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AEC Resources Recruiter

AEC Resources Recruiter

As Recruiter for AEC Resources, I excel in quickly securing top talent for Architecture, Engineering, and Construction firms. 

Tips for Applying to an Architecture Position

You found your dream job with the architecture firm you’ve always heard good things about. You applied for the position, but never heard back!

It can be frustrating to apply for an architecture position and get rejected, or never even receive a response from the firm. Rather than simply clicking the “Apply” button and crossing your fingers, here are a few tips to get your resume noticed by architecture firms.

Do Your Research

This may sound obvious, but make sure you know some basics about the firm you are applying for. Information like the size of the firm and their typical project types will aid you in the application process. Some people won’t do this essential step, and their generic applications will propel yours to the top of the list.

Thoroughly read the job description. Although many job descriptions are generic and read similarly, there will be some clues to help you identify the key skills the employer is seeking. Make note of the specific skills the employer is seeking.

Revise Your Resume

After you’ve learned more about the company and understand the unique skills they’re seeking, update your resume to highlight your strengths as a candidate. Submitting a resume tailored for a specific job will move you to the top of the list.

If you have some of the unique skills the company is seeking, highlight it on your resume. If you have experience with the types of projects they work on, make that experience stand out. A firm that focuses on healthcare projects may not care about your residential experience, so in cases like this, state your qualifications in general terms that can apply to all project types.

Apply Through Your Network

Once your resume is updated with specific skills and project information relevant to the hiring firm- you are ready to submit it!

If you have a friend or former colleague working at the hiring firm, ask them to forward your resume to the right person and put in a good word for you. This is a very effective way of getting attention on your resume along with a fantastic referral. Architecture firms love to hire employees through someone they know and trust. Many firms have a referral bonus, so your friend may get paid! You get the job, they get a referral bonus- it’s a win-win!

AEC Resources can also connect you with the area’s most sought after architecture firms. We work with most firms in the Twin Cities and can make the application process easy. As a bonus, we also assist with resume writing, so you are assured to have a stellar resume that will lead to an interview.

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What is the Twin City job market like? The short answer is it is a very good time to consider a new position! Here’s why…

The U.S. economy added 134,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate improved to 3.7% from August’s 3.9%.

Employment in the professional and business services subsector, which includes architecture and engineering firms, increased by 70,000 jobs, a 100 percent increase from last month. This subsector accounted for 38 percent of all service-providing sector jobs added in September.

The construction industry added 23,000 jobs in September. Construction’s September jobs gains came in all but one industry segment, residential buildings.

The AIA's monthly Architecture Billings Index (ABI) came in at a score of 54.2 in August, marking the 11th consecutive month of gains. The ABI is a leading economic indicator of construction activity in the U.S., and reflects a nine- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending nationally, regionally, and by project type. A score above 50, as seen in August, represents an increase in billings from the previous month, while a score below 50 represents a contraction.

 August's score is 3.5 points higher than July's reading of 50.7, indicating that business continues to trend upward despite labor shortages and cost inflation of building materials.

 Economic indicators illustrate It is a great time to consider new opportunities in the architecture industry! AEC Resources has a variety of new positions available for you to check out on our jobs page.

Tagged in: employment job market
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Job Market Update

The U.S. Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes a "Monthly Jobs Report" following the beginning of each month. This report describes the previous month's employment statistics, based on data such as the number of jobs that were added to the economy, the unemployment rate, and other factors.

The US economy saw an increase of 223,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate dropped to 3.8%, the lowest its been in eighteen years- since April 2000. This is according to the May report.

Wages have risen slightly, although the increase has been relatively modest. Per Business Insider, average hourly earnings rose .3% from the previous month and 2.7% from the previous year. Companies are also having to pay more to retain talent. 

Labor Updates for the Architecture, Engineering & Construction (AEC) Industry

The BLS showed an increase of 25,000 jobs within the construction industry. A recent Architect Magazine article indicated that the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry as a whole spiked. 

• Architectural and engineering services increased by 800 jobs
• Heavy and civil engineering increased by 5,000 jobs
• Specialty trade contractors increased by 20,500 jobs

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AIA: Billings Increase for Eighth Consecutive Month

The AIA's monthly Architecture Billings Index (ABI) came in at a score of 52.8 in May, marking the eighth consecutive month of gains. The ABI is a leading economic indicator of construction activity in the U.S., and reflects a nine- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending nationally, regionally, and by project type. A score above 50, as seen this month, represents an increase in billings from the previous month, while a score below 50 represents a contraction.

May's score is 0.8 points higher than April's reading of 52.0, indicating that business continues to trend upward despite labor shortages and cost inflation of building materials. New project inquiries—which AIA economists consider to be the most reliable indicator of future billings—increased 2.6 points in May to a score of 59.3, indicating that billing will likely continue to rise in June.

