I Passed Construction and Evaluation!

My challenges with the Construction & Evaluation Exam.

I got the official score report from NCARB last night, so excited to share that I passed CE this Tuesday! I was really nervous about this exam, since it had been my only fail so far, and I did NOT want to pay that $235 again. My major challenges for this test were:

  • A definite lack of clarity from NCARB’s side on the inclusion of the construction & detail sections of this exam, for examples, details, sections, etc, that they showed in the Handbook practice questions, but not in their reference lists.
  • Struggling to read these contracts all over again. When I feel like I know something already, my brain starts to shut it out, because it feels like I already know this information. But rereading and rewriting the contracts was definitely helpful for me.
  • A lack of practice questions that dealt with those construction sections that I mentioned above, but I’ll be sharing some resources I found in my normal detailed blog post that I do after every passed exam.
  • Figuring out what was or was not important in terms of contracts. Do I need to memorize all the contract times and time limits, or is that going too deep? I know there’s no such thing as over-studying for this exam, but I felt like sometimes I was focusing on the wrong things. At some point my study group found a video on deciphering welding symbols, and we were like, you never know, this might come up!
  • Worrying about any distractions and the effect it will have on my exam result. I decided to pursue my LEED Green Associate credential (which I got) as an additional certification that I can use for work. I’m already a Green Star accredited professional in Namibia and South Africa, but I felt like I needed the certification in the U.S. as well. But I was really worried that the two weeks I took off to study for the LEED Green Associate exams would make or break me for CE.
  • Do I need more experience in residential construction? A lot of the projects that I’ve worked on have been institutional, educational, healthcare, and I’ve never worked on a building that used wood structure before. I was worried that the lack of experience in this specific area would hurt me in the exam, but my study group made sure to look at examples of actual construction sets, so i was at least familiar with how things would actually look, and of course, there are the textbooks that cover those things as well.
  • What will my timeline be like if I fail? I’m currently trying to take and pass all of my exams before NCARB transitions into the new testing provider PSI. If I failed CE, would I have to further delay taking my PPD and PDD? Luckily it didn’t come to that, but it was a genuine worry that I had.
  • Do you know this famous quote from Muhammad Ali?

This is me right now. I hate studying so much! I feel like I watched summer pass me by through the window by my desk. This test takes so much out of you in terms of time and mental load, and it bothers me that I feel like I can’t be fully present for my family and friends. But I think that the end result is definitely worth it.

Overall, I would say that I’m super happy and relieved that I have this exam under my belt, and ecstatic that I am halfway through this process. I am trying to make sure that this time I intentionally celebrate my win, and properly rest before I dive into PA. Stay tuned for my detailed blog post, and I wish you guys all the best in your ARE journey’s as well. If you have any specific questions about CE, make sure to ask me in the comments, and I may be able to address them in my upcoming blog post.

Statute of Repose vs. Statute of Limitations

Explaining the differences between the statute of repose and statute of limitations, with a free wallpaper download!

*This post has been corrected based off of helpful information from the ARE Facebook group.*


So in my ARE study group we were discussing the differences between these two concepts, and how confusing the many different references can be when trying to explain them. You can read several resources and watch many videos explaining the concept of statute of repose and statute of limitations, and that’s all fine and dandy, but what the actual limits when it comes to construction?

Here are some of the videos I checked out for reference:

Another helpful video by an actual architect, Werner Sabo:

These videos were helpful, but they didn’t give me the answer I was looking for. I thought it would be best to check the Architects Handbook, as it is definitely one of the main resources that NCARB is using to create these exams. *However, it does appear that the AHPP is wrong on this one.

What I found was, at its most basic level:

Statute of Repose is a claim based on negligence for design professionals or others, 3 to 10 years after substantial completion.

Statute of Limitations sets time limits under which claims can be made, commencing when the alleged digression is discovered, normally 10 years.

