Connecting the Dots......
by Brad Smith, AIA
Chair, SC Board of Architectural Examiners
When I first was appointed to the South Carolina Board of Architectural Examiners in early 2009, I did not fully understand the relationship between NCARB, our State Boards and our Profession. Maybe I was lazy but I just never took the time to “connect the dots”. I always thought of NCARB as a necessary evil toward achieving reciprocity between our States, and still remember the long, laborious process I endured pursuing certification in the late 80’s.
Let me try and “connect the dots” for you. NCARB, National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, was formed around 1920. This clearing house was the result of our predecessors searching for a solution to the dilemma faced every time a registered architect wanted to become registered in another state. It seemed that it was more and more difficult for each state to evaluate the requirements of every other state and it was difficult to assess whether each state was welcoming architects from other states. NCARB was formed as a non-profit organization, with membership comprised of Registration Boards of our 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The only members of NCARB are the legally constituted registration boards. Only the member boards formulate the rules and policies of NCARB and elect the officers.
So, what are the responsibilities of NCARB? First, NCARB renders services to Member Boards by:
- Developing educational standards which may be adopted by the Member Boards as the standards to be required of registration candidates
- Development of an Intern Development Program (IDP) which has been adopted by Member Boards as the Internship Standard of candidates for registration. South Carolina currently has 435 active records in an intern status
- Development of the Architectural Registration Exam (ARE) used by all Member Boards to test architectural interns to practice architecture independently
- Recommending standards for professional conduct for registered architects which are widely adopted by the Member Boards and often find their way into our registration statutes
- Developing legislative guidelines for use by Member Boards in revising their statutes to strengthen the protection of the public interest through better laws
Second, NCARB provides services to registered architects. That is primarily comprised of maintaining the nationwide system based on the NCARB certificate.
It is interesting to note that dues collected from the Member Boards comprise less than two percent of the NCARB gross revenue. Most revenue is generated through services it furnishes to architectural interns and registered architects.
Some of the more recent services that have been developed include published Supervisor Guidelines for Architects who supervise interns. It has taken a lot of the guess work out of the IDP process and requirements. The communication department of NCARB provides electronic outreach through podcasts and webinars which are very helpful to students and interns. Also, the IDP department is currently in the process of visiting all 100+ architecture schools to meet with students and answer their questions. This has really helped reduce the amount of confusion among students.
In South Carolina, we require the NCARB Record for reciprocity licensure. This saves our staff much time and effort. Currently in South Carolina, we have 3740 registered architects and 1253 registered firms. Our Board and AIASC have a great relationship. Adrienne Montare, Executive Director of AIASC, attends our board meetings. Our past Board Chairman and current Regional Director of NCARB, Dennis Ward, recently spoke to the AIASC Board of Directors. We also work together on legislative issues as they occur, and AIASC is a part of a Design Professional Group that meets quarterly with other government staff who sort out design and construction issues within our state and profession.
Our SC Board has agreed to sponsor Continuing Education seminars conducted by Clemson’s Rutland Institute of Ethics which will entail three sessions of six CE hours in Health Safety and Welfare in three separate locations. These seminars are financed by the Board’s Education and Research Fund.
Our state is very fortunate to have an experienced administrator, Jan Simpson, who has been involved at the state and national level for 16 years. She is well respected and brings continuity and professionalism to the position. Jan represents our state and profession expertly on all levels.
In today’s reality of economic stress and state budget cuts, our State Board has been able to remain actively involved at a Regional and National level. This is made possible by state funds (your license fees) and additional funding from NCARB that allows us to attend the board meetings at a national level. Many of the state board members, including our Administrator, also participate on NCARB committees giving us a voice and the ability to affect actions through our participation.
To “connect the dots” back to you, as an architect registered in South Carolina, please remember we are here to be your voice and to support our profession at a national level so that it continues to be held in high regard to the public and our clients. I look forward to hearing any comments or concerns you may have.
AIA/CES and GBCI CE: A Comparison
by Keith Sanders, AIA
from August 2010 Newsletter
Sustainability has been a focus of architecture practice for more than 30 years, and the AIA has provided resources and tools to assist its members in the design of environmentally responsible projects. In 2009, the AIA Board of Directors modified the mandatory continuing education requirements for annual AIA membership to include 4 hours of education in sustainable design (SD). This move was to help practitioners respond to new expectations among clients and the community to address the issue of climate change and the impacts of buildings on carbon emissions, energy and water usage, resource depletion, and occupant comfort and well-being, among others.
AIA Sustainable design learning units (LU) must address the definition of sustainability and focus on at least one of the topics found in the AIA COTE Top Ten measures of sustainability:
- Sustainable Design Intent and Innovation
- Regional/Community Design and Connectivity
- Land Use and Site Ecology
- Bio climatic Design
- Light and Air
- Water Cycle
- Energy Flows and Energy Futures
- Materials and Construction
- Long life/Loose Fit
- Collective Wisdom and Feedback Loops
The Sustainable Design (SD) requirement does not replace the original requirements for 18 total hours, 8 of which must be in Health, Safety, and Welfare (HSW) subjects. HSW is a subset of LUs, and SD must be a subset of HSW - 4 of the total HSW hours must be in SD topics. AIA does not allow HSW or SD credits for a self-designed activity - the activity must be developed and presented by a third party.
AIA/CES instructor-led courses are submitted to AIA for approval by recognized CES Providers on a completed "Form A." The process is straightforward. In addition to contact information, Provider number, course title, duration, and at least four clearly defined learning objectives, the core areas, descriptions, and categories are selected from among several checklists on the form. No additional materials, i.e., handouts, powerpoint presentations, etc. are required for submittal and review.
