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Tuesday, 30 June 2020


By Richard J. Mitchell, AIA, NCARB

In architecture, as well as just about any profession, there is a great deal of information to process, understand, and retain. The range varies from highly technical processes to subjective theories, to common-sense communications. With so many different forms of knowledge to process, understand, and retain, it becomes challenging to just rely on simple memorization. 

Over the course of my career, I have developed cognitive skills to help me develop understanding and to retain and communicate the knowledge that I have gained. Specifically, these skills are based on making connections between things I encounter in the profession and everyday life. I have found if I do that, I can improve my ability to retain knowledge and, perhaps more importantly, recall that knowledge when I need it. 

As a physical example, let’s take the rather technical concept of resolving for reactions at supports of beams that are carrying a known load. This involves the calculations needed to sum moments (the force multiplied by the distance from a point). When I was first presented with this information in architectural school, it was a bit challenging to understand. What exactly are moments, and how do they relate to rotation of the beams at the supports? To help me lock-in to this, I experimented with a long stick with a weight suspended by a string. I was able to draw the load close to my hand (the support) and slide it further out to the end of the stick (away from the support). Doing this, I could see how different it felt in both positions. With the weight close to my hand, I could easily support it. The further the weight was moved toward the end of the stick, the more the load increased and was causing the support (my hand) to resist the force of the stick to rotate. With this simple physical example, I could better understand the concepts of resolving for moment loads on beams. That has stuck with me for the past 45 years, so I can tell you it works. 

Now let’s consider more of a “mental” example, specifically using analogies to make connections. My firm is a multi-disciplined practice with architects, interior designers, planners, landscape designers, and both structural and civil engineers. A few years back, we made a concerted effort to have each discipline manage their scope independently. The idea was to create a higher sense of ownership of the work being produced by each discipline. To a degree, this worked, but there were also some unintended consequences that resulted. After a while, we noticed that gaps were forming in work jointly produced by two or more disciplines. Basically, each discipline was drawing a boundary around what they were to do, and where the next discipline had to pick it up. 

This was resulting in increases in errors and omissions in our work, and that was impacting our financial performance. As the lead principal in our company, I had to examine what was going on and try to explain it to others in a way that we all could understand and retain. The analogy that I came up with was “silo-ing.” The classic silo used in agriculture was the mental picture that I needed not only for my understanding of the problems, but for the entire company. I used my example of silos to represent each discipline and the spacing of the silos represented the gaps in our collective work. The analogy caught on and soon each discipline was making efforts to eliminate silo-ing. 

These physical and mental pictures are examples of cognitive concepts that have helped me make the connections that I need to learn, retain, and communicate the vast array of information that exists in the architectural profession. 

EduMind Inc at 09:22

Friday, 26 June 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM 

Managing risk is a crucial aspect of managing projects. It is wise to anticipate multiple questions on the exam about project risk management and the processes from the risk knowledge area within A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). Two of those processes that are commonly confused are Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis and Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis. For exam success, it is vital to understand the differences between these two processes. 

Project risk management involves:

  1. Planning the approach to risk management for the project 
  2. Identifying the risks to the project, including both negative risks (threats) and positive risks (opportunities) 
  3. Analyzing the identified risks, qualitatively and perhaps quantitatively 
  4. Planning and implementing the risk responses 
  5. Monitoring risk throughout the project 

Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis 

All risks that have been identified on the project will be qualitatively analyzed. This analysis is performed on both threats and opportunities to assess and establish the priority of the risks, as well as determine the need for possible quantitative analysis and risk responses. 

A qualitative risk analysis involves subjectively assessing the probability, or likelihood, the risk event will occur as well as the impact, or effect, if it does occur. The probability and impact scales are numerical scales that are agreed-upon and documented in the risk management plan. 