That’s it, that’s the difference. Each state has its own time limits, I had fun checking out mine, which seem pretty average (this list taught me to never sign a contract in Maine, lol.) There are also reasons why on average, statutes of repose are longer than statutes of limitations. To quote this article from Kevin Hara, referencing the Texas Supreme Court,

The whole point of layering a statute of repose over the statute of limitations is to fix an outer limit beyond which no action can be maintained.  One practical upside of curbing open-ended exposure is to prevent defendants from answering claims where evidence may prove elusive due to unavailable witnesses (perhaps deceased), faded memories, lost or destroyed records, and institutions that no longer exist.

Methodist Healthcare Sys. of San Antonio v. Rankin, 307 S.W.3d 283, 286-87  (Tex. 2010 ) (internal citations and marks omitted)

To help me remember the difference between the two, I created a helpful wallpaper providing the differences in a simple way. You can get it for free at my Downloads page.

As always happy studying!

Study With Us: 2 Hour Study Session on Sept. 8th

RMSM Studio and @arch_exam_study will be hosting a Live ARE 5.0 Study Session on Wednesday, September 8th.

Thank you to everyone who joined our live ARE 5.0 Study Session on the 1st of September 2020 with RMSM Studio and @arch_exam_study! We really appreciate everyone who tuned in to this brand new experience, and we wanted to host another #studywithme session as soon as possible, to help bring a community and social atmosphere to those studying for the ARE exams while social distancing. Our past session was hosted on Instagram Live, but we felt limited by the one hour time limit, so the next virtual study session will be held via Zoom!

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Live #studywithme session with @arch_exam_study

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The Event

Together with @arch_exam_study, we will be hosting a Live ARE 5.0 Study Session on Wednesday, September 9th, 2020 at 6:00 pm EST. The session will take place over 2 hours, and will be hosted via Zoom, so make sure to register in advance to get a notification when the event starts.

The Format

A quick intro, then silent study for two hours using the Pomodoro technique (25 minutes study, 5 minutes break). I can answer any comments or questions about study techniques or materials during the 5-minute breaks. I will be studying for the CE exam, but you can feel free to join in and study for any exam you choose.

What is a #Studywithme Session?

A #studywithme session is a video, either live or prerecorded of someone studying for an exam. The videos show people engaged in focused styuding activities, which can encourage you to stay focused as well, and helps replicate a coffee shop or library environment, where you can be both social and productive.

For an example of one of the previous #studywithme sessions, you can check out my 2-hour Late Night Pomodoro Study Session, or the 1-hour Instagram Live session with @arch_exam_study on September 1st.

If you have additional questions, feel free to message me on the RMSM Studio Facebook page, on my Instagram at @rmsmstudio, or send me an email at rmsmstudio@gmail.com.

Study With Us: Live Study Session

A live ARE 5.0 virtual study session on Instagram, in collaboration with @arch_exam_study

Collaboration time! If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you may have seen my recent #studywithme video (see below), which I got inspiration for from following @arch_exam_study.

With over a hundred views on the first day, we thought it would be a good idea to collaborate on a study session together. So we will be hosting an Instagram Live Study Session on September 1st, 2020. If you want to participate in our session, you can join by following me on Instagram at @rmsmstudio. I’ve also created a Facebook event for this live session, if you want to keep it in your Facebook calendar.

Study With Us! Instagram Live ARE 5.0 Study Session

Date: Tuesday, September 1st, 2020

Time: 8:30pm EST – 9:30pm EST

Location: RMSM Studio Instagram

Prerequisites: None! Just bring yourself and your current study materials and join in the session! Make sure to check out my study guides for PcM and PjM for material recommendations.

The format will be a quick intro, then silent study for an hour using the Pomodoro technique (25 minutes study, 5 minutes break). You can even follow along with your own Pomodoro timer if you want. I can answer any comments or questions during the 5-minute break. I will be studying for the CE exam, but you can feel free to join in and study for your current exam.

For an example of one of the previous #studywithme sessions, you can check out my 2-hour Late Night Pomodoro Study Session here.

