Following are responses to some FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS about the Consulting Architects of Alberta

What is a CONSULTING architect? 

What is the current status of the organization?

Who is on the board?

What is your overall mandate?

What are your short term plans?

How do AAA and RAIC feel about this new organization?

What are the core issues for advocacy?

What are the fees and qualifications for membership?

How many charter member positions are there?

How can I get involved?

What is a consulting architect? How are they different from other architects?

Architects serve their communities in many different ways. Some work for public sector employers such as the provincial government, a municipality, or a school board. Their role is often related to master planning and project management as well as some design. Others work for private developers managing land and building projects.

Consulting Architects are business owners and managers working in independent architectural or multidisciplinary design firms to create innovative planning and building design solutions for their clients.

For more information see What is an Architect? on the RAIC website.

What is the current status of the organization?

  • Founding members joined throughout 2009 to build this exciting new organization
  • Registration under the Alberta Societies Act was completed August 19, 2009
  • The Executive Director was hired at the end of August
  • Advocacy activities have commenced
  • Member recruitment campaign is underway
  • Momentum is building!

Who were the first board members?

The following charter members showed leadership in establishing this dynamic organization:

  • Cannon Design
  • DIALOG (formerly Cohos Evamy Integrated Design)
  • GEC Architecture
  • Kasian
  • Manasc Isaac Architects Ltd
  • Marshall Tittemore Architects
  • ONPA Architects
  • Group2 Architecture
  • Sturgess Architecture
  • Stantec Architecture

The current board may be found here.

What is your overall mandate?

Initially we will focus our efforts on three core areas:

  • Advocacy – with government, with client groups – to represent the business voice of consulting architects
  • Communication – to our member firms – providing information, methods for sharing knowledge
  • Networking – events for members only and events for members and client groups – to connect with one another, build relationships

What are your short-term plans?

  • Recruitment – we have a committed core of leaders who have taken the organization from concept stage to a reality. Now we are looking for:
    • More firms to round out our membership and contribute to the ongoing dialogue on issues common to us all.
  • Communication – we have set up a website that will become a member resource. We are building awareness of our organization throughout the industry.
  • Advocacy –
    • We have been establishing relationships with key client groups (such as City of Edmonton, City of Calgary, Alberta Infrastructure, University of Alberta) who have expressed enormous support for our organization
    • They appreciate having ONE point of contact for consultation on issues relevant to consulting architects.
    • We are beginning to address issues related to procurement practices and the perception of the value of architects
  • Networking –
    • Member events – Our fall AGM will be held on October 27th in Edmonton.  The second annual Infrastructure Partners Conference will be held November 14 & 15th. The CAA is one of the organizing partners of this conference.  More events are planned for the future.  Check out our events page for up-to-date information.

How do the AAA and the RAIC feel about this new organization? Isn’t the AAA already serving this need?

  • BOTH organizations are supportive of the Consulting Architects of Alberta.
    • AAA – Due to their mandate, the AAA is unable to be active in the areas of advocacy and business promotion. By legislation they are accountable primarily to the PUBLIC.  Your registration with the AAA provides you with SECURITY – it gives you permission to practice, defines and protects the professional title of Architect, and protects both you and the public through established grievance processes. Thus the AAA is pleased that the CAA is taking on the role of business promotion. They recognize that for many years, the architects have NOT been “at the table” when client groups have consulted with industry representatives.
    • RAIC – The RAIC is charged with promoting awareness of the profession as a whole, and with addressing issues of a national scope.
  • The Consulting Architects of Alberta is working to address issues that speak to the PROSPERITY of Consulting Architects. We are interested in helping our member firms thrive in the Alberta economy.
  • The CEA – Consulting Engineers of Alberta – is thrilled that the architects – the PRIMARY consultants – will now be included in critical discussions with client groups. CEA is thus very supportive of our fledgling organization.

View comments from AAA, RAIC and CEA

What are the core issues for advocacy?

  • There are many areas where the CAA can be effective on behalf of its members. The core issues that have come forward are grouped as:
    • Procurement and engagement processes
    • Fees / scope of services
    • Perception of value
    • Consistent and appropriate volume of work
    • Desire for the profession to become more collegiate
    • Check out our issues page for more information.

The Consulting Architects of Alberta will:

  • Articulate the value proposition for what consulting architects do. Communicate this effectively to client groups, government, and other industry stakeholders.
  • Lobby – to influence government as appropriate
  • Come at these issues with a business perspective:
    • Define the professional advantage
    • Address the issue of the difference between expectations of what’s being sold and what’s being bought.

What are the qualifications for membership?

  • Regular membership
    • Consulting architecture firm. No individuals.
    • One voting rep per firm, but all can participate at membership events, have individual password protected website access, etc.
  • Charter membership
    • Higher level of financial investment and commitment for two-year period.

How many charter member positions are there?  Is it limited?

  • There was a time limit for firms to commit to becoming charger members.  At the end of our first fiscal year – end of July 2010 – we stopped offering charter memberships.

How can I get involved?

  • Become a member – show your support financially
  • PROMOTE membership to others – be a leader and bring others along with you
  • Participate in member surveys, forums and other methods for providing input to the organization – and thus help to identify issues and priorities
  • Attend functions – events organized to bring together members and key client groups
  • Participate on a committee or task force
    • A & E Buildings committee – looking for 3 or 4 people
    • Fee Guide Task Force
    • Member Services / Events Committee
    • Communications Committee
    • Let your name stand for election  – next year at fall AGM
    • New committees or working groups established as required