Problems and Challenges - A Day in the Life of an Architect vlog

Problems and Challenges – A Day in the Life of an Architect vlog

at this point you know I'm happy to get back in touch with you if things change but I think at this point it's pretty much a no-go yeah we'll talk to you soon all right thanks a lot for help okay bye bye yeah that stinks on this day in the life episode we're talking about struggles and challenges of practice I'm pulling back the curtain on things all architects and designers face but if you were willing to share and this was inspired by a recent comment I received on the channel and why I couldn't disagree more with that statement so one of the disadvantages of working for yourself is you have to do everything and one of the things I've always hated doing is drawing door and window details and so for this project I have a couple of projects in construction right now and this particular one I've kind of blown off the door and window details for a while and now it's time to really sort them out so I'm just finishing up a couple of these and maybe you'll see what I mean when we look at them here let's have a look okay so basically if we take zoom back into this one in a minute here but if we take in plan we look and we see I have Windows here we have door openings here we have screen porch here we've got a window and a door combo over here we've got another window here each one of these locations here needs to get sorted out from a detailing standpoint so we're gonna build our wall here and we have our sheeting and our finishes and we need to figure out how this window actually fits into this whole opening and then ultimately how it all gets trimmed out how these meet how things turn the corners so that's our responsibility when we're drawing details like this so for this particular one we have a exterior soffit out here we have our window unit in here and then we have our interior finishes in here and we have to figure out and tell the contractor kind of how all these pieces fit together from a dimensional standpoint so they know where to locate the wall in relation to all this wood framing here we need to show them how we want to actually assemble it so there's an order that all of this stuff goes together in so basically this window will get attached using these metal clips and these metal clips are affixed to the window and then they're also attached to the framing the rough opening here which is where we're at there's a section at the head there's a section at the sill and there's a section at the jamb and there are typical details and there are a typical details and you know as we look through this there'll be a detail for this this detail will be the same well similar to this this detail will be different than this detail so you have to kind of go through the plan and look at each one of these conditions and say okay does the contractor actually have enough information to be able to assemble these parts and pieces so when we look at the head detail here they're gonna have this framed opening here and we're gonna have some insulation in here and then they're gonna come in and they're gonna put their window in but they need to know where to align the window and basically what I'm saying is we want to align the face of the clad exterior cladding with the face of our sheathing in this particular instance and then we want to have our soffit come in tight to the underside of our plywood here and we're using plywood so that there's a good nailing surface so we can attach these we can blind fasten the soffit boards and then on top of that we want to have this trim detail so we have this trim band that's running around the head and then it returns down the jamb and it also happens actually in this condition it doesn't happen at the sill there's a sort of sloping threshold and then on the inside here we have the same two-and-a-half inch band and I probably need to tell them how big this is here so that's 3/4 we're going to tell them where to set the rough opening that's the 7-foot one here we have the metal clip window attachment and sometimes instead of putting dimensions on everything some people will just say you know one by three would be a two and a half so we can just call that out wood trim match all wall surfaces and we're gonna tell them what kind of finish to put on this with all of this construction you need to leave some tolerances here so I can't just put the window tight to this opening right the windows gonna move at a different rate than the framing is gonna move and we need to room so that they can actually set the window in there so building in some of these tolerances means we also need to accommodate for covering those tolerances with our finished construction so we're gonna come in here install our window we're gonna foam the gap later on we're gonna come in and we're gonna drywall it basically and the drywall needs a place to fasten off to right we need to be able to screw these edges down so we probably need some blocking in behind here and then we're going to add our finished trim piece and that also needs a place to attach this finished trim piece needs a place to attach so you need to think all these things through as you're detailing you know I have some fussy conditions around where these doors meet at a corner and I'm calling out very specific dimensional requirements for these parts and pieces and also like what I want that finished condition to look like so you need to think through all these things and show aligned alignments and arrangements of things so as much as I dislike drawing window and door details they're super important what I always tell my clients is that the more time I spend drawing the more accurate your price will be but equally the higher my fee will be and so sometimes there's a trade-off like we'll get to a certain point we'll flush out certain number of details and then we'll take a standard detail and then meet on site and really figure out how we're going to apply that standard detail to maybe a special condition like the screen porch is a good example so we know what the generic window detail looks like the screen porch is we want it to look similar but instead of drawing all those different details we can sort of take the generic detail and mock it up on-site and say yeah this is you know roughly how we'd have to tweak it to get it to work for the screen porch area and that saves me from doing a lot of drawing tedious drawing that I'm not always in love with doing and it saves the client some fee and it helps the Builder sort of gain some momentum there at the same time I'm a hike today I listen to a podcast with the author James clear and he was talking about the difference between goals and systems and I've been struggling with this particularly in the past year many people set goals you know many people set the same goals even losing weight getting fit and I've set goals before and although I've met some of them there are plenty more that I haven't met so it can't just be the fact that I'm setting goals that determines whether I'm successful or not there has to be something else so according to James it's the systems that we should be focusing on goals are good for setting a direction but it's the systems that determine whether we actually make daily progress toward those close he says and I certainly agree that we're over valuing results