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#1 Danial Anderson

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Posted 13 December 2019 - 12:37 AM

I recently joined AIBD to be able to follow along for a year to see if there is any advantage to being  member and getting there certification.

 

Every so often i notice that a few SP users have and use  the AIBD designation

 

My question to those of you that have or at one time did

 

1) Do you see or have advantages by having and using the AIBD designation as a member?

 

2) IF you are AIBD certified, have you seen any type of acknowledgement from peers or clients that helps your business

 

3)If you are certified, was the test difficult to study for?

Thank you in advance.

 



#2 Mike Keesee

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Posted 13 December 2019 - 08:51 AM

Danial,

) Do you see or have advantages by having and using the AIBD designation as a member? Only if you use it and tell the story on why you joined AIBD --- to set your standards above the other designers in the area. That you are held to a higher standard by joining AIBD.



2) IF you are AIBD certified, have you seen any type of acknowledgement from peers or clients that helps your business. I am certified and have been for over 20 years. I use it to let our clients know that we have to have CE credits every year to keep our knowledge of the industry and its' standards up to date, unlike our competition.



3)If you are certified, was the test difficult to study for? If you have been in this business for any time, the majority of the test you should be able to pass. I tell everyone to sign up - take the test and then study for the sections that you don't pass the first time.

Feel free to reach out to me if you would like to chat more about AIBD and CPBD. 407.880.2333 x 211


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#3 Dan Turner

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Posted 13 December 2019 - 03:55 PM

Hi Danial...

The CPBD designation is achievement...pretty much a goal to have in portfolio.  

It's not a professional designation...yet.  As it is, the AIBD exec is hard at work lobbying the ICC/IRC congress each session for making changes to, amending or modifying building codes.  In this congress, they have applied to be part of the language of the codes that would designate the CPBD certification in the same caliber as "professional Building Designer" in order to allow CPBD drawings to be acceptable for review for permitting.  That is a major accomplishment that seems to get closer with each session as they gather more support among the code officials.

 

Outside of that...even though it's NOT a professional ticket, it a continual certification of not only making it through the gauntlet to be allowed a seat for the 3 hour testing, but the CEUs needed each year to maintain the certification.  I gauge the CPBD test not unlike the General Contractor/Residential Builder licenses that I tested for in 2008....it takes not only knowing what you've read about your chosen field, but will be considerably easier if you have some time involved with hands on work in construction.  Ditto on the CPBD ticket...having previous experience in the fields that make up the test would be very much to your benefit as the clock is ticking for each of the questions put in front of you.

I still allow that the CPBD ticket won't buy you a cup of coffee unless you use it to validate experience, technical skill and a comprehensive knowledge of what you're doing.  It's not a side-job that you've chosen...it needs to be your all day effort because there's a lot at stake.  I never lose sight that someone is basing their estimates and bids on my drawings.  As well, I never lose track of where my code books and tables therein are located for reference while sizing headers; joist & rafter spans...as well as regional building conditions; acceptable bearing weight on soils; and allowable pitches for various roof covers.

The idea that "this building must be constructed to building codes" as a caveat or a get out of trouble card to indemnify you just isn't so.
Or "construction of this plan limits the liability of any issue or instance to no more than the value of the drawing" is another false impression.

Keeping in mind...for that $200,000 structure that has problems because of design issues....something missed or the evil "defendant did know or should have known" phrase that almost every plaintiff counsel throws down...those are YOUR $200,000 of jeopardy to liability.  In this day and age of hostile lawyers and litigious clients and revenge seeking insurance companies that have the right to recover their damages by going after anyone that is held accountable before the insurance kicked in to pay off the problem....your exposure is pretty much right dead center in the cross hairs at all times.

The CPBD will not be the panacea for all things going wrong...but the effort put into achieving it...along with the library needed to study (see the bibliography in the CPBD Handbook...the most current one by the way); you'll be a step ahead in not only 1st hand knowledge but you'll also be able to do the one thing that architects, lawyers and doctors have to do even with their professional tickets....know WHERE to find any answer that they don't know or are not sure of.  Building a library is a great practice and easily done given the reduced values in EBay.

