No chance at a decent grad school?

Hi, I'm a 3rd year undergrad pursuing the 4+2 path

My first two years of college were really bad... suffered with depression and didn't have it under control until the summer after my second year

My gpa is currently 2.5 (I failed one course - psychology)
I'm trying my best to raise it to a 3.0 but I'm already in my third year... 

I go to a relatively decent undergrad (UVA) so I really need to go to a graduate school that is on the same caliber if not higher (I actually would love to come back to UVA for grad school)

My plan was to work for 2-3 years before applying to graduate school but with a low gpa would anyone even hire me
I know that a strong portfolio is the selling point for everyone but how much does gpa account for and will graduate schools understand my situation with the depression and whatnot? Is it necessary to tell schools? 

Oct 21, 13 6:12 pm

I had a 2.444 after my second year...did great freshman year and bombed sophomore year. I was able to raise it to a 3.2 and was accepted to grad school with a generous aid package. I was deans list for every quarter after I got the "wake up call." It is possible but you have to be willing to change your entire approach to academics and get rid of any bad habits you may have picked up your first two years in the program. 

Change your approach to academics and the portfolio will follow suit. 

Oct 21, 13 6:22 pm
I recommend this for all students: focus on learning, not on grades. Oddly enough, grades will follow. It's also important to get to know your profs, as real people, not as people who are in between you and a grade. You will probably go to a 3.5 or above in your last semesters. Email me at punkmotorcycles (at) gmail and we can do a phone call to get you on track. GPA is important but grad school admission is a mix of GPA, GRE, portfolio, recs and essay.
Oct 21, 13 6:30 pm

An employer will rarely if ever ask for your GPA, they will mostly only care about your portfolio and resum, so in that regard I wouldn't worry. As for Grad schools almost none of them have a minimum, GPAs dont' tend to be a very good indicator and they aren't relied upon as a result. My undergrad didn't even give out GPAs, just a "Pass/Fail".

I wouldn't sweat it, and like gruen said, its way more important that you glean something from the course that is useful than it is to get good grades. I agree with their other points too... good relationships with professors can become some of the biggest assets you have upon graduating, whether they employ you themselves or refer you to their contacts.

Oct 21, 13 7:30 pm

^Most grad schools say 3.0 

It's not a hard minimum at any schools, but if you are too far below that it seems like a pretty tough obstacle.

Oct 21, 13 8:37 pm
On the fence

See about taking the psychology class again.  Some schools will allow you to take it, then ask to have the first time (the F) dropped from your record.  Ask a counsolor or admissions what their policy is.  Just a suggestion.

Oct 22, 13 2:13 pm

Remember, schools get your entire transcript when you apply. An admissions officer will see that even though you bombed the first two years of uni, you pulled yourself together and ended up doing well. I think this shows a certain characteristic that is desirable in a student... Admissions officers look to see if you are a good *student*, this doesn't mean you get the highest grades, but that you have a set of characteristics they find desirable and complimentary to the course.

Oct 22, 13 7:01 pm

First don't worry about jobs and GPA, however having some extracurricular activities that help someone realize who you are as a person, what your personality is like will be helpful. Graduate school prestige is not always going to help you, some schools only teach one kind of architecture, one philosophy and if you are not inclined to partake of the kool-aid then you will have a hard time. Chose schools you know you will be able to work on projects that you will enjoy.

Also take your portfolio and transcript to someone who is in the profession but is not an alum and ask for some advice, Not a job just an idea of what you have as strengths and weaknesses in and then go for programs that will help you improve your skills. Going to the same place you went to undergrad may not help you learn new ways of thinking and expose you to new ideas, so go for a change of scenery don't spend all of your time in one school.

As for grades you should do some digging and find the tutors and office hours, many universities have legions of free math and writing tutors waiting patiently in some dingy library conference room. They get federal and state funding and some private grants to be available for students who have trouble with essays math or other subjects. College education is a self directed endeavor, you have to reach out and grab it and work hard for it. This is not and should never become a sit-down and shut up up place of learning. The folks in your school all want you to succeed but you have to be able to ask for help and look for it in various places.

