Leslie B Wagle

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  • #3559074

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    I was hoping someone with more insight into hiring in larger firms would answer this, but I’ll try and just offer general wisdom. Just go with emphasis on your strengths. You don’t have to exaggerate them but don’t get discouraged by what you “haven’t” done already. Everybody starts somewhere, gathers what experience is possible, and keeps zigzagging through a career, hopefully upwards but it’s not always possible to get very specific on what the next step will look like. Some people start more in construction detailing/field work and worry from the opposit side, how they can get to the point of being trusted with some schematic design. Not everybody gets to do both in the early stages. Think hard about ANYTHING that got built (we often don’t have much control over that) and even if you only had a role in it, document that. Say what you’d like to try to do more of, and don’t expect to start several rungs above where you are. Someone out there will be looking for you. You don’t say why you want to change but consider that large busy design/build firms are most likely to need schematic without construction documents since they have both a record and existing skills to finish a job from good concepts, sufficiently illustrated to sell to their incoming clients without having to be sent out for multiple bids.

    #3559046

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    Maybe I’m wading in here more on impression than deep study of it, but I think a seal is saying “I am qualified by education, preparation, experience, and (most likely) testing to do this plan” (for any sheet it is on- sometimes as required by reviewing jurisdiction). That also implies it is your property. But doing the work in the first place gives you the copyright unless you have consented to release it to the client, like ads I have seen asking for a transfer. I presume that is because they are real estate people who want to re-publish the work although they could just get your permission for that anyway. As far as insurance, if you can be tracked down, you may be liable even if you don’t seal it, so it’s probably wise to add the comment “not for construction” or equivalent if the drawing is only a concept.

    #3559004

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    I can only answer for where I was a planner. Planning was the “clearing house” or contact point but some other cities may do it differently. Besides our own review, we would circulate submissions to other department(s) which could be inspections, fire, transportation, public works etc. Big project developers just knew to bring multiple sets as all of them had to sign off prior to building permits. When people brought something straight to inspections, since inspections weren’t confident about commenting on setbacks etc. they would likewise refer the customer or forward the application to the planning department (or ask us to just look at it and advise them). Local staff should know who you need to see and guide you through their (short or long) maze. Some even have handout guides for what to submit to who based on the size/type/complexity of the project.

    #3558989

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    Joseph makes good points and I wanted to add to my “give a call” comment…that having to go pick up or buy a copy of an ordinance is not that common any more. A lot of ordinances and regulations are provided by the area’s government website, usually under planning or development. It’s the place to start, and will give advice on other special regulations. If you start there and get confused or puzzled, you can still call for clarifications. If the town/county has GIS layers, find the parcel on their map and look for the zone it is in and other overlays that affect it. Also special zoning cases with their own peculiar requirements (sometimes actually written for an area as small as a parcel) will have some case number shown, and the staff can provide a copy of the zoning conditions. Special conditions could be issues that won’t affect you like types of use allowed, building height, signage etc. but you don’t want to proceed unaware of extra loaded landscape buffers or for that matter invisible access or easements etc. Such things stick to the land unless formally removed. You do run into clients/owners totally unaware of what was set up in past history and they will expect YOU to lead them and research such things.

    #3558981

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    It’s usually not that hard to find out by a call to the city (planning or inspections department)….but generally if they don’t review new single family, & it’s not an expansion of the house, adding of a pool, or in a special zoning district (historic, watershed, scenic highway etc.) then you’re free to do grading and to design hard surfaces and plant materials. Things that trigger permits are when there is a separate review board for appearance issues, extensive clearing or pavement affecting runoff, adding driveway access into public roadways, etc. that affect other people. In more rural areas, that could include new septic field layouts. Still, be aware of tall mature tree heights near utility easements, evergreens affecting sight distances near intersections, etc. and be sure the owners aren’t in a neighborhood with a Homeowner’s Association that could have its own guidelines and sometimes formal review.

    #3558773

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    That sure wouldn’t have passed basic level courses at any point in history I know of. So….the mysteries will always be there.

    #3558756

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    Downtown Greensboro, NC has a space that has been renovated a couple of times and the latest one includes performance, play, dog area, and games. I would imagine someone in the planning department might know the designer(s) and have some plans still on file.

    LeBauer Park https://www.greensboro-nc.gov/departments/parks-recreation/parks-gardens/lebauer-park-center-city-park

    #3558524

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    I think Andrew just wants younger people to know they can find a niche eventually even if they don’t have ”powerhouse” skills in all areas, and roaming a bit at the start can help in understanding oneself. So I guess I am in the middle where I think we should try to both find our way with who we are, but also address any weak places. For example, not long ago I decided to research a way to have some 3D capability without a steep learning curve and investigated several software alternatives. Even there, not all approaches will seem comfortable and useful to every practice. But I was comfortable with one choice after several ”experiments”, and I’m going to have a first try with a real client pretty soon. So, there is the tension between “know yourself” and “strech and grow.”

    The people who are wizzards already are out there and they tend to pile on proposals where 3D skill shows off well and using it often will help them continue to get better, as with all skills. That is their niche, not one I really want. For me, 3D is not a frequent a need, but I just hated feeling inadequate, below what might be possible if I would just cross that first rough patch. I think like Bob that a true LA should be broad in well-developed skills, but some skills are going to dominate in some people. We just have to keep a watch on ourselves and ask whether what we need is to stretch or focus.

