Our Exclusive ILMA Interview with Jeff Venezia, AIA of @DIGroupArch

Who is Jeff Venezia, AIA?

Jeff holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Virginia and has practiced in New Brunswick since 1981. He is presently a Principal Owner and President ofDIGroupArchitecture, a 32 person firm specializing in K-12 Education, Higher Ed, Senior Living and Healthcare. He heads the design and marketing efforts of the firm as well as the Academic Studio which includes K-12 and Higher Ed.

About the Firm

DIGroupArchitecture is a process-centric architecture and design firm. We work tirelessly with our clients to understand their priorities, evaluate the physical and budgetary constraints, and communicate potential options. As a result we create distinctive design solutions that help our clients achieve their vision, with unwavering attention to detail at every scale.

It is our unbiased approach to scale that helps us evolve in the changing climate of contemporary architecture. As many of our clients’ priorities have shifted away from ground-up architecture to renovations and adaptive reuse, our interiors studio has flourished and our graphic design studio has developed a diverse portfolio of projects in environmental graphics, signage and wayfinding, and brand identity.

80% of our business comes from repeat clients.They appreciate our “whatever it takes” approach and principal involvement at every level of every project. Our goal is to make every client a “legacy” client doing project after project and improving the experience of those who occupy the facilities we have created together as partners.

         Memorial Elementary School

         Phillipsburg High School

         Remsen Ave. Firehouse

         Jonathan Dayton High School Media Center

 

Click to Follow the DIGroup: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

ILMA INTERVIEW

When and why did you decide to become an Architect?     

I’ve wanted to be an architect since I was about 12 years old.  I loved model building, drawing and construction and just knew from that time on what I wanted to be.

What were some of the challenges of achieving your dream?

I think the biggest challenge has always been living up to the level of trust your clients place on you to deliver a project that meets or exceeds their expectations.

Any memorable clients or project highlights?  

Most clients are memorable in their own way.  Since a lot of our work is for repeat clients we get to know them extremely well over time, both professionally and personally.  The best highlights of any of our projects is the reaction of the end users as to how we’ve improved the quality of their everyday lives.  That occurs most often in our Healthcare, K-12, Senior Living and Community Rooms projects.  One of our top highlights was having our Memorial Elementary School in East Brunswick receive the 2013 AIA New Jersey Honor Award for Excellence in Design, the first NJ public school to be recognized with that award (see photos above).

How do Architects measure success?     

We measure success by how a project meets the goals established in the very beginning, especially with regard to program, design, budget and schedule.

Good design does not have to cost more – it requires patience and commitment to doing it right.

Grow the business, develop a transition of ownership strategy, continue to focus on improving our architectural, interior and graphic capabilities.

Who is your favorite Architect? Why?  

Unquestionably Alvar Aalto.  I love the way his buildings embrace the landscape and often look to him for inspiration.

What is your favorite historic and modern (contemporary) project? Why?  

My favorite historic building would be the Pantheon in Rome.  Favorite contemporary – the Kimball Art Museum in Texas by Louis Kahn.

Where do you see the profession going over the next few decades?

We need to reverse the trend of being considered by the public as a commodity.  We need to educate the public and our clients on the value added in what we provide in the services we perform.  We are not copy or toilet paper. 

Who / what has been your greatest influence in design?      

The greatest influence on my design work was my 3rd year architecture professor who demanded only the highest quality work from me and forced me out of my comfort zone to continually strive to learn from every project, to grow and become better as an architect.

Which building or project type would you like to work on that you haven’t been part of yet?   

Airport – I love the idea of doing something at that scale.

If you could not be an Architect, what would you be?    

A National Geographic photographer.

 What advice do you have for a future Executive leader?     

Always be true to yourself, treat people fairly and conduct yourself with the highest level of integrity.  Your word should be your bond.

What are three key challenges you face as a leader in business today and one trend you see in your industry?  

Challenges:  the economy, dealing with diversity in the work place and the ever-increasing reliance on technology.  As mentioned above, the competition and lowering of fees continue on a downward spiral.

What one thing must an executive leader be able to do to be successful in the next 3 years?  

Don’t just adapt to change – embrace it.

What are some executive insights you have gained since you have been sitting in the executive leadership seat – or what is one surprise you have encountered as the world of business continues to morph as we speak?     