“Architecture firms continue to have plenty of work as they enter the busiest part of the design and construction season,” said AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, in a press release. “This is especially true for firms serving the institutional building sector, which reported their strongest growth in billings in several years.”

In May, design contracts received a score of 53.3—a 3.2-point increase from April's score of 50.1. Design contracts continue to measure above the 50-point threshold—as they have every month in the last year—a sign that momentum is strong, despite small month-to-month fluctuations.

The scores for regional billings—which, unlike the national score, are calculated as a three-month moving average—increased in three of four regions during May. The West (51.9) saw a decrease of 3.2 points while the Northeast reported a score of 50.6, a 0.3-point increase from last month's score. Demand for design services increased in the South (55.0) and the Midwest (50.2) regions during May, with scores 3.2 and 0.6 points higher, respectively, than a month prior.

The mixed-use sector was the sole category of the four building sectors to experience decreased demand for design services in May, with a 2.7-point dip to a score of 47.9, but all the other sectors posted a score above 50, indicating growth. Demand for design services in the institutional sector (54.3), commercial/industrial sector (53.6), and multifamily residential sector (52.1) increased in May, reporting a 2.3-, 0.9-, and 1.4-point growth in billings, respectively. (Results of sectors are also calculated as a three-month moving average.)

Source: Architect Magazine

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AEC Industry Job Market Update

The U.S. Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes a "Monthly Jobs Report" soon after the beginning of each month. Each report describes the previous month's employment situation, based on data such as the number of jobs that were added to the economy and the unemployment rate. According to the March Jobs Report, the US economy saw an increase of 103,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate remained at 4.1%.

Growth wasn't as substantial in March (103k) as it was in February (313k), however the outlook is still positive. This was the 90th consecutive month of growth. According to the New York Times, "February's job growth was probably inflated by a surge in hiring in construction and the retail sector that reflected unseasonably warm weather in much of the country. Both sectors slumped in March as winter storms blew through the eastern United States."

Architecture, Engineering & Construction (AEC) Industry

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Architecture Billings Index (ABI) is the leading economic indicator of construction activity, as it "reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and nonresidential construction spending." A score of 50 is neutral, above 50 is positive and below 50 is negative. The March ABI of 51 shows an increase in demand for design services. According to the report, billings remain strong at firms with multifamily residential and commercial / industrial sectors.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a decrease of 15,000 jobs within the construction industry. Architect Magazine indicated that the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry as a whole saw a decline. For example:

• Architectural and engineering services declined by 3,600 jobs
• Heavy and civil engineering construction decreased by 3,600 jobs

The Dodge Momentum Index tracks and measures the initial reporting of non-residential building projects. With the increase in non-residential construction projects, the Dodge Data & Analytics' Momentum Index increased 6.1% in March to 155. Commercial building saw a decrease of 9.6% and the institutional building an increase of 1.6%.

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The AEC Industry Job Market Update

The United States. Department of Labor- Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes a Monthly Jobs Report after the beginning of each month. Each report describes the previous month's employment statistics, based on data including the number of jobs that were added to the economy and the unemployment rate.

Per the February Jobs Report, the US economy saw an increase of 313,000 jobs this past month and the unemployment rate remained at 4.1% for the 5th consecutive month. 

Overall, February's report was viewed in a positive light. 

  • Job creation greatly surpassed expectations
  • Job growth has been consistently strong in recent months 
  • The labor force participation rate is back up to 63%
  • Average hourly earnings rose 2.6% year-over-year

The Architecture, Engineering & Construction (AEC) Industry  

The Bureau of Labor Statistics showed an increase of 61,000 jobs within the construction industry. The construction industry had the strongest month of job growth since 2007, which was responsible for 1/5 of the new job creation.

According to Architect Magazine, the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry as a whole is trending upward. 

  • Architectural and engineering services added 5,600 jobs  
  • Nonresidential building construction jobs increased by 8,900
  • Heavy and civil engineering construction increased by 7,500 jobs
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Revit Keyboard Shortcuts

Autodesk Revit continues to be the predominant platform in the AEC industry for project design and documentation. With most architecture and building engineering firms having already implemented Revit, or in the process of implementing Revit, having Revit proficiency is one of the most desirable skills for job seekers to possess.

Speed and accuracy are the two traits employers most often request from production and technical staff. The following Revit keyboard shortcuts are for Revit Architecture and can help enhance the end user's speed, and thereby increase their odds at performing at a high level.

