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Architecture/Demand for Architects in United States.

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Question
Dear Richard

How much is the demand for doing business in United States for Architects?

Thanks
Prashant

Answer
Prashant,

If you were to ask me, "how much is the demand for family doctors and general physicians?" my answer would be exactly the same.  I will make a comparison with the medical practice because both professions require many years of training.  And both professions are suffering major changes in our society.  The short answer is that the demand is a less for the general practitioner and more for the specialist.  As you know, the architect is required to have the broadest knowledge of all things related to the built environment.  A good architect is well trained to answer questions related to time and money management for a wide variety of building projects.  A good architect is able to solve technical problems that arise during construction.  The most successful architects are focused on customer care and building personal relationships.  Hold onto that thought for a moment.

During the last three years, the number of attorneys have increased and now one out of every 300 people are attorneys.  They need more law suits to survive.  A few of those loiter in our hospital emergency rooms and more attorneys are handing out their business cards to building owners during construction.  Some are known to wait nine years after construction to file a class-action law suit.

During the last two decades, we have replaced common sense with bureaucratic rules and regulations.  The number of pages for the International Building Code increases with each publication to the point where it is impossible for an architect to know everything related to Life Safety Codes, wheel chair accessibility, zoning, structural and energy efficiency.  All of those categories are potential law suites if the architect fails to design a building that meets each and every applicable standard.

The effort to study every new rule and regulation is one of many causes for mental fatigue and burnout.  There is little reward for being a general practitioner for both the medical profession and the building industry.  The insurance companies are becoming greedy and want higher premiums from both doctors and architects.  The insurance companies provide small discounts for those willing to subject themselves to annual examination and re-certifications.

For those few remaining architects who insist on maintaining personal relationships and delivering comprehensive services to their clients, they endure these changes in our society.  Other architects (myself included) can reduce their liability by becoming specialists.  While the over-qualified doctor has reduced his task to scanning for cancer, the number of experienced architects is also decreasing at the same rate as family doctors.

Now to answer your question, there is lower demand for the architect and higher demand for specialty engineers.
Today there are fewer architects entering into the work force.  Many architecture students become disillusioned upon graduation and find something more rewarding to do.
The likelihood that you will find a job as an intern architect is the same as it was twenty years ago because there is less competition.

Given a master's degree in architecture, you will have no problem finding a job within 30 days that pays $40,000 per year.

I hope my answer was not too long but I have much more to say about this subject.

Richard Burton, AIA
Registered Architect
ICC Certified Plan Reviewer
NFPA Certified Fire Plan Examiner
www.arrow-architecture.com

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Richard Burton AIA

Expertise

A combined total of 25 years experience with construction, architecture, and building code enforcement. Ask me about residential and commercial design. Ask me about design aesthetics, structural methods, and building something that will withstand severe weather conditions. Ask me my opinion about YOUR design ideas and I will tell you the merits of good design and challenge your thinking about practical issues. Ask me how to best find and work with your local architect and approach general contractors to get the most value for the least amount of headaches. You can ask me about improving your energy efficiency and things that are both green and practical. But don't ask me about solar panels and wind turbines unless you are currently paying your utility company 35 cents per Kilowatt. Otherwise the math does not justify the initial cost and return on investment. Ask me any building code question and how to get a building permit from the most difficult enforcement agencies.

Experience

Here in the midwest, we design and build "green" in ways that make sense. My construction methods prioritize weather resistance, ease of maintenance and durability. While a graduate student in San Diego, I taught drafting and history of architecture. After working ten years for other architecture firms, I have started my firm Arrow Architecture in 2008. More than half of my work involves commercial office buildings. But my portfolio of work also includes custom homes, residential additions, home remodels, and second story additions.

Organizations
President-Elect of American Institute of Architects - Lincoln, NE

Education/Credentials
B.S. Architecture - (Interior Design) University of Nebraska Lincoln 1997 Master of Architecture - (Urban Design and Professional Practice) NewSchool of Architecture - San Diego 2004 Graduated Summa Cum Laude ICC Certified Building Plans Examiner

Awards and Honors
AIA Henry Adams Medal and Certificate

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