Take risks and have the commitment to see them through.  Be a good listener.  Show a concern and appreciation for your employees.  Be proactive in solving problems.  Never let anything fester.  Once the attorneys get involved no one is happy with the outcome.

For more exclusive ILMA interviews click here.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

Gift Ideas from ILMA

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Our Exclusive ILMA Interview with Felicia Middleton @UrbanAesthetics

Felicia Middleton is an Architecture Design Professional, an Author, an EPA Certified Renovator and an Entrepreneur. She is the principal of Urban Aesthetics, LLC serving the Philadelphia metropolitan area.  She specializes in Residential and Commercial Architecture and Interior Design – both Renovations and New Construction – as well as Commercial and Residential Kitchens and Baths, Quality Assurance, Interior Material Specifications, Interior Commercial Design including Restaurants and Bars, Salons and Spas, Education and Church Facilities and Corporate Design and Retail Planning. She also provides Construction Administration and Construction Management services.

She can be found on social media by following these links: Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and on LinkedIn.

ILMA INTERVIEW

When and why did you decide to become an Architect?

At the young age of 15, while attending the Carver H.S. of Engineering and Science I took a drafting class and decided what I wanted to do as a career. I told a drafting teacher that I wanted to draw on computers. We had a drafting teacher who was very encouraging, named Mr. Avant. The students loved him so much because he would let us eat lunch with him in his drafting class and he had a genuine interest in each one of us. Sadly, he passed last year. I always wanted to thank him for his help and encouragement.

What were some of the challenges of achieving your dream?

College financing often was a challenge for me. My family had difficulties and paying for college became a struggle. I had to work many jobs while in college but I realize now that those jobs helped lay the framework for my future. Thank God for making it possible for me to overcome so many obstacles and pursue and achieve my dream.

Any memorable clients or project highlights?

Earlier in my career, I designed a Commissary Kitchen Warehouse and several cafeterias for the Vineland School District in Vineland, NJ. I learned so much from that project. I learned a lot about the operations of school food facilities. That learning process really reinforced how important the use of a building is in design and planning.

During that same time, I worked on many well-known food facility projects in casinos throughout the country. I found a design niche that I grew to love and still love over a decade later.

How does your family support what you do?

My immediate family supports me 100%. Especially my mother. She has been my biggest fan. My friends and family will often pass my name to others who may need my services. In addition, they support events and projects sponsored by my company, especially the community projects.

How do Architects measure success?

Many architects measure success via projects and achievements and the impact that they have on others. I would also add that success is measured by the way we are able to make a difference in our communities.

What matters most to you in design?

Safety, is extremely important to me, also function and aesthetics. Buildings are where we spend the majority of our time so they should be safe spaces that add to our well-being.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

What do you hope to achieve over the next 2 years? 5 years?

Over the next two years I will focus on managing Urban Aesthetics projects while developing my own individual brand. Within 5 years I will have my brand developed in Food Facility Design and operate separately from Urban Aesthetics.

Who is your favorite Architect? Why?

I feel in our profession mentoring and inspiring is very important. Your life, work and values should inspire your followers. My favorite historical architect, Daniel Burnham’s life story is inspiring, his buildings are beautiful and he has written very inspiring quotes. I have used his quote as a motto for my business.

“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency…”

My favorite current architects are my colleagues.

Do you have a coach or mentor?

I have a Business Coach but unfortunately, I do not currently have a mentor. I have been blessed with many mentors throughout my life and career and I have mentored many.

Mentoring relationships are not permanent. They end or change as we grow. I have desired to find a mentor for a couple of years but I have not been able to create the relationship.

The architect that I share an office with is probably the closest person to a mentor that I currently have. He is a senior on the architecture profession and he offers advice and gives advice when I ask. I have a great deal of respect for him.

What is your favorite historic and modern (contemporary) project? Why?

My favorite historic project is the Colosseum. The Colosseum is a grand structure located in Rome, Italy. It is beautiful and strong, representing the games that were performed for spectators. Amazingly, it has stood robust and tall for almost 2000 years.

My favorite modern building has changed a many ties over the last 20 years, as innovation, design and the environment surrounding me changes. Most recently, the Cira Center, in Philadelphia, has been a favorite. I love it because it stands a jewel above the surrounding buildings and it represented the expansion of our downtown to the other side of the Schuylkill River. An added bonus is that the building is green, LEED Certified.