If you have additional questions, feel free to message me on the Facebook event page, on my Instagram at @rmsmstudio, or send me an email at rmsmstudio@gmail.com.

Practice Question: Invitation to Bid

For Construction Administration, I really recommend looking at as many real world documents as possible. Studying construction details? Check out your offices standard detail library. Studying certificates for payment? Find some examples online or see if you can look at any from a past project. There are also excellent videos on Youtube that go into how to fill out or create each of these documents or drawings, like this one below on the G702.

Question

Scorpion Commercial Group, along with their architect, Samsu Sola, has published an Advertisement for Bids in the Santa Fe Daily newspaper (see image below). They are advertising for open bidding a new commercial project located in Santa Fe, for a mixed use office building. Find at least 3 important pieces of information that are missing from the advertisement below:

Answer

The important information that is missing from this advertisement is:

  • Project Name and Location
  • Architect name and address
  • Project description including: type, size, construction materials and systems
  • Where bidding documents may be obtained or viewed
  • Amount of required bid deposit
  • Type and amount of bid bonds

Reference: Ballast: 49-3,4 Advertising for Bids

If you got all 6, well done! Let me know how many you got right in the comments. For more practice questions like this, feel free to check out the Practice Questions tab in the main menu. Also, don’t forget to sign up for my free PjM one page study guide, dropping on the 30th of August 2020. As always, happy studying!

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.

#ARE100Challenge Day 1: Starting My Challenge

Thank you to everyone who expressed interest and support in this challenge within the ARE test taking community, especially within the ARE Facebook Group. After introducing the challenge, I thought it would be a good idea to share my own journey with using it.

My initial plan was to start the #ARE100Challenge the same day that I released it, but I decided to push it back for a few reasons:

  1. My tests, like many others, were rescheduled. As soon as the notice from NCARB regarding the cancellations, I decided, with COVID-19, that I didn’t want the additional stress of an uncertain test date on top of everything else. So my next test is scheduled for July.
  2. I have difficulty retaining information from too far back in the past. Even if I started studying now, I’m sure that I would end up forgetting a lot of the concepts I learned back in April.
  3. I wanted to take a break to reassess my priorities and get in the right mindset for studying. Rescheduling my exams took a lot of motivation out of me, and my head wasn’t in the right space.

So I am starting my countdown timer from the first day: You can find the link to my #ARE100Challenge Countdown from Day 60 here.

#ARE100Challenge Graphic. Created by RMSM Studio.

ARE 100 Challenge Countdown: 60 Days Left

HOUR COUNT: 0 OF 100 HOURS

Studying for: construction & Evaluation (CE)

challenge step: step 1. Read All required Textbooks first!

My goal for today and the next few weeks is to read as many of the main textbooks for my exam. This includes the AHPP, Ballast, and some of the Kaplan books which I’ve been able to purchase to give me a general understanding of the Construction Administration topics.

I’ve already completed the Wiley/Namour Wright Guide for the Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice. However, tied into the concept of me losing things if I haven’t studied them recently, I would prefer to read them as second time as the last resource within this Challenge Step.

I feel like one thing this challenge allows me to do is be focused on one material at a time, instead of trying to jump from reference to reference. Cross training with different mediums is important, from audio lectures, to videos and practice exams. However, I believe cross training will come more into play once I have learned the essential concepts for this exam.

I will mainly be using the Clockify website to track my hours for this challenge, as it is a really easy interface for me to use. I’ve described how I used it to pass PcM here, along with other digital tools. I also plan on sharing a live webinar this month, on using Clockify to study more effectively for the ARE exam, so keep an eye out for that announcement.

Want to Participate in the #ARE100Challenge?

Download the Challenge Rules, and share your progress on social media using the #ARE100Challenge hashtag. Share your study materials, tips, diagrams, breakthroughs, frustrations, and successes on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Record your progress and study hours daily or weekly it’s up to you!