and outcomes because outcomes are really just a lagging measure of the systems we put in place to achieve them this makes perfect sense to me the systems are the more important thing for us to focus on achieving a goal is an endpoint but it's also just a moment in time something we celebrate and move on systems though they establish our daily quality of life and this is the crux for me of this entire discussion if your daily practice isn't satisfying it's clear that you have to change your systems so is spending too much time speaking with contractors during your most creative time don't take the call that if you're not drawing enough be the person that spends more time drawing spending too much energy writing email used canned responses batch it set a time limit for it it's all about the systems you put in place dividing my schedule between making and managing allows me to focus on creating assets first and as I create more and more of those assets over time they become the financial support system for the business and the bonuses they're not time limited like the managing part of my day good thanks where you can't capitalize flavor but you can capitalize the first decking is for the soffit if you guys have it could you just bounce it to me I kind of liken them to a giant lever I can use this lever however I choose and the more of my create the longer the lever becomes just getting back from a site visit construction is one of those places in an architect's life where it can be a really humbling experience everyone's asking questions of you you expected to have answers on demand but it also is a good place for an architect to be involved because you can't draw every possible corner of a building you can't draw every possible detail in the building you'll just be far too expensive so you want to have some input during the construction process so you can work out the things you didn't have a chance to work out in the drawings equally you want to be an advocate for your client a general contractor may not intentionally miss something but it may not have been drawn clearly on the drawings or somebody may have made an assumption about something and it could be the wrong assumption being involved in construction is a requirement for me when someone hires me to work with me I'm involved throughout the construction process but it means that we're gonna be constantly you know brushing up against these conflicts and having to solve these problems so today was no different went out to job site the shower had been tiled it had been crowded and the shower glass was in now the tile was installed and it's a half running bond so the tile joints are staggered by half the width of the tile and there's a lot of lipids in the tile and lipid is where the faces of the tile don't meet there are they are not congruent so we have a little lip here and a lip here and with a half running bond you can imagine an error there tends to scatter throughout the whole field so that's a problem and the fact that it's already being crowded is even more of a problem now adding to that the shower glass installer came and installed the shower track hardware and the shower glass and it's the wrong hardware number one number two they drilled into the tile which we now need to fix the team that we have working on-site they brought it to my attention and that's great because you know we're all working toward a common goal there's no finger-pointing here there if I make a mistake somewhere in the drawings I own the responsibility for it if the contractor or the tile installer makes a mistake I would expect that they own that responsibility too so construction can be confrontational or it can be collaborative and definitely the process that I foster is a collaborative one and that starts all the way back in the schematic design phase we're all assembling the team right at that very early phase the client the contractor and myself the architect we're all working to a common goal and that is to get the client the house that they want within their budget and when you do that that's where this sort of collaborative team process begins as we get into construction everyone knows what the design is about they know the level of decision and care and thought that went into that and it's really in everyone's best interest to realize that goal on-site so the last we left the gallery house it was sort of at a crossroads yeah that stinks we were seeking additional pricing and we just got that pricing back and kind of confirmed what the first price was that we were over budget and I did a video on all the different ways that I proposed to save money and get us back on track and some of those are more popular than others especially with the client and the client decided to not pursue the project you know I'm disappointed I of course I want to see the things that I design built in the world and you know I want to help my client build the house that they want and managing client expectations and budgets that's a big challenge that architects face all the time I think they made the right decision and I certainly support that decision but it brings up another challenge and especially for sole practitioners maintaining an even flow of work in the studio is a challenge it's not easy to do and if you're relying on solely a one-to-one you know consulting arrangement it's difficult when a project is delayed if you don't have something to balance on to you are left with a gap in your schedule and so it speaks to the need to really think about maybe a more entrepreneurial practice model one that looks for a diversification of revenue streams and I've talked about this in my books so be sure to check those out I'll link those up in the cards I've also talked about this at length on a couple of different podcast interviews and also add those in the description so you can check those out if you want I talked about exactly all of the ways that I do this for my practice and it's made a huge difference as a sole practitioner you know if you a project is delayed or cancelled you have this hole in your schedule you know how do you quickly fill that if you don't have a waiting list and one of the strategies that I used especially when I was just starting 30 by 40 you know I started writing making videos I started designing things on spec I figured you know if I make things and put them out in the world that I like that are interesting to me that are aesthetically pleasing to me then I figured that it would attract the kind of people that ideally I would want to work with kind of my own tribe people who had aligned interests and aligned goals and I have to say that really does work now I don't want to leave you thinking 10 I've got it all figured out there's so many challenges that I don't have the answers to some are unique to soul practice like isolation and some aren't like work-life balance I mean I'm here in the studio right now 7 p.m. I'm not hanging out with my kids and my wife in a work is like a river it just keeps coming it's easy to come out here and keep at it especially because I enjoy it and of course it demands my attention so yeah I don't have that worked out yet but let's get back to the comment that inspired so if your reality looks very different from what I'm showing you here know that you get to choose that's the beauty of it cheers my friends we'll see you again next time you