I think it's well worth the effort.  I've gotten the embossing stamp as well as the ink stamp with the NCBDC logo and the certification # to make original drawings ORIGINAL.  The embossed and overlayed ink stamp go into a little box on the pages with the note :  "IF THE ORIGINAL STAMP AND SEAL IS NOT LOCATED IN THIS AREA, THIS PAGE IS NOT AN ORIGINAL PAGE AND MUST NOT BE COPIED, DUPLICATED OR SCANNED FOR THE PURPOSE OF PRINTING UNDER THE ALLOWABLE STATE AND FEDERAL LAWS FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT."

I do hope you'll pursue the goal in AIBD and participate in the many areas of expertise enhancement that are offered.  The Number and/or Seal won't guarantee anything...however, I've noted that my drawings are reviewed by the county plan reviewers that are usually happy to have drawings that aren't turned down or a major red-line situation that warrants writing out pages of text to advise anything lacking or out of compliance.  Having to deal with the engineers and plan reviewers with the least amount of scribbling or line outs is a good sign.  I give it the same weight as a builder when I've not given the inspector a reason to ever doubt what I'm doing or say as to what I plan to do.

As for marketing...it looks good on the CV and a signature line as being accepted by this 3rd party (NCBDC) that's been testing designers since the 1950s does stand out.  Having said that...I need to dump my current website or at least update it as it's been dormant on my end for a few years now.

Good luck.

 


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#4 Kevin Rabenaldt

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Posted 14 December 2019 - 06:27 PM

Dan, do you have a definition of professional building designer or certified building designer?  In Texas, I have found "some" cities to require a certified building designer with a wide range of exceptions of overall size or span or single versus two story, etc.  Even if the plans are reviewed and stamped by a licensed structural engineer or those structural sheet/details drawings prepared structural engineer.

 

I feel it is important to put on the plans that, "all construction to follow local codes".  Any subcontractor that does not follow or know the code for their scope of work should be in contact with the general contractor and/or designer for clarification.  A set of plans can be approved and permitted to the level of detail acceptable but there will always be areas that are not covered.

 

Also, I think that the liability being limited to the value of the drawings may depend on what state the construction occurs, i.e., that state's particular laws.  For example some states require general liability, others do not.  Having General liability insurance where it is not required would be prohibitive and make plan preparation uneconomical because you could not compete with other designers or general contractors who would not have it.


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#5 Danial Anderson

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Posted 14 December 2019 - 08:57 PM

Kevin,

AIBD offers this. "Certified Professional Building Designer®"

Michigan does not require a certified or Licensed designer. Only an architect if the floor plan exceeds 5500 sq ft( I think its 5500) .

Michigan requires a Builder to be licensed, I am licensed.

I am considering becoming an AIBD Certified Professional Building Designer® as a personal challenge and to differentiate my self from other builders and the multitude of  draftsmen that have such little experience in the field.

General Liability is usually a requirement and good risk management.

Thank you for your input

Dan



#6 Kevin Rabenaldt

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 06:31 PM

Texas is getting squirrely.  Some cities do not require a structural engineer even when you specify beams and provide framing plans.  Code does cover most of the issues except beams.  Other cities require you to be a certified designer.  I could not design for someone in Florida in the coastal area.  Could not design in Idaho.  So I don't know what the requirements are around our nation.

 

General liability is good to have but if not required, you are at a severe disadvantage.  When I was in construction, I looked into it and the agent said I could not afford it.  I checked with our local builder's association and one of the very active builders did a lot of research on coverage and it was unaffordable since it was not a requirement for residential construction in Texas.  Texas, go figure. 



#7 Dennis Hilborn

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 08:46 AM

Was not aware the Texas had a recognized "certified designer" designation.  I'm a board member of the SPBD and we've been fighting for that or preferably "Residential Architect" designation.



#8 Kevin Rabenaldt

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 10:27 AM

Austin Texas sure does.  And no we do not need that in Texas.  IMO, if you present your drawings according to the specifications and adopted codes that a city requires and use a structural engineer for those items not in the code book, then you should be good to go.


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#9 Danial Anderson

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 12:20 PM

Danial,

) Do you see or have advantages by having and using the AIBD designation as a member? Only if you use it and tell the story on why you joined AIBD --- to set your standards above the other designers in the area. That you are held to a higher standard by joining AIBD.



