I come from a family of auto mechanics and contractors, so repair and construction are in my blood.
Before I was registered as a New York State architect, I worked as a carpenter and mason during summers and school breaks. As a child, I would hear my carpenter uncle speak negatively about architects and I wanted to know why, first hand. (…and boy, did I?)
One of the topics often debated over at The EntreArchitect Community on Facebook is whether practical construction experience should be required for professional registration. The latest Architect Registration Examination (A.R.E. 5.0) consists of six divisions, which include multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, and check-all-that-apply questions as well as graphic vignettes.
Not one hour of practical construction experience is required to become a Registered Architect.
The lessons I learned swinging that hammer each summer are utilized every time I step onto a job site. Reading architectural drawings as a tradesman and executing each detail as documented, reinforced the importance of clear concise construction documents. As a member of a construction crew, I heard the unfiltered criticisms of architects thrown by disgruntled carpenters. I learned quickly how architects could build stronger relationships with the people responsible for bringing our designs to life.
Today when I visit a job site to review progress or meet to resolve an unforeseen condition, I come to the discussion with a very different point of view than if I had forgone these experiences as a young aspiring professional. My relationship with the people constructing my projects are based on mutual respect and understanding, and my projects are built better in return.
Practical construction experience should be included as an additional division of the A.R.E. Job site relationships would be stronger and buildings built better.
Question: Should practical construction experience be required for the registration of today’s architect?
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