Revit Keyboard Shortcuts

 

Home Tab

 

Collaborate Tab

CM

Place a Component

ER

Editing Requests

DR

Door

RL

Reload Latest

WA

Wall

RW

Reload Latest

WN

Window

 

View Tab

GR

Grid

TL

Thin Lines

LL

Level

VP

View Properties

GP

Create Group

VG

Visibility/Graphics

RM

Room

VV

Visibility/Graphics

RT

Tag Room

WC

Cascade

RP

Draw Reference Plane

WT

Title

 

Annotate Tab

 

Manage Tab

DL

Detail Line

SU

Sun and Shadows Settings

EL

Spot Elevation

UN

Project Units

TG

Tag by Category

 

Family Editor Shortcuts

F7

Spelling

LI

Detail Line

TX

Text

DI

Dimension Aligned

 

Modify Tab

 

Snaps

MA

Match Type

SC

Centers

PT

Paint

SZ

Close

SF

Split Face

SE

Endpoints

LW

Linework

SI

Intersections

AL

Align

SM

Midpoints

OF

Offset

SN

Nearest

SL

Split

SP

Perpendicular

TR

Trim

SX

Points

MD

Modify

SQ

Quadrants

 

 

SR

Remote Objects

 

 

SO

Snaps Off

 

 

ST

Tangents

 

 

SS

Turn Snap Override Off

 

 

SW

Work Plane Grid

 

 

 

 

 

View Control Bar

 

Navigation Bar

GD

Graphic Display Options

ZA

Zoom All to Fit

HL

Hidden Line

ZR

Zoom in Region

HC

Hide Category

ZZ

Zoom in Region

HH

Hide Element

ZO

Zoom Out(2x)

IC

Isolate Category

ZV

Zoom Out(2x)

HI

Isolate Element

ZS

Zoom Sheet Size

RR

Rendering Dialog

ZE

Zoom to Fit

HR

Reset Temporary Hide/Isolate

ZF

Zoom to Fit

SD

Shading With

ZX

Zoom to Fit

RH

Toggle Reveal Hidden Elements Mode

ZC

Previous Pan/Zoom

WF

Wireframe

ZP

Previous Pan/Zoom

Shortcuts that appear on Various Contextual Tabs

CS

Create Similar

MV

Modify – Move

//

Divide Surface

PP

Modify – Pin

PR

Properties

RO

Modify – Rotate

PG

Group Properties

RE

Modify – Scale

AP

Edit Group – Add

UP

Modify – Unpin

AD

Edit Ggroup – Attach Detail

VU

Reveal Hidden Elements – Unhide Category

CG

Edit Group – Cancel

EU

Reveal Hidden Elements – Unhide Element

FG

Edit Group – Finish

VH

View Graphics – Hide by Category

RG

Edit Group – Remove

EH

View Graphics – Hide Element

EG

Group – Edit Group

EW

Witness Lines – Edit Witness Lines

LG

Group – Link

EX

Exclude from Group

UG

Group – Ungroup

MP

Move to Project

AR

Modify – Array

MD

Modify

CC

Modify – Copy

RA

Restore All Excluded

CO

Modify - Copy

RB

Restore Excluded Member

DE

Modify – Delete

SA

Select All Instances

MM

Modify – Mirror – Pick Axis

 

 

 

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Architectural Registration Exam Version 4.0 is Being Retired

With the retirement of the Architect Registration Examination (ARE®) 4.0 around the corner, thousands of licensure candidates have already switched to the latest version, ARE 5.0—and many are finding success with the new exam.

Since the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) launched ARE 5.0 in 2016, candidates have had the option to take ARE 4.0, ARE 5.0, or a combination of both versions to complete the examination requirement. But time is running out for candidates looking to complete the exam in ARE 4.0, which is why NCARB is encouraging test takers to plan their transition strategy or switch to ARE 5.0 now.

Exam Candidates Prefer ARE 5.0’s Content and Interface

ARE 4.0, which retires June 30, 2018, features seven divisions organized around different content areas. In comparison, ARE 5.0 features six divisions organized around the phases of a typical architecture project. These divisions also align with the Architectural Experience Program’s™ (AXP™) practice areas, an improvement test takers find both refreshing and beneficial.

“The ARE 5.0 tests align very closely with the various phases of project development,” said Austen Conrad, Assoc. AIA, who passed all six divisions in just three months. “As long as candidates have had a chance to work in every phase of a project, they should feel comfortable taking the exams.”

ARE 5.0 also incorporates the latest testing methods, replacing ARE 4.0’s vignettes with case studies, hotspots, and drag-and-place questions. The exam will continue to use multiple choice, check-all-that-apply, and quantitative fill-in-the-blank questions.

“While ARE 4.0 divisions are relatively known and predictable after so many years, ARE 5.0 divisions are much better exams—they really test your ability to think and make decisions like an architect,” said recently licensed architect Leah Alissa Bayer, AIA, NCARB, who took a combination of both versions and passed in just five tests.