Receptionist and administrative assistants know a ton of secrets, where your professor has his lunch or breakfast, when their office hours are free and when and where tutors, who are probably on the department payroll that they manage, work.

Sep 3, 14 3:13 pm

Whether or not you can get in is hard to say. But what's more important is that you have some kind of plan to do better in graduate school. 

I know how crippling depression can be, and I understand that it can be incredibly difficult to figure out how to manage it, so I sincerely applaud you for having the courage to face it and right the ship. You need to really feel like you have a handle on it if you're going to succeed in a graduate program, though, so you should consider what will realistically be different about your approach.

You've got plenty of time to get your grades up. So like @gruen said, focus on learning, make school your top priority (as in, you're going to have to make some sacrifices, socially and otherwise), and if your portfolio is strong, you'll get into a good graduate program.

Sep 3, 14 3:31 pm

Cnn3ey, (Employer) – I can’t give you advice on grad school; I’ll leave it to the young-guns to advise you there. As a former employer I can say that I did look at GPA’s as a way to evaluate how you handled the affair. But it’s true that more is involved, I’ve said there are three things you need to getting-in at a firm: Talent-Marketability-Compatibility, you need all three today. At the start Talent is demonstrated in your portfolio designs, Marketability is showing the range of your ability to contribute out-of-the-box in SD, DD & CD’s…that’s what we sell – is that what you are selling? The third is probably most important today and that is Compatibility and unless you fit-in you’re not getting in.

I’m not a big fan of interrupting school for work then going back. Life gets in the way of that happening and you might not make it back. With a 2. something I think that you have more to do and prove before hitting the market.

Never tell anybody except you family about your bout with depression, it will never be understood. At this point I would seek out a psychologist (Life-Coach) to help you in finding your way and coping with this shit world. I can’t see you or smell you but confessing to depression is a strong clue that it can render you unemployable no matter your GPA. I have depression and have never found a cure but having someone to coach you can make all the difference.

Sep 3, 14 4:58 pm

"Never tell anybody except you family about your bout with depression, it will never be understood."

What a bunch of ignorant bullshit. This kind of logic perpetuates the antiquated stigma associated with depression, and you should be fucking ashamed of yourself.

Sep 4, 14 10:22 am

The point that Carrera is getting at is that a lot of people don't care or have the patience to listen or understand other people's depression simply because they have enough of it themselves to not want other people's "drama" in their lives. It is better to not try to get sympathy by those you don't know. They won't have the patience. That is what psychologists and family & very close friends are for. 

It is that people that you don't know closely like family or as close to one as it gets, just doesn't feel for your problems and simply don't give a sh-t nor will care to listen becase they don't want to feel depressed because after listening to someone's "sob" story. ( It's a known fact by empirical studies that no one wants to hang around people that are depressed because it ruins the "mood" ). 

It is best for those with depression to talk with those closest to them and knows them and professional licensed psychologist or counselor or so forth if necessary. At a school, a counselor for start and they might be able to direct you to a psychologist if necessary.

The thing is, it is being clear to the point that those who don't know you won't understand because they don't have the interest or patience to understand one's problem. They would just be trying to figure out how to get rid of you to someone. 

That is why the advice is still resounding with truth because people (especially those that are in our younger generations just doesn't have that empathic nature let alone patience.

Don't expect your working colleagues to care unless they are women because a majority of men are sympathetic and graceful as a warthog when it comes to emotions because the dominant values of American "male" culture is to bury your emotions as it is viewed as a sign of weakness to show emotions. Basic "gender culture" stuff. I understand it is not unique to U.S. but am speaking of U.S. dominant gender culture values and not other countries as they may vary. 

I will argue that where it is possible, seek family. Then closest friends that are as close as family before seeking those that are not family or as close as one is other than a professional psychologist or counselor (qualified in the subject area). Don't seek out any ol' joe on the street or necessarily your work colleagues because some of them might use your depression againsst you and get you canned or otherwise not promoted while they get promoted and you stagnate. Professional career advice, keep your emotional/depression issues outside the work place where possible and seek help through family or closest friends as close to you like family and psychologist/counselor where possible. 

