The Construction Labor Shortage is an Owner Issue

It is predicted that there will be a pilot shortage. Over the next two decades, 87 new pilots will need to be trained every day to be ready to fly a commercial airliner in order to meet our insatiable demand to travel by air. Industry leaders are finding ways to attract today’s youth to a career in aviation, but given the time and cost it takes to become a pilot, the solution must be multi-faceted. Many ideas are being implemented including the use of autonomous aircraft, shortening the pilot training time frame and by the opening of aviation education facilities, such as the Wings Over the Rockies Exploration of Flight Campus in Centennial, Colorado and Metro States Department of Aviation and Aerospace Science. Like the aviation industry, labor shortages continue to be a significant challenge in the construction market. Owners are not willing to simply accept higher costs

Liar, Liar

So, the dilemma unfolded, a crossroads of sorts. What to do? I am sure that most A/E/C professionals have been faced with a situation where they had to decide between telling a client what they would like to hear versus the painful truth. We received a RFP calling for a combined design and construction schedule of six months. Upon analyzing the project details, it was clear that an eleven-month schedule was required. This left us with the option of proposing a schedule and fee that matched the client’s delusions, or present the reality. Do we tell the truth and risk losing the project? Do we tell the client what they want to hear? Should we lie? The answer was obvious - present the truth. As an owner’s representative, it is counterintuitive to mislead the owner. We are, after all, supposed to watch out for their best interests. We secured

Stop Watching Porn

We know you do it, be it online, with magazines or other medium…you can’t help yourself; but, you need to stop.  There are all types to fit your desires, but is it healthy? You view these mediums so much that they become reality and you may be living in an alternate world. Of course, I am talking about…architectural design and the media that showcase glorious architectural designs. In the 1960’s, Playboy set expectations of how the average “girl next door” should look. Now we are in the digital age, where anything goes. Just as this may not be healthy for your relationship with your partner, the same could be said for the architecture medium you are consuming.  You might tell yourself that Houzz, Architizer and The Architectural Review are sources of inspiration, but doesn’t it distort reality, leaving us to feel our design are “less-than?” Are you entering the


Working on public projects often entails a phase that private projects don’t…the public process.  This process is always unique simply because the people attending public meetings have their own opinions and personalities.  When presenting you never know if you will have a happy or hostile crowd; supportive or outwardly against anything you propose, no matter what you do.  We have been a part of many public meetings, some more successful than others but none that actually let people vote, until now. This particular client’s communication team came up with the concept that the public should but be able to be part of the project at a higher level, by voting on the design.  The design team worked with them and determined we had to narrow down what they would actually vote on that wouldn’t impact the design timeline in a negative way.  After some discussion we agreed that

Charrette Syndrome

Do you suffer from Charrette Syndrome?  You can determine the degree of your ailment simply by counting the number of times you use the word “charrette” in an interview. 1-2 times – Early onset and you should be monitored 3-6 times – You have the syndrome and you should seek therapy 6 or more times – You should be institutionalized and no longer attend interviews After interviewing architects with clients, they often ask, “what is a charrette and why do I need one?”  We don’t give them the institutional answer, but for this blog, we will provide some detailed information. The word charrette refers to any collaborative session in which a group of designers drafts a solution to a design problem; it is born out of working up to the last minute of the deadline.  According to Wikipedia, the word charrette is French for “cart” or “chariot". In the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 19th century

My DD’s Don’t Look Like Your DD’s

Your client is confused and confusion leads to frustration. You have presented an AIA agreement to them calling out multiple project phases including Programming, Schematic Design, Design Development and so on.  Respect that many of these terms are new to clients and they don’t understand why you are making this so complicated, why not go to 0 to 100% complete? Design teams often state that critical sign offs are needed during the process. These industry standards are in place to protect the design team and require them to make sure the client is getting what they want. Read that last sentence again and check your heartbeat if it didn’t make you cringe.  Why on earth do we need a process that would require the service provider to confirm the client is happy?  The truth is, that’s  a hard sell.  The reality is these phases protect the design team

Mullets and Drawing Phases

My father-in-law was a barber for nearly 40 years and he had his process dialed in. He was able to deliver a great haircut and evolved a method that allowed his customers to be engaged and informed while signing off on critical phases. I found some similarities to architectural design phases and thought I would share. Concept Design – When I sit in the chair he confirms what I would like done, this changes based on the time of year (summer/winter) or if there is an event coming up, maybe I want a mullet for the upcoming carnival. I share with him pictures of previous haircuts that I liked or a picture of the latest celebrity style that I want to emulate. We agree and I “sign off” on the Concept Design. Schematic Design – Before cutting anything he asks me numerous questions such as do I like my neck tapered, how

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