LARA Issues Warning Against Scam Targeting Michigan Architects

This month, the Michigan Bureau of Professional Licensing (BPL) within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) announced that there has been a scam going around targeting architect licensees. 

If you’ve received any emails or text messages that claim to be associated with the Michigan government and they request sensitive personal information - this is a scam.

Here are some ways to keep your personal information safe:

  1. Do not trust unsolicited requests for any personal information. LARA will not contact you directly asking for personal information, and their official correspondence always includes a contact number or email address.

  2. Do not respond to or open hyperlinks in emails or text messages requesting to “validate your personal data.” If there are any hyperlinks in the email, check the link or URL before clicking. LARA websites always have the “Michigan.gov” domain name.

  3. Do not share your licensing, personal, or financial information over the telephone or via text message with a purported representative of the Department. Contact LARA at BPLHelp@michigan.gov or 517-241-0199 to verify if the Department is requesting any information from you.

  4. If you suspect fraud, report it immediately online to BPLHelp@michigan.gov. 

After following these steps to protect your information, don’t forget to ensure you stay licensed by completing your continuing education before October 31st! View our state-approved online course packages below.


Check out our on-demand continuing education courses by choosing your state below.

New for 2020: Illinois Architect License Renewal Requirement

Illinois Architects, there is a new requirement for your license renewal that came into effect on January 1st, 2020. In addition to the required 24-hours of continuing education (including 16-hours of HSW), all Illinois license holders must now take one hour of sexual harassment prevention training.

Because of this new requirement, our 1-hour Understanding and Preventing Sexual Harassment course is now available in our 24-Hour Illinois AIA continuing education course package!

Here’s a preview of what is covered in the course:

COURSE DESCRIPTION

This one-hour course will provide learners with an understanding of sexual harassment, forms of harassment, reporting procedures for harassment, and employer responsibility and liability in the prevention of sexual harassment. Extensive examples, scenarios, and case studies are included for real-world applications.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Learners will:

  • Recognize sexual harassment forms and types
  • Understand reporting procedures for harassment
  • Acquire knowledge of whistleblower protections
  • Apply class concepts to scenarios and examples

If you have any questions about your license renewal requirements, give us a call!


Check out our on-demand continuing education courses by choosing your state below.

How Tiny Houses Bring Opportunity for Architects

The “tiny house” trend, for some architects, may not seem like a good place to flex their creative muscles. When you hear about tiny houses and their recent rise in popularity, something like what’s pictured below may come to mind. A “box on wheels” that’s simple, utilitarian, and boring.

basic tiny house design

image from tinyhomebuilders.com

But there are many ways in which tiny houses present great opportunities for architects. Whether it’s crafting “tiny luxury” or working to improve access to affordable housing - the versatility of tiny homes is something architects should be noticing.

Finding Beauty in Sustainability and Flexibility

In her recent article for ArchDaily, Susanna Moreira shows that tiny houses can be both sustainable and beautiful. With the lack of excavation to build a foundation needed for wheeled tiny houses, they leave their surroundings undisturbed. Having virtually no environmental footprint means these tiny homes can rest in locations where traditional home building is impossible or impractical.

This flexibility brings endless design opportunities for architects. If a customer wants to live in an area special to them, but is unable to build a traditional home there - a beautiful tiny house could be the solution.

CABN tiny house in forest

This CABN tiny home creates a place to appreciate its surroundings without getting in the way.

CABN Tiny House

Tiny Houses can present many design opportunities for Architects

One example of this “off the grid” living comes from CABN in Australia. CABN’s goal is to provide people with a “means to disconnect from the crazy we have brought upon ourselves.” Their eco-friendly tiny houses are set right in the middle of some of Australia’s “most stunning and stimulating landscapes.” Being able to work in such spaces creates a world of possibilities for architects. With tiny houses, their designs are not as limited by the context of its environment as their massive, earth disrupting “normal house” cousins.

Creating Efficient, Affordable Housing

But as you know, the beauty of architecture is that it’s not only about beauty. It can create safe, sustainable work or living spaces that improve the lives of people all over the world.

Affordable housing is a global issue. It’s projected that 1.6 billion people will lack adequate housing by 2025 if nothing more is done to solve the crisis. “Adequate” housing, according to Eduardo Souza, means more than just a roof over someone’s head. It means a person’s home is integrated with the city, jobs, infrastructure, and city services.

Emerald Village Eugene (EVE) an Oregon-based tiny house community focused on providing quality, affordable housing for lower-income individuals and families. Each tiny house is designed as a 160 - 288 sq ft permanent dwelling on a slab foundation. Thanks to mostly private donations, EVE has been able to construct all 22 homes for about $55,000 per unit (including land). Many local architects contributed to this project, who created designs that don’t forget about style despite the space constraints.