Making the Switch to ARE 5.0

NCARB first announced the retirement of ARE 4.0 in 2014, providing candidates with ample time to design a personalized testing strategy. Anyone who has not completed the exam by June 30, 2018, will need to transition to ARE 5.0 to complete the ARE.

To help make the upcoming change as smooth as possible, NCARB has developed a number of free resources, including an interactive Transition Calculator that shows how ARE 4.0 credits will transfer to the new exam. Candidates can also get real-time help from NCARB experts through the ARE 4.0 and ARE 5.0 communities.

Developed by NCARB, the ARE is used to test a candidate’s knowledge and skills, and is required for initial licensure in all U.S. jurisdictions.

Source: NCARB.org
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Minneapolis Posts One of the Lowest Jobless Rates Among Large Cities

The Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington metropolitan area in Minnesota and the Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin metropolitan area in Tennessee posted the lowest unemployment rates among all large, US metropolitan areas at 2.3% each in October, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics announced today.

The highest jobless rate among large metropolitan areas in October was posted by the Cleveland-Elyria area in Ohio, at 5.2%, followed closely by Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise area in Nevada at 5.1%.

The lowest unemployment rates among metropolitan areas of all sizes was in Ames, Iowa., at 1.4%, followed by Columbia, Mo., at 1.5%. El Centro, Calif., and Yuma, Ariz., had the highest unemployment rates at 20.9% and 18.0% respectively.

The response rate for the October survey was below average in Puerto Rico, in part as a result of difficulties accessing some remote areas that were significantly affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Bureau reported. The US Virgin Islands was not able to administer its establishment survey in September or October 2017.

Source: staffingindustry.com

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In the 20+ years since the U.S. Green Building Council first developed its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, the nation’s LEED-certified construction volume has grown to comprise about 40% of green construction’s contribution to the economy, according to the USGBC’s Leticia McCadden. By 2018, LEED-certified construction is expected to contribute nearly $30 million to the nation’s GDP – a number that may only grow with time, as the USGBC certifies over 2.2 million new square feet of LEED space each day.

LEED is far from the only green building practice or certification out there, either – and according to a 2016 study by Dodge Data & Analytics, green building practices double across the globe every three years.

Out of 5.77 billion completed square feet across 165 countries, over 1.3 billion completed square feet of LEED-certified space exists in the US across 38,353 projects, commercial and residential alike. That’s enough space to cover almost all of Staten Island, or about 23,000 football fields.

According to ABODO’s analysis of the nation’s LEED-certified spaces and projects, Texas has the most LEED-certified residential projects out of any state – 6,945. Almost half of this number are in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, which also leads the nation for LEED-certified products at the city level with 3,797. California is close behind with 5,255 residential projects, including 2,251 in Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim.

At 2,675, Washington D.C. falls short of having the highest number of residential LEED projects in the nation, but its high LEED-certified square footage across all construction types grants it the title of “LEED Capital of the US”, according to ABODO. The metro area holds over 183 million residential and almost 311 million commercial LEED-certified square feet, or over one-third of the nation’s entire LEED-certified space.

"On a national level, it's not a surprise to see some of the largest U.S. cities leading the charge in green construction,” says Sam Radbil, Senior Communications Director at ABODO. “Cities like Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco and San Jose are all at the forefront of innovation when it comes to city growth and expansion. These large cites, which are home to millions of people, have continued to progress and innovate as their population grows each year. In order to maintain a sustainable environment for all residents, cities of this size must find a way to implement eco-friendly developments for both residential and commercial construction projects."

The Greater Chicago leads the nation in the average size of its residential LEED-certified construction projects at 131,689 square feet. Greater Boston is close behind at 131,109, followed by San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward at 122,096 and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara at 107,198.

For the most part, the metropolitan areas with the largest LEED-certified projects are also some of the nation’s most densely-populated cities, and their average square footage usually exceeds the state’s average. Illinois leads the nation in average LEED square footage for residential projects at 109,052, coming in just below Chicago’s average, while California’s average, 45,091, falls short of San Francisco by almost 77,000 square feet. Out of the top ten cities, only the Seattle metro area has an average LEED residential square footage that falls short of the state average.

While dense urban areas tend to have larger residential projects overall, comparing the number of green construction projects to an area’s population may serve as a greater indication of a given area’s green construction density.

Jacksonville, N.C. has the most residential LEED projects per capita, at 4.6 for every 1,000 people. Santa Fe, New Mexico is close behind at 3.7 projects per 1,000 people, followed by Fairbanks, Alaska at 2 per 1,000. Nine out of the top ten urban areas for residential LEED projects per capita are in the South, Southwest, or West, with the exception of the Martha’s Vineyard community of Vineyard Haven, Mass at 1.4 per 1,000.

On the state level, Alaska leads the nation with 0.88 LEED-certified residential projects for every 1,000 people, followed by New Mexico at 0.87 per 1,000 people and Hawaii with 0.5 per thousand.