There are manipulative people who will manipulate the situation for their own alterior motive and that doesn't help one's own situation.

Sep 4, 14 11:32 am

Word of advice, don't mention depression or any of those issues to the admissions department. They don't care to know that. The university has services for all students not just undergrad (unless it is a private college that you don't attend on campus or otherwise doesn't offer as they may at a public university as required by laws). If it is a public university, it will have the services. Many ivy league universities will also have counselors as well. Private institutions may not necessarily be all that caring about you. It depends.

Check the school/university as a whole and what kind of counseling services they have including if they have a psychologist on staff or if they have a contracted psychologist , who they are and then see about it. 

If you are trying to get admitted, don't tell them everything for why not to admit you just like a job interview. Don't tell your prospective employer, "I have this problem, that problem" and so on and so on. They'll just not hire you if they have applicants/interviewees that don't have (or doesn't say) they have these problems because they'll feel you too whiny and want someone they feel more comfortable around. After that is what the interview is about, do they feel comfortable around you.

When applying to a university, it is your first impression through your submitted portfolio and essays that they perceive you so you are sort of selling and marketing yourself as why they should admit you to their university/program.

Sep 4, 14 11:46 am

Richard, thank you that, I couldn’t have stated it any better.

I met up with an old HS buddy who is at Texas A&M and he heads up an entire department of psychologists. While a lot of it deals with substance issues, help is there and should be taken advantage of.

Here is an example of what can happen if you tell the wrong person: I hired a guy in his 40’s and part of the benefit package we offered included disability insurance. He filled out all the entry paperwork and we sent his stuff to our insurance carrier. A week or so later our insurance guy called and said he wanted to have a meeting with this guy about the disability insurance. I gave the employee time off to go. After the meeting the insurance guy called me and said that he learned by probing this guy that he had depression and was taking medication and that he wasn’t going to cover him and would also be deleting the life insurance from his package. He told me not to tell that he told me because he told the employee that the meeting was strictly confidential. What the F was I going to do with that?! I just told the employee that it was an age issue and he didn’t care…but here I was now walking around with this secret. Don’t think that this is isolated to this one insurance jerk, we had many carriers over the years and I often got calls from agents giving the down-low on health conditions of employees…telling me that my premiums were likely to go up. Don’t lecture me about it being illegal…it happens…what am I supposed to do shove their words back through the phone line? I never did anything with the information but here I was again carrying around another secret.

You might ask if this stuff affected my relationships with these employees….it did, I didn’t want it to, but it did.

Sep 4, 14 12:56 pm

"I go to a relatively decent undergrad (UVA) "

UVA is one of the best schools in the world.  Man if THAT is "relatively decent" for you, I'd hate to see what you say about the schools I went to.  :D

Sep 4, 14 3:33 pm

I think it's obvious that you shouldn't go around telling potential employers and people you don't know well about every problem you've ever had. That's not what I'm saying.

The suggestion that a person's depression should be kept as some kind of shameful secret only to be discussed with family is a disgusting relic of a bygone era. 

And more than likely this applicant is going to have to acknowledge (in the statement of purpose) why s/he didn't perform well early in college. Explaining that s/he went through a period of depression but sought treatment and has it under control is a completely valid answer to that question.

Though I guess I shouldn't be surprised that Richard Community College is jumping in to defend this asshole.

Sep 4, 14 3:58 pm

My advice would be to work for a few years and then to apply to a different school, not because of any depression issues but because you need to see how another school does things. In your case, unless you are made of money, that means Virginia Tech. Go down and talk with the students and profs there once you get a chance and let them know you are interested. I had a horrible undergraduate GPA but worked a few years and got in to a "public ivy" for grad school on the basis of my accomplishments after graduation. Honestly, my undergraduate school was better across the board even though it didn't have the reputation. As for depression, that is tricky to advise - you do not want to get hooked on drugs and 80 percent of "mental health practitioners" are in the pocket of Big Pharma and are encouraged to push drugs. I have never had depression issues but two miles a day at the track at under 10 minutes a mile seems to keep the old bod and mind on an even keel. Running daily is a "no lose" proposition as it won't hurt you and probably will help you. Finally, find a hobby like hiking or biking up in the Blue Ridge for something completely different from school.

