Enoch Sears is a licensed California architect, and author of the book Social Media for Architects. After struggling to find good business information for small firm architects online, Enoch started the Business of Architecture platform – an online community which has helped hundreds of architects earn a better income and time freedom through good business skills.
He is also the creator and host of the #1 interview podcast for architects, the Business of Architecture Show, where guests like M. Arthur Gensler, founder of Gensler, and Thom Mayne, of Morphosis, share tips and strategies for success in architecture.
When and why did you decide to become an Architect?
I decided to become an Architect my senior year in high school when I realized I loved drawing but actually wanted to earn some money. I mistakenly thought that architects did both.
What were some of the challenges of achieving your dream?
Getting through architecture school at Cornell University was a challenge. The professors and curriculum were great, but the winters were cold and dark, and I didn’t understand a lot of the theory at the time.
Any memorable clients or project highlights?
One thing I love about architecture is helping clients achieve their dream. In this way, every project is memorable because I remember the clients we did the work for.
How does your family support what you do?
How do Architects measure success?
It is different for each person. For me, success is continual growth and contribution.
What matters most to you in design?
What do you hope to achieve over the next 2 years? 5 years?
I hope to continue to develop Business of Architecture so that every architect is empowered with the business knowledge he or she needs to succeed.
Who is your favorite Architect? Why?
I love the work of Louis Kahn and Le Corbusier for their use of raw materials and dramatic, honest spaces.
What is your favorite historic and modern (contemporary) project? Why?
My current favorite modern project is the Kimbell Art Museum in Dallas, Texas by Louis Kahn. See my response above about my favorite architect.
Where do you see the profession going over the next few decades?
Architecture will continue to get more competitive and consolidated – only architects and firms who invest in growing their firms and influence will grow during this time.
How do you hope to inspire / mentor the next generation of Architects?
I hope that through my work on the Business of Architecture, architects can learn to win great projects and make the income of their dreams!
What advice do you have for a future Executive leader?
The most important advice I can give is to learn how to coach people to their full potential. Give them responsibilities and let them fail (on things that won’t get you sued).
Final Thoughts on How to Be Successful?
Commit yourself to continual growth and improvement, and the future is yours! Always be learning!
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Guest post by Sarah Grey
What sets one construction company apart from another?
With so many builders competing for your construction contract, finding the right one for your job
can be a real challenge, especially if you don’t have any direct experience in construction. From
the perspective of a professional Architect, here are some things to look out for when comparing
partners for your next big project.
A strong commitment to budget
Budget overruns are so frequent in the construction industry that they’ve almost become
a standard expectation, particularly when it comes to large commercial and civil projects.
Whilst there will always be unpredictable factors that can blow out your construction time, it’s
not unreasonable to expect that the final cost will be within 5-10% of your original contract.
Reputable construction companies will provide guaranteed fixed price contracts so you can rest
assured that your project will stay on budget.
Awards, but not just any awards…
Every industry has their own respected body that recognises and rewards industry leaders. By
the same token, there are also plenty of less knowledgeable bodies who are only in the awards
business to promote their own business instead of the industry as a whole. In the Australian
building industry, HIA is the premier industry representative. If the builder you’re considering
can show off recent awards related to your specific project, you can be quite confident that they
know what they’re doing.
The law can only go so far to protect you from dodgy workmanship. It’s worth spending more
of your budget to secure a builder that offers a more extensive warranty. Be sure to check the
details thoroughly, it’s not just about the length of time, it’s also about their process for arranging
repairs or replacement of material.
Local project management
A dedicated Project Manager who regularly visits your site and is always on call is an absolute
must. Don’t settle for anything less.
The most reputable home builders are equally liked by their mum and dad clients as they are
by architect clients. Whilst industry colleagues can provide valuable recommendations, it’s
easy to forget that many home-owner/builders are eagerly sharing their own reviews of building
companies online. Browse building company reviews on product review websites to see if there
are any client horror stories waiting to be discovered.
An increasing number of builders are now offering ‘design and build’ services to their direct
clients. While there’s no doubt that this service offering is an inferior substitute for a professional
architect, this doesn’t mean that you should avoid working with them. The greater the
understanding your builder has of the design process and of the latest developments, the easier
they will be to work with.