2) IF you are AIBD certified, have you seen any type of acknowledgement from peers or clients that helps your business. I am certified and have been for over 20 years. I use it to let our clients know that we have to have CE credits every year to keep our knowledge of the industry and its' standards up to date, unlike our competition.



3)If you are certified, was the test difficult to study for? If you have been in this business for any time, the majority of the test you should be able to pass. I tell everyone to sign up - take the test and then study for the sections that you don't pass the first time.

Feel free to reach out to me if you would like to chat more about AIBD and CPBD. 407.880.2333 x 211

 

Mike K 

the AIBD has a page long list of books one is recommended to read and use as a resource during the open book test.

After you took the test was there any specific 2 or 3 books that are good resources besides the code book?

 

Thank you

Dan

 


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#10 Danial Anderson

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 12:20 PM

Hi Danial...

The CPBD designation is achievement...pretty much a goal to have in portfolio.  

It's not a professional designation...yet.  As it is, the AIBD exec is hard at work lobbying the ICC/IRC congress each session for making changes to, amending or modifying building codes.  In this congress, they have applied to be part of the language of the codes that would designate the CPBD certification in the same caliber as "professional Building Designer" in order to allow CPBD drawings to be acceptable for review for permitting.  That is a major accomplishment that seems to get closer with each session as they gather more support among the code officials.

 

Outside of that...even though it's NOT a professional ticket, it a continual certification of not only making it through the gauntlet to be allowed a seat for the 3 hour testing, but the CEUs needed each year to maintain the certification.  I gauge the CPBD test not unlike the General Contractor/Residential Builder licenses that I tested for in 2008....it takes not only knowing what you've read about your chosen field, but will be considerably easier if you have some time involved with hands on work in construction.  Ditto on the CPBD ticket...having previous experience in the fields that make up the test would be very much to your benefit as the clock is ticking for each of the questions put in front of you.

I still allow that the CPBD ticket won't buy you a cup of coffee unless you use it to validate experience, technical skill and a comprehensive knowledge of what you're doing.  It's not a side-job that you've chosen...it needs to be your all day effort because there's a lot at stake.  I never lose sight that someone is basing their estimates and bids on my drawings.  As well, I never lose track of where my code books and tables therein are located for reference while sizing headers; joist & rafter spans...as well as regional building conditions; acceptable bearing weight on soils; and allowable pitches for various roof covers.

The idea that "this building must be constructed to building codes" as a caveat or a get out of trouble card to indemnify you just isn't so.
Or "construction of this plan limits the liability of any issue or instance to no more than the value of the drawing" is another false impression.

Keeping in mind...for that $200,000 structure that has problems because of design issues....something missed or the evil "defendant did know or should have known" phrase that almost every plaintiff counsel throws down...those are YOUR $200,000 of jeopardy to liability.  In this day and age of hostile lawyers and litigious clients and revenge seeking insurance companies that have the right to recover their damages by going after anyone that is held accountable before the insurance kicked in to pay off the problem....your exposure is pretty much right dead center in the cross hairs at all times.

The CPBD will not be the panacea for all things going wrong...but the effort put into achieving it...along with the library needed to study (see the bibliography in the CPBD Handbook...the most current one by the way); you'll be a step ahead in not only 1st hand knowledge but you'll also be able to do the one thing that architects, lawyers and doctors have to do even with their professional tickets....know WHERE to find any answer that they don't know or are not sure of.  Building a library is a great practice and easily done given the reduced values in EBay.

I think it's well worth the effort.  I've gotten the embossing stamp as well as the ink stamp with the NCBDC logo and the certification # to make original drawings ORIGINAL.  The embossed and overlayed ink stamp go into a little box on the pages with the note :  "IF THE ORIGINAL STAMP AND SEAL IS NOT LOCATED IN THIS AREA, THIS PAGE IS NOT AN ORIGINAL PAGE AND MUST NOT BE COPIED, DUPLICATED OR SCANNED FOR THE PURPOSE OF PRINTING UNDER THE ALLOWABLE STATE AND FEDERAL LAWS FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT."

I do hope you'll pursue the goal in AIBD and participate in the many areas of expertise enhancement that are offered.  The Number and/or Seal won't guarantee anything...however, I've noted that my drawings are reviewed by the county plan reviewers that are usually happy to have drawings that aren't turned down or a major red-line situation that warrants writing out pages of text to advise anything lacking or out of compliance.  Having to deal with the engineers and plan reviewers with the least amount of scribbling or line outs is a good sign.  I give it the same weight as a builder when I've not given the inspector a reason to ever doubt what I'm doing or say as to what I plan to do.

