Rohan answers a typical student’s questions. Design and Architecture.

Evan and Rohan Constructing on College Street

Hi all,

Some of you know that have mentored students, clients, other young designers or architect graduates and do answer questions that are put to me in a fair and respectful manner. I have not written about it or announced it in the general media. However it might be time that I use this blog to address some of the usual FAQs.

F.J.D. wrote very recently; “I have 3 easy questions for you [Rohan]”:

1- What level of education and experience is required for this job?

Answer; At this moment the laws of Ontario require you to, if you want to be a registered architect, you need a masters of architecture from an accredited university then apprentice with architects after graduation and write a series of exams. Once you’ve passed the necessary exams you then need to acquire professional liability insurance either per job or for the year based on yearly earnings.

If you want to do what I do, even though I have a bachelors degrees in architecture and bachelor of environmental studies, get your BCIN certification for small buildings and homes design in Ontario. You don’t need a degree or certificate. You do need to pass the BCIN examinations for small buildings. You need to purchase professional liability insurance based on yearly earnings.

Lastly, you can simply freelance as a designer but work for someone or company that allows you to work under their qualifications and insurance.

2- What specific skills are required for this job? (Feel free to list as many as you can think of)

Answer; The basics:

1) the ability to sketch and draw including permit ready drawings.

2) understanding building science and building methodology

3) construction finance strategy / estimating. Understanding why trades are charging what they charge

4) Writing and understanding basic business contracts. Getting a lawyer to write your 1st or 2nd contract in simple language for you and your clients.

5) Getting to know the importance of Zoning by-laws and working with the examiners at the city.

6) Learning how to address/manage people and their expectations.

7) Learn to advertise or attract people to your service, product or ability. Don’t Be Shy – BE HONEST. You don’t need to know everything but you need to have the humility to hire the consultant who does knows the answer that you do not.

8) Keep good books and have a good accountant.

9) Find a mentor or advisory group or circle you can run situations by or ask for experienced perspectives on situations.

10) Love what you do or find another profession. Move to your Love supported by passion.

11) Work on a construction site. Build something. Make something for others or for yourself.

3- What are the long-term prospects for this job and industry?

1) Become a designer/architect and developer. Do Joint Ventures and or Partnerships as a Developer. Design, finance and build your own projects.

2) If you are determined to go the route of the registered architect choose the TOP 20 firms in Toronto. See what their architects are doing to produce good work. Match what they need.

3) Leave Canada, i.e. study abroad, work abroad, Amsterdam, Germany, Columbia, Italy, Spain. Gain international experience and skill.

4) Learn another language. Canada is STAGNANT unless you become a developer or are working in the top 20 Architecture firms.

From F.J.D.: Feel free to send me any other relevant information.

On a spiritual note: If you know you ‘why’, as in ‘why’ you exist as soul and what is your ‘calling’, then whatever you decide to do will likely be of benefit not only to you but to the life around you as well.