36 thoughts on “Problems and Challenges – A Day in the Life of an Architect vlog

  1. Your videos are inspiring. How do I cope dating an Architect, I care about him a lot and he does me, but he gets busier and busier and I don't know how to respond.

    How did you manage to have a family because that is our plan in the future. But I am concerned with his busy schedule.


  2. I am currently on architecture track. I found your channels and so grateful that I found it. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledges through making these helpful tips videos! They're hugely effective, especially your sharing means so much! I hope your great-communication will spread out more 🙂

  3. Lol, fenestration details was what I did nearly exclusively for over a decade when I used to specialize in window replacement for public works.

    Your vid reminded one of my biggest pet peeves; poor understanding of how to achieve reliable water tight seals with penetrations, fenestration, and transitions. Old school Architects and contractors/tradesmen had very good understanding how to do it successfully. But I've noticed somewhere between the 1970's and 1980's the new generation entering the building trades and design professions no longer had the deeper apprenticeship training as the previous generations did,

    So now, for the last few decades I've been seeing a growing epidemic of failing fenestrations/penetrations/transitions with chronic water infiltration problems. Damn, I've even seen new buildings have its windows and doors removed and reinstalled twice because they can't seem to get it right.

    When I received a window replacement public works project, the first thing I did was to throw the architect plans in the garage and draw my own design that gave the identical physical appearance the architect intended because I can typically tell from the first glance of the plans they're drawn primarily for bidding purposes and were really not meant to be "working drawings". But unfortunately do to a lack of inexperience and competency all around on a project, the deficiencies of the "bidding plans" rarely ever get corrected once a project is awarded.

