NOMA BRAVE Breakdown

NOMA BRAVE Action Steps

For those that don’t know, the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) has released some action steps for architects of all backgrounds to support their colleagues in the fight for racial justice and equity.

This initiative is called BRAVE, and NOMA challenges all large architecture firms to become dues paying members of the organization, as well adopting NOMA’s steps for an inclusive atmosphere, which include:

NOMA BRAVE Breakdown

I think this initiative is a great opportunity for those who may just be joining the fight for social injustice, but I believe that it needs a bit more detail to help with implementation. To help those who want to make a difference in the profession, but aren’t sure where to start, I’ve create the NOMA BRAVE Breakdown. This breakdown takes the action steps provided by NOMA and provides tangible next steps and goals for architecture & design professionals. Here is an image of the breakdown.

Keep in mind that the links will only work if you download the actual PDF, which is available here.

NOMA BRAVE Breakdown Image. Don’t forget that the links will only work if you download the PDF.

Disclaimer: This guide is a recommendation made by me based on the framework provided by NOMA. This breakdown was not created by or sponsored by NOMA. All thoughts and opinions contained within it are my own.

Anti-Racism Design Resources

I would also highly recommend that you check out this comprehensive list of Anti-Racism Design Resources, which cover:

Black architects, designers, planners, activists’ recent responses, reflections, statements

Firms/practices currently offering pro bono services

Firms/practices currently taking actions (e.g. matching donations)

Resources about offering pro bono services

Examples of pro bono services you and/or your firm/practice/collective can offer

Examples of fellowships/internships your firm can offer to Black students

Support Black designers, especially our colleagues, with opportunities like these!

For non-Black and white folks organizing within our firms/practices/collectives

Additional resources to share both internally and in a public statement

List of Black organizers/leadership

List of Black-led firms/practices/collectives

List of architecture/design organizations doing anti-racism work in academic institutions

List of architecture/design organizations doing anti-racism work in the field at large

List of organizations to follow on social media

Past Events

If you have any additional resources or events on this topic, feel free to share them in the comments!

Mini Quiz: A201

A 4 question quiz on the General Conditions of the Contract for Construction. The answers are provided after the questions. The A201 contract is available as a free download from the AIA website, and I’m currently studying it in preparation for my upcoming Project Management (PjM) and Construction & Evaluation (CE) Exam. It is listed within the ARE 5.0 Reference Matrix as a study material for PjM. Good luck studying, and if you have any questions, let me know in the comments!

Question 01

When does the Owner not have to share information about their financial arrangements for the Work?

  • Prior to the commencement of the work
  • When the Owner fails to make payments as per the contract documents
  • When a change in the work materially changes the contract sum
  • When the Architect issues a Certificate for Payment

Question 02

A Modification is all of the following, except for a: (Choose 1)

  • Construction Change Directive
  • Written Order for a minor change in work issued by the Owner
  • Change Order
  • Written Amendment to the Contract signed by both parties

Question 03

The Contractor shall immediately suspend any operations if they encounter the following conditions, except for:

(Choose 1)

  • Wetlands
  • Archaeological Sites
  • Burial Markers
  • Contract Documents in violation of applicable laws

Question 04

Select all items provided and paid for by the Contractor:

  • Sales Tax
  • Approvals for Occupancy
  • Temporary facilities not incorporated in the work
  • Utilities
  • Equipment and Machinery
  • Transportation

Question 01

When does the Owner not have to share information about their financial arrangements for the Work?

Correct Answers

  • When the Architect issues a Certificate for Payment

Incorrect Answers

Prior to the commencement of the work – Article 2.2.1 Prior to commencement of work and upon written request of the contractor, the owner shall furnish to the contractor evidence that the owner has made financial arrangements

When the Owner fails to make payments as per the contract documents & When a change in the work materially changes the contract sum – See Article 2.2.2

Question 02

A Modification is all of the following, except for a: (Choose 1)

Correct Answer

  • Written Order for a minor change in work issued by the Owner – Owners do not issue minor changes in work, those are issue by the Architect

Incorrect Answers

Construction Change Directive, Change Order, and a Written Amendment to the Contract signed by both parties: are all listed under Article 1.1.1 as Modifications.