Source: Builder

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Five College Programs Added to NCARB's IPAL Initiative

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) recently announced that architecture programs at five schools in the United States have been accepted into the Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure (IPAL) initiative, which allows students to pursue an architecture license while in school. Launched in 2015, IPAL allows accredited programs to incorporate the Architectural Experience Program and the Architect Registration Examination into curricula. Part of the reason for the creation of this path was to shorten the time to licensure, which is now down to an average of 12.5 years as of last year.

"IPAL programs embrace the reality that today’s candidates are pursuing the education, experience, and examination requirements for licensure concurrently,” said NCARB CEO Michael Armstrong in a press release. “Students who choose to enroll in an IPAL program will have a more enriching and holistic experience, and be able to establish themselves in the marketplace fairly quickly after graduation.”

Newly accepted programs—reviewed by NCARB's education committee—include the Boston Architectural College's B.Arch. program in Boston, Florida International University's M.Arch. program in Miami, the New York Institute of Technology's M.Arch. program in New York, Southern Illinois University's M.Arch. program in Carbondale, Ill., and the University of Massachusetts Amherst's M.Arch. program in Amherst, Mass.

For a complete list of IPAL programs visit ncarb.org

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NCARB: Average Time to Licensure is 12.5 Years

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) announced today that the time to licensure has dropped to an average of 12.5 years in 2016—that's 9.6 months less than in 2015. The organization counts time to licensure from the moment that an individual enrolls as a student at school until they are fully licensed. Additionally, the latest report shows that newly licensed architects are eight months younger than the year prior, now averaging 32 years old.

“By updating our programs to reflect the realities of modern practice, candidates can now pursue licensure in a way that fits their lifestyle,” said NCARB president Kristine Harding, AIA, in a press release. “With guidance from our licensing boards, NCARB has been able to open doors to a new pool of candidates while maintaining the rigor needed to protect the public’s safety.”

The reduction in time needed to achieve licensure can likely be attributed to changes in NCARB's Architectural Experience Program and Architect Registration Examination, which have been implemented over the last decade. Also, "This trend is driven by candidates completing the experience and examination programs concurrently and more quickly," said the organization in its press release.

Courtesy NCARB 
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Engineering Graduates to Earn Second Highest Average Salary

Engineering grads for the class of 2017 will have an average salary of $63,036, making engineering the second-highest paying field for grads and 27% above the average salary, according to a study released by the Hay Group division of Korn Ferry International Inc. (NYSE: KFY).

“With unemployment rates back down to pre-recession levels and jobs requiring more highly specialized skills, companies will need to offer competitive compensation packages if they hope to attract top talent,” said Benjamin Frost, Korn Ferry Hay Group global product manager – pay.

The five highest-paying fields of the 25 jobs in the analysis are:

  1. Software developer: $65,232 (31% above average)
  2. Engineer: $63,036 (27% above average)
  3. Actuary: $59,212 (19% above average)
  4. Scientist/researcher: $58,733 (18% above average)
  5. Environmental professional: $58,733 (18% above average)

Based on the positions analyzed, 2017 college grads in the US will make on average $49,785 annually, up 3% from the 2016 average of $48,270.

Researchers analyzed salaries of 145,000 entry-level positions from more than 700 organizations across the US. Based on this data, the firm issued a snapshot report of 25 jobs, spanning multiple industries, with corresponding projected salaries.

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Alternate Path to Licensure for Architects

The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) announced at the 2017 AIA Conference on Architecture in Orlando, Fla., that design professionals with more than five years experience can satisfy the Architectural Experience Program's (AXP) requirements by completing an online portfolio of work.

“The AXP Portfolio ensures that the profession of architecture continues to move in a more inclusive direction, while still maintaining the rigor needed to protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare,” said NCARB President Kristine Harding, AIA, in a press release. “We’re excited to open new doors for accomplished designers who want to continue to advance their careers.”

This alternate path—which calls for the documentation of work that is older than five years in an AXP Portolfio—was designed for professionals who put off licensure for personal or financial reasons. Work examples that satisfy key tasks outlined in the AXP must also be included.

To qualify for the AXP Portolio option, professionals must have, according to the release, "a current supervisor who is an architect licensed in the U.S. or Canada, and willing to attest to their knowledge and experience [and] at least two years of experience from more than five years ago, including at least one year of experience earned while employed by a firm engaged in the lawful practice of architecture under the supervision of an architect licensed in the United States or Canada."

Source: architectmagazine.com 
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Architecture Billings Continued Growth in March

The monthly Architecture Billings Index (ABI) came in at a score of 54.3 in March, up 3.6 points from February's 50.7, the AIA announced today.