For example, the probability may be assessed on a 0 to 1 scale, where 0.3 would correspond to a 30% probability. The impact may be assessed on a 0 to 1, 1 to 5, 1 to 10, or another agreed-upon scale. Multiplying the probability score by the impact score will return the individual risk score. For example, a risk is assessed as a 0.2 probability and an impact score of 4. The overall risk score would 0.8. It is the risk scores that allow the risks to be prioritized, with the highest rated risks being considered for quantitative analysis and risk response planning. 

Because a qualitative analysis is subjective, the biases, attitudes, and opinions of the assessors should be considered. However, having documented criteria that correspond to the impact level can assist with minimizing the subjectivity of the evaluation. 

Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis 

While all risks are evaluated through a qualitative risk analysis, only the highest priority risks will be analyzed quantitatively. While a qualitative analysis is a subjective numerical scale, a quantitative analysis, in contrast, assesses the project risk impact in terms of dollars and/or time. For example, qualitatively, the risk impact may have been assessed as a “3,” whereas quantitatively, the risk is assessed as having an impact of $3,000 or an impact of a 20-day delay. 

Quantitative analyses are dependent upon high-quality data, fully loaded project models, and possibly high-end tools and software. Therefore, it is not typical to perform a quantitative analysis on all risks, but instead, it is performed on a subset of risks, such as those deemed to be the most impactful. 

Unlike a qualitative analysis that is relatively quick and easy to perform, a quantitative analysis is typically more time-consuming. Techniques used to perform a quantitative analysis include Monte Carlo simulations, decision tree and expected monetary value (EMV) analyses, and sensitivity analyses. 

In Summary 

The perform qualitative risk analysis and perform quantitative risk analysis are both processes within the PMBOK® Guide, 6th Edition risk management knowledge area. A qualitative analysis assesses all risks that have been identified, is subjective, quick and easy to perform, and prioritizes the risks for further action by assessing the probability of the risk occurring and the numerical assessment of the impact if it does occur. 

A quantitative analysis, on the other hand, is more time-consuming, requires good data and robust tools, and is only applied to those risks that have been prioritized through a qualitative risk analysis. In a quantitative risk analysis, the impact is evaluated in terms of financial and/or schedule impact, not merely a numerical scale. 

Project Management Professional (PMP)®, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), “PMP,” “PMBOK” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. 

EduMind Inc at 09:07

Tuesday, 23 June 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM 

As a project manager, you are most likely responsible for estimating the duration of the project activities and the costs for the project. As part of the PMP® exam, you will be tested on the various estimating techniques. This requires that you have a strong understanding of the differences between the techniques and even possibly calculating some estimates based on the data provided. 

There are four techniques used for both cost and duration estimating: analogous, parametric, three-point, and bottom-up. 

Analogous Estimating 

Analogous estimating is used when there is very little detailed information about the current project, so we leverage a similar, past project as the basis for the estimate. Think of analogous as an analogy: we are comparing two similar items. Because it considers an overall project or segment of the project for the estimate, it is considered top-down. On the exam, they may use either term to describe this technique. The past project must be as similar as possible to the current project. Analogous estimating is a combination of historical information and expert judgment, is quick and easy to do, but will not be as accurate as other estimating techniques. 

The website project last year took three months and cost $6,000. To launch a similar website this year, the project manager estimates that it will take three months and also cost $6,000. 

Parametric Estimating 

Parametric estimating uses a statistical relationship between variables to calculate the cost or duration. The statistical relationship could be a unit cost or productivity rate. As with analogous estimating, parametric estimating also relies on historical data and expert judgment. The underlying data must be stable and scalable. 

Based on previous projects, the editor can complete 20 pages per hour at a rate of $25 per hour. For a 100-page user guide, the project manager estimates that it will take five hours at a cost of $125. 

