Archive for January, 2011

So, you want a career in Architecture?

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

As an Architect, we are involved in all phases of design and construction process, from meeting with clients to discuss plans for the building to instructing the users of the completed building on how to use its systems. While aesthetics (the look of a building) are important in design, architects also incorporate function, safety and efficiency into their designs, as well as the specific needs and wants of their clients.

Once clients accept the architect’s building proposal, architects get to work on the final construction documents. These include a building’s appearance, as well as construction details like drawings of its structural system; air-conditioning, heating and ventilating systems; electrical systems; communications systems; plumbing; and site plans. Architects must follow building codes, zoning laws, fire regulations and any applicable ordinances.

As Architects work on projects, they coordinate details with engineers, interior designers, landscape architects and other professionals, which requires a great deal of communication and organization. The ability to clearly and effectively communicate is vital for successful architects. Architects are constantly explaining their projects and their components to clients, construction contractors and others involved in the building process.

Some architects and architecture firms specialize in one type of building, like hospitals, schools or residential housing. Other Architects do minimal design work and instead focus on land planning or construction management. Their projects may include an individual building or an entire community, like a residential housing development or a university campus.

The median annual wages of wage-and-salary architects was $70,320 in May 2008, according to the 2010-11 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor. And although opportunities are geographically sensitive, employment of architects is expected to increase by 16 percent between 2010 and 2018. A high percentage of architects are self-employed as we are in my firm. According to the BLS, about 21 percent of architects worked for themselves in 2008, which is three times more than most other occupations. The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), of which we are a certified member, estimates that there are approximately 105,000 licensed architects in the United States.

Becoming a licensed architect is no easy task. It takes many years to fulfill the three-step process that includes: education, experience and examination.

Education:  In most states, architects must first earn a professional degree in architecture from one of the 117 schools of architecture that offer programs accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). Students can pursue three main professional degrees: a five year bachelor of architecture; a two-year master of architecture after earning an undergraduate degree in architecture or a related field; or a three- or four-year master of architecture after earning an undergraduate degree in an unrelated discipline. (To search through a listing of accredited programs, go to the NAAB website,

Training:  After earning a qualified professional degree, graduates work under the supervision of licensed architects during a period of practical training or internship. This period must last for at least three years, but in many cases, time spent interning while still in college can be applied toward this requirement. After graduating from a professional architecture program, some architects also continue their studies by earning a graduate degree in a specialized subset of architecture, such as design theory, healthcare facilities, sustainable building or interior design.

Licensing:  To be called an “architect,” individuals must pass all divisions of the Architect Registration Examination, which is required in all states. Because building codes, materials, technology and public tastes change, most states require architects to keep current and maintain their licensure by earning continuing education credits. In addition, some architects seek the NCARB certification, which is useful for those who want to become licensed in another or multiple states.

Any students interested in a career in architecture may contact me by email at: for further information. Please visit our web site at to see how our education, experience and licensing meets the above criteria.

Energy Saving Tips for Winter

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Rising fuel costs mean higher energy bills. As everyone knows, the cost of fuel has gone up significantly over the past few years and dramatically over the past few months.

Now is a good time to consider energy-efficient improvements to reduce your overall energy use and save you money this winter.

ADD WEATHER-STRIPPING:  You can save money by keeping the warm air inside with weather stripping. To check seals, light an incense stick and move it around the edge of your doors and windows. If the smoke moves horizontally, there is an air leak.

INSULATE ATTICS, WALLS AND FLOORS:  According to the Department of Energy, you can reduce your heating needs by as much as 30 percent by adding just a few hundred dollars worth of new insulation. The extra cushion between your interior space and the outdoors pays for itself over time. Although the tendency may be to just focus on the attic, don’t forget other key places such as crawl spaces, ceilings, basement walls, and around recessed lighting fixtures (just make sure those fixtures are designed for direct insulation contact).

THINK LANDSCAPING:  In the winter, cold, blustery winds can reduce the temperature inside your home by as much as 20 percent. Plant deciduous trees (ones that lose their leaves in the winter) on the south side of the house to allow the sun to heat the south side. Plant evergreen trees or large shrubs (ones that don’t lose their leaves in the winter) on the north side of the house to block the winter winds.

INVEST IN A CEILING FAN:  Ceiling fans are a cost saving way to reduce energy use since they use 98% less energy than most central air conditioners. Since the fans will provide extra air circulation, the air handling unit will come on less frequently saving you money. Hot air rises so running the ceiling fan with the air blowing down is an effective way to reduce heat stratification in the winter.

For assistance in implementing these energy saving ideas, contact us at: or 609-654-2329.

What is a Professional?

Monday, January 17th, 2011

On a daily basis, we are constantly told in advertising and by individuals that they are professionals and that their occupation is a profession. So, what is a Professional?

A professional is a member of a vocation founded upon specialized education and training and, therefore, that individual is an expert who is a master in a specific field.

The word professional traditionally means a person who has obtained an advanced degree and a license in a field that is state regulated. The term commonly describes highly educated, licensed, mostly salaried workers, who enjoy considerable work autonomy, a comfortable income, and are commonly engaged in creative and intellectually challenging work.

Because of the personal and confidential nature of many professional services and thus the necessity to place a great deal of trust in them, most professionals are held up to strict ethical and moral regulations.

The main criteria for a professional includes the following:

Specialized Knowledge:  A professional is in a vocation that requires the possession of theoretical and specialized knowledge in the field in which one is practicing by obtaining a college degree after a long period of education and enduring a long and arduous training period.

Codified Body of Knowledge:  A professional is in a vocation with a codified body of knowledge that is unique to that vocation and is examined by statute regarding that theoretical body of knowledge.

History of Profession:  A professional is in a vocation that has a history of that vocation that is critical to understand in order to be a member of that profession.

Licensed:  A professional possesses a state-issued license that is obtained through a rigorous examination process. The professional is typically regulated by statute, with the responsibilities of enforcement delegated to the respective regulatory bodies, whose function is to define, promote, oversee, support and regulate the affairs of its licensees.

Ethical Standards:  A professional has a higher standard of professional ethics, behavior and work activities while carrying out one’s profession (as an employee, self-employed person, business, company, or partnership/associate/colleague, etc.). The professional owes a higher duty to a client, often a privilege of confidentiality, as well as a duty not to abandon the client just because he or she may not be able to pay or remunerate the professional. Often the professional is required to put the interest of their clients ahead of their own interests.

High Quality Work:  A professional produces high quality work in, for example: design, services, presentations, consultancy, research, administrative, marketing or other work endeavors.

Independence:  A professional tends to be independent and autonomous meaning that they have a higher degree of control of their own vocation and business.

Professional Associations:  A professional has a professional associations organized by their members that are intended to enhance the status of their members and have carefully controlled entrance requirements.

Thus, by the above definition, a professional is limited to accountants, architects, attorneys, dentists, engineers, nurses, pharmacists, physicians and professors.

As Professional Architects, we strive to fulfill the above definitions of a Professional.   Please contact us at: .