Where do you see the profession going over the next few decades?

For a while, it seemed as if there was a decline in the profession but I have noticed a recent resurgence. I do believe there needs to be some liberation in the process involved in becoming an architect and function within the profession. I see the profession opening up to multiple careers, interchanging with architecture.

What type of technology do you see in the design and construction industries?

Virtual 3d Modeling is a form of technology that I have seen most recently. Virtual reality in design will help us communicate designs to clients who have difficulty understanding plans. In addition, advances in project management software helps to streamline the planning and construction processes.

Who / what has been your greatest influence in design?

The Green Movement has been my greatest influence in design. I became serious about environmental issues while in college and there I decided that it would have a big impact on my work. I worked for an environmental organization for a couple of years while in college and I learned so much. I added a few environment-centered courses while in college and

my senior internship included researching Brownfield’s Redevelopment. When I first entered the design world, eco-friendly design was not a large part of what we did. I was a bit discouraged at first but was reenergized in the early 2000’s when the green movement really started taking shape.

Which building or project type would you like to work on that you haven’t been part of yet?

A LEED project. My current burning desire is to participate on a LEED project.

How do you hope to inspire / mentor the next generation of Architects?

I will to continue mentoring our young people by explaining to them as many aspects of our work as I can, to help the understand all that is included and let them see that this profession has so much to offer, depending on what direction you wish to go. I will let them see that when you fall in love with your work, it can be very fulfilling. I hope to let them see that you can make a difference in your community and also the world while working in this field but you MUST find your way.

What advice would you give aspiring architects (K-12)? College students? Graduates?

Fall in love love with architecture and the profession if you want to succeed and endure the work. You will have to put your time in while working but be sure to learn more than what is expected.

What does Architecture mean to you?

Architecture is art in the form of function and use. We create structures that affect people physically and emotionally. We discover solutions to problems both spatially and creatively. I learned at a young age that I liked seeing how things come together. In architecture, part of your work is to develop the way a building comes together. At times we have to take a building apart to bring the desired project together.

What is your design process?

I follow a basic process:

  • Determining the client’s Gain an understanding of their situation (financial, time constraints and any limitations)
  • Preliminary Research – Code, Zoning, Needs of Use, Property,
  • Pre-Design – Discuss research findings, create
  • Design Development – Develop the concept into a more workable Additional research.
  • Coordinate with project team.
  • Complete

If you could not be an Architect, what would you be?

If I could not work in this great profession, I would be a writer. I guess I already am a writer. I have always excelled at writing. Writing is my second love, next to architecture. I have published 2 books, written for magazines and published several blogs. I absolutely love to write.

What is your dream project?

I have a strange desire to design a high-end Starbucks, similar to the project in progress in Chicago.

What advice do you have for a future Executive leader?

Take time to let things develop. Relish in the importance of being guided by others, mentors who can help you and your interests. You must share in your success, look to give to your fellow business colleagues. Develop a relationship with fellow business owners and remember that collaboration produces multiple wins. Work with partnerships, strategically develop partners with whom you can develop lasting business relationships.

What are three key challenges you face as a leader in business today and one trend you see in your industry?

Maintaining Momentum is a challenge that requires constant thought and planning. Moving to the next level while continuing a current pace is very important for success.

Keeping the needs of our community in focus while maintaining momentum is important and also challenging.

One trend I have seen in my industry, especially locally is the explosion of development within the inner city. It is similar to the Mc-Mansion boom we saw years ago.

What one thing must an executive leader be able to do to be successful in the next 3 years?

Remain relevant to society, business and your community. Offer a unique service that keeps the client as a focus.

What are some executive insights you have gained since you have been sitting in the executive leadership seat – or what is one surprise you have encountered as the world of business continues to morph as we speak?

I have learned that business is difficult and you have to extract emotion from the process or it will wear you out. I work in a creative profession but often the bottom line drives my work. I’ve read about and followed the lives of innovative leaders in business to inspire me, geniuses such as Steve Jobs. Although they are one-in-a million I you can be one, I can make a difference. I strive to learn as much as you can from these leaders, both good and bad and use their tools in my work.