The ABI is a leading economic indicator of construction activity in the U.S., and reflects a nine- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending nationally, and regionally, as well as by project type. A score above 50 represents an increase in billings from the previous month, while a score below 50, as seen in January, represents a contraction.

Architecture billings rebounded in February after a disappointing reading one month prior, which came in the wake of December's impressive 55.6 reading—a nine-year high. The new project inquiries index— the most reliable indicator of future billings—declined slightly to a score of 59.8 in March, indicating billings might ease in April.

“The first quarter started out on uneasy footing, but fortunately ended on an upswing entering the traditionally busy spring season,” said AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, in a press release.

“All sectors showed growth except for the commercial/industrial market, which, for the first time in over a year displayed a decrease in design services.”

 

After five consecutive months of growth, the design contract portion of the index decreased 2.4 points in March, from February's score of 54.7, to a score of 52.3. 

 

Regional billings, which, unlike the national score, are calculated as a three-month moving average, increased in all four regions during March, after declines in February. The Midwest experienced the biggest rebound, growing 1.2 points to 54.6 from February's reading of 53.4. The West was close behind, rising 1.1 points from February's reading of 49.1, to 50.2. Billings increased marginally in the Northeast and the South, growing 0.6 points and 0.9 points, respectively, to scores of 52.4 and 52.6. 

 

Architecture billings in the mixed-use, institutional, and commercial/industrial sector also rebounded from February's reading, posting scores of 53.7, 52.9, and 49.8, respectively. Billings rebounded most in the residential sector in March, increasing 3.5 points to 54.6, from February's reading of 51.1. (Results of the sectors and regions are calculated as a moving average of the past three months.)

Source: Hanley Wood Data Studio

 

 

 

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Architecture Billings Reach Highest Level Since 2007

The latest report from the AIA indicates a strong end for 2016, with three consecutive months of growth in design billing contracts, and a high billings score not seen since before the recession.

 

The monthly Architecture Billings Index (ABI) came in at a score of 55.9 in December, up 5.3 points from November's 50.6, the American Institute of Architects announced today.

 

The ABI is a leading economic indicator of construction activity in the U.S., and reflects a nine- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending nationally, and regionally, as well as by project type. A score above 50, like this month, represents an increase in billings from the previous month, while a score under 50 represents a contraction.

 

The significant growth in billings does not come as a surprise, as the new project inquiries index, the most reliable indicator of future billings, soared to a score of 59.5 in November—4.1 points higher than a month prior. December's report benchmarks the highest architecture billings score seen since July 2007, when billings reached a score of 56.7.

 

“The sharp upturn in design activity as we wind down the year is certainly encouraging. This bodes well for the design and construction sector as we enter the new year”,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA. “However, December is an atypical month for interpreting trends, so the coming months will tell us a lot more about conditions that the industry is likely to see in 2017.”

 

The design contract portion of the index also ended 2016 on a high note, rising one point to a score of 51.2, and marking the third consecutive month of growth. Billings are likely to ease in January, as project inquiries Regional billings, which, unlike the national score, are calculated as a three-month moving average, increased in three of four regions during December. After 11 consecutive months with the highest score, billings in the South—with a score of 53.8 —were finally surpassed by both the Midwest and the Northeast, with scores of 54.4, and 54.0, respectively. The only region to see a contraction in billings was the West, with a score of 48.8.

 

Architecture billings increased in all but one sector during December, with billings in the multifamily residential sector dropping 1.3 points to a score of 50.6. The commercial/industrial sector posted the highest score of the month, while the institutional sector posted the biggest increase, from 51.8 in November to 53.3 in December. (Results of the sectors and regions are calculated as a moving average of the past three months.)  

 By Hanley Wood Data Studio
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New Federal Laws for Overtime Pay in Architecture

Looming changes to federal overtime rules could have a lasting impact on the architectural industry, particularly among firms that expect junior employees to work long hours for low salaries.

Beginning December 1, salaried workers who earn up to $47,476 a year must be paid time-and-a-half if they work more than 40 hours during the week. The previous cutoff was $23,660 a year. The new rule applies to companies of all sizes, affecting most employees, including those working in creative fields like architecture.

The changes could rattle industries that have long used a federal exemption for so-called “creative professionals” to avoid paying some workers overtime. The Labor Depart­ment currently gives businesses wide latitude in deciding who meets the criteria. But under the new rules, no one making less than $47,476 a year could be considered a creative professional exempt from overtime.

Critics worry that the changes could unfairly burden businesses, particularly smaller ones with less financial flexibility. But supporters insist that overhauling outdated labor rules will improve working conditions and ultimately encourage firms to think more carefully about how they run their businesses.

“Architecture is but one of many industries that for decades has gotten a free ride because of the weakness of the regulations,” says Judy Conti, the federal advocacy coordinator at the National Employment Law Project. “This new regulation is going to set a salary guideline that is much more in line with a professional salary.”

