How do Architecture firms view Construction experience?

So a quick background. I have a Bachelors of Architecture I receive in 2006. Things were going well after graduation as I worked with a civil engineer for about 8 months, then an architecture firm for about 1.5 years. Then I was laid off and spent the next three years struggling to find work.

Last year I finally found a job working for a construction company as a project assistant doing shop drawings, estimates and schedules. At this point in my life I feel like sticking to this and work my way to being a project manager.

I just turned 30, and part of me still wants to be an architect. If 2-3 years down the line I decide to get back into architecture, how would my experience be viewed? Would it limit me to doing construction work as opposed to design work?
Jun 13, 13 2:47 pm

Yes it will. You could become a Project Architect not a Architectural Designer. If you want to be a designer you will have to start at the bottom of the Architecture office being a Draftsman and hopefully they promote you to a designer after years of drafting. My advice stay in construction and when you decide you want a new job you can apply for Project Architect and Project Manager jobs at Architecture oriented firms. Or you can work at a Architecture and do this

Jun 13, 13 3:41 pm

Yes, most firms who have half a brain in their heads will appreciate this experience, especially since you've worked in an architecture firm too.  The construction experience will help you understand constructability, sequencing, and how much things cost.  How can that not be helpful?  Let me explain.  There are a few firms who are so high design, and boutique like, where they wouldn't be impressed. I've taken extra classes in this stuff and said firm wanted to know why.  It was also an alumni club of B.Archs. from the same school who had been together for an eternity so there was no advancement potential either.  Screw people who are that stupid.  Construction and architecture are simpatico.  And, like Anob said, it will be more valuable for the project architect role than for the designer role.  Also, you should log all your hours at your past employers, all of them, and slot them into your NCARB file for IDP.  If this construction company has an in-house architect, he, she, or they can sign off on a lot of categories.

Jun 13, 13 4:12 pm
I definetly see a value in what I'm doing as I've learned a lot over the past year on how things get done and how much it cost to build. My ultimate goal has always been to be able to design a project and be able to build it myself. But in order to be licensed, i obviously need to work with an architect.

I've managed to log in about a 1/3 of my IDP hours so far and I know some of the work I do now can also count.

But I guess I should first focus on what i do now and build on that....just curious as to the positions I would be able to attain considering a lack of real projects in my portfolio.
Jun 13, 13 4:59 pm

Come to my office! We always appreciate people that actually know how much a brick weights and what a control joint is as opposed to somebody that starts preaching about layers and xrefs!

Jun 13, 13 5:10 pm
Who do I send my resume too?!

I think once I have a good 3-4 years of solid experience I feel I will try and work at an architecture firm. That's if my interest hasn't faded.
Jun 13, 13 6:45 pm
What you are doing is actually more valuable than even the traditional intern route. Knock out your exams prior to leaving your current position and just leave IDP to complete at your next job. Firms will want to hire you with 3-4 of practical constriction experience. I would be very surprised if you have trouble making the jump back to "architecture."

I was in a deign role and have been transitioning to project mgmt. I can't see myself ever going back to being just a designer. Having total control is far more satisfying and it pays better too...
Jun 14, 13 12:04 am


Really good advice up above, LIT ...

Knocking out the exam and then filling in IDP forms is THE way to go, assuming the state or province admits prior to IDP completion.  Then, one just goes to work and codes their time sheet.  I remember the relief of getting that over with and not going to coffeehouses nightly with study materials.

I, too, agree that being a project architect is more interesting than solely being a designer, with more control over how the project runs and some input on design decisions and modifications.  Though we need those who excel at design are happy to do that side of the work almost exclusively.

Jun 14, 13 1:44 am
I plan to start taking my exams later this year. It definetly wouldn't hurt to get them out of the way now.

It amazes me how some of these project managers here dissect the plans we get from architects. I think in the end, it will make me a better architect to know about this stuff.
Jun 14, 13 2:18 pm

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