Three-Point Estimating 

Also known as a PERT (program evaluation and review technique), a three-point estimate factors uncertainty into the estimate by considering the average of the optimistic, most likely, and pessimistic estimates. There are two PERT estimates: triangular and beta. For a triangular estimate, the calculation is (optimistic + most likely + pessimistic) ÷ 3. For a beta estimate, the most likely duration or cost is weighted by a product of four; therefore, it is divided by six instead of three: (optimistic + 4(most likely) + pessimistic) ÷ 6. 

The activity has an optimistic duration of 6 days, a most likely duration of 10 days, and a pessimistic duration of 15 days. 

The triangular estimate would be: 10.3 days 

The beta estimate would be: 10.2 days 

The activity has an optimistic cost of $700, a most likely cost of $1,000, and a pessimistic cost of $1,600. 

The triangular estimate would be: $1,100 

The beta estimate would be: $1,050 

Bottom-Up Estimate 

The opposite of an analogous estimate is a bottom-up estimate. The most time consuming, but also the most accurate, a bottom-up estimate involves determining the cost and/or duration estimate for each activity and then rolling that up into an overall estimate. For costs, the sum of all of the estimates would provide the overall estimate. For the duration, however, the project manager needs to consider which activities are happening concurrently to come up with the most accurate overall project duration. 

The employee orientation project will involve the following costs: 

Lunches $50, handbooks $30, badges $20, laptops $900 = $1,000 estimate 

Based on the duration of each activity, and the dependencies and sequencing of the activities, the duration estimate for the project is six weeks. 

Understanding these estimating techniques, how they differ and compare to each other, and also knowing how to calculate the estimates will be vital in passing the PMP exam. 

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. 

EduMind Inc at 07:58

Friday, 19 June 2020


By Richard J. Mitchell, AIA 

This is the third article in a series on “A Day in the Life of an Architect,” this time focused on the design development phase and how to improve design continuity. To some, if not many, the design development phase of an architectural project might be a bit of a “lost phase.” 

These days, there seems to be a rather accelerated project progression from schematic design to construction documents without taking the time to improve design continuity or to determine what elements of a project need further development. 

Like many processes with the advent of technology, some traditional practices are fading away while being regarded as unnecessary. With the many software options used today in architectural practice, design concepts can almost automatically be converted into something that nearly represents a completed set of construction document details. This phenomenon has contributed to the diminishment (if not elimination) of the design development phase. 

One might ask, “So, is that a bad thing?” To get at that answer, I will attempt to describe the traditional approach to the design development phase, and some of the positive impacts that would result when it was a thriving phase of an architectural project. 

First, as practiced in the past, the design development phase was more of a design phase than a “document phase.” The project designer could set the big idea for the project with minimal plans and sketches and turn it over to the team to develop the design. For those developing the design, it was a very rewarding experience because there was a great deal of design challenge remaining in this phase. As an example, often in the schematic design phase the designer would establish only a singular view of the building—normally the “front”—that left at least three other sides to examine and refine to achieve continuity of the design throughout the building exterior. The challenge was to resolve potential conflicts by providing continuity of the design concept on each side of the building as windows, brick coursing, reveals, canopies, doors, etc., were explored. 

For those of us that experienced this traditional approach to design development, it was exciting to be participating in the design process at such a significant level. Normally, the same team members that developed the design would stay with the project through the construction document phase and even through construction. I can tell you that this traditional approach created a strong sense of participation and ownership in the design among the team members. That sense of ownership also contributed to fewer errors and omissions in the construction documents. This shared sense of ownership of design is something that is fading out with the more-technically advanced methods of practice used today. 

Another benefit of a more traditional approach to design development was in the discovery of what needed to be drawn and why it was needed for the construction documents. One of the first steps in the traditional design development phase was to quickly cut hand drawn sections in larger scale drawings (plans and elevations) and identify areas requiring further refinement. The key was to cut a section at every changed condition in the plan or elevation. This was not an exhaustive effort, often just a single line section providing a reasonable outline or profile of the building at this location. Doing this allowed the design team to quickly see where they could standardize many details and eliminate other unnecessary drawings. This yielded two primary benefits: One was that the details developed were stronger, more consistent, and gave the contractor clear direction. This helped reduce questions during bidding and construction. The second benefit was that this approach allowed the design team to eliminate unnecessary drawings that could overly complicate the bidding and construction process. 

