Small Project Practitioners

1.  Re:Frustrated

Posted 03-26-2013 12:41
While we are discussing the AIA's value to the small practitioner and the industry in general.  Where is the AIA when the code people extend the arm of regulation?  The trend in codes, CE and every day life is to mandate a rule based on a special interest group and as a result create government sponsored (private) industry with a captive group.  Where was the AIA when the over reaching new lead law was being discussed?  Does the AIA ever get involved in something that would make a difference?  The other day at an AIA seminar on the new residential code it was explained that a section indicated that all new doors and windows will have to be tested by an independent agency (mandated reg. based on a special interest who would be guaranteed a market).  The only out was a "decretive" window or door.  No longer even a site built one would be possible.  That kind of thinking only benefits the large manufacturer.  When questioned, the presenter responded,  I guess you could make a lot of decretive doors and windows.   I support part of my practice by making doors and windows because most store bought doors and windows are over priced or crap or both.  So much for being GREEN.  The greenest door or window is one someone doesn't want to or have to replace in 10 years.  If the AIA does participate in the Code discussions they are part of the problem.   At this point, as with the laws we live by, for every new law or regulation implemented, one should be taken off the books.   It's all about control.  The AIA should be in the business of promoting individual control and not their own or government control.     

Andrew Peklo AIA
Peklo Design & Joinery, P.C.
Woodbury CT

2.  RE:Re:Frustrated

Posted 03-27-2013 18:15
Greetings all;  a very painful and very timely set of posts regarding AIA and its value for small practioners.  I know first hand the annual frustration with having to make that dues payment and I go through the process of determining whether or not it's worth it.  I agree wiht all of the sentiments many of you have shared and the cost does bother me and yes I believe the organzation is created and managed to support large firms and their practices.  That said I continue to be a member, to pay the dues and to participate in the organzation actively.  One of you said it's the best we have, our last, best hope and whether we get value or not it's our professional association and the only one with any kind of meaningful prescence.  If it doesn't change it will cease to be influential and we can already see that in the numbers of young architects who are forgoing membership (and registration)...they simply don't see the need to join, cost or not. 

I've taken a more active role in recent years in The Texas Society of Architects and am a Vice President for Outreach this year.  For a firm my size my time taken to hold this position and be active in the statewide component is a huge burned on our revenue and profit.  What I do get from the effort is a sense of being part of something greater than myself and the opportunity to meet other profesisonals in my state and visit with them and learn from them.  It is very rewarding to know you are not alone, that your problems and challenges, as well as your triumphs and successes are mirrored in other practioners and that they have things they can share and support you with.  Two of my best friends are architects I met through service on design and publications committees, small practioners just like me with all the same issues good and bad.  And we all have issues good as well as bad though it's hard to remember in economic times like these.  Without these peers I would have no way to evaluate or gauge myself  against what is going on around me.  For them I am grateful and for them and the folks I continue to meet and get to know I keep my membership and do all I can to make the organzation more supportive and responsive to folks like us. It's an old saying and clearly a cliche, but the best way to change an organzation is from within. You have to do it and you have to work hard, just like in your practice.  But you can get results and perhaps find a way to like being there more if you'll try to do it for yourself.

Sorry for the long post.  It breaks my heart to see what is written and the folks we are losing.  If we don't make AIA more responsive to the small firm members, rightly pointed out to be the core of our profesion, then the truth is we are allowing it to betray all of us.  

Michael Malone AIA
Michael Malone Architects
Dallas TX

3.  RE:Re:Frustrated

Posted 03-27-2013 18:20
Andrew and Fellow Architects,
I, as much as anyone, feel the pressure of costs with my small firm - it's been tight.  I have more than justified the cost of my AIA membership becuase I work at getting quite a bit out of it.

Adopting a full Libertarian attitude only opens the door for untrained people to push us out and take over our jobs (contractors are trying all the time).  Building codes help protect the public, and the consequence is that they also protect our profession's legal reason for being.  Our society has gotten very litigious, so we now have to test and certify everything - it protects us and the product the client gets from "crap" being put onto the job.  I wish there was an alternate route for true crafted items like the doors an windows you make Andrew.  I don't like having that discouraged.  AIA is taking a very hard look at the small firm - that was very evident at Grassroots last week.  I'm expecting improvements coming soon.  On another note - check ot the new video in the works for describing what an Architect is in what they call an "elevator speech"....

Adam Trott AIA
Adam J. Trott Architect
Erie PA

4.  RE:Re:Frustrated

Posted 03-27-2013 23:22

On many code issues, the AIA is unfortunately playing the role of the marching band in the overreach parade, to the detriment of its members and their clients. The International Energy Conversation Code is an example. As a member, I questioned the AIA's stance on IECC directly to AIA representatives, only to be told that the AIA is not promoting adoption of the IECC, while I am simultaneously seeing literature from the AIA portraying the opposite. It's time to clean house.

Sean Catherall AIA
Integrated Property Services
Herriman UT