Arbor South Architecture EVE Tiny House Floor Plan

Floor plan by Arbor South Architecture, PC

Completed Arbor South Architecture Tiny House

Completed Arbor South Architecture Tiny House in EVE Community

“Tiny Houses are unlikely to be the solution to the global housing crisis,” Souza says, “but they certainly have a role to play by providing an opportunity for improved quality of life through a smaller financial and ecological footprint.”

What do you think about tiny houses? Have you wanted to try designing one? Let us know on social media!


Check out our on-demand continuing education courses by choosing your state below.

Michigan Architect Spotlight: The Value of Inspiring Future Leaders

At Architects Training Institute, we value more than simply keeping licenses up-to-date through continuing education. We also care about how architects use their skills to help educate and inspire others to make a positive difference in their local communities. That’s why we’d like to highlight Detroit-native Rainy Hamilton Jr., president of Hamilton Anderson Associates (HAA).

Photo of Rainy Hamilton Jr.

Rainy Hamilton Jr. Photo © Ernest Sisson

While the original Architectural Record article focused a lot of attention on HAA’s Detroit-heavy project portfolio, we’d like to spotlight Mr. Hamilton’s dedication to lifting up a new generation of architects, specifically women and people of color.

After creating a positive reputation for HAA by doing work they thought “was meaningful in Detroit,” Hamilton continued to build up his local community in a different way. HAA actively works to ensure that its leadership includes BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) men and women. “I am focused on bringing people on and allowing them to grow as much and as fast as they want,” says Hamilton. “I want to groom our people to be able to run their own practice one day.”

Group Photo of Hamilton Anderson Associates

Hamilton Anderson Associates. Photo © Ernest Sisson

When speaking to young designers, Hamilton encourages them to “learn all aspects of what an architecture practice has to do to be in business.” Hamilton attributes his detail-oriented nature to his father, who started a successful landscaping company. He remembers the care his father took, even with out-of-the-way corners of a yard that might go unseen.

We applaud Rainy Hamilton and HAA for not only aiding in the effort to revitalize Detroit, but also making sure young designers can learn, grow, and someday create positive changes in their own communities with their own firms.

What are some ways you try to use your work to create positive changes in your community? Let us know on social media! And a reminder to Michigan Architects, your license renewal deadline is October 31st! View our CE course package options below!


Check out our on-demand continuing education courses by choosing your state below.

Here’s How Architects Are Pushing for Safer Design Policies

Architects and Designers Urge Action on Healthier Policy Priorities

In the wake of the pandemic, designers and architects are inventing new solutions for nearly every sector of design. According to the World Health Organization, 19% of factors that affect our health and well-being are directly related to the built environment, making architects and designers key to protecting public health.

Metropolis Magazine recently wrote about three recent initiatives that introduce new building standards to help mitigate COVID-19 exposure and create healthier (and more sustainable) spaces during and after the current pandemic.

Built Environment Experts Petition the WHO, Urging Enhanced Guidance on the Role of Buildings in Addressing COVID-19

In a recent petition, more than 790 architects, engineers, and interior designers from over 50 countries have joined forces in a statement to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, urging the WHO to advance best practices in indoor environments to protect from the spread of COVID-19.

“If the WHO recommends best practice air standards now before vaccines and therapeutic solutions are available, it will have a strong effect towards raising the public’s awareness of places where they spend time,” the statement reads, noting that air pollution affects our most vulnerable populations.

Approximately 70 percent of The Ng Teng Fong General Hospital by HOK is naturally ventilated, representing 82 percent of inpatient beds. The building uses 38 percent less energy than a typical Singaporean hospital and 69 percent less than a typical US hospital. Courtesy Rory Daniel

So far, the petition has gained the signatures of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), and the World Green Building Council, to name a few. “We hope that this global call to action will demonstrate that our buildings, our businesses, and our communities can be at the frontlines of this fight if we deploy them wisely,” says Rachel Gutter, president, IWBI.

USGBC Creates New LEED Safety First Pilot Credits + Healthy Economy Commitment

Back in June, the U.S. Green Building Council released guidance to address the pandemic and support buildings with reopening strategies. Four new Safety First Pilot Credits outline best practices that are both sustainable and align with public health guidelines related to cleaning, re-occupancy, HVAC, and plumbing operations. The credits are a part of a USGBC strategy released in May titled, Healthy People in Healthy Places Equals a Healthy Economy.

“These new credits are a first step in helping the building and construction industry demonstrate its commitment to sustainable strategies as part of building a healthier, more resilient future,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president & CEO of USGBC in a recent press release.