All of this isn’t to say that today’s approach to design development doesn’t have its benefits, but wouldn’t it be great if we could recapture some of what has been lost from the past?

EduMind Inc at 08:19

Tuesday, 16 June 2020


By Richard J. Mitchell, AIA 

Obtaining an education in architecture is certainly a broad and challenging experience. As students, we are immersed in all things related to architecture. We learn about art and architectural history, we study design and engineering, and we are enlightened by many courses intended to develop our capacity to be creative. While all of this may provide a great foundation to build a career in architecture, if you are like me, you’ll discover that there is so much more to learn as you practice in the profession. 

That brings me around to this second article in a series on “A Day in the Life of an Architect,” this time focused on the Schematic Design Phase and how you reach closure with a client. In my experience, one of the biggest barriers to project profitability often occurs in the Schematic Design Phase, and that is an inability to reach closure or obtain well-informed approvals by the client.

Schematic Design Phase

It turns out that it is not just about the strength of a specific design concept, and it isn’t necessarily just about how innovative the solution may be. Over my 41 years in this profession, I have found that having some abilities to persuade and sell are just as critical as any architectural-specific skill set. Selling design includes being persuasive in presenting to the client, team members, and other stakeholders in such a way as to achieve understanding and approval of design before proceeding with future phases of a project. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, clients need to have their programs and design criteria addressed. They also need to have construction cost and schedule aspects resolved. Even if all of that is provided, the client might still be unsure if they are “sold.” 

Over the years, I have observed that not reaching closure with the client in the design phase can lead to project delays, a higher probability for committing errors, and the need to re-work design solutions in more advanced phases of the project, all of which can be very costly for the architect. Sometimes, not reaching closure with the client in a timely manner can result in a tremendous financial hit to the project, and a firm overall. 

So, how do you reach closure with a client beyond providing sound design solutions? In my experience, there are two critical elements to closure: confidence and engagement. 

Let’s start with confidence. From a client’s perspective, the design process (and the practice of architecture) can be bit mysterious and unknown. As such, clients often lean heavily on the experience of an architect to provide them with advice and a clear direction. It’s only natural then to expect that the client needs to sense that the architect is conveying a great deal of confidence in the solutions they are presenting. How an architect talks about the process and how persuasive they are in presenting become critical. The best way to build confidence in presenting is to practice, and practice often. There are people all around who could role play as a client in practice sessions. They include co-workers, other design team members, and even other clients that are not directly engaged in the project. During presentation rehearsals, the “mock clients” can ask questions and provide feedback. Doing this regularly should result in increased confidence, and improve reaching closure. 

The second aspect to gaining closure is creating a high level of client engagement during schematic design. The client needs to feel that they were brought along at each step in the process. If the architect gets too far ahead of the client, they could be presenting solutions that leave the client wondering about the exploration of other options (even if the architect has already considered and discarded them). This could result in doubt developing in the client’s mind—and worse—the client may not share their doubt with the architect until much later in the project. Obtaining closure and approvals will improve if the architect engages the client and paces them through the design process. Doing so will avoid gaps that can often occur when an architect is too far in front of the client. 

Remember, you will learn a lot of things as you practice architecture and sharpening your communication skills will be one of the most important among them.

EduMind Inc at 09:09

Friday, 12 June 2020


Topic: Day in the life of an Architect - During the Programming Phase 

Recently, I was asked to consider what a typical day is like for an architect. As I thought about this, I quickly concluded that really, no two days are the same. It is constantly changing. This constant change has made for a very interesting and challenging career for me personally, and I have to say, that the time seems to fly by when each day brings new problems, analysis, and solutions. 