Question 03

The Contractor shall immediately suspend any operations if they encounter the following conditions, except for:

Correct Answer

  • contract documents in violation of applicable laws – Article 3.2.3 The Contractor is not required to suspend work upon discovery of a nonconformity of the Contract Documents, only required to promptly report to the Architect

Incorrect Answers

According to Article 3.7.5 if the COntractor discovers any of these conditions, they shall immediately suspend operations:

  • Wetlands
  • Archaeological sites
  • Burial markers

Question 04

Select all items provided and paid for by the Contractor:

Correct Answer

  • Sales Tax – Article 3.6 Taxes
  • Temporary facilities not incorporated in the work – Article 3.4.1
  • Utilities – Article 3.4.1
  • Equipment and Machinery – Article 3.4.1
  • Transportation – Article 3.4.1

Incorrect Answers

All other items are to be provided by the Contractor.

  • Approvals for Occupancy – Provided by the owner as per Article 2.3.1

Thanks for taking part in my quiz, let me know how you did in the comments! You can also check out my mini quiz for C401 or check out my reviews for other practice exam providers.

Mini Quiz: C401

A 4 question quiz on the Agreement between the Architect and Consultant. The answers are provided after the questions. The C401 contract is available as a free download from the AIA website, and I’m currently studying it in preparation for my upcoming Project Management (PjM) Exam. It is listed within the ARE 5.0 Reference Matrix as a study material for PjM. Good luck studying, and if you have any questions, let me know in the comments!

Question 01

Select all four parties identified in the C401:

  • Architect
  • Owner
  • Contractor
  • Sub-consultants
  • Architect’s Other Consultants
  • Surety
  • Consultant
  • Subcontractors

Question 02

Which statements are true of consultant’s services?

  • COnsultant has the ability to reject work under their scope
  • Architect ascertains requirements for the Consultant’s portion of the work
  • Consultants shall render written decisions on claims and disputes relating to the execution of their portion of the scope
  • Consultant shall notify the architect of the need for additional services

Question 03

The Architect must provide the following information except for:

(Choose 1)

  • detailed layouts showing locations of connections
  • tabulations giving equipment sizes
  • the architect’s compensation within the prime agreement
  • investigations of other consultants not within the scope of the consultants services

Question 04

Select all methods of binding dispute resolution between an Architect and their Consultant:

(Choose 2)

  • Arbitration
  • Mediation
  • Professional Ethics Council
  • Litigation

Question 01

Select all four parties identified in the C401:

Correct Answers

  • Architect – Identified on the first page of the Agreement
  • Owner – Identified on the first page of the Agreement
  • Sub-consultants- Identified in Article 1.9
  • Consultant – Identified on the first page of the Agreement

Incorrect Answers

None of the other parties are specifically identified and named within this agreement.

Question 02

Which statements are true of consultant’s services?

Correct Answer

  • Consultant shall notify the architect of the need for additional services (Article 4.1)

Incorrect Answers

Article 3.1.5 Consultant does not have the ability to reject any work on the project, they can assist the architect in determining if work should be rejected

Article 3.1.1 Consultant shall ascertain the requirements for this portion of the work and shall confirm such requirements with the architect.

Article 3.1.4 Consultants don’t have the power to render decisions on disputes, they can however issue written recommendations on claims, disputes, and other matters in question relating to the execution or progress of their portions of the work.

Question 03

The Architect must provide the following information except for:

Correct Answer

  • the architect’s compensation within the prime agreement – Article 1.1, a copy of the prime agreement(from which compensation amounts maybe deleted) is attached as Exhibit A and is made a part of this Agreement

Incorrect Answers

Article 5.3 The Architect shall furnish to the Consultant detailed layouts showing locations of connections, tabulations giving equipment sizes, loads and other information on equipment designed.

