Friday, January 7, 2011

Can This Be True?? (And it isn't the first time I've heard this argument.)

14:33 - From the blog Archi Alternative

Actually I think the architectural profession is dying. The sad part is architects and their special committees have done it to themselves in my opinion. Potential new architects like myself can now easily come up with the deduction of becoming an engineer instead. Considering I don’t see many perks to being an architect nor do I see the terrible pay per work ratio worth it. I have decided to not pursue an architectural degree or license. I would rather become a creative engineer.
* I can develop and design buildings with out an architect’s signature or seal.
* I can easily obtain customers over an architect because they will readily know what I am liable for.
* I have the choice of making my level of commitment of how involved I want to be with a project instead of taking it on or not which still provides me income on those projects I could care less about.
* I’ll invest less money and time going into an engineering field than being an architect and I will get a better chance of an education that will help me succeed also
* If I don’t like one discipline of engineering I can simply change disciplines with in 2 years of schooling
* I will get paid about 2x as much money
* I will spend 1/2 the time an architect does on a project unless I am designing the overall project also which gives me more time to have a family, friends and a personal life
On that rare occasion I do need an architect’s signature and seal I can simply purchase it like anything else in life. After all what are they really legally liable for again? I honestly can’t see very many liabilities that are not either over lapped or completely taken over by other professionals involved in the project. Comparing an architect with a structural engineer when a building fails to stand up properly is a perfect example of this. People don’t chase down the architect they go hunt down the engineers and contractors instead.
I honestly can’t see even one benefit that isn’t severely offset at all for being an architect. Most of the time the actual person doing the designing of the actual project isn’t even getting credit for the design either. So why even invest the time and money towards it? I feel they have successfully killed their own profession and the liability part of the equation is only one aspect of it. When you put all of the other pieces in place it only gets worse.
Bravo, Chris. My third “Why” I will dedicate to you. Your last paragraph basically sums up our pathetic efforts to answer few simple questions…
P.S. Don’t be shy, you get only x2 much money? You’re cheap then… ;) Once I had a dinner with our consultant (we were on a business trip, we had few drinks and got loose) so we calculated his ratio of “efforts+time / fees” against architectural proportions. He was around 4 times more efficient in terms of money making. And he was not the most expensive guy I’ve seen around.

Chris, thank you for pointing out why the process to become an architect is so difficult – it’s to weed out people like you with no passion or compassion for the job. You say you can do just as good as an engineer? Bullshit. Your buildings will be even more apathetic, sterile and antiseptic than the worst hack architect out there. Sure you’ll make a little more money, but your “designs” will speak for themselves and after a couple projects no one in their right mind would let you near their project to do anything more than what is expressly allowed by law for whatever current engineering “specialty” you happen to be practicing.
Should architects be compensated for the level of work they do? Yes. Do we need wide sweeping changes in the profession on the issue of compensation and liability? Yes. Should we follow the idiotic advice of someone like you? No. In college you were the guy sitting to the left AND right of me at orientation when they said “get a good look, cause they won’t be there at graduation”. Being an architect is something to aspire to, not sneer at. You don’t see any benefit because you have no passion for the profession, so I’ll ask you to hippity hop to the barber shop with that shit and leave the real designing to us.

This has been very entertaining.

As a side not: I am DYING to get into an architecture firm just to see how the business aspect works.  I've been lucky enough to see how a small interior design firm operates but there are gaps in my knowledge regarding the architecture field.  

"I honestly believe that is we were able to transition to a fee system based upon billing for hours spent versus fixed or percentage based fees, we would be in better shape."  (here)

This is interesting because we do bill by the hours spent working/designing at BTHI, it begins at the In-Home Consultation on day one.  We create a design proposal and determine how many hours in the design studio it will take to complete the project.  Then multiple that by $50.00 an hour and bam you have the Design Fee.  Is this not how it works at Architecture Firm X?  

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