Shark Tank may be entertaining but you can learn a lot watching that show. Learn where you can. Never stop educating yourself. Follow the rules.

A surprise I have encountered is the number of opportunities that are available for current and future business owners.

Final Thoughts on How to Be Successful?

Read as much as you can. Keep learning. Be honest, thankful and give back as much as possible. Follow the rules. To me, true success, being able to use the resources that you’ve been blessed with to bless someone else. Whether it is with your money, labor, knowledge, time, mentoring, etc.

For more exclusive ILMA interviews click here.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

Christmas Gift Ideas from ILMA


Better Than a Selfie

cels-004-selfiecels-003-have-funEveryone likes to take a selfie (these days).  Only thing better is when someone else takes a selfie some place you helped design and build.

What: Center for Environmental Life Sciences

Where: Montclair State University

Who: Architect ; Photographer ; Builder ; Project Manager

Happy New Year!

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook
FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
web: Business / Personal
Licensed in CT, DC, DE, FL, MD, NJ, NY, PA, VA


Our Exclusive ILMA Interview with Jenny Roets @Arch_Girl

Jenny Roets is one of my oldest Twitter Architecture friends – She is extremely passionate about Architecture.  She recently passed the ARE’s and is helping others get motivated to pass.  We were delighted she agreed to answer a few questions:

When and why did you decide to become an Architect?

I was going through a list of majors my junior year in high school. I stopped at Architecture because it just made sense: I really enjoyed my Geometry & Art classes.

What were some of the challenges of achieving your dream?

I have had a lot of challenges. Life got in the way for me while I was in college and again in graduate school. Finding the right fit in employment has also been a challenge, as was the recession where I had to find unrelated employment to survive.

Blueprints

How do you balance design with your family life?

Simple, I don’t have a family yet.

How does your family support what you do?

My parents and brother have been very encouraging throughout the entire process of school, finding work, taking exams. They are happy to be celebrating this accomplishment with me.

What matters most to you in design?

Sustainability. The building should reflect it’s climate, orientation, location, and purpose. When materials fail, design shouldn’t.

Where do you see the profession going over the next few decades?

I think the profession will connect more with engineers / other consultants and contractors to provide a more comprehensive approach. I also feel there will be a shift back towards design with the environment in mind as sustainable design practice becomes more valued by the public.

House Plan

How do you hope to inspire / mentor the next generation of Architects?

I’m already trying to do this! I encourage Architectural Interns that I know in the real world and in social media as much as I can (especially women).

What does Architecture mean to you?

Architecture both responds to and creates environment.

If you could not be an Architect, what would you be?

I have given this a lot of thought, especially since I chose Architecture after the age when everyone asks “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I never came up with anything I felt I would be happy doing, but it would likely be related to math, something like Accounting.

What is your dream project?

I would like to create a building to benefit my hometown of Merrill, WI. I don’t have a type in mind, but I have always wanted to design something great there.

Also Check Out:

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

If you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Have a great weekend!

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in CT, DC, DE, FL, MD, NJ, NY, PA, VA.


“From Now To How: Social, Virtual and Cross Generational Leadership” by Exec Coach & Trainer @JustCoachIt

by Guest Blogger, Irene Becker
First woman CEO of a steel company in Canada, Irene Becker has a track record of trailblazing accomplishments in business and in the community at large. Irene is an inspiring executive coach, speaker and writer whose R-E-A-C-H methodology and 3Q focus has helped clients achieve breakthrough results in their careers, communication, leadership and lives. Passionate about the integrity of her work, Irene is dedicated to helping change-makers LEAD forward at the speed of change.

Leadership Balance

You can criticize, condemn and complain or imagine, inspire and innovate. Your choice will determine your destiny. – Deepak Chopra

The need to go from NOW to HOW is critical. Leadership starts with our ability to imagine, inspire, innovate and communicate forward.

Hope lies in not simply playing to strengths, but to seizing every challenge, change, stressor and failure as an opportunity to grow, evolve and expand the power of our minds, the strength of our brains and the capacity of our hearts.

Courage lies in our ability develop a whole new mind set, skill set and heart set that optimizes the unbridled passion, purpose and potential of humans to do better, rather than simply living or working faster than ever before.