Article 5.7 If the Consultant reasonably requests information from investigations, survey,s, tests, analyses or reports, or the services of other consultants not within the scope of the consultant’s services, the Architect shall request that the Owner furnish the information or services.

Question 04

Select all methods of binding dispute resolution between an Architect and their Consultant:

Correct Answers

  • Arbitration – Article 8.2
  • Litigation – Article 8.2

Incorrect Answers

  • Mediation – Not a method of binding dispute resolution
  • Ethics Council – Only related to ethics disputes against architects

Thanks for taking part in my quiz, let me know how you did in the comments!

My Number One Rule for Buying ARE Study Materials

When you first decide to take the ARE, you will normally go into full research mode. You treat it like a site you are doing analysis on, combing the net for study materials, handy guides, YouTube tutorials and practice questions, exam focused blog posts (guilty!), everything you can get your hands on. You assemble a treasure trove of PDF documents and a wish list full of textbooks and online courses, and you start reading. Fast forward a few hours, and you are completely overwhelmed.

The ARE is full of SO MUCH CONTENT and the sheer amount of information that you need to not just absorb, but be able to use for problem solving, can be extremely intimidating. What can be even scarier, if you’ve been working for a while in the field, is the practice of unlearning what you thought you knew, and memorizing the way that NCARB wants you practice. This can make you second guess your own memory and possibly your own professional judgement.

I got to this same point after ordering my Ballast book. I love to read, like LOVE to read, but this seemed like taking a good thing too far. There’s a difference between sitting down with a nice thick book and reading for pleasure, and sitting down with a thick book and being expected to memorize and analyze its contents.

The study guides, contracts, online resources, and the other miscellaneous PDFs I had collected and bought as part of my search for information, were also confusing. With this much data, how is it possible to prioritize and process all that I read?

This lead me to my number one rule for ARE Study Materials:

AHPP (Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice) First! No New Study Materials Until It’s Finished!

I created this rule for myself for a few important reasons:

  1. I have a habit of collecting a lot of data for the sake of saying that I have the information, then not reading it. This will save me a lot of wasted time in gathering studying materials that I will actually not use. 
  2. The AHPP is frequently considered required reading by those who take the exam. I’ve seen many people mention just this textbook, along with the contracts and rules of conduct, as their only required materials for passing the PcM (Practice Management Exam).
  3. You have help in determining what is essential! Namour Wright collaborated with Wiley publishing to create very helpful guides regarding which elements of the AHPP were critical reading for each specific ARE exam. 
  4. If I can’t commit to finishing this book, there is no reason for me to be flushing additional money or time down the drain looking at less comprehensive content. The AHPP is a big book, but the information it contains is crucial information for all 6 ARE exams. It is the only reference listed in the ARE 5.0 Handbook which has content used in the development of all 6 of the exams. Check out this references page from NCARB which illustrates my point. 
NCARB Reference Guide for AHPP

So even though it is important to cross train with other materials, use multiple references, and understand and read through other documents, I still put the completion of this document as my number one priority, and until you finish it, I wouldn’t put another cent into buying anything else. You can buy the AHPP on Amazon, or directly from Wiley Publishing. 

There are also pre-owned copies online, and often you can already find a copy at your architecture firm, as people who have studied in your firm like to keep it around as a reference in their practice.

What text would you consider an essential item for this exam? Let me know in the comments! Happy studying!

PcM Pass ARE 5.0 – Study Materials and Methods

Learn what study materials and methods I used to pass ARE 5.0 PcM on my first try.

This post was originally shared on my old blog, and has recently been updated (September 2022).

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

I almost can’t believe it, but the screen at Prometric confirmed it, so I’m not going to dispute it…

I passed my Practice Management (PcM) on the first try. I have been studying on and off for this exam since May last year, but I only started studying intensely for this exam since around November.