LEED Professionals (LEED APs) who are participating in the new Credential Maintenance Program (CMP), begun in 2009 and is administered by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), must earn and self report 30 hours (CE hours) over two years. Six of the total 30 hours must be LEED specific.
LEED Professionals can earn CE hours through various activities, including:
- Professional development/continuing education courses
- Live Presentations
- Self-study programs
- College and university courses
- Certificates, professional licenses, and credentials
- Committee and volunteer work
- LEED project participation
There are limitations and maximum hours that can be earned in each of the above categories, i.e., CE hours earned as an attendee at live presentations or self-study programs may not exceed five hours per two-year reporting period, per credential, professional development and self-study must be approved by an Education Review Body (ERB), CE hours for LEED project participation are limited to ten per 2-year reporting period per credential.
Most LEED Professionals participating in CMP will have to earn CE hours through ERB-approved Professional Development Courses, a minimum of ten per 2-year reporting period.
GBCI initially made a call to various professional associations for proposals to become Education Review Bodies (ERBs) which would review courses to the quality standard GBCI set. At the present time, USGBC is the only ERB. Its Education Provider Program has the most rigorous course review processes in the industry and only review for green building subject matter.
Courses that are AIA approved are not automatically approved for GBCI CE hours, AIA's review of green building subject matter is cursory and lacks many of the review parameters and standards that are the core of USGBC's education review. Likewise, USGBC approves courses that AIA would not approve as they are focused to professions outside of the design community. However, design related courses approved by USGBC Education Providers will be automatically accepted for Sustainable Design (SD) credit by AIA/CES. These courses must still meet AIA/CES standards for Health Safety and Welfare (HSW).
USGBC Education Providers who are also AIA/CES Providers report their USGBC approved courses to AIA under their CES Provider number. USGBC Education Providers, who are not AIA/CES Providers, should have an AIA member self-report as a structured event. AIA will accept these USGBC Education Provider approved courses for credit toward the AIA member requirements.
True reciprocity is probably not possible because AIA and USGBC have different requirements and have different subject matter focus.
by Marc Warren, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP
from May 2010 Newsletter
Architects continue to face a variety of unprecedented challenges as our industry evolves in these modern times. We are facing the deepest recession in our lifetime, changes in project delivery methods, unpredictable pricing markets, increased competition, client demands, new software technologies, green building, continuing education requirements, liability issues...Whoa, I am getting dizzy just thinking about it. Why did I want to be an Architect?
Go to your happy place...Fallingwater...The Chrysler Building...Farnsworth House...The Sydney Opera House...
I am starting to feel better...Kimbell Art Museum...Schroder House...Villa Savoye...
Now I remember. I want to inspire an be inspired. I want to feed my soul through architectural expression. I wanted others to experience space the way Architects do. I certainly remember those college days of learning about new things and being inspired by visiting some great Architecture. The last thing I wanted was to be weighed down by all of these other issues. But, as Architects we have a responsibility to both the Art of Architecture and the Practice of Architecture, and only through the marriage of both can we truly create great work. So, through it all we must take the burden of these day to day issues and turn them into something that can feed both the technical requirements of Architecture and the Artist side in all of us. After all, I want to be inspired again.
Architecture, in some ways, is a very strange profession. We have all worked on projects that last for several years and yet our skills and knowledge change from the time that we start a project until its completion. The process of learning new ideas, ways of doing things, technologies--only furthers our ability to do great work. But, many things can and do change in the space between beginning and end. Our challenge is to develop these new skills when they can be most useful to us during the process. If used effectively, continuing education can provide us with the learning opportunities when we need them the most. Unfortunately, most architects treat continuing education like a requirement rather than an opportunity. We attend seminars, office lunches and even AIA conferences to get our mandatory CEU credits for renewed licensure.
My challenge to you is to seek out continuing education opportunities to meet your needs in your day to day working life. Want to learn new software? Then seek out continuing education opportunities that allow you to effectively learn the software while satisfying continuing education requirements. Want to become an expert in moisture and air barriers (you must be a real thrill seeker)? Then look for those opportunities. I promise you that they are out there. The point is simple, develop a continuing education plan. Decide what you want to focus on and seek out those opportunities rather than attending just any continuing education seminar that comes along. Once you have a continuing education plan in place, deciding which seminars to attend becomes an easy decision.
AIA South Carolina does a great job of developing the Annual Conference around the most current hot topics. The planning committee meetings have spirited discussions about the type of educational opportunities that it wishes to offer. I am very excited about the upcoming conference in the fall and I am certain you will find opportunities that meet your continuing education plan. Please be sure to attend the conference while you look for other opportunities that will help you round out your learning experience.
The AIA plays an active role in the continuing education of its members. We strive to provide valued opportunities for AIA members to maximize their professional skills through effective learning partnerships with firms, continuing education providers, and all AIA components.
Look for the AIA/CES provider logo to denote AIA/CES programs. When you see the AIA/CES logo advertised in conjunction with our educational seminars, workshops, and conferences you'll know the specific program has been registered through the AIA/CES system. If a program is registered, this means that all members who registered and attend will have their time recorded for credit by the provider (eg. AIA/SC). For more information on AIA Continuing Education, including requirements, transcripts, and more please visit AIA.org .
For non-AIA members, AIA/SC will provide a certificate of completion upon request for all AIA/CES programs offered by the Chapter.
AIA/SC Calendar • AIA National Calendar • CES Survival Guide •
AIA CES information including sign-in to CES Discovery for transcript • SC Dept. of LLR • Self-Reporting