As for marketing...it looks good on the CV and a signature line as being accepted by this 3rd party (NCBDC) that's been testing designers since the 1950s does stand out.  Having said that...I need to dump my current website or at least update it as it's been dormant on my end for a few years now.

Good luck.

 

Dan T. 

the AIBD has a page long list of books one is recommended to read and use as a resource during the open book test.

After you took the test was there any specific 2 or 3 books that are good resources besides the code book?

 

Thank you

Dan



#11 Kevin Rabenaldt

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 02:42 PM

I think we can talk round and round on these issues.  I have been designing a long time and have construction experience.  The idea that a residential house is not going to be up to standard or better, or the like, is a false direction without being done by someone certified, or has this or that credential, or is a license architect.  Each of these types of people have there place depending on creativity or specialization of course.  The codes set a standard of what is necessary.  If you meet that, and many do without any type of credentials, then we are putting too much emphasis on the design.  I have seen simple house layouts built with just a line sketch and while I would not recommend that, the houses were just fine.  My parents house that I have returned to after their passing was built in 1968, built by a quality general contractor that paid attention to all the details, I have seen the old plan work which was nothing really special, and the house has performed just fine, in fact there is not even a hairline crack in the drywall to be found.  If the people doing the construction do what they are suppose to, then we would have a lot less problems.  For instance, if a footing is put atop loose fill or uncompacted soil, and then fails, whose fault is that?  If a framer spans a room with a joist that fails code, whose fault is that? If a set of plans does not live up the standard necessary for a city, then reject them.  Most plans returned for revision are not due to incorrect design but rather, an requirement of a detail, or verbiage of a particular code item.  Never in twenty five years of designing has a plan been returned because of bad design, only we want more details or description.  When asked is there anything wrong with how it is designed, it is always no.  And I am not saying that an inexperienced designer should design a massive two house either.  I am for licensed general contractors for residential work, something Texas does not do.  If you want the code people to strengthen the code, do it there.  In Texas, anyone can be a general contractor, even if they have zero construction experience.


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#12 Tom Rogers

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Posted 17 December 2019 - 08:33 AM

Daniel: To get back to your original questions:

 

1) Do you see or have advantages by having and using the AIBD designation as a member? I have been an AIBD member for the better part of 13 years.  During the recession I did not pay my dues based on finances and recently I have stopped.  The result of me stopping was based more on the state level.  Our metro Atlanta chapter was well received but it takes a lot of work from officers and members in general.  As the clique goes, you get what you put into it.  But it is more than one person.  It needs members who are committed to the industry and craft and not just their individual work.  I was one who was overstretched and fell off.  With that said, a good local chapter, like I read of in Florida and the Carolina coast seem to reap more benefits from being a member.  Unfortunately, AIBD structure with their state chapters were changed a few years ago and to my belief not for the better.

 

2) IF you are AIBD certified, have you seen any type of acknowledgement from peers or clients that helps your business?  Not that someone has said "I picked you because you are CPBD.  Like the others say I use it to qualify my work (need to use it to justify my pricing  :P ) It is also a personal and professional goal for me as I skipped becoming a registered architect since I only want to do residential work, and in many cases that is not a requirement.  

 

3)If you are certified, was the test difficult to study for?  I took the test in 2006 as a professional goal.  I got the study guide and attended a structures class for a refresher.  I spent one whole weekend studying like it was a college final and went in prepared like it was the AIA exam.  I passed all sections my first time (apparently a rarity at the time).  Some have said it was harder than the AIA exam.  If you study, in my opinion, it is not that bad.  Though it  does depend on what your background is.  I went to architectural school.  I could see a builder or drafter having a bit more trouble on some sections because it does have Mechanical, Administrative and Structure sections in it.  


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#13 Brendan Smythe

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Posted 18 December 2019 - 03:16 PM

Danial,

 

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


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#14 Dan Turner

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Posted 20 December 2019 - 08:46 AM

Kevin...

I'm retiring from construction just two years short of 50 years as a general contractor.  