As I thought more about how to describe a typical day for an architect, I decided that perhaps the best way to proceed is to progress through the different phases of a project. So, this first view of “a day in the life of an architect” is through the lens of the Programming Phase (or Pre-Design). 

First, what is programming as it relates to the practice of architecture? Early-on in my career, I learned to think of architectural programming as the phase when an architectural problem gets defined. After all, it is very difficult (and extremely inefficient) to try to problem solve without knowing as much as you can about the problem itself. Too often, architects rush to design solutions for problems that are not fully explored, and the result is that the problem gets exposed in “slow-roll” fashion throughout the project, resulting in a great deal of back and forth and redesign. I’m sure that this phenomenon is at least partly why architects struggle to be consistently profitable in their businesses. 

Through my experiences, I’d say that a day in the life of an architect during the Programming Phase is always very interesting. It’s when the architect works with the client team to define the project in broad terms. Often, this begins with developing a solid understanding of the big picture goals for the project. As an example, in a recent fire station project (which was a full replacement of an existing fire station), the high-level goal was to get a new station funded. Without funding, there would be no project. To get funding, voters had to approve and pass a bond measure, which means they had to support the project so much that they were willing to vote to increase their own property taxes. That challenge required a unique strategy to programming, one that engaged the community from the beginning, so that there would be an opportunity to develop a strong sense of buy-in for the project. 

This programming process began by sitting down with the client and mapping-out how and when to engage the community, then develop a project schedule so that each touch point was identified and coordinated with our overall programming efforts. We then evaluated the current fire station for overall status of conditions, noting how it stacked-up against today’s essential facility standards, and developing opinions on life expectancy of various building and system components. We also developed a cost estimate to remodel the current fire station and complete with seismic and other essential facility upgrades to bring it up to current standards. 

At this point, we held our first meeting with the community to share our findings, including our estimate of costs to remodel the current station. We held an “open house” at the fire station and invited the community in for a presentation. We began by sharing our findings, and then conducted tours through the station so that people (voters) could get the best understanding possible regarding the need to either upgrade the current facility or replace it altogether. 

Next, we worked with a diverse team of Fire District staff to develop typical program criteria including identifying space needs, adjacencies, and high-level site criteria for a full replacement fire station. Armed with this, we could develop very preliminary “block” site and building plans. We then held our second public forum at the existing fire station and invited in the community once again. At this meeting, we presented our preliminary block plans (pre-design plans) and engaged the audience in a discussion about aesthetics for public buildings in their community. This was not a detailed discussion, but enough to provide an opportunity for the community voices to be heard. 

Day in the life of an Architect

Based on the feedback we received in the second community meeting, we then developed conceptual level plans and renderings for a new fire station and produced a full project cost estimate. This was all presented at a third public meeting, and by then, we could see from responses we were receiving that support for replacing the current fire station with a new one was growing strong. 

A few months later, the project was on the local ballot, and the bond measure for the design and construction of a new fire station was passed with an 80% approval rating! 

Now, back to that idea of a “day in the life of an architect”. If you consider that every project has it’s own unique properties including the type of project, who will use the project when it is completed, and how it will be funded (among many other variables), it is safe to say that no two days are quite alike, and all are very interesting indeed! 

EduMind Inc at 09:01

Tuesday, 09 June 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM

There is a continually increasing demand for skilled project managers across all industries. Senior project managers are not only at the forefront of driving change for their organizations, but their position typically involves a substantial salary base. There are four keys to successful career growth and development within the project management field of expertise: 

· Knowledge of various approaches to project management
· Well-developed leadership skills
· Strategic thinking with tactical application
· Certification

Project Management Approaches

There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to project management. As the project manager, you will need to have a strong understanding of the project constraints, environmental considerations, and product development options to select the best approach when working on a project. Traditional or plan-driven approaches are appropriate when the work is well-defined: plan the work and work the plan. In environments with increased uncertainty and a perceived level of complexity, adaptive or agile approaches may be more appropriate. In today’s business environments, it is common to see project managers applying hybrid approaches. A strong project manager understands the different approaches, the pros and cons of them, and what would best serve the project needs. 

