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AIA - initials after the name - that is about what it has always meant to me. The more the initials the more they charge - it means they have sat through some boring stuff and paid the fee. Knowing what these things really mean means I avoid their inflated credentials.

I do the cont ed I have to - mostly they are a waste of time and inflated as well along with being dry and boring as hell. To think being a member of an organization means I have to do more of that it is deal breaker. If I'm doing that it means less time for clients, family etc. Do the powers that be think I live in a windowless box? I am learning everyday and some of what I learn contradicts the traditional thought. To get more LEED points for my project I should use concrete and lots of glass. Concrete has a high entrained energy content and window glass is a horrible insulator and does not recycle. Some judiciously used for day lighting sure but the ubiquitous, overused, design cop out walls of glass are anti energy saving and environmentally irresponsible. But they get points and the tail wags the dog.

I am told not to compress fiberglass in a wall cavity because it is the air that serves the purpose of limiting thermal transfer while at the same time 2# foam insulation is preferred over #1/2 foam insulation. The only thing the regular fiberglass insulation does is stop the convective loop in the wall cavity putting in the next depth of insulation in the wall means the insulation is practically acting as insulation in the same way rammed earth, cord wood, straw bale does. Wind blows right through regular fiberglass insulation (it is saturated with cold or heat easily in an exposed attic situation) - a coat of 2x4 insulation fluffed up would not keep you particularly warm where a comforter of denser cotton batting would - like a coat. Fiberglass insulation is rated for its performance is at 70 F - when it is not needed - its performance tapers of drastically in either warmer of cooler conditions. This information is not taught in traditional cont ed classes because it steps on the toes of accepted practice. I do not blindly follow everything I am told - I know how to think and am constantly learning more.

I designed my own building system that performs like a Yeti cooler - it uses petroleum based foam because it is the best product for saving energy in the life of the project (health of the planet) - it is not wasting it driving a huge SUV going to the mall but using petroleum products is non PC when that is what it should be used for - to save energy. Since my system uses steel and insulation only in the building envelope (no maintenance) it is easy to recycle it - not so with traditional "green" (get points) building methods. I don't need indoctrination/education in accepted methods of thinking from organizations that give me the right to put initials after my name.

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It sounds as if AIA is similar to AMA for a doctor. I normally don't care if a professional is a member of the organization that represents their field.

While it is unlikely I will ever need an architectural firm, since if I buy a place it will be another condo. Should it need work, I would try to find a design/build firm or an interior designer with a long history of dealing with the same contractor(s) over the years.

It is just too stressful to contemplate dealing with numerous individuals. Plus, I have no idea if someone is doing what they are supposed to be doing. Someone mentioned that some joists (?) weren't suitable for their purpose in their custom home and they caught the problem in time. I am not going to be the person to recognize that type of error.

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I'm the consumer who does the hiring. My first questions to the Building designer/Architect was:

What is the smallest single house in terms of square footage did you ever designed? What is the largest and what is your average? Do you mainly design homes in subdivisions? Describe your favorite house that you ever designed and why?

From that point, it told me tons of information. And it told me whether or not I should continue the interview.

I did interview a couple of design/build firms. Both didn't cotton to working with my builder. Neither knew my builder. They just preferred working with people they know - sorta like a well-oiled machine. Hmmmmmm Neither got very far with me. After that, I stuck with individual Architects/build designers. None had any problems meeting and taking with my builder. A couple already knew him and thought highly of his skills.


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