If I mix experience from the very early years throughout that span....the reason for really needing hands on experience to apply to your work is that there is a huge gap in qualified labor, contractors and general contractors.  From 2008 to 2016 the loss of work and construction opportunities killed the guys and gals that relied on the general contractors and builders that were taking on jobs and borrowing construction loans to fund each project.  As the learned (of which I count myself one for NOT getting into the liability of the time with huge loans or non-selling inventory) contractors phased out of harms way; or worse, those guys that rolled the dice and dug a hole that collapsed on them.....the learning experience for grunt/dead-head labor was no longer available as the default source of income.

As things began to turn around after the doldrums started to break it was verrrry evident that guys and gals that were into their early teens when things fell apart were into their early 20s going into 2016.  Those muscle memory experiences with a broom, shovel or a hammer didn't begin at the sponge stage for young folks.  They didn't learn by sore muscles or exhaustion or a period of time that they could do any labor chore a little bit easier by using the push broom; pointed shovel in lieu of a square shovel or a framing hammer in lieu of a trim hammer.  As stupid as it sounds....once that light clicked on the laborers were learning the basics of being a labor....doing the same job in a different way or with a different tool.

Learning the ropes the laborers moved from lumber toters and wheelbarrow pushers to line men masons; saw men on the benches or wallboard finishers in lieu of hanging drywall.

They got paid better going up the ladder and moved on to other jobs either as apprentice or finally to being the sub-contractor.


That tale of observation has dictated my rationale for retiring...I can't be a good general contractor if I can't get engage good sub-contractors.  With that....I prefer not to take on any new speculative construction job that I can't fund myself and lastly any contract job to build because it's now the uncomfortable experience today of engaging new subs for every phase for every job.  Never on time and always trying to nickle and dime me on any and everything.


The job now is to draw with enough details in order to show someone what they need to do.....from the GC to window cleaners.

Softplan provided one item in the dimension menu that really comes into play...and I don't remember what year or version it began....but the "Diagonal Square" tool not only aids the designers and architects....but takes the worry out of being close from the footing on up for the re-building construction population.  If you haven't had to wrestle corner pins and batter boards into square before...it may not seem like a big deal.  As dumb as it may sound....the general contractor is the bottom line responsible one for making sure everything is built according to code....unless the designer makes an unrecoverable error at the foundation stage.

At that point the error is found about the time the Reliable foundation crew sets out their CMU or forms; or the reliable framing crew sees a change in overall length of the floor joists from one end to the other or the plywood cut off above the rim joist starts coming up with triangles rather than squared butts.  Reliable is a big word here and unless the GC is on the job to see the triangles; or each joist is being individually measured in inches rather than small fractions....the unreliable ones will use the often quoted phrase "hell...I can't see it from my house." and let the GC deal with it when he or she discovers it.

The real drama begins with the guys trying to hang the ceiling board and the poor guy trying to finish a smooth ceiling.  It just goes downhill from there as it's almost impossible to camouflage  an out of square structure in the finishing stage.  


I think experience counts a great deal in this day and age of construction more than ever before.  I also feel it's more important now than ever before that the designer puts in sufficient detail to cover their butts from liability by showing more detail than ever before as your Get Out of Jail card.  I've acted as expert for nearly 20 years around the Southeast for law firms that represent insurance companies that represent the Defendant for every suit filed against the builder and general contractor.  Once the insurance company completes their obligation in paying off the court ruling against their client.....they use a portion of the policy that every insured signs over to the insuror known as subrogation.

Subrogation:  Subrogation is the assumption by a third party (such as a second creditor or an insurance company) of another party's legal right to collect a debt or damages. It is a legal doctrine whereby one person is entitled to enforce the subsisting or revived rights of another for one's own benefit. A right of subrogation typically arises by operation of law, but can also arise by statute or by agreement.

When it comes to the insuror attempting to recover from the losses of the payout....they go after EVERYONE in a scattergun fashion.  You may be innocent as a lamb against any charges of failure or the oft used "did know or should have known" language that is hard to defeat....unless you have sufficient detail in a correct drawing and construction documents that gives you the angle to get out of jeopardy of liability, you'll spend a considerable amount of money to prove your position.  For those suits dealing with out of square construction...that "Diagonal Square" tool is YOUR best bet to tell the attorneys to "Buy a Kite.  Fly Same." and walk away.