Leadership Skills

A project manager is no longer a task-manager but rather a strategic leader that is guiding and influencing not only their team members but also the organization. The project manager is uniquely positioned to provide leadership in all directions. Having solid leadership or soft skills is at the core of successful project management. Soft skills to be developed include emotional intelligence, communication (both written and verbal), creating a vision, inspiring others, giving and receiving feedback, and meeting facilitation. Regardless of title or authority, the project manager is in a position to be a leader to those involved in and impacted by the project. 

Strategic Thinking

In the early days of project management, the project managers were considered to be task managers, not leaders. However, in today’s complex environment, organizations expect their project managers to be considering their projects from a strategic alignment perspective. As projects are selected, initiated, and monitored and controlled, the project manager is responsible for benefits management to validate that the project results will return a benefit to the organization, while aligning with the strategic direction of that organization. 

While it is essential to think strategically and create a vision, a skilled project manager must also be able to put together a technical and tactical plan for achieving that vision. This may include leveraging expertise outside of their own, building a strong team, and engaging stakeholders throughout the project, taking all of the steps necessary to deliver the project that supports that vision. 

Certification 

One of the most credible methods of establishing yourself as an experienced and skilled project manager is to pursue and achieve one or more project management certifications. The most globally recognized certification is the Project Management Professional (PMP)® issued by the Project Management Institute (PMI). The PMP® credential signifies that the project managers have not only met the educational and experience requirements for certification but they have also passed a rigorous 200-question exam. 

Project Management Career Growth
PMI also offers other specialized project management certifications that can further elevate your status as a skilled project manager, such as the PMI Risk Management Professional, PMI Agile Certified Practitioner, Program Management Professional, and the PMI Scheduling Professional. More information on the various project management certifications can be found at www.PMI.org

Project management is an ever-growing and ever-changing field that provides significant opportunities for project professionals. By creating a deliberate plan for growth and personal development, you can continue to progress in this lucrative professional role! 

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

EduMind Inc at 19:00

Friday, 05 June 2020


Belinda S. Goodrich, PMP, PgMP, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, CAPM

Project success is determined, in part, by the quality of the product being produced as well as the quality of the project itself. The quality of the product is determined by how well the product, service, or project outcome meets the stakeholders’ needs and expectations. The quality of the project is determined by the ability to deliver the project within the defined constraints of schedule and cost, while also providing the intended value to the organization. 

Project quality management involves managing, estimating, and controlling the costs associated with product quality. The cost of quality can be categorized as the cost of conformance and the cost of non-conformance. Costs associated with both conformance and non-conformance should be considered, analyzed, and monitored throughout the project. The costs of conformance and costs of non-conformance are inversely related, meaning that theoretically, the more we spend on conformance, the less we will have to spend on non-conformance. 

Cost of Conformance

The cost of conformance is money spent to ensure quality, for both prevention and appraisal activities. The cost of conformance for prevention includes process documentation, training, and quality activities. The cost of conformance for appraisal involves activities such as testing, audits, and inspections. The cost of activities that fall under the umbrella of quality assurance is also considered the cost of conformance. Quality assurance typically involves evaluating and auditing the processes that are in place to ensure they support producing high-quality products or results. 

During project planning, quality and acceptance criteria and quality risks should be evaluated and analyzed to determine the acceptable level of spending associated with the quality activities on the project. This budget will vary from project to project depending on the project outputs and deliverables. For example, a project to develop a $3 item will most likely spend less on quality activities than a project that is developing a $1 million product. 