Strength lies in finding a common language, a common message that touches the heads, hearts and mind of many. A message that transcends social, ethnic, virtual and cross generational lines because it speaks to the purpose that unites us all.

Leadership starts with our ability to imagine, inspire, innovate and communicate forward.

Leaders must be purpose driven because purpose equals profit on a multiplicity of levels. If your employees, your team, your constituents do not feel that the work they do, the contribution they make, is purposeful they will never optimize or maximize their potential.

If they do not feel that they are an integral part of a bigger picture, a larger goal or a greater team, the engagement, loyalty, transparency of communication and collaboration optimization of engagement and potential will not be achieved.

Similarly, if they do not have access to resources that help them learn new ways of thinking doing and communicating that enable their greatest potential in the face of change, challenges, complexity and opportunities they cannot lead forward.

Leaders must embrace their ability to go from NOW to HOW by not simply playing to strengths but also to using change, challenges, stressors, even failures to optimize all 3Q’s: IQ (intelligence-focus-ability to learn and re-learn faster and better); EQ (emotional intelligence; self awareness, self management, relationship management, social management, communication); and SQ (values, purpose, integrity).

3Q Leadership strengths are not for the faint of heart. They are instead for those who want to negotiate dark corners, build new bridges among diverse groups and develop communities of purpose and practice that survive and thrive by using strengths, changes and challenges to communicate and lead forward.

Leaders must be excellent listeners, learners and communicators who build bridges across diverse groups, internal and external constituencies. They must build and empower Communities of Purpose where shared objectives, values, purpose and language empowers, engages and sustains actual, social/digital/virtual communication and collaboration.

They must have the courage to negotiate dark unknown corners with courage, hope, faith, integrity and humanity knowing that the differences that separate us are inconsequential in relation to the common human bond and purpose that unites us.

They must have the communication skills to find the message, the sound bite that opens the ears, heads, hearts and minds of all, irrespective of race, creed, gender or generational age. They must be leaders who learn, re-learn and fail forward faster and better than ever before by developing real and virtual/social communities of purpose.

Leaders must be excellent listeners, learners and communicators who build bridges across diverse groups, internal and external constituencies.

The need to go from NOW to HOW is critical. Leadership starts with our ability to imagine, inspire, innovate and communicate forward. It means embracing our ability to learn, re-learn, imagine, inspire and innovate by championing the mental, emotional agility and consistency of united purpose and integrity that can help us use what is to create what can be in ourselves, our people, our organizations…our world.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

If you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
I.LM.A. Team
I Love My Architect – Facebook

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.


Greatest Milestones of My Life (so far)

BY FRANK CUNHA III

  • Growing up in the city
    • Living in the city gave me some street smarts (if not much street cred)
    • You can take the boy out of the city but you can never take the city out of the boy
    • The city taught me the importance of straight lines

FAMILY AT VERONA PARK
Photo: Dee Portera Photography
Edited Frank Cunha III
http://deeporteraphotography.com
http://frankcunha.com

  • Working on my grandparents farm for the summer
    • Connection to nature and the earth
    • Appreciation for agriculture and “real” food that comes from the earth
    • Hard work never hurt anyone
    • Hard work can be fun if you are surrounded with people you love and respect
    • Satisfaction from seeing your hard work pay off during harvest season
    • The country taught me the importance of curves and detours
  • Joining the sports team
    • Gave me a great appreciation for my personal health, fitness, and wellbeing
    • My parents would always take us out to the park
    • I learned that even though I wasn’t the strongest, fasted, or most talented I could still become the best I could be if I worked hard
    • I still use the basics of discipline and persistence I learned playing sports as a kid to get me through the tough times today
    • Watching my father organize a soccer league taught me to respect the community and give back – A lot of kids were kept off the streets and out of trouble thanks to my dad (and my mom who was his silent partner, doing the behind the scenes things)
  • Going to private school
    • It’s where I learned to draw a circle
    • It’s where I learned that kids/people can be mean
    • It’s where I learned that I was creative
    • It’s where they asked me to look out for a “calling” and where I found my calling to become an Architect
    • It’s where I learned discipline (and how to diagram a sentence, Thank you Sr. Siprian)
    • Gave me faith, something to believe in; even when I stray I still remember the simple rules of “Do On To Others What Thou Would Want Done Onto You” and “Turn the Other Cheek”

