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Ralph Liebing, RA, CSI, CDT
Senior Member
Username: rliebing

Post Number: 1300
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - 09:03 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

by Ralph Liebing, RA, CSI, CDT
Cincinnati, OH

Who is aware? Who is concerned? Who understands? Who give a tinker’s damn? Who’s been in a group- think about this? Who never thinks about it until this thing hits your Inbox every Wednesday?

Does the upper echelon of the architectural profession understand? Is their inaction purposeful or merely a matter of heads turned to one goal, excluding all others? Do students and young professionals understand? How can they? They have never had any type of formalized instruction in either professional practice, or contract documents?

It is shameful that those inside the profession continually profess that everything is OK, and other issues like sustainability, innovative [and often far over budget] projects represent the progression, that testifying to Congress is essential but service and communication with grass roots members is, well, a nuisance chore-- costly and with little return [and expendable].

First, it MUST be understood that the composition of Contract Documents is not so much hokum, open to the will of the firm! There are as they have been for years, and as established by General Conditions, necessities of project construction, and more than likely by law. You cannot have just 2 of the 3, but you NEED all three!-- all the time [while the extent of any one may be changed, all are still part of the requirements]. No idealism, excuses, cost cutting, or lame excuses can change this, by gosh-or-by darn, or by ignorance or will to do otherwise.

How can a whole profession and ancillary contributing organizations simply be satisfied to let this process continue? More and more voices are being heard that decry the situation, but maybe only open revolt will "force" action [new ways; new standards of quality, stronger mandatory standards and a coordinated system of professional education? Why has CSI not mounted a vocal and penetrating campaign to bring the issue to a head-- and in large part, solve it? Oh! and the AIA, ACSA, NCARB, NAAB, etc. too. Don’t they understand????? We cannot continue to be successful as a profession [and offer valued service to clients and be insurers of value in a project] and a factor in construction if we wean young students and professionals on a misguided path of solely design, software, computerization and the associated whiz-bang goodies, but give NO background or founding construction knowledge-- materials, construction methods, systems techniques of drawing content, production, flexible applications, detailing, and the task of understanding, envisioning and flexibly applying the same to every project.

Maybe it is a simple [????] matter of the various factions lacking the foresight and drive to meet, exchanges ideas, and resolve this problem-- it is not self-healing, but is powerful enough to be gravely destructive! If we continue to tolerate the low level of construction knowledge in the younger professionals, the limited scope of testing that appears to ignite the law directing its scope, limited time and money for projects, and as seen later, open discussion of the inability to detail, and to produce anything better than “mediocre" [sub-standard; same as the drawings?] specifications, just where the heck are we???????????? What have we gained and made better?

When you claim a correct representation of your profession involves bizarre, sculpture-like structures [that defy rationale of the general public] with attendant 10,000+ RFI’s, much is wrong! When law requires testing for registration but in a warped form [more design than “how-to”] the flawed system is legitimized-- why? It almost seems like this all is planned to be a conspiracy to have a sham process in lieu of a balanced, insightful, meaningful approach, where “professional” comes to above reproach, careful, studious, and meaningful results. We need to remember that, true, we work for the one client-- both client and professional have a duty over and above to the community and its populace!

It is incomprehensible but it appears that each faction of the process-- professionals, states registration boards, NCARB, NAAB, ACSA, schools— each took their own way, nibbling away for some reason without consultation with the others, since no one “fought” for specs, or drawings [they don’t even have an organization like CSI], and for their own gain. Piece by piece, excuse by excuse the programs where we allowed to dwindle away and until we have the almost silly [and unexplainable] mess we have.

We need professional practice instruction to understand the profession; instruction on materials, systems, detailing, etc.; and of course, basic understanding [at least!!!!!] of specifications, their use, intent, and preparation [not to create experts in every student, but giving enough that the word and function are not foreign enterprises! The true intent and impact of the profession, overall and everywhere depends on all of this being resolved, or correctly re-established-- SOON!!!!!

It’s difficult to have the courage to start doing work no one else is doing-- but often it is necessity and quite rewarding!!

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