hope not since you're making such a fuss over pronouns. You can keep replying, but I am done here. Good luck on your licensure process and I am excited for you that you are yearning to be respected and acknowledged only when you get licensed (your words, not mine).

Sep 6, 21 2:13 pm  · 
 · 
b3tadine[sutures]

Actually, Snow Kreilich, and the Kreilich was promoted from within. Try again.

Additionally, I'm licensed. Have been for 15 years.

You can keep moving the goal posts, but you're an asshole.

Sep 6, 21 2:16 pm  · 
 · 
b3tadine[sutures]

Since you've moved the goal posts, I'll move with them. Here's another practice, small, diverse both in talent, and in work, and manages to use "We" instead of "I". Latent Design.

Sep 6, 21 2:24 pm  · 
 · 
b3tadine[sutures]

It's good that you decided to troll anonymously. You went off topic in your first post, and you got owned, and self-owned in about every post. You. Are. A. Hack.

Sep 6, 21 2:26 pm  · 
1  · 
sillybilly

I don't know how to do line breaks. I just press "shift+enter" before I type anything. So apologies in advance. If you can tell me how to do line breaks I would deeply appreciate it. Our office mainly dose public charter schools which requires an RFQ and RFP process. Other than the final interviews, no architectural staff member would want to be part of the RFQ and RFP process - it's soul sucking, a waste of time, and beyond their scope of work - which is something that many commenters have failed to understand. That's why you hire a business administrator who can help you with that process and help you locate project bids. 

 Our typical charter school ranges from 40KSF - 100K SF. They are additions and renovations. Regardless of square footage, the majority of these projects take around 16-22 months to complete from programming to punch list. You always have to meet the August deadline before school starts. Hence why it's crucial to be honest about your experience as an applicant and why I show shop drawings of these projects to applicants. You mentioned how you just look at 15 pages in a steel shop drawing set. When it comes to much larger projects, you will coordinate a lot with structural and mechanical consultants with constant back fourth about beam alignments and penetrations in the shop drawings - and even then with quality assurance and BIM you will still miss something. I am not going to pay a licensed staff applicant who does not have any experience with steel construction more pay over an unlicensed applicant or employee who has obvious experience in steel construction. I did not say I would not hire, I am strictly talking about pay. 

 The other projects we complete are 1 or 2 SFR with a private developer. Those take around 12-14 months to complete and are at a much slower pace than the public charter schools. Since we work with a developer on these projects, they take their time on the schedule during the SD and DD phase. We staff 2 people on our residential projects and 3 people each on our public charter school projects. We have a total of 10 staff including my self. 9 out of the 10 are architectural staff and 1 helps me with the RFQ / RFPs and catching pertinent project on the county project bid. Once you start to acquire a good number of public projects, you are given priority to particular RFPs where you are always invited to bid on the RFP. Hence why it's incredibly important to have staff who are experienced and not pigeon holed into doing one thing so that you always look strong on the RFP (but according to some commenters here, that's just "code" for heavy handed hierarchy?) The licensure is a perk in MY scope of work, and as I mentioned before, an unlicensed staff member with 5 years of pertinent experience related to the RFP is much stronger than a licensed staff member without pertinent experience to the project type. Of course, a licensed staff member with years of experience related to the project type will look good - no doubt. But I have won RFP's with no licensed staff and I have lost RFP's with licensed staff and everything in between. 

 Our ONE charter school project helped keep our entire practice afloat during the start of the pandemic. I have not furloughed anyone. Also, unlike other practices and other corporations, I actually plan for security and collateral and have 9 months in advance to take care of payroll and overhead. Even the biggest corporations in the world with their greed pocketed all their internal investments and bail outs rather than planning in advance and helping their own staff. Half of these companies have 0 security whatsoever yet make billions of dollars each year and give themselves (CEOs) raises. Even if you look at some architects, I find it disheartening how some architect employers drive around 100+K cars and designer clothing, yet their staff are barely scraping by. My advice to any designer / architect who is not satisfied with their pay at their current office and their employer wont budge, to do 1 of 4 things: move to a practice that offers better pay, if your office has a strict hierarchy move up the hierarchy (and if that means getting licensed, then do it), start your own practice, or move laterally to another design profession with higher pay. Hopefully this answers your questions.

Sep 8, 21 10:14 pm  · 
 · 
Volunteer

The more people licensed the better in my opinion. What if the only principal winds up with COVID on a ventilator or in traction from a car accident? If Tom Brady gets carried off the field on a gurney Tampa Bay is not going into the stands to ask for replacements.  A reward and some recognition from the firm is a small price to pay for a back-up when it is needed.  

Sep 7, 21 2:27 pm  · 
2  · 
b3tadine[sutures]

Wow, we agree on something.

Sep 7, 21 6:39 pm  · 
 · 
sillybilly

Typically principals have their stamps digitally loaded on the servers for their staff to use. It's typical practice for staff (senior in some office hierarchies, PM, PA) to use the principal's stamp. If you're talking about what happens to the office when an owner is incapacitated, then that's a business question, not a licensure question . Typically when an owner of a company becomes incapacitated or near death, it defaults to how the business is structured and how transfer of ownership and assets are documented. It's not Atypical for the business to dissolve after assets and contracts have been distributed and completed. In larger practices there's typically a transfer clause. We automatically assume senior level staff would be up to the task to run a firm - think again. Many senior level staff JUST want to be that - senior level. They do not want to own an office. Running an office is non-stop work that even senior staff do not want to take on.