It's a litigious day and age...more than ever before.  The lesser equipped general contractor will be the first one to point the blame at everyone else.  The experienced GC will know what areas and phase of construction dictates the entire structure before they put their focus on the next job getting started.  

General Liability is a must for the builder.  Professional liability is an expense up front each year....you either have it or are rolling the dice.  If you're more the latter than the former....you should have a contract attorney help design your design contract to specify your responsibilities and limits...and then have them review it each year for any legislative changes in your state.

Sorry for the long tale here....it covers a lot of bases, but I've been remiss in keeping up with the forums this past couple of weeks.   Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to y'all from Georgia.
 

I think we can talk round and round on these issues.  I have been designing a long time and have construction experience.  The idea that a residential house is not going to be up to standard or better, or the like, is a false direction without being done by someone certified, or has this or that credential, or is a license architect.  Each of these types of people have there place depending on creativity or specialization of course.  The codes set a standard of what is necessary.  If you meet that, and many do without any type of credentials, then we are putting too much emphasis on the design.  I have seen simple house layouts built with just a line sketch and while I would not recommend that, the houses were just fine.  My parents house that I have returned to after their passing was built in 1968, built by a quality general contractor that paid attention to all the details, I have seen the old plan work which was nothing really special, and the house has performed just fine, in fact there is not even a hairline crack in the drywall to be found.  If the people doing the construction do what they are suppose to, then we would have a lot less problems.  For instance, if a footing is put atop loose fill or uncompacted soil, and then fails, whose fault is that?  If a framer spans a room with a joist that fails code, whose fault is that? If a set of plans does not live up the standard necessary for a city, then reject them.  Most plans returned for revision are not due to incorrect design but rather, an requirement of a detail, or verbiage of a particular code item.  Never in twenty five years of designing has a plan been returned because of bad design, only we want more details or description.  When asked is there anything wrong with how it is designed, it is always no.  And I am not saying that an inexperienced designer should design a massive two house either.  I am for licensed general contractors for residential work, something Texas does not do.  If you want the code people to strengthen the code, do it there.  In Texas, anyone can be a general contractor, even if they have zero construction experience.


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#15 Steve and Carla Farnam

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Posted 20 December 2019 - 07:19 PM

Dan Turner----

 

Spot on about the way the construction/general Contractor game has gone. I started residential/hands on builder/ general contracting

in 1969 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and decided to hang up working for the general public this year, right at the 50 year mark. Going forward

I will build and sell my personal houses, make my own decisions regarding any and all construction questions and design, leave the liability and

hassle behind selling every few years to enjoy all the benefits and rewards building for yourself affords. Between houses continue to enjoy designing,

along with my wife who has designed for 40+ years, helping others dream home come true, a fun way to go.


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#16 Dan Turner

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Posted 21 December 2019 - 10:22 AM

What a great team!!  My wife occupies the next office but she's the "Iron Fist in the Velvet Glove" accounts receivable type....plus the bookie for all of our work.  She (and I) are fed up with all the conditions that have contributed to my pulling the plug....one being Workmans Comp rates for uninsured subs.  Business is bad enough for these guys just trying to get competent labor to show up each morning but rather than buy their own coverage for their employees they bank on the General Contractor to follow the law and have Workmans Compensation.  Each year the annual audit is a showdown wherein Builders Risk WC puts trim carpenters in the same risk class as framing, eaves & siding and truss installers.  I had to fight for the correct premium to show exactly what the sub-totals were for each contractor in order to reduce the bill by $20,000.  A SURPRISE $20,000 at that.

They've got you by the yarbles as without the WC...you're in deference to the law as well as no longer compliant to the annual review for renewing my Gen.Contractor & Light Commercial ticket.  Each year the rates have continued to climb up to the point of being such an overhead expense that I either cut back on the allowable fees for the subs...which generally sends them running someplace else, or I cut back on materials.  Materials and labor are generally fixed...the prices are the current costs which leaves me to cut profit.  I think we work harder to keep the insurance groups honest every year otherwise the GC is just an easy touch for the annual premium adjustment.  I'd like to cut them some slack (actually cutting or shooting...either or both works for me<G) because one of the offspring of the bastard work force that isn't born into this work force will be the marshmallows on the job that avail themselves of speed dialed TV lawyers that specialize in representing workplace injuries.