In addition to the credits, the USGBC also released a Healthy Economy Commitment, urging public health officials and elected leaders to take action on green building policy priorities.

AIA Launches Policy Platform 2020

Earlier this month, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) launched the inaugural Policy Platform 2020 that serves as a statement on the organization’s policy priorities for U.S. presidential candidates and Congress.

Embodying the idea of “Building a Healthy America,” the platform focuses on three key areas: Economy, Climate Action, and Healthy and Equitable Communities. Committing to zero carbon practices, rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, promoting toxin-free living in affordable housing, and strengthening water and air quality policy are a few highlights.

“AIA supports strong and unequivocal policies that ensure that urgent climate change issues, including those that disproportionately impact communities of color, are immediately addressed,” stated AIA EVP and chief executive officer Robert Ivy, in an August 6th official press release.

*The full version of this article was originally published on Metropolismag.com


Check out our on-demand continuing education courses by choosing your state below.

Design Ideas for Safer, Post-Pandemic Schools

While many people are currently considering whether or not schools should open this fall, let's take a step back and look toward the future of education spaces. These design proposals, shown in ArchDaily, give a glimpse of what post-pandemic schools might look like.

Many new designs revolve around a common goal: increasing sustainability, emotional wellness, and physical health by creating more space for learning - especially outdoors. For New York-based design firm Cooper Robertson, blurring the lines between the indoors and outdoors essential for post-covid learning.

For their work on the Lyford Cay International Baccalaureate School in Nassau, Bahamas, Cooper Robertson prioritized creating learning environments with better access to light, fresh air, and outdoor space. The main building is only one room wide, creating cross ventilation for all interior spaces, with 12-foot-wide verandas that flank each classroom to expand floor space into the outdoors. The campus also features a dedicated outdoor classroom space.

Layford Cay Concept: Image from Cooper Robertson

Recently, the Brooklyn Laboratory Charter Schools (LAB) and the Urban Projects Collaborative (UPC) partnered with six New York-based architecture firms to create the "Back to School Facilities Tool Kit.” In this toolkit, the six firms proposed design ideas that “allow for proper physical distancing and a safe journey from home to school.” The most effective ideas will move forward through design, construction, and installation in preparation for occupancy.

Integrating new requirements for health and safety, the guidelines will become a resource for schools to create fair, equitable plans to reopen their doors, while protecting the well-being of all students, teachers, staff, and their families.

Ideas from the tool kit include ways to improve the school entry process, and new classroom layouts that support social distancing.

Classroom Concepts from the Tool Kit. Image from ArchDaily

How would you improve the layout of schools or any public building to make it safer for today and the future? Let us know on social media!


Check out our on-demand continuing education courses by choosing your state below.

Advice for Recent Graduates & Young Professional Architects

Last week, Chicago-based architect John Ronan wrote a wonderful article full of advice for young designers starting their careers. Below is a “short-attention-span friendly” version that you can skim during lunch (or in the bathroom - no judgement).

---

Architecture school teaches you how to be a good student, but it doesn’t teach you how to be a good architect. Your first job in architecture is critical because it shapes your understanding of the field when you are most impressionable. The habits you pick up there will serve you (or dog you) for a lifetime.

Here are suggestions to help you avoid some common missteps and hopefully make seeing your path a little easier.

Passion is overrated. 

About 90 percent of cover letters we get from entry-level job applicants include something like “I am passionate about architecture.” Frankly, I don’t care about your passions; I care about what you are good at. It’s better to say that you are passionate about a hobby, but that your talents lie in architecture.

Avoid goals.

Conventional wisdom says you need goals to be successful. But if you always strive for specific outcomes, you will live your life in partial failure every day until you reach that goal (or don’t). It is better to develop good habits that move you in a positive direction, while staying open-minded about what success might look like.

Failing is good.

Just as a good design is the result of many discarded inferior versions, your life should be a trial-and-error process. Each failure brings you closer to what you were supposed to be doing anyway. So fail early, fail often.

Be an onion.

Someone good at a variety of things is more valuable than one who is only good at one thing. Your chances of success increase with each new skill you develop (as long as those skills are complementary), so become good at other things (speaking, writing, technical knowledge) and layer your skills like an onion.

The path you travel is not an easy one, but life is less about what happens to you and more about how you respond to what happens to you; persevere. Our world is changing rapidly, and soon we will need you to lead the way. We’re counting on you.


Check out our on-demand continuing education courses by choosing your state below.

