1) Do you see or have advantages by having and using the AIBD designation as a member?
Yes, there has been many advantages. The AIBD leaders are amazingly well put together. I couldn't say enough about Steve Mickley (Executive Director), he is as good as it gets. AIBD puts on seminars, podcasts, lessons, group conference calls, Chapter Conferences, etc.. One of the biggest benefits in their conferences where other Building Designers meet up for classes and discussions about industry topics. You can get as involved as you want, and learn or attend at your availability. I have found it grow my knowledge and experience 10 fold. What you will find in your career as a designer, is that you need to have good connections Nationally. AIBD is well connected in D.C. with Code and Law reps. It's nice to have and support an organisation that will represent our industry as a whole.
2) IF you are AIBD certified, have you seen any type of acknowledgement from peers or clients that helps your business
What you can find in our industry (in some cases) is a lack of respect or ignorance for/about our profession. Also, there can be confusion between an Architect and a Building Designer. AIBD helps to elevate our specialty of (mostly) residential design. I have definitely found an increase in respect and trust as a result of those letters after my name. It shows a seriousness toward your craft, a drive to better your knowledge with study and testing. As we move into the new way of doing business of meeting the 2018 IRC code, the average homeowner/draftsman is quickly becoming obsolete in plan preparation. With every code cycle it get more complicated with new codes, shear calcs and prescriptive design. Most Architects these days have moved more toward commercial and multi-family design. In fact, my daughter is an architecture student and they don't teach residential design, let alone IRC code. I believe this is the calling of AIBD, is to help fill in this void. My Brother is Principal Architect of his large firm, and he comes to our firm for IRC questions. I believe this divide will only get larger between residential and commercial design, requiring the need for specialists. As the building departments and inspectors get overloaded, they can miss items during plan check and in the field. I have personally had conversations with them they want more knowledgeable designers preparing plans. When they see our plans and the AIBD logo, they can have a level of trust. At any moment local Jurisdictions can rule in favor of Certified Designers. Just my concerns and thoughts as I don't know if this is the case in every state.
3)If you are certified, was the test difficult to study for?
Yes, you have to set the time to prepare. You need to be well versed in the IRC code (however you can reference it during the test). It was pretty intense, however if you have been working in the field full time for over 6 years, you should be able to pass it.
Go for it! Good Luck!
Brendan Smythe, CPBD, AIBD
Certified Building Designer / Owner