I could go on...but with 50 years in bubba...I'm just preaching to the choir.  Mazletov on hitting that mark.  I got to the point that I was feeling ill every day just having to deal with the knuckleheads that did show up and the con-men that think they can pull one over because they've had a lucrative cash flow by duping the retail side of construction to the general public.  I truly enjoy those clowns that tell me that I'll have to pay them every day at the end of the day or I've got to put up 30% or more "Retainer Fee" for them to put me into the schedule.  I just look stupid....but you tend to know a LOT about reading the people you're talking to in the first minute after meeting them.  My dad had a lot of "rule of thumb" sayings for everything in this business....but especially quick vetting subs.  

"If you shake their hands and the hands are calloused...they aren't carpenters or masons."
"If you shake their hands and look at their boots or pants and there aren't any splatters or drips....they're not painters."
"If you shake their hands in the Summer and don't see sun-burn; bleached hair or eye brows....they're not loader (tracked loaders) drivers."

...and many many more.

I've enjoyed design/build since the 70's.  But...it's just time to focus on Design now.  The competition is fierce around the metro area...so I don't compete.<G  I'm not desperate...I just enjoy to continue looking for the right mousetrap that will fit the times, people and ages.

I also like designing lots that are throw aways down here in moderate rolling topography in the middle of Georgia...drop lots here are the same as mountainside properties in North Georgia.  Folks around town say...."you can't build on this lot...it's too extreme."   Whereas guys like Larry Maynard who designs/builds in the general Blue Ridge portion of the state would just say...."hold my beer...I got this!"

I don't like to draw just to draw now...it has to have a problem or a purpose.<G

Good to meet you Steve and your bride Carla.  Always glad to meet the survivors of this industry...we've both gone through all the downturns and recessions since the early 1970s.  This last one that went on for much too long was the only one that last more than 2 years out of all of the others.  It killed the business...there's probably at least another 10 years before the labor and workforces repopulate to find the competition defining the bids rather than "take it leave it" attitudes I've seen enough of.

I always tell every bidder...."I already know how much it costs.  I just want to know how much you're going to cost....so be careful with your estimate."  And that would or should be JOB ONE for every general contractor.  Know your $numbers.  Obviously you did and lived to celebrate and retire the way you want to retire.  It doesn't always happen that way.

Good for you!!  Good holidays and a Merry Christmas to you both.

Dan Turner

Conyers, Georgia

 

Dan Turner----

 

Spot on about the way the construction/general Contractor game has gone. I started residential/hands on builder/ general contracting

in 1969 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and decided to hang up working for the general public this year, right at the 50 year mark. Going forward

I will build and sell my personal houses, make my own decisions regarding any and all construction questions and design, leave the liability and

hassle behind selling every few years to enjoy all the benefits and rewards building for yourself affords. Between houses continue to enjoy designing,

along with my wife who has designed for 40+ years, helping others dream home come true, a fun way to go.


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#17 Steve and Carla Farnam

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Posted 21 December 2019 - 11:02 AM

Dan Turner,

 

Cheers!!

 

Steve


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#18 Danial Anderson

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Posted 23 December 2019 - 02:07 AM

Thank You Everyone for your comments and thoughts 

Merry Christmas and a Great New Year 2020 to us all 

Dan



#19 John Abernathy

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Posted 23 December 2019 - 10:55 AM

Dan,

You just described my struggles verbatim to a "T" (downright scary it's so similar) although I'm only 37 years into the business compared to your 50. I've done it all as well from Industrial,
Commercial and Residential, hard bid, negotiated, d/b, you name it.

Since the recession, I fell into the niche of smaller Design/Build residential work, I do only one or two jobs a time, mostly D/B, and design work for others as well, got the
CPBD designation in 2017.

As to the original questions:

To me the CPBD separates you from the crowd, its says you've passed an extensive industry exam, you understand structures, code, details, etc., you're not just a guy who bought a program last week.

As for studying for the exam, I did review a good bit and found it hard to really know what to expect on certain portions, I worked a lot of problems on the structures side, and I would strongly suggest that.
My disclaimer is I did gradate from Architecture School (B.S. Building Construction not "Architecture"), so between that and my years of experience helped.

Getting the CPBD certainly does not hurt.
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