Sep 4, 14 4:37 pm

Placebeyondthesplines, are you still in high school? Combining words like perpetuate, antiquated, stigma with bullshit, fucking and asshole in the same sentence shows you have some sort of maturity malfunction….throw in the degradation of a persons character in a public forum is disrespectful and sophomoric.

Do you live in a commune somewhere in Idaho? I have had depression for over 20 years and live in the real world. Suggesting that he/she reserve disclosure to people that love him/her rather than disclosing it on a public forum or school/work application/interview is sensible advice.

There is still a very strong social stigma attached to mental health, and people with mental health problems can experience discrimination in all aspects of their lives. Many people’s problems are made worse by the stigma and discrimination they experience – from society, but also from families, friends and employers. Nearly nine out of ten people with mental health problems say that stigma and discrimination have a negative effect on their lives. Until that stigma is erased it is a factor that the OP must take into account.

In the UK it is illegal to discriminate against a person with any form of mental illness; it is not in the US. The ADA covers matters of mental impairment for employment accommodations but it is silent with regard to discrimination. Suggesting that the OP use his/her setback to explain anything is ill advised. Suggesting that the OP protect the information doesn’t “perpetuate the stigma” it acknowledges the stigma and protects him/her from being stigmatized and discriminated aganst.


Sep 4, 14 7:33 pm


I do have university education. Don't kid yourself, my education isn't just community college. My combined formal education is over 8 years FTE. My combined formal and self-study and education/experience (professional or college-level not elementary through high school education curriculum) in all my fields of studies is over a quarter century FTE. 

I have been tested even at 5th grade with college level / grad school level comprehension and overall academic level. 

Your implied snear on community college doesn't reflect on you well.

Sep 4, 14 8:26 pm

Richard, I think that I have learned to know you and respect you for your accomplishments. You are an architectural entrepreneur and nobody on this forum can match that. I was accepted at high school to a respected accredited university but got screwed by Vietnam. When I came home to a young family I couldn’t leave my geographic location to pursue my dream of becoming an architect. The closest school was 300 miles away and the only choice I had was our local community college. I worked as a draftsmen and it took me 4 years going at night to complete. Once done I spent over 10 years working under other licensed guys to get licensed. As I think you know I went on to make millions in architecture-construction-development. The university I attended (not the community college but the whole university) made me Alumnus of the Year and held an honoree banquet for me in respect for my achievements. My picture is displayed on the schools Hall of Fame. Later in my career our firm had the distinction of having won 150 design awards, 4 were national AIA awards. This jibe at community colleges is just another empty threat that which school you went to equates to professional achievement and knowledge of the profession. Placebeyondthesplines, forget the money, how many design awards have you garnered and is your picture on display at your grand university?

Sep 4, 14 10:29 pm


Some good points there. If I read that right, you got your license through experience path with perhaps some credit for community college.

That's what... 15+ years. 1 year of credit for community college. 14+ years for experience.

That sounds like New York state if I recall correctly.

Sep 6, 14 12:28 pm

Richard, I don’t remember clearly the timeline but it was something like that. I was fortunate that the experience path was available then and it should still be available. It was hell but I figured out how to get around things and was still able to make a good living while I waited. You could only apply to sit for the exam once a year and I would take a swing at it every year and they always found some deficient and discounted things one year that they didn’t discount the previous year….then I had to wait another year. The school I attended was AIA Accredited and when I got done they said “Oops that doesn’t count”. I won’t go into details but I really believed that someone blackballed me so I moved just across the state line and applied there and got a seat first time out…and passed all parts first time out…then I moved back across the line and got in through reciprocity. Even then they fought me but by then I was flush and I sic'ed a big law firm in the capital on them that did a ton of lobbying at the state house and they turned-the-screws on the basis of restriction of trade. I guess I bought that one. It’s a good thing that I didn’t need the license to support my family during that period.