Sep 8, 21 10:30 pm  · 
 · 
Volunteer

So, if you are in the hospital in a coma your staff can use your 'digital' stamp? No legal problems possible there, no, none.

Sep 9, 21 7:50 am  · 
2  · 
ivanmillya

Yeah try telling your insurance company that unlicensed staff will be using your stamp without your supervision if you end up in the hospital, see how well that goes for you. As a licensed professional, my company's insurance policy would be skittish about me using the owner's stamp if they weren't in the office, because my name isn't on the policy. But keep using excuses to justify not treating your professional staff with the baseline of respect they deserve.

Sep 9, 21 7:52 am  · 
2  · 
sillybilly

It happens all the time. Happens in my office, at least. You make it sound like stamping drawings is this isolated event in the construction documents. Drawings should be checked throughout All phases. It would be ridiculous to only check drawings at the very end when you're about to stamp drawings for permit. Also, we typically submit our drawings for permit at 85% CD. 9 times out of 10 you are always going to get permit comments, where you have to review the drawings again. Even with multiple years of licensure you're still going to miss a lot of obvious code issues. A lot of glorification about the licensure and stamping drawings as if it's some type of holy event. You stamp drawings, you get reviewed and permit, you have to address the permit comments, then you have to send your revised drawings again, etc. If you're worried that you're going to miss something huge by having one of your staff members stamp your drawings and sent to permit, then you need to question your process of quality control and quality assurance when you're reviewing drawings from SD to CD.

Sep 9, 21 10:04 am  · 
 · 

I'm surprised that you think it's normal to receive so many comments on a city and / or permit submittal. You'll always receive some comments. However if you're getting comments on obvious code issues then you're either not doing your job or you are not good at your job. Possibly both.

On the topic of digitally stamping drawings.  We keep our digital stamps password protected.  When an architect wants to sign drawings they grab their stamp - modify the date - and save it into the appropriate pdf.  The stamp and the pdf is protected and locked.  You can't even take a screenshot of the stamp.  

Sep 9, 21 10:34 am  · 
4  · 
sillybilly

Yes, maybe for a 2000 square foot house. But when you're working on projects that are over 100,000 square feet you will either miss some code issues or permit reviewers will bring up new issues you haven't encountered. I have never been on a project both in my previous corporate experience and my own practice where we never had permit comments or so few of them in large scale projects.

My Staff use my stamp. Whether you want to protect it because of hacking, that's fine. End of the day you're going to have a printed copy either sent to the permit office and with the GC in the trailer could easily be photographed and scanned. If you're worried that your staff is going to take advantage of your stamp then you have bigger issues to worry about.

Sep 9, 21 11:33 am  · 
 · 

I work on 100,000 sf projects all the time, medical, educational, and civic. We're a 11 persons firm yet we don't have comments about obvious code issues that we've missed on a planning or permit set.

Protecting architectural stamps isn't about not trusting staff.  It's about protecting the firm and thus the architect.  

Sep 9, 21 12:58 pm  · 
5  · 
sillybilly

I HIGHLY doubt that a permit reviewer does not have comments or requesting clarifications about your door/hardware schedule (especially with electrified doors), plumbing fixture schedule, signage, switches, energy compliance sheets, (we must either be Leed platinum or net zero), detail call outs and wall fire ratings. Even 200+ plus office firms that only do TI always get back permit comments about both the most mundane things and particular items, I can bet real money that an office that does ground up work on very large scale projects (100k sf) are absolutely going to get back permit comments about very obvious things. But Both of us will disagree on what we deem as "obvious."

Sep 9, 21 4:55 pm  · 
 · 
square.

hey, billy boy, it’s ok to admit you’re wrong sometimes. why are you still here, arguing with every single person you encounter using a wall of text?

Sep 9, 21 5:04 pm  · 
2  · 

Billy - you can doubt all you want. We don't get comments about obvious code issues on our submittals. IE - exiting, fire ratings, ADA, energy code, health code, ect as it applies to the design and systems.  We know what we're doing.  

What do you consider to be obvious code issues?

All state and federal projects we do must meet LEED Silver.  Where are you that LEED Platinum or NetZero is required? 


Sep 9, 21 6:12 pm  · 
 · 

Posting this again in this thread as its effect seems to have worn off in the last month and a half ...

... Rick, you can stop now (again).

Sep 7, 21 3:18 pm  · 
4  · 
,,,,

This thread is a classic. It should be enshrined in the pantheon of archinect threads. The world's most enlightened employer and the world's finest legal mind dispensing wisdom for the ages.

Sep 7, 21 6:47 pm  · 
4  · 
gibbost

A recent study by AIA suggests 74% of firms offer some sort of pay increase after licensure.

https://www.architectmagazine.... 

Sep 8, 21 5:55 pm  · 
2  · 
flatroof

4 to 9% raise at firms fewer than 20 employees

1 to 4% at larger firm

Better to take your newly licensed behind to a new firm. 


Jun 28, 22 11:05 am  · 
 · 
bowling_ball

We just gave our most recent licensee a 15% raise, typical in our office. I know other firms may not give an increase. Most fall somewhere in the middle, I imagine.

Jun 28, 22 7:38 pm  · 
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