I worked full time, and organized for lunch time study sessions, where I would often be the only one to show up. I mostly studied after work, since I am not a morning person, and haven’t given up my night owl lifestyle since architecture studio. Just this week (wish I had found it earlier), I found this very informative NCARB forum post that helped give me a structure in terms of what content I should focus on, and making sure I truly understand the study materials.

My major motivator in looking for study materials was being very cost effective. I couldn’t afford to pay for a lot of fancy programs, so I just checked for the best free or cheap resources based on online and forum reviews.

To pay it forward to people like me who were desperately searching for study materials and methods for passing the exam, here is what I used.

Books

The Architects Handbook of Professional Practice (AHPP) a critical resource and I have a separate post on my major key in terms of this resource for those taking PcM as maybe their first exam, and are wondering what materials they should focus on. The main AHPP reading guide I used was the one provided by Kevin Griendling, AIA, from Pluralsight, which I found on the NCARB forums! (more on those below) It would be pretty accurate to say that AHPP was the main physical book resource that I got for this exam. Luckily my firm had a copy in their library, so I didn’t have to shell out the big bucks! I normally aimed to read about 4 sub-chapters per day, for example, sub-chapter 1.1 to 1.4 in one evening. This worked for me as I’m normally a fast reader, and I can finish a sub-chapter in around 30 minutes.

Price: AHPP: Free for me.

Contracts 

NCARB said that they only covered the B101 and C401 contracts in the PcM exam reference guide, but because people kept saying there was a lot of overlap with other exams, I studied the A201 and A101 as well, but less exhaustively.

My method for the contracts was:

  1. Reading through the all actual contracts above at least once
  2. Tatyana Aksamentova’s Contracts Study Guide
  3. Rewriting the contracts in shorthand as described in Christopher Richardson’s NCARB forum post
  4. Go through, and ideally redraw the AIA Contract Relationships Diagrams

Price:

  1. Contracts: free on AIA website
  2. Study Guide: free
  3. Contract shorthand: free
  4. Diagrams document: free

Digital Resources

Quizlet – Michael Riscica at youngarchitect.com and many others highlight the importance of flash cards and I agree! But! I feel like I am losing time writing by hand when I could be studying! And I type much faster than I write! Solution? Quizlet! It is the fastest way for me to create simple and customizable flash cards decks, with many different functions. Also usable in a mobile format which is very handy. I will be writing a longer post on my flash card studying techniques, but here you can find the decks I used:

  1. Financial Equations with Targets Deck – most critical and helpful! I walked into the exam really knowing this information!
  2. AIA Contracts Deck – Also very critical for ensuring you KNOW the contract numbers, and you’re not just guessing. There are other, even more comprehensive decks for contracts, with more contracts types, but for PcM, I think this one covered the essentials.
  3. ARE 5.0 Practice Management Deck – A great resource covering terms across all aspects of PcM including some financial definitions as opposed to strictly equations.

Price for all decks: Free

NCARB Forum – Just this week (wish I had found it earlier), I found this very informative NCARB forum post that helped give me a structure in terms of what content I should focus on, and making sure I truly understand the study materials. The forums are a really great searchable resource, and I recommend that you use them when you have a specific question in terms of the best way to study specific types of content. Trust me, you’re not the first to ask. There’s no such thing as a dumb question! Some of the Forum Posts I found the most helpful were:

  1. Tatyana Aksamentova’s Practice Management Study Guide
  2. Tatyana Aksamentova’s Financial Ratios Study Guide

Price for Study Guides: Free

Schiff Hardin Lectures – A very important resource, that I forgot to mention in my initial release of this post was the Michael J. Hanahan, also known as Schiff Hardin lectures for AIA Contracts. These are a great resource for getting a refresher or deep understanding of the AIA Contracts, specifically the B101 and A201, for someone with lots of industry experience. These recordings can give great examples of how a particular article would play out on a real construction project. These audio recordings of his actual classes on these contracts and additional talks on risk, liability, tort, and the construction industry in general are a helpful resource. According to my productivity tracker, I studied this specific resource for at least 16 hours, normally listening during work or on long commutes or trips. 