Talk about perpetuating stigmas - that jibe from our resident physiologist about community colleges was just that. I carried that stigma with me my whole career and still somewhat today. After all that I’ve done and accomplished people still twist that knife in me - “What do you do” – “I’ m an architect” – “Oh, where did you go to school?” – (I tell them) – “I didn’t know they had an architectural school”. Now that I’m retired I just lie and name a random school and end it. Talk about a stigma that needs to be erased, especially from other architects. Is where one went to school as a kid for 4 years the measure of 44.5 years of experience as an architect?

I still renew my licenses and my NCARB; I’m taking those babies into the coffin with me and leave instructions to my wife to keep renewing them – I’m not going through that again - even if I end up in Hell, where I’ll probably meet up with those bustards.

Sep 6, 14 6:31 pm

I suppose your wife can only continue them unless they discontinue the license due to no new continuing education hours. I suppose that depends on the laws of the particular state.

At least you would be taking it to the grave. I know the "blackballed" feeling. 

Sep 6, 14 8:11 pm

(The OP on this topic is nearly a year old, but I'll respond anyway in case others are facing a similar dilemma and find this thread.)

As long as your transcript shows consistent improvement after a rough spot and you have otherwise good credentials, I wouldn't worry too much about GPA. It might be worth it to briefly explain your early troubles in your personal statement; just say you had some health issues without going into details about depression, and stress that your grades since then are a much better indicator of your academic potential.

I had a very similar issue when I was applying to grad school. During my sophomore year of undergrad, I had a very severe bout of depression and ended up flunking three out of four classes one semester. I was in such a bad place (and in such deep denial about it) that I didn't even bother withdrawing from those classes; I just stopped showing up. My GPA was completely wrecked, and I ended up losing my financial aid and leaving the university after a couple more semesters of floundering around.

After a few years I finally got my shit together and went back to school to finish my BA degree and got much better grades, but I was still worried about how my earlier troubles would impact my chances at getting into grad school. Harvard GSD was the only real "elite" school that I applied to and of course I didn't get in, but I knew that was a long shot anyway. I ended up getting accepted into the University of Cincinnati (my first choice, and where I ultimately enrolled), Ohio State, University of Oregon, and the City College of New York. IMO all of those schools should easily qualify as "decent" on anybody's list, and I'd be proud to have a diploma from any of them on my living room wall.

Sep 6, 14 9:28 pm

David, good post and three cheers for Ohio State and Cincy. Good call on the OP date but there are still many listening to your ideas….Archinect recently told me that there are 850 readers for every 1 post written (statistically), so no matter how old the OP when brought back up to the top the title is all that matters and the responses are all helpful.

Richard, I would be interested in knowing about the market in Astoria, if you’d be willing to share:

I know that it only has a population of about 9,000 (tiny)…being on the shores of the Columbia there must be fishing and with Lewis & Clark - is it a tourist destination…are there tourist related building types available to you?

Is there a vacation home market?

Does it have an artist community?

Are there licensed architects in town?

How large of a commercial building can you do in Oregon?

Sep 7, 14 11:34 am

In short, the rural community, most of the entire Clatsop County and the neighboring county across the river is fairly cohesive. Of course there is dynamics between northern part of Clatsop county and southern part of Clatsop County and southern part of Pacific county (Washington) is very closely connected to Astoria and the economics of the northern part of the county. 

It is historically known for the fishing, logging and related industries. Astoria is the county seat of Clatsop County. Due to Astoria's historic architecture, there is definitely a strong tourism sector. Due to the Lewis & Clark connection, it is a definite tourism destination. 

There is vacation home market. Although slowed down during the recession, it is definitely noted that there is a contingency of the population that lives in Astoria and vacinity around the "lower columbia and northern Oregon coast & SW Washington, for the summers. Some of are Portland metropolitan area or Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia metro folks who comes to the coast on weekends and they are weekend/vacation homes while they work out in Portland where their jobs are.

Another contingency of the population is the retirees who move to the area to get out of the big city area and work.

