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RE: License (Business)

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Probably same species of architect, different species of project.
Historically only architects were involved with buildings. As buildings
became more complex and structural theories more developed and more
reliable, then architects started to delegate more of the analytical aspects
of design to engineers of various kinds. Architects do study structural
mechanics, it is just a matter as to whether they get opportunity to use in
practice and how willing they are to use: plus whether there is legislation
which restricts what they can do. It is also dependent on the availability
of pre-engineered solutions in-house and in the public domain. Plus the
availability of structural/civil engineers, or structural/mechanical
engineers depending on type of structure.

If the architect, building designers, drafters and builders can work it out
for themselves, then I don't get involved.  Many think they can, but cannot,
the result is a large proportion of our projects involve responding to
councils, or some other authorities requests for further information. So I
keep trying to understand why they don't go to engineers in the first place:
it has to be faster. That is to say why, historically has the assessment of
fitness-for-function typically been ignored from the design process: and
what is design without such assessment? Why would someone build something
without assessing its sufficiency of purpose first? Also is it a case of
zero assessment or too little assessment? Not regulatory assessment but
designing for a purpose, and making sure that purpose/function has been met.

A lot of those requests could have been avoided if the services of an
architect or engineering associate had been employed, rather than a drafter,
typically not even what would be considered a qualified drafter.

On the other hand I keep being surprised by the number of clients who turn
up having paid an extortionate fee to a supposed architect for what is
little more than some conceptual dreaming: the clients problem left
unsolved. They have then moved from architect to building designer to get a
practical solution.

Architects are not all alike. And projects are not all the same. Quality of
service really ends up having little to do with the profession which starts
a project, but more to do with their interest and care about the quality of
the project. If they care they will seek appropriate guidance from
appropriate professionals. But a title, or license is no real measure of the
value or quality of service provided. Architects will seek services of
structural engineers, if the value of such service is greater than if they
performed the task themselves, assuming they are able to do such task. If
they cannot do the task themselves then the value of the structural engineer
is clear and apparent.

Conrad Harrison
B.Tech (mfg & mech), MIIE, gradTIEAust
South Australia


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