    Of the houndeds of projects I've redesigned, I've never had the architect reject or question my redesign except once because the young architect didn't fully understand how the window system handled seismic loading, but after it was explained it was approved.

  4. I have been watching your videos for the last two years. I wanted to say thank you for being inspiring. Am not an architect but I am a Building Surveyor here in UK we are in a two person, father & son practice who have grown organically. Your creativity and though process gives me ideas that I didn’t think was possible. I look forward to watching more videos in the future.

  5. Thanks for everything u give us I wanna be an architecture student after I will start my university then what is the way to start architecture student I really like ur video if u can help me plz give me more information for starting architecture thank u very much

  6. It seems that generating 3D models where each house assembly (including moisture barrier films, and even nails) and the assembly sequence is included should remove a lot of site visiting and questions. It also forces the architect to deal with the tridimensional details that get lost on the 2D drawing. Drawings should still be used for specs and dimensions. Just my opinion

  7. Is practice as an intern necessary? When I look for a job as an architect, they only need high level practice with 3ds max, C4d, Maya…they only need someone who makes what they couldn't do, and pay him/her less than 1000 euro. Nobody is really interested in spending time to teach a little of their own job. How do you start on your own taking the challenge of costs you cannot even afford. How do you promote yourself when there is sooo much you don't even know about your work?
    It's so frustrating. I sell windows and doors in a GDO and, although I make my best in my current work, I feel I betrayed my dream.

  8. Hello, I'm an architecture student in Mexico and I would like to thank you for the effort you put in your videos. They generate a very positive impact on the people that see them, and they are extremely helpful for me. I would like to propose a section of your videos in which you analyze school projects that we send you and give us a feedback, it would be a way in which you share your knowledge, and so we could all learn together. In the same way that we would know projects from other countries. Thanks and good night!

  9. Whether a sole practitioner, or a cog in a larger firm, we all go thru the same things you did in this video throughout our projects. Thank you for sharing the struggle!

  10. Great episode, one of the best. Your videos are so inspiring especially for someone like me who is studying architecture in the Middle East. cheers from egypt

  11. Hi eric really appreciate your post and videos. Its like you are talking about the problems that every professionals deal with in their journey. love your works. Keep up the good works. Shine on..

  12. Hello..I am curious and wonder if architect can work as interior architect or interior architect can work as architect too or not at all?

    PLEASE answer this!!!!
    I really need and want to know

    Thank you

  13. Eric I love your channel. I'm building with ICF so doors and windows in the drawings is kinda important. My process is in trying to clearly understand the process so I can communicate clearly with my architect. I did my own sketches. I've asked a hundred questions. I know what I want. I listen to her and the contractor about why this works better than that. In the end I want a finished project that all are happy to put their name on. The hardest thing so far has been trying to get a large window placed right in front of the master bath sink. Everyone has a mirror there, I want a window. Not hard to do, just unconventional. Looks out into a private garden area. She just can't see what I see as a design. I'll keep trying.

  14. I strongly support the idea that you get to choose. No doubt, your profile is highly polished and you meticulously manicure how you present your practice. But architecture is always custom. Architects who settle for the status quo are limiting themselves. We need to design our lives

  15. you should do a grid layout/organization for your model space, a place where you put plans, elevations, details, sections etc….I use one and it helps tremendously

  16. HI! What do you think about the controversy between using Archicad OR Autocad? All my school year's everyone encourage me to use Autocad and drawing softwares, but recently I discovered BIM softwares that are amazing! It's more intuitive and we can do things more faster than when we use Autocad to draw and after that pass to sketchup or rhinoceros or whatever to do 3D modelings. What do you think about that? It's worth learning new possibilities to improve our work? I hope you can do a video about that! 🙂

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