Practice question I found difficult

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    David Kaplan

    Brent,

    As I read this question, it is asking whether or not the Architect is allowed to take on the liability of doing the actual Civil drawings themselves - meaning, it's not saying that the Owner doesn't want to pay for a civil engineer so Mr. Architect, you go ahead and pay the guy instead.  It's saying that the Owner wants NO civil engineer involvement on this project whatsoever and Mr. Architect, can you just draw the drawings instead yourself? 

    The answer is we cannot do this.  A licensed PE must prepare these drawings. 

    This question is poorly worded but it is a good example of how reading too much into a question can trip you up on the ARE.  Your first point about "does Architect mean Architect Team?"  The question does not say "team," you should therefore NOT assume that.  An architect is an architect - that's it. 

    If this question were on the ARE, it would not have been worded this vaguely.  Here's how I feel the ARE would word this question:

    An owner wants to avoid Civil Engineering services on a project involving sitework, underground utilities, and grading to save cost, and asks if the Architect can instead prepare the drawings and not hire a Civil Engineer.  What should the Architect's response be?

    This to me is clearer intent than the practice question, as to me it avoids anything vague.  By stating that the job involves "sitework, underground utilities, and grading," to me that immediately sets off an alarm in my head that we can't design or size any of that.  It also clearly states that the Owner wants to the Architect to "prepare" the drawings - meaning, actually draw them.  It also clarifies up front that there is to be no civil engineer on this job.

    My point is, you'll have more clarity I feel.  At least, that was my experience.  Hope that helps.

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    Jian Huang

    Hey Brent,

    Based on AIA B101 4.1.1.8, the civil engineering is one of the supplemental services, the owners should pay for the supplemental services if they want to add those services into the contracts.

    In this question,  it mentions that the owner does not want to hire a civil engineer for saving money, which means they are not going to pay for civil engineer services. Then there is no reason for an architect to hire a civil engineer by themselves which is not listed in the contract with the owner. And at the same time, the architects are not qualified to create civil drawings. Hence, we go to the conclusion that the architects should reject it.

    Hope my understanding to this question could be helpful. And please let me know your thought.

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    Brent Bumbaca (Edited )

    Thanks for the responses. My confusion really does stem on what the services of an "Architect" are when I am asked a question like this, and I want to know how I should respond when I am asked a question on the services of an Architect. 

    For example, let's look at §3.1 in B101.

    "The Architect's Basic Services consist of those described in this Article 3 and include usual and customary structural, mechanical, and electrical engineering services. Services not set forth in this Article 3 are Supplemental or Additional Services."

    To me, this section refers to the "Architect" as the Architect team, which is why I think that it should be safe to assume that the work of the "Architect" are the services that they are providing to the Owner. The "basic services" of an Architect include engineering drawings that an Architect alone cannot provide.

    Basically, once the Civil Engineer (or any engineer really) is contracted with the Architect, that Engineer's work would be a service by the Architect, to the Owner. The fact that the engineer is doing a service for the Architect doesn't really matter because the engineer is not contracted with the Owner.

    So if the contract makes reference to the "Architect" as a team, then it should be safe to say that the 'Architect' is qualified to do the civil engineering drawings. This makes option 'A' in this question viable. 

    I may be thinking about this too much. I just think that contracts are weighed heavily on wording, and I believe that it would be expected for everyone to know that for the Project Management exam.

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    Jian Huang

    Hey Brent,

    I still do not think so. Let's change the civil engineering drawings to mechanical engineering drawings in this question at first to make this question more straigtforwards, because mechanical engineering services are included in the architect's basic services. Then we can avoid the concern about whether civil engineering services belong to basic services or supplemental services.

    Considering mechanical engineering services has been listed in the contract, it means architect need to provide owners with mechanical drawings. In the real world, architect needs to hire mechanical engineer to finish the works and pay them.

    So think about this, where is the money used to pay mechanical engineer comes from? The answer is that the money come from owner, this is, it seems that owner only pay architect, but actually owner also pay for the consultants' fee and the fee for architect to coordinate with consultants which are included in the total fee paid to architect.

    This question mentions that owner want to save money and do not want to hire mechanical engineer(we change civil engineer to mechanical engineer at beginning). This means owner would not hire one by himself/herself, and the owner would also slide out the mechanical services in the contract with architect and deduct the fee given to architect because they think architect does not need to hire additional professionals. So there is no mechanical engineer in the any group, no matter owner's group or architect's group.

    Hence, even though the "Architect" mean team, there is no professional in team to handle mechanical drawings. Same reason when we change mechanical engineer back to civil engineer.

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    David Kaplan

    Brent,

    Wanted to throw out another approach to these types of questions that may help you out.  Let's look back at the original question:

    To save money, the owner doesn't want to hire a civil engineer and wants the architect to do the drawings.  Is this allowed?

    Whenever you read any question and start thinking things like, "Do they mean this?  Do they mean that?" stop and ask yourself this: "what would NCARB likely be trying to test me on with this question to ensure that I can be an architect?"

    Would NCARB really be asking us if an Architect is allowed to hire a civil engineer instead of an owner?  I believe likely not.  That just seems obvious.  Of course we can hire them.  We can hire an elephant cage specialist if we get a circus project.  There's not many people we can't hire if they want to be our consultant.  Is it really "test-worthy" to know that we can hire them?

    This is why when I first responded to your post, I immediately jumped in to say, "No, the Architect can't draw an engineer's drawings and stamp them" and didn't even question that they would've been intending something else.  When I read this question and I ask myself "what is NCARB testing me on here," I immediately thought that they want to make sure that I know that an Architect is not legally allowed to stamp an engineer's drawings.  That's something I SHOULD know when I have my license because it deals with liability.

    Try that approach out - maybe that will help.  When you get stumped, ask yourself this question and see if that can steer you in the right direction.  I found myself doing this quite a bit on the ARE and it helped me focus better.

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    Sarah Rosenthal (Edited )

    And in real life- avoid the risk. Can you imagine having to move your whole building because it's in someone's property? Professional liability insurance will not be happy with you... the civil stuff is a liability that architects are better off leaving to the civil engineer.
    I'd stay far away from this client

     

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