There is also an artist community as well as artisans and craftspeople. In the artist communities are fine artists, sculpturists, music artists, theatrical artists (live theater). One of my projects was converting a building that was a laundry mat (originally a plumbing shop) into a live performance theater playhouse for the Astor Street Opry Company and their Shanghaied in Astoria melodrama program among other plays. It is an interesting and fun way to get a peek insight in aspects of Astoria's history (the good, the bad, and the ugly.... from an era of frontier land) and also it's culture and heritage industries. There was a time where people were literally clubbed and then when the person comes to, they might be on a boat to China. 

It is an amazing but small community.

In Oregon, may design any project that is exempt from licensure as an architect or engineer under ORS 671.030 and ORS 672.060.


Basically, SFRs & Farm/Ag buildings & accessory buildings to SFRs and Ag/Farm buildings of any size. Any other builidng type or use is allowed for me to design ( not under the supervision of an architect/engineer ) as long as the ground area of the building does not exceed 4,000 sq.ft. AND the height does not exceed 20-ft. from top surface of lowest floor to highest overhead interior finish of building. The ground area and height rule does not apply to SFRs, Ag/Farm buildings or their accessory structures such as a shed, work shop, etc.

Non-exempt projects would require me to be under the supervision of a licensed / registered architect that is actively licensed in good standing in the state where the project is located.

Washington is slight different exemption but I can do them if they are designed with intention of being built in the State of Washington. I have my business registration and BUSINESS LICENSE in Washington due to my locale with both states so I serve clients on both sides of the river. 

There are some licensed architects. However, there is like only one small and I mean small firm in the area. Tolovana Architects if I recall. Jay Raskin's Ecola Architects is no longer actively practicing regularly in the area since he effectively closed up 'shop' in Cannon Beach and spends nearly full-time in Portland. The recession hit hard. 

Most of the architects in the area are either retired or nearly retiring. There is somewhat a shortage of active architects living locally.

There is a strong historic preservation and restoration community in Astoria and abroad so architects familiar and have an affinity for historic preservation and restoration would find the resource in the area very interesting and will surely learn of the works of John E. Wicks whose work is prominant and very strongly defines the architectural character of Astoria.

As for how large of a building may an architect design in Oregon.... no limit on size or height other than what is approved by zoning regulation and the building codes process. This depends on each site but there is no state law or rule that says no building maybe over ____ ft. tall or larger than __________ sq.ft. 

Certain projects may require a structural engineer's involvement and that would be rational... anyway.

Currently, most of the architects in the area are sole-practitioner / sole-proprietors with no employees.

Sep 7, 14 5:17 pm

Richard, I don’t know, listening to that and looking at some pictures of “Main Street” looks pretty enticing to me. Are you able to do an existing rehab or historical restoration over 4,000 SF? I can’t really imagine much there that you can’t do without a license. I have to believe there is a micro economy there ripe for the picking…with hardly any competition….except for me, I’m eyeing a spot up-river for my wife & I with a studio over the garage… fishing on every day that ends with a “Y”….and cranking out tons of little stuff at night (Smiling).

I know you yearn for licensing but really what is the worry? Looks like almost 95% of everything is within your grasp right now. I suppose the struggle is quantity with small businesses not being able to take on debt. I know you are a bit shy about advice but I recommend “The Double Bubble” offering to do construction management in addition to architecture. It’s so simple and probably a need……getting paid twice for the same thing doubles your income and volume without breaking a sweat. You remind me of myself when I was just getting started and your market sounds sexy…I can set you up to do CM, all you have to do is ask….I think it would be fun to help.

Sep 7, 14 9:10 pm


In regards to the licensing, if the work involves multi-family dwellings (for projects in Oregon) or commercial, institutional or otherwise buildings not SFRs/Agriculture-Farm or accessory buildings to SFRs/Ag-farm buildings, I can do them as long as the following is met as this item in the exemption applies to buildings/projects that would otherwise be non-exempt.

  (d) A person from planning, designing, specifying or observing the alterations or repairs to a building if:

      (A) The structural part of the building, including but not limited to the foundation walls, floors, roof, footings, bearing partitions, beams, columns and joists, is not involved;

      (B) The building code classification by use or occupancy of the building is not changed; and

      (C) The building code classification by type of construction of the building is not changed.

