Recently, I met with my Michigan mentor through the local AIA chapter here.  To recap the meeting/dinner, Mr. Owen and I spoke about architecture and construction.  He has worked on both sides of this effort, which makes him a great person to speak with.  One of his primary concerns with the architecture profession is its unwillingness to take on risk or liability.  This is reflected in the contract language, particularly in the cost estimates section where “opinion of probably cost” is used instead of “estimate of probable cost.”  He expressed concern that because cost drives business  decisions, and architects are typically not good at cost estimating, their credibility suffers in the professional arena.  Although he believes an architects training and eye for detail makes him more skillful than many of his competitors – including construction managers, contractors, etc – the unwillingness to take on liability will continue to plague the profession’s respect within design and construction industry.   Other professions will continue to fill in the gap where architects are not willing to take on liability.   The most vocal architect in support of this is SHoP, but it is good to hear this reinforced from local experience.  Above all, the emphasis on having a wide, breadth of experience seemed most attractive to Owen, who was able to lead teams of both designer and engineers because of much of his experience.

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