Cost of Non-Conformance

The cost of non-conformance is money spent because of failures. Non-conformance are those costs associated with failures, including those discovered by the project and those discovered by the customer or end-user (escaped defects). Within the project, non-conformance costs may come from inconsistent results, scrap, and rework, for example. External failure costs may stem from damage to the organization’s reputation, paying for warranties, or having returned items or send-backs. 

The challenge with the cost of non-conformance is that it is often difficult to estimate those costs until after the non-conformance has occurred. Therefore, the project manager must balance what they spend proactively on the cost of conformance to keep the cost of non-conformance within an acceptable range. 

In Summary

Quality management is and should be a significant focus for any project manager. Being able to analyze, estimate, and monitor the costs associated with quality activities is an expectation of all skilled project managers. Cost estimating and budgeting must include the cost of quality, encompassing both the cost of conformance and the cost of non-conformance. As with all project work, the project manager should consistently monitor any variances between the expected costs of quality and the actual money spent on conformance and non-conformance. 

Project Management Professional (PMP)® and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

EduMind Inc at 07:34

Tuesday, 02 June 2020


By Richard J. Mitchell, AIA, NCARB 

Being an architectural intern can be stressful. Having graduated from a much more structured learning environment (college) means that a shift to a more “self-directed” education is needed to prepare for the ARE exam. One question you might have: “What are the resources for study materials?” 

Certainly, there are many study guides and lectures/webinars for purchase online, and most are well done and very effective. Some companies have been producing written materials since the ‘70s, and they do a good job of assembling the basic information needed to get ready to take the architectural exam. But in my experience, those resources aren’t quite enough by themselves. Below are some ideas of additional resources and tips to help you further navigate self-directed study. 

First, if you are like me, you probably saved some of your old college textbooks. Perhaps not on all subjects, but those that addressed more technical content. In my case, I kept all my structural engineering materials from college. These ranged from the text for statics class, to lecture notebooks, and the timber, concrete, and steel manuals. I even saved examples of homework and tests/quizzes that were more complex and addressed resolving truss reactions, wind problems, calculating bending and shear forces in beams, and solving for deflection in complex monolithic concrete design. 

I also saved much of my texts and class materials from the environmental control systems (ECS) course. This covered a great deal about a range of subjects such as rainwater harvesting, passive solar design, natural ventilation, and daylighting strategies to name just a few. If you didn’t retain these materials from college, I’d recommend contacting your old college professors and asking them what version of the texts they are using now and see if you can obtain a copy to study. 

Other sources that may be helpful include materials readily available at the office. Most architectural firms have standards, policies, and procedures that are well documented and vetted by years of experience. These resources are also likely to be based on industry standards, which are very likely to be encountered in the ARE. 

Another great resource for architectural practice in general is the AIA’s Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice, 15th edition. This handbook covers just about all aspects of architectural practice and in a way that is easy to absorb and understand. Topics include narratives addressing all phases of architectural services, office/business operations, and documents of service (including contracts). Again, in my experience, information provided in the handbook has appeared in the ARE in some form or another, making it “must read” on my list of recommended ARE preparation materials. 

Lastly, I have one non-conventional resource to recommend, which I used myself some 40 years ago. I recommend that you find and connect with architects inside and/or outside the office who have recently taken and passed the ARE. Interview them, ask them questions about the exam. Ask them about their experience with what worked well, and what didn’t work for them. When I was preparing for the ARE, I probably had eight to 10 individuals that I would pepper with questions about preparing for the ARE. I was careful not to exhaust any one individual resource, hence the large number of architects that I had in my resource pool. Often, I could frame my questions about the ARE around projects that I was working on in the office. I found that this was an effective way for me to get—and retain—information. 

ARE Prep Materials

The key to finding the appropriate materials to study for the ARE is to diversify and get creative. It is surprising how much information is right in front of us and available for use. Good luck! 

EduMind offers comprehensive exam review courses covering all six divisions of the Architect Registration Examination (ARE)® 5.0. Learn more about our classes and study materials on our website.

EduMind Inc at 08:14

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