The pdf link above is helpful to read out the governing policy and interpretation of the law by the Oregon Board of Architect Examiners.

I do not have to worry about exemption (d) in ORS 671.030 in regards to SFRs or Ag/Farm buildings or their respective accessory structures OR any other buildings 4000 sq.ft. or less in ground area and the 20-ft. height rule. Each exemption is its own exemption distinct.

Item (d) in ORS 671.030 applies as an exemption on buildings larger than 4000 sq.ft. such as minor tenant improvements to a large building. This is essential what commercial interior designers uses for their commercial interior design. 

Although interior designers in Oregon are working on Interior Design licensure, which may effect this section. Since historic preservation and restoration can at times be largely an "interior design work" and as a building designer, I am watching that movement. In such, I maybe "grandfathered" in if such interior design licensing comes about.

For me, the licensure for architecture side is something I would want to address some day but not an immediate priority in case political movements to close up exemptions gains traction. It depends on how things go. I am looking at in the mean time, NCBDC certification and Construction Contractor license (RGC-level) and basically be GC/CM. The construction contractor license is so I avoid problems with CCB and it just needs a minor cash flow to get the ball rolling on getting the bond and insurance and running through the 16-hour pre-license training and exam as well as required lead based paint certifications.

I would look forward to CM and to extent D/B. If we work together, and also getting connected with the Columbia-Pacific Preservation Crafts Guild ( I was one of its charter/founders ) -

This way, some of the best local artisans and craftspeople in our trades can be brought on board for projects involving new, existing and historic buildings.

Our biggest competitors are contractors but of course, that can be worked with, too.

Sep 7, 14 9:41 pm

Richard, are you saying that you need a license and or bonding to be a CM? I’m not suggesting being a GC I’m suggesting being a CM and that is consulting and should not involve any regulatory or bonding. CM’s don’t bond anything, it’s a consulting service.

As for architecture in the areas you describe I think you would use a PE anyway to do the structural design so that is no impediment.

Unless I’m missing something, please tell me where, I think you need to press “GO” on CM and do this forthwith.

Have you ever constructed anything? I need to know to get you started.

By the way, the way you get started is not to offer your CM services as a package up-front. Wait till you build trust and get just into CD’s on one of your projects and simply ask the owner at that juncture “would you like me to build this thing?”. The first time you ask you will be shocked by the answer. Most owners’ care who designs but could care less who builds it.

Respond to my questions and we will go further….10:30 eastern, will get back to you tomorrow.

Sep 7, 14 10:38 pm

ORS 701 doesn't clearly exempt Construction Management. One doesn't necessarily have to be licensed and bonded as a Project Manager or client's authorized agent. Advertising, offering construction services, etc. will typically require a license by CCB in Oregon.

I guess it depends on the definition of construction management and the particular arrangement that will determine if I would require a license. I know in construction companies that often a person maybe the construction contractor / RMI (Responsible Managing Individual) while an employee (not necessarily licensed as a construction contractor) is functioning as the construction manager for the contractor and therefore needs a license.

I may or may not need to be licensed depending on the arrangement. However, some contractors are licensed and basically does construction management and subcontracts the trades and laborers. That is sometimes how design-build works if the designer is also the GC/CM by being the prime contractor and subcontract the trades.

It is possible to work around the licensing but unless someone else is functioning as the Construction Contractor of record/responsible charge, another person may function as a CM without necessarily being licensed.

If my arrangment is directly with the client, CCB would likely be demanding me to be licensed. It depends on the arrangement. If the CM work is a service I am contracting with the construction contractor to perform, that would a different situation. 

CCB is somewhat nebulous at times with their interpretations and one has to scratch their head and read through cases to see their position.

As for construction experience, I have been educated and trained with construction and historic preservation crafts skills that is a part of my education in historic preservation at the hand's on workshops that Clatsop Community College provided. The program encompasses a field school approach to educate the skills in construction skills and preservation/restoration techniques and methods.

Although, I haven't built projects entirely on my own. I have worked on walls & floor framings, window restoration, etc. 

Oregon generally requires anyone or business who offers to construct, build, etc. to be licensed, bonded and insured.

