I just refresh my web site. More content is coming…
Part 2 – Whose idea was it for us to do “free design consultation”?
There’s no such thing as a free lunch.
Asking builders why they offer free design to potential clients is like reading the same book over and over again. Some will say that they do it because they have to, so they can keep their crews busy or they will lose them. Ask designers about free design and they will tell you that giving away your intellectual property is devaluing the design profession as a whole. No matter what the reason is, the public feels that creating designs for them should be free. Where did they get this reasoning from?
For example, go to any “home improvement center” and ask for a kitchen cabinets quote. The first thing the design consultant will ask you is whether you have a sketch of your kitchen layout. The customer may or may not have one. It does not matter because the same “home improvement center” will offer the design layout for “free”. Whether or not they get the sale or not, the customer will get a good-looking design that they can take home to show off to their friends and relatives. As they show off their 3D representation of their kitchen, they will let others know how they received a “free” design.
The example above is on a small scale versus the various projects that we face every day, but it confirms a trend. From a consumer point of perspective, they’re receiving a free service. The public does not know how many hours the designer had to train to become a designer, how much money the designer had to spend for school or how much the “home improvement center” had invested in training.
The main complaints about “free” design came from Kitchen Design professionals. It could have come from other design professionals (just insert profession here) the arguments are the same? The public is getting sold misinformation about the work we do. Doing any design service takes time. Someone told the public that our services needs to be free. Even in our profession, builders or developers has always pitted one design firm against another to get lower prices for design services. As a professional that’s not a major problem. The real problem occurs when they want premium service for pennies. They can demand it because of consumer’s perceived value of what we do.
This is another example of who is running our industry. The time and money it takes to educate ourselves to become designers, only to learn that others are running our industry. Whether you are an architect, kitchen designer or interior designer, someone is influencing our profession.
How many marketing dollars went into the concept of “free” design? I wonder if the “home improvement center” hired design professionals as consultants to verify that their business model will work.
The hijacking of “architecture” had to start somewhere. The results are evident.
Part 3 – Endgame
Changing technology is the driving force
There are more licensed architects than non-license; in the field of commercial architecture. As it should be. The years of school, apprenticeships and testing are not only admirable, but necessary. However, the real threat is coming from – “changing technology”. Consider this one: outsourcing from other countries, these industries are selling professional design services at a substantial lower rate. By getting a licensed professional to modify their plans and seal them; will save them outside industry design fees rather than going the traditional route (a number of licensed architects outsource their work oversees to save money too…).
In the field of residential architecture, non-licensed outnumbers licensed by a large margin. Due to the exemption clauses in every state, there are more non-licensed designers in residential design. Think about it, we have various types of designers, from kitchens designers to professional residential designers (and everything in between). That is a lot of titles. Even some of the non-licensed professional organizations discuss protecting the field of residential designers from “cad operators”. Just like the AIA who is trying to protect its members from non-licensed designers. Because of the distractions going on in our industry, other industries are dictating terms in our profession.
No matter the numbers of us design professionals, we are still outnumbered ten to one vs. the outside industries.
The Frank Lloyd Wright debate…
In various forums, there were topics about what to do about non-licensed designers becoming architects. One of the greatest was Frank Lloyd Wright. As most of us know, he was not licensed to practice architecture. However most of us do not know that the field of “architecture” in those days was very different from it is today. For an interesting read, go to the AIA history website (http://www.aia.org/about/history/AIAB028819) and you will notice that it took the organization over 50 years to develop licensing laws. For those licensed architects, who keep saying that the current path to get a license cannot or should not be changed, just look at your history. Changes happen all the time.
Now let us take additional look at another threat from – “changing technology” – residential architects no longer are considered – Professionals (as from the other industries and public perspective). Architects consider themselves as professionals, like doctors, lawyers, etc… Maybe that works for commercial architects, but because of outside influences, residential architects are considered not to be professionals. I know most of you blame non-licensed designers for that, but the real culprits are – outside industries. For example, when submitting plans to the permit department, the builder will go to the client and say to them that they do not need to submit 10 sheets of details to build their home. The client comes to you saying what the builder told them. The permit department will back up the builder, due to cost issues (i.e. the designer is over charging you for the unnecessary work of 10 sheets of detail). Who do you think the client will believe?
Lastly, just remember the original premise of this thread was to alert our industry of the possible threat on the horizon and why as a “design community”, should address it. The issue of who is licensed and who is not is really a minor issue, because if we do not get our name back, it will not matter, in the long run. Somebody else will own it.
Part 2 is coming very soon…
Part 1 – Why can I not use the term “architect” but an IT person can?
From the “duckdown.blogspot.com web site”
Look up the term “architect” on CareerBuilder.com and here what you find…Click on “Narrow search” and you will find 110 IT entries that is using the term, out of 55 design topics, none of them was in the field of architecture. According to Wikipedia, the term “software architecture discipline” is centered on the idea of reducing complexity through abstraction and separation of concerns. To date there is still no agreement on the precise definition of the term “software architecture”. However, this does not mean that individuals do not have their own definition of what software architecture is. This leads to problems because many people are using the same terms to describe differing ideas. Why is that’s happening? Before I can give you reasons on why, let me tell you why this topic was created.
The IT industry is growing between 18 to 26 percent for all occupations through the year 2014 (from the United States Department of Labor). Licensed Architects in the US numbers around 106,000 (from the NCARB’s 2012 survey) but an IT professional numbers around 1.6 million (from the United States Department of Labor). Since the IT profession outnumbered Licensed Architects by a 15 to 1 ratios whom is going to win the “naming” war?
The reason is as a Residential Design Professional (not a licensed architect…) we are instructed by the powers to be to not to use any of the word or its derivatives or face the music with the legal system. But by letting others professional use the name, is dilution our design profession. So in order to get back our name (yes our name since I’m a residential design professional), all of us professionally has to put our differences aside and to take back our name. If we do nothing, then all of our lively hoods as design professionals would be even in more in jeopardy.
I know, I know, you do not believed me, so let me ask you this question:
Whose idea was it anyway for us to do “free design consultation”?
Part 2 coming next week.
All things “design” will still be on this site and in the coming hours, look for new and useful content on all things “design”.
More exciting changes are coming very soon. Enjoy.
As most of you know, the continual upgrades and updates within People, Places & Things LLC as a “unique home solution” is continuing, as we have divided our design business and home inspection business. However, starting on October 15th, 2012, the “home services” section will be discontinued on this web site. Any “Home Inspection, Home Modification or HUD 203K Consultant” information, news, blogs and other things “home services” can now be access at my new web site:
All things “design” will still be on this site and in the next few weeks, look for new and useful content on all things “design”.
More exciting changes are coming very soon. Enjoy.