In 2015, the median annual salary for a first-­year intern architect was $42,000, and $46,000 for a second-year intern, according to a survey by the American Institute of Architects. To comply with the law, employers will have to give employees raises, start paying overtime, or scale back hours. “People are going to get either more money or more hours of their lives back,” says Conti. “Both of those are good things.”

In 2013, Alexandre Hamlyn earned $2,000 a month working 50 hours a week at a large architecture firm in New York. Teams working on competitions put in 90-hour weeks, without additional pay, he said. “Because you don’t get overtime, then the time is not really valued,” says Hamlyn, 27. “So they just make you work and work and work.” Hamlyn, who is now an intern architect in Montreal and paid hourly, requested that the name of the firm be withheld, since he considers the problem endemic to the industry.

Firms may soon have to pay more attention to how their businesses operate, scrutinizing how much they charge clients and how late employees stay at the office. “If you don’t have abor laws, you’re not going to understand how labor actually figures into your business plan,” says Peggy Deamer, professor at the Yale School of Architecture and a principal at Deamer Architects. “That kind of loose, naive take [on labor] goes hand in hand with a discipline that doesn’t see itself as a business, but sees itself as an art.”

But other architects interviewed for this story say few of their colleagues are discussing the changes, and some are unaware that labor laws even apply to salaried employees. Several firms declined to comment, including Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, and Robert A.M. Stern Architects. “Folks at firms aren’t too enthusiastic about sharing their thoughts on the potential impact of the new rule,” Matthew Tinder, a spokesperson for AIA, said in an e-mail. The AIA declined to comment any further.

Critics of the changes argue that architecture salaries are often lower than other skilled professions because of the nature of the business. “Our clients don’t want to pay the higher fees,” says Craig Williams, the chief legal officer of HKS Architects, describing the new rules as a government intrusion on the private sector. Some firms will have to raise client fees, potentially making it difficult to compete against firms that can absorb higher labor costs. “There is always someone down the street who’s willing to take a project on for a lower fee,” Williams said.

But clients might be willing to pay more, particularly in a heady real-estate market where architecture is in demand. By giving employees a raise, firms might end up getting one too. Rena Klein, the principal of RM Klein Consulting, which works with small architecture firms, says: “Along with people being underpaid, people are undervaluing themselves in the marketplace.” 

 

Source: Architectural Record

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Press Release: AEC Resources Successfully Completes 300th Search Assignment

Minneapolis, MN – May 24, 2016 /Business Wire/ – AEC Resources, Inc., the leading staffing and recruiting agency for the architecture, engineering and construction industry, today announced it has successfully completed its 300th search assignment.

Since its inception in 2012, AEC Resources has been solving the hiring needs of architecture and building engineering firms. A dedicated focus of providing staffing solutions for design firms has propelled AEC Resources to the preferred recruiting partner for architecture and engineering companies.

“We are proud to have reached our 300th placement milestone, but more excited to see the teams we’ve help build continue to design and construct the built environment around us,” said Jay Johnson, Technical Recruiter at AEC Resources. “Our niche specialization means we understand our clients’ needs and can quickly provide top talent for our clients to select from.”

AEC Resources has a proven protocol for identifying, attracting, evaluating and securing exceptional talent for architecture and building engineering firms. One important step in this process is providing free technical training for all candidates.

“We speak with customers every day, and we listen to their challenges,” said Sam Teut, Senior Technical Recruiter. “Providing technical training is one way we reduce employee development costs for our customers, and ensure the new employee is highly productive from their first day.”


About AEC Resources, Inc.
AEC Resources is the regional leader in providing recruitment and staffing solutions to the architecture and engineering industries. Since its founding in 2012, AEC Resources has helped the design community solve their hiring needs with flexible employment options. The company provides exceptional talent for temporary and permanent positions to keep projects on time and on budget. To learn more, visit www.aecresources.com

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Architecture Job Hunting Tips

The new year brings new opportunities, and for many of you that means job hunting. Rather than just applying online with thousands of others, here are some tips to get your application to the top of the pile and noticed by the right person.

Research First, Apply Second

It may seem like an obvious first step but we can’t stress enough how valuable it is to research the company you’re interested in. Learning as much as possible before you apply or interview will show you did your homework and have a vested interest in their work. Mention what specifically caught your attention and how your skills can relate to a current project or initiative. Showing this kind of effort may even land you a job before it’s posted, according to Forbes.

Another option is to reach out to someone who currently works at the company to get insights on the company culture and ask advice on getting your resume to the right person. Be sure to thank anyone who takes the time to talk to you or pass along your application, and if you don’t get in the door right away, remember to stay in touch. They may think of you first when another opening becomes available.