Price for Audio Lectures: Free

Practice Exams

Designer Hacks PcM Exam – A very useful resource which came in highly recommended. These questions are much easier than the exam, but I mainly used them as a resource for testing my gaps in knowledge, and didn’t really focus on my actual scores. They give explanations for why the answer is right, but not why the others are wrong, which can be a significant limitation. I liked the variety of formats, from short Pop quizzes to long Practice Exams, which helped concentrate my studying based off the time I had available. 

Price: My office policy only allows one study resource purchase per person, which is normally a physical book, but instead I requested that they purchase the DesignerHacks Practice Exam Package for all 6 exams. So another Free for me! *Tip* Look into your office policies on ARE practice material sponsoring and see if you can consolidate resources for multiple tests into one. 

Walking the ARE 5.0 Practice Exam Do yourself a favor and get this exam. I did not purchase it until the day before my exam, and I feel like I could have done even better if I had. This exam comes the closest to the ARE in both the complexity and depth of the questions, and the actual exam format with the Case Studies. This is a must buy. It will give you a really good understanding of your knowledge gaps in applying the financial ratios, and the concept of time management. This is a must buy!

Price: $39. This was the only study guide I actually bought with my own money, and it was completely worth it. I recommend it highly.

Time Tracking Software

Productivity Timer App – This was the first time tracker app I used. It became critical for me to understand how much time I was putting towards which resources, and which I needed to spend more time on. My major driver on this exam was reaching 100 hours in study time, and this app was a big help in keeping me on track. The interafce is fun, and gives you levels to acheive and acheivements, similar to DesignerHacks, but this one is a bit more tongue in cheek, with levels such as Unrepentant Slacker (where I unfortunately spent most of my time). Some of the limitations of this app were the limited number of projects you could use, and it tries to discourage you from clocking time shorter than their allocated sessions (adjustable, but stays the same after you set it). Very handy in that it’s on your mobile devices and can take it anywhere and see your progress daily and since you started.

Price: Free version that I used, there is also a premium version if you need greater functionality.

Clockify Website – This is what I ended up using after the Productivity Timer App, due to the added flexibility of time tracking. This website’s tracking function is what I normally use for staff time tracking, but if I figured that this could work easily for tracking study times. It allows you to input time that you’ve studied, or just setting a timer with your specific study resource selected. I will be making a detailed post with how I studied with this resource, but you can also check out my study status screenshot below.

Price: Free


Resources I Did Not Use

Black Spectacles – Lots of bad reviews for their program, and their videos are looong. They put a lot of time into their materials, but I need a more condensed version.

Pluralsight – mostly positive reviews, but not enough for me to pay for it.

Brightwood – bad reviews in forums and Young Architect website

AEP – expensive, and not enough positive reviews to purchase

Amberbooks – If I fail 1 test, I may invest in these, or maybe for the more technical exams, as structures was a long time ago for me.

Young Architect Bootcamp – If I fail more than 4 exams, I will invest in the bootcamp, too expensive for me right now

Young Architect Academy – I did not have the funds to get it in time for this exam. I will be investing in this for my PjM exam, along with the contracts course.

In Conclusion, I hope you gain some value from this long winded post. I just hope someone gets some value from my methods. If you have any questions, throw them in the comments. For now, I’m going to bed, and starting tomorrow, I’m gonna start studying for PjM.

If you got any value from this post, please let me know in the comments!

Free ARE 5.0 PcM Study Guide

I’ve created a one-page PDF guide to the ARE 5.0 Practice Management Exam, capturing the main ideas of this very detailed blog post in one place. This one-page document efficient and easy for you to strategize how to approach this exam using my study method. You can download your copy here.

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