FRANK & CINDY AT VERONA PARK
Photo: Dee Portera Photography
Edited Frank Cunha III
http://deeporteraphotography.com
http://frankcunha.com

  • Meeting my wife
    • It’s when I learned to let go and fall in love again
    • It helped me find true love, my true soul mate and life companion
    • Having someone there for me through good and bad makes life better
    • It gave me my greatest gift and joy in life – My family, my kids
  • Becoming a dad
    • My children keep me young
    • My children give me a deeper appreciation for my parents and all the sacrifices they made for me
    • They inspire me through the hard times
    • They let me rest easy knowing that the values my parents and grandparents taught me will be passed on to their children and grandchildren
  • Becoming an Architect
    • Getting my license to practice Architect was one of my greatest accomplishments
    • Architecture defines me and what I do (even when I am not practicing Architecture)
    • Using my talent for good makes me feel good
    • Although it is never easy or simple I enjoy the entire process of design and construction and my involvement

KIDS WITH SANTA CLAUS & MRS. CLAUS
OLDE LAFAYETTE VILLAGE
Photo: Frank Cunha III
http://frankcunha.com

Related Posts:

Kids

Meet the Cunha Boys

David

Daniel

Frankie

Having Fun

Fanatical

Hair Cuts

Kids With Grandparents

Hanging out in NYCity

Halloween

My Architecture Manifesto

My Strange and Wonderful Eyes

The 10 Most Important Things I Learned From My Parents And Hope to Teach My Kids

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post.  We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

If you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.


For All Those Impacted by Superstorms and Hurricanes: Make sure an AIA Architect is part of your rebuild team!

Make sure an Architect is part of your rebuild team!

Recently, potential clients asked me to go see their home after it was impacted by hurricane Sandy.  Like many other houses in their community, their roof was severely damaged by a fallen tree.  Luckily, no one was injured.  I let them know that after the tree was removed I would return to evaluate the damage and make recommendations for repairs (with help from my structural consultant, if needed).  By the time the tree was removed, the cleanup crew was completed with their remediation work, and the contractor made his “temporary repairs” it was decided (without any input from an Architect) that minor repairs would be made.  (These decisions were made by the Owner with input from the Insurance Adjuster and Contractor.)

Then, I received the “follow up call” from the client asking me to certify the job — the local inspector requires a signed and sealed letter by a registered architect or professional engineer stating that the home is suitable for human habitation — I asked the potential clients why they started the repairs without any professional input and they said that everything happened so quick and they trusted their Adjuster and Contractor.  I let them know that I was unable to certify the project because of my lack of involvement in the project.  I was never given an opportunity to assets the damage after the tree was removed and before the Contractor started his repairs — how could I?  No professional can attest to repairs that are done without his or her knowledge.

I urge readers to let their friends and loved ones know that when they are rebuilding or repairing their houses or places of business or worship that they should consult a design professional – their local AIA Architect (start by going to aia.org where you can learn about the value of an Architect, and get a listing of local Architects).

Do not trust anyone that pretends to be an Architect or give false advice about your project.  Even if their advice is accurate they are not legally qualified to give advice or certify the repairs.  It is important to trust your team — your Contractor, Adjuster, local building inspectors, etc., but make sure you don’t leave the Architect out of the mix.

An Architect is responsible to safe guard the public safety and is qualified to certify that a space is suitable for human occupancy.

 

Funny thing is that this potential client wanted me to give him an opinion on what was done and whether it was safe to move his family back in.  I replied, that I do not have X-Ray vision.  If I was given an opportunity to see the space, I would have been able, as a qualified professional, to offer recommendations, provide construction drawings, observe the repairs and/or construction process, and ultimately certify that the work met my specification requirements,

I hope that this post is circulated to those in need, so they better understand the process– don’t leave the Architect out until the end.  The Architect will work with you to ensure that you are given the most thoughtful care with your investment, not just a quick fix.  (Think: Am I being given the best care my family deserves or am I just another claim/client on a list?  Will the repairs meet code?  Will the repairs hold up in the future?  Have I missed an opportunity to make improvements to better safe guard my family from future events? Who is responsible to protect the public safety and wellbeing?)

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post.  We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

If you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
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