Network and Build Relationships

You’ve heard it many times before, but it’s worth repeating: networking is one of the most powerful job-hunting tools. Organizations like to hire employees through someone they know, so networking is a great way to get on the short list or find out about an opening before it’s posted online. That being said, networking doesn’t just mean using people for their contacts—it’s about building relationships, asking for advice, and making an effort.

Don’t just network, socialize. Attend a lecture or event hosted by a firm you’d like to work for, or accompany a mentor to a meeting or site visit. Join a professional organization like the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), American Institute of Architects (AIA), or National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). These are all great opportunities to meet people face-to-face.

Although meeting people in person is preferred, we can’t deny that we live in a digital world. Online networking has become just as common as face-to-face, and one of the most invaluable tools for networking is leveraging LinkedIn. You can use it to research the companies you’re interested, find connections to these organizations, and even reach out to hiring managers personally.

Finally, remember to ask for help. This is the time to ask your colleagues, mentors, and professors for help creating a stand-out portfolio, connecting you to people and organizations, and revising your resume. The university you attended can also be a valuable resource, as most have a career center that may be able to aid your job hunt.

Outsmart the Search

Finding job openings online can be a huge time commitment, so make sure you’re looking in the right places. A great place to start is Architecture Crossing, which curates job postings across the web.

You can also check out architecture staffing firms like AEC Resources, which place everyone from recent grads to senior architects in firms across the country. When we spoke with Sam Teut, a recruiter from AEC Resources, who has over 15 years of experience in the architecture industry, he told us some common mistakes to watch out for when applying for an architecture job. The most common is not emphasizing your technical proficiency. For example, many architecture roles require you to be well versed in production skills, so highlighting which architecture programs you’re a wiz at can make a big difference.

Another oversight is not including a variety of work samples in your portfolio. Teut advises to include everything from construction documents, drawings, photos, and plans, elevations and details, or as many as you’ve been exposed to. Including a wider variety of work will help employers see your professional diversity.

Whether you’re applying to your first role in the industry or a senior position, remember to focus on finding the next step in your career. You may need more experience to land that dream job, so look at each role for its potential to help you grow.

 

When you are looking for a staffing agency in Minneapolis that focuses on architectural staffing, engineering staffing and construction staffing, look no further than AEC Resources. Our professional job recruiters can connect you with architects looking for work. We provide contract staffing and temp staffing or recruitment for interior design jobs and architectural designer jobs.   

source: ncarb.org

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Hotel Construction Projected to be Strong Through 2017

It’s all good if you’re in the hotel business.

Occupancy rates in the U.S. are expected to remain at record levels through 2017, according to PKF Hospitality Research|CBRE Hotels, which also projects room rates to increase by 5.5% and 5.8%, respectively, this year and next.

With demand exceeding supply, developers are expected to deliver 103,230 hotel rooms in 865 projects in 2016, according to the latest Comprehensive Pipeline Summary from the market research firm STR.

Through November 2015, the existing supply of hotel rooms nationwide stood at 5,031,859. A total of 457,606 rooms were under construction or in various planning stages.

For all the talk about the rise in demand and construction of luxury hotels, STR foresees the greatest number of hotel rooms—53,725 rooms—being delivered in the “upper midscale” classification, followed by 43,150 “upscale” room deliveries. Conversely, STR estimates that only 15 luxury hotels with 3,468 rooms are expected to open this year.

New York, with an existing supply of 117,367 rooms, leads the nation with 80 hotels and 13,583 rooms under construction, followed by Houston (with 79,255 existing rooms and 6,269 under construction), Dallas (79,572; 4,361), Los Angeles/Long Beach (98,186; 4,240), and Washington, D.C. (107,776; 3,949).

Jan Freitag, STR’s Senior Vice President of Lodging Insights, told USA Today that while room construction was up 21% over a year ago, the 1.5% increase in rooms opening in 2016 would still be below the longer-term annual average of 1.9%

Along from rising customer demand, hotel construction is being driven by room rate appreciation. For example, in Greater Sacramento, Calif., where hotel occupancy rates exceed 77% and where at least 19 hotels are under construction, the average room rates set a record in October at $116.67 per night, up 10.6% from a year earlier, according to PKF Consulting.

However, there’s always the concern that booms will eventually overheat some markets. In Central Dallas, where at least 14 hotels are slated to open between fall 2015 and the end of 2018, investors were bullish about their projects but wondered just how many rooms the market could absorb. 

“I can’t remember when we’ve ever had that influx of hotel rooms, certainly in recent history,” said John Crawford, who heads Downtown Dallas Inc., which advocates for downtown development. “And I’ve been in this market for the last 35 years.”

Source: BD+C Network

AEC Resources can identify, attract, evaluate and secure Designers, Architects and Project Managers for your next hotel project. We understand the hospitality market and regularly recruit for this market sector. Contact us so speak with an architecture recruiter today.

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