New Hampshire License Renewal Deadline Updates & FAQs

New Hampshire architects, your license renewal deadline has been extended! In May, Governor Sununu signed an emergency order that includes the following changes:

  • Certain Continuing Education Requirements for Licensed Professionals Waived
  • Continuing Education of Licensed Professionals Through Remote Instruction
  • Waiver of Notarization Requirements
  • Electronic Signatures Accepted

Here’s more information on the basics you need to know.

Waived CE Requirements

All continuing education requirements are waived for licensees who are scheduled to renew between March 13, 2020 and December 31, 2020.

Continuing Education of Licensed Professionals Through Remote Instruction

For anyone whose requirements are not waived (see above), licensees are allowed to complete continuing education requirements through remote instruction until December 31, 2020

(Click here to view state-approved online continuing education courses).

Waiver of Notarization Requirements

Any requirement in statute or rules that requires that documents submitted to the board, commission, or council be notarized or signed by a justice of the peace is hereby suspended for the duration of the State of Emergency.

Electronic Signatures Accepted 

During the State of Emergency, all boards, councils, or commissions administered by the Office of Professional Licensure and Certification shall accept electronic signatures or scans of signed documents in addition to original signatures.

For the latest detailed information regarding your state regulations, visit the New Hampshire Board of Architects page. Or keep an eye on our website for simplified news when you don’t have time to read government documents!


DO YOU NEED STATE APPROVED CONTINUING EDUCATION?

AIA’s Tips for Career Resilience

Despite the economic uncertainty facing the world right now, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) wants to help all architecture professionals keep their careers going strong. They recently hosted a webinar where they spoke to four panelists who lived and worked through the last Great Recession. Below are the highlights from their advice on how to have career resilience during difficult times.

Utilize Your Network

Staying connected with previous professors, classmates, or co-workers is a great way to find new opportunities. Here are three simple tips for using your network:

  • Be upfront when looking for a new job, and give back by helping others in their search once you find a position.
  • Reach out to professors, even if you weren’t close. Remember: your school wants you to succeed.
  • Reach out to career services, alumni networks, and local AIA chapters to ask for help, request a mentor, or re-engage when you need encouragement.

Get Involved

  • Use design competitions and events to supplement your portfolio with new building typologies to broaden your experience.
  • Volunteer with AIA, Open Architecture Collaborative, USGBC, Urban Land Institute, and others to extend your network within the profession and to stay engaged if you’re working in a different field.
  • Keep pursuing your license to maximize your skills and marketability.*

*Architects Training Institute consistently adds new online continuing education courses starting at $29

Think Outside the Biz

  • Expand your search to different sectors, different size firms, and new locations. Or consider architecture-adjacent positions such as real estate or facility management.
  • Panelists who accepted positions like these during their job search said they gained useful experience that gave them an advantage in future interviews.

Whether you’re a recent graduate or experienced professional, always remember you have resources and a support system that will help you through economic hardship.


DO YOU NEED STATE APPROVED CONTINUING EDUCATION?

Looking Forward: Architecture in a Post COVID-19 World

In an effort to give you a break from the negative news cycle, we want to look forward toward the future and the many possibilities it brings for architects.

In recent weeks, the Moving Forward Act has made its way through Congress. Late last month, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced their support of the bill. AIA President Jane Frederick said “Passing the Moving Forward Act is a necessary next step that we must take as a nation in order to deliver the opportunities that American workers—including architects—desperately need.”

The proposal allocates billions of dollars for infrastructure improvements such as:

  • The Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act, which would provide funding for improvements to school infrastructure, especially those in high-poverty areas, and upgrading child-care facilities.
  • Encourage the rehabilitation of historic buildings through the temporary increase of the Historic Tax Credit
  • Improve affordable housing infrastructure by creating and preserving 1.8 million affordable homes
  • Establish a new Neighborhood Investment tax credit that would subsidize certain development costs to encourage the rehabilitation of vacant homes or construction of new homes in distressed areas

As architects, you’re responsible for much more than just designing safe and beautiful structures; your work can make a positive difference in communities around the country. The schools you help build or renovate (especially in lower income areas) bring opportunities for success that weren’t possible before. Working to increase affordable housing works toward lowering homeless rates and gives families a sense of security.

When it comes time to rebuild the nation (financially and literally), we are proud to help architects like you make positive changes in your local community.


Is it almost time to renew your license?

The following states have continuing education deadlines approaching:

7/31/20 - WI

8/31/20 - MA

10/31/20 - MI

11/31/20 - IL

12/31/20 - AL, AR, DE, FL, KY, LA, MO, MT, NC, NE (L-Z), NM, NV, OH, OR, TX, UT, WV, WY

MONTHLY - ID, MD, NH, NY, SD, TN, VA, WA


DO YOU NEED STATE APPROVED CONTINUING EDUCATION?