This message has been cross posted to the following Discussion Forums: Housing Knowledge Community and Custom Residential Architects Network .
This is in response to some other recent comments on CRAN about the NAHB considering creating a certification program for "home designers."
CRAN-AIA CERTIFICATION PROGRAM FOR "HOME BUILDERS"
Hey: okay, as soon as NAHB does this, let's have CRAN immediately create a "Home Builder" CRAN-AIA Certification program! We can make this program for all interested "builders" (to heck with requiring licensed, real General Contractors, huh? because NAHB doesn't seem particularly concerned about involving licensed real architects...). Anyone with a hammer and a pickup truck would qualify. No problem. No green card? No problem. No education or degrees in construction? No problem. No state license to build anything? No big whoop. No CEUs? okay. Can do. We'll certify ya, dude! and oh yeah: no General Liability insurance? Who cares? No Workers Compensation insurance? Pffffftttt! Fall down, fake an injury and sue the homeowner. Hah! Just give a us a fee, we'll print yer certificate out and e-mail it to you to proudly hang on the rear window of your aging F-150, right under your gun rack.
PRUDENT PRACTICE FOR CERTIFICATIONS COME FROM THOSE WHO ARE LICENSED
Okay. Now that we've got that out of our systems: What NAHB is proposing is not prudent. It can hurt and confuse the public and it hurts real, licensed architects in the CRAN and elsewhere, who primarily practice residential architecture. Residential architects everywhere are struggling to survive and confusing the public with some other "certification" program from entities not licensed to provide such services by any state government can and will mislead the public into thinking that they are architects. What such "designers" Don't say when meeting or talking with clients is the issue. What they should say is "hey, I'm NOT an architect. I just draw." Do they? What do you think?
CRAN GOAL: TO INFORM THE PUBLIC ABOUT REAL LICENSED RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECTS
CRAN is struggling right now, to fund programs to begin public awareness programs to do two main things:
1. that real, licensed architects exist and can and will design homes for anyone.
2. that there are good reasons for anyone to hire an architect to design their home.
The problem CRAN and any residential architect has with step one is that when other organizations (like NAHB) "certify" people with no educational requirements, no state license to design anything, no CEUs or other legitimate qualifications, it appears to whitewash those less qualified people and set them forth as if they are architects, even though they don't explicitly say that. It also confuses the public, many of whom do not even realize that there are such things as architects who specialize in designing homes who are available to design their homes (I know this is true).
WHERE CERTIFICATIONS SHOULD COME FROM
This is bad for us and bad for the public and quite frankly, I really don't see what good it does the NAHB. If anything, the NAHB ought to be contacting the CRAN leadership about organizing programs of mutually beneficial cooperation to refer legitimate licensed GCs and refer real licensed residential architects. NOT attempt passive-aggressive inter-organizational warfare by undermining what we do. How would the NAHB like it if CRAN really did create a "Certified Builder" program. Wouldn't that frost their chops? I'm not seriously advocating that.
WHAT SHOULD BE HAPPENING: MUTUAL REFERRAL PROGRAM BETWEEN LICENSED ENTITIES
What I would like to see is CRAN and the NAHB working together to HELP EACH OTHER, not harm the public nor take the bread of off each other's tables. Instead, I hesitate to book our leadership to do pesky things about which they are not invested: but John & Dave: would either of you guys consider giving a call to NAHB and try to talk them out of their ill-advised certification program of "designers" and instead suggest embarking on a mutual referral program, whereby CRAN AIA architects would refer NAHB GCs and vice versa, rather than waging war on each other?
WHO HAS THE LEGITIMATE RIGHT TO CERTIFY ANYONE
And : what legitimate right does a contractor organization have certifying anyone to do anything, other than Build? No more that the CRAN/AIA would have certifying builders. Each organization should be certifying and underscoring the legitimate qualifications of those licensed by law to do what they do and not muddy the waters of public perception.
But, I'm sure others will have different opinions.
Rand Soellner AIA