    #3558520

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    Yes I was trying to say I have puzzled over the same things but decided for so many services and products, the examples that puzzle me might just have what someone else wants that we can’t perceive or that we value less. But that odd success also gets some form of rejection where another makes a sale. All of us are in that kind of boat (various versions and brands). We don’t all present the same strong suits but if you kid yourself too much, and blame the market without any willingness to improve skills for a wider array of clients, then you may not have the volume of work you aspire to. But there is the option of preferring a sub-realm anyway.

    #3558517

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    I think quite a few don’t have additional tests but the ones I am familiar with ALL want some record of experience and references (even if not a letter itself). Just like applying to jobs, it’s something you may have to just put up with, so get it streamlined to be as little burden as possible.

    #3558516

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    We expect some bad in any craft or profession but hope that licensing will weed them out, or the marketplace. I think the answer is just that like bad dentists, vets, etc. a few make it through and maybe a school wasn’t that strong 20 years ago or a state didn’t even have an exam requirement. On the other hand, the person may be sharp enough to have good technical skills but not the same artistic ability, or little experience, or just happened to work at a part time level and was able to satisfy a few people here and there and now wants to return to more activity, all kinds of explanations. At least people with degrees can’t be as bad as complete and total impostors. There are different paths of struggle and clients have different tastes and even the best in a field someties ”fail” certain customers. People just don’t get recognized or rewarded exactly like one might expect – talent gets discouraged and wasted, mediocre abilities with enough stubbornness and lucky positioning can improve or hire gifted help. Think of all the completely contrasting (grade 1.0 to 5.0) feedback scores on Amazon for various products and movie reviews.
    It’s just a strange world that way.

    #3558486

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    “…any design idea is ‘automatically’ good and not questioned regarding practicality.”

    Is what you cite more a characteristic of high budget top visibility (sort of corporate image etc.) type work versus mid-range type? Or committees doing the approvals and waving something on to the next stage of details, not seasoned real estate and construction-savy type clients?

    This may not be the place to attach a related concern of my own but here goes: the growing assumption that since we now have great 3D and rendering software…that a great-looking rendering proves the viability of a design. I’ve seen some that almost hurt when I try and imagine walking through them (huge expanses of unrelieved pavement in very hot environments etc.) and almost feel sorry for users, therefore the clients who get amazed by the visualizations and have trouble grasping how they will play out in reality. That in turn pulls designers themselves in the direction of “effects” over practicality.

    #3558463

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    I’d look carefully at what you’d actually GET. For example, the 2 employees may not stay or may not work that well with you. If you kept the current business name, but the person with that name departs, won’t you be explaining the switchover to a lot of former clients? And if you rename it, won’t you be starting new just as if you opened a fresh practice?

    I can grasp the value of buing a dental practice where the equipment is in place, and there are deep records of people’ history on file. But without some ongoing projects that you could handle and take over that would support your survival for awhile, it’s harder to see the advantage of jumping into a stream of small ever-changing unpredictable projects that arrive from incoming unknown inquiries, etc. You’d be pulling the extra stress of the payments to the retiring person from the income stream; and the location of an office isn’t that relevant to a design firm since we don’t get walk-ins. Work usually arrives by active marketing or a few referrals, and the referrals would hark back to that retiree and his/her reputation. Odds might improve if you had been an associate for awhile who knew and liked how this individual worked, had deep familiarity with the interal operation of the practice, and could believe you would replicate the former success.

    I guess this is almost a personality question, but I think I would hunt down my own contacts and build my own profile and reputation instead. Is there any alternative option such as pay this person for some guidance and mentoring, along with targeted introductions?

    #3558238

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    Sorry for garbled sentences in the middle there – time needed for edits not long enough LOL

    #3558237

    Leslie B Wagle
    Participant

    The future is a natural concern for those at the gateway, in the middle, and even in Bob’s (and my) lane who won’t be directly affected but still care about the field.

    As far as encouraging or discouraging young people, maybe the issue is whether what we foresee it in terms of their chances of doing classic design work (perhaps with over-emphasis on that)? I’m reading from those in mid-career what sounds more like we all have to make our own ”niche,” and those niches may be out there but the safe place in an all-LA firm doing aesthetic spaces (I tend to agree with Bob) is going to be rarer than students may be prepared to encounter. Even in residential work, there is growing competition from people with a piece of software passing themselves off as designers and I think their ”renderings” are impressive to the lay person and they (clients) those graphics come from or go straight to design/build firms without anybody involved having full LA training. If LA’s are doing public / corporate / multifamily etc. work, that’s better for the field but I we need to be truthful that there is no ”protected space.” That doesn’t mean a vast percentage of grads have to find another field, but they will have to be creative and pretty close to relentless to create their own pathways. So it’s not for the faint. Applied imagination will be needed out in the world as well as in the studio. If they can’t find a path, then they will be ”surplus.”

    That’s not what people want to hear but I bet it’s going to be a rougher world in general. Still, in the new ranges of chanllenges, there should be some bright spots for the determined, maybe not easy to see but what I like is when people describe to the forum the steps and results of how they found their way.

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