For RGC (Residential General Contractor) level, the bond is $20,000 and the insurance is $500,000 per occurrence. This allow construction of residential structures and small commercial structure building with a ground area of 10,000 sq.ft. or less and not more than 20-ft. in height from top surface of lowest floor to highest overhead interior finish of building or a non-residential unit of a larger structure is 12,000 sq.ft. and not more than 20-ft. in height OR a non-residential struture of any size where the total contract price does not exceed $250,000. (Contract price refers to constuction contract not design, if I recall correctly).

With the right carrier, insurance and bond would be small and manageable. Easily enough to get started once there is income cash flow coming in.

Small price to pay for increase revenue and work.

Sep 8, 14 12:26 am

I'm pretty much on the "press Go". I am just working on going through some preparation and getting cash flow set up.

Sep 8, 14 12:33 am

Richard, I’m still up writing old high school friends…. Construction Management (CM) was created back in the 60’s by Chuck Thompson FAIA as a service…as an extension of architectural services and has nothing to do with “contacting” anything. All it is - is construction administration on steroids.

All you are doing is bidding the project out to subcontractors and totaling them up on a spreadsheet to present to the owners….then after their review of the bids you award the subcontracts under written contracts between the individual subcontractors and the owner and you are not contractually involved. You don’t even handle the money, when bills from the subcontractors arrive you just put them on a spreadsheet with them attached and the owner writes individual checks to each every month, you never touch the money. Here it is step-by-step:

You take the drawings and divide the sub work up by category and go get bids for the owner for each segment of construction – concrete, masonry, steel supply, steel erection etc.

Once you have all the bids you put them on a spreadsheet to let your owner see the array of bids and you chose together who to award them to.

Then once each is chosen you write construction contacts to those you chose to award to and get the sub’s to sign them then the owner to sign them, you don’t sign anything in this regard.

Once you have a full packet of subcontract contacts you start construction and you schedule, coordinate the process to get things done then at the end of the month you assemble the bills of the subs and do another spreadsheet and present it to the owner for payment to each subcontractor, he writes individual checks to each sub and you distribute those checks for him as a service to each sub. Of course one of the checks is to you is as CM as a percentage of the whole for your service as CM, I charged 10% my whole career.

Then the next month you repeat the process, you are not under contact with any subcontractor and are not touching any of the money you are a consultant to the owner managing the process and no bonding or licensing is not involved.

Sep 8, 14 3:18 am


Ok... As you probably is well aware of, the terminology is one that is overly used in that so many definitions have been attributed and billed as construction management.

With CCB also licensing developers ( a CCB license tier are "residential developer" and "commercial developer"), I'll have to try to figure out exactly where they stand.

If I have to have a license as a matter of c.y.a., so be it. I do construction phase administrative services and so forth as it is. 

What you mention in large part should not require a license at CCB. It would be somewhat PM/Owner's Agent and as project moves own... performing "Clerk of Works" duties (ie. Quality Assurance / Site Inspection). 

It is one of those grey areas of the messy and convoluted laws of CCB. ORS 671 is easy reading compared to ORS 701 and CCB's administrative rules are much more complex than OBAE's administrative rules.

If I get the license and bond at some point, it would just remove any potential issue with CCB. 

Sep 8, 14 12:01 pm

Richard, you are right the GC’s have mucked up the definition of CM.

What kind of bond are you referring to, a performance bond? Payment bond? A bond for fiduciary responsibilities?

Sep 8, 14 12:15 pm

A CCB Surety Bond which is promise agreement by a bonding agency to provide limited payment to a consumer/client/etc. if a contractor fails to pay a CCB order or arbitration award.

That's the bond.

The insurance is required to protect third parties. For example, to provide coverage for public liability, personal injuries, property damage, liability for products and completed operations. Examples: A ladder falling and breaking a window, a roof catching on fire because of a torch used to lay on certain types of roofs, or a sidewalk breaking because of heavy equipment, etc.

These are all part of what needs to be done.

There is two requirements. 

- Surety bond

- Insurance

Sep 8, 14 3:23 pm

Block this user

Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: