I have been involved with the Architectural business for almost 30 years. In the last 15 years as a Senior Project Manager I've been involved with Design Development, CDs, RFIs, comprehensive architectural detailing including glazing, waterproofing, Expansion joints, MEP coordination, CA site visits,....shop drawings! I've been in charge of the Design and Production team for Mega-Multi-million projects in Dubai while working for a South Florida Architectural Firm, team peers respect my knowledge and advice.....unfortunately, it appears that I am not as good as it takes for testing to pass the ARE.
I just found out that I fail PDD. Bluntly, I already took the CD's test 4.0 quite a few years ago and passed, and still, I remember the feeling that the odds of passing the test was high, the questions were quite related to what I was doing or working at the time.
This new PDD test, I was surprised with the number of questions so unrelated to what I've been doing in the past 20 years, as per NCARB guidelines I can not be too descriptive about the test, but in general, Who does those things in reality?...or who calculate this or that?....is not more important waterproofing, than cold weather issues in Florida?. Once we were the selected architects to work on the CDs for The Glass House by Richard Meier, of course, Northern architects for the northern cold states....that is why he picked us since we were a top-notch architectural firm in South Florida.
I am really surprised by the level of technicality of many of the questions for this test....and what is so ironic is that the rule of thumb in everyday business is not to presume that you know the code, or partitions ceilings, etc, assemblies by heart, you need to research and double-check in the code or resources we have right in our shelves, the trick is to know where to find the answer you may already know, in what chapter, what section or what table.
Liability is a game-changer in our profession, let the team of engineers do their work and see if they come up with crazy columns, shearwalls, odd mech. systems, or good locations for plumbing riser and coordinate that through bi-weekly meetings, better if your projects are done via BIM where things are less stressful. I wish I could calculate the volume of this and that, how much the beam can span...well if you are spoiled since more of our projects are multifamily residential, hotels, or offices, and Post-tension is at your feet, just knowing no more than 18 FT spans between columns or no more that 8 FT slab cantilevers for an 8" thick slab will do the trick. Yes, of course, I have worked in smaller projects like Single Family residential projects, and just by using the rule of thumb 1/10 of the span for the height of beams will do, under normal loads and I have been not that far from reality.
I do not want to mislead anyone, maybe since I have been there for quite a long time, grayed hair is starting to grow on my sideburns, and maybe the field of my expertise has led me to do just what I do, I have this opinion
....who knows where your career will lead you if you are a young Bachelor candidate, maybe it will lean towards the structural field, acoustics, MEP systems ( around 1995, I worked for an Architectural-Engineering Firm in Boston for 3 years and we basically design for the machines, phone, and electrical sensible machines and everything was targeted to what Mechanical system was the proper system to choose), if I would've stayed there I may have become an expert calculating the entire energy calculations for a room or a building!...nope, thank you....I even refused a full scholarship at MIT offered by my boss to become an HVAC designer, since I wanted to be an architect.
All I know is that I am frustrated, I believe my design skills and technicality contribution at the architectural firms that I have worked for have left one after another architectural contribution to our society, and full pockets of tons of millions of dollars to some of my previous firms.
I am so bad to memorize stuff, but I know I am very good at what I do in our Field. What can I tell you...never give up right?
In some other countries, there are other ways to become licensed in architecture by experience via an exposition of a real project and your full involvement from Design to CA, and the panel is loaded with elite architects. I guess I am dreaming out loud.
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