Interview with Jeremy Farner, Director of the Architectural Technology Department at Weber State

Steve Mickley interviews Jeremy Farner, who is the Director of the Architectural Technology Department at Weber State University.

Recorded 2020-01-10

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Transcript

Steve: [00:00:00] Good afternoon and welcome to Let’s Talk Certification.

[00:00:03] This is a live recording of a podcast program hosted by the American Institute of Building Design. I’m Steve, Chief Staff Officer, and I’m happy to be here hosting this month’s show.

[00:00:14] Each month, a guest CPBD shares the approach that they’ve used to prepare for the Certified Professional Building Designer exam or CPBD exam.

[00:00:24] And normally that would be someone who’s, taking just the regular version. But let me ask, Jeremy, did you take the standard setting version also, or just the newest version?

[00:00:36] Jeremy: [00:00:36] I think I just took the newest version. It was online. It was on computer, so,

[00:00:40] Steve: [00:00:40] Oh, okay. Yeah. For some reason I was thinking that you had been certified long enough that you are one of the standard setters.

[00:00:45] But, at any rate,  we are going to have someone who has taken the exam, but we also have someone with us today that sits in a unique position.

[00:00:53]He’s an educator.

[00:00:54] So not only has he been practicing as a building designer for many years now, he’s been teaching other people how to do it.

[00:01:02] I’ve been looking forward to this month, coming to present to

[00:01:05] you, Jeremy Farner, who is

[00:01:07] Steve: [00:01:07] the Director of the Architectural Technology Department at Weber State University in Layton, Utah. That’s near Salt Lake City.

[00:01:16]Jeremy, thanks for joining us.

[00:01:19] Jeremy: [00:01:19] Thank you for having me.

[00:01:21] Steve: [00:01:21] So what brought you into building design? How long have you been a building designer? And then tell us how long you’ve been teaching other people to do it.

[00:01:31] Jeremy: [00:01:31] Well, I started out, like most people do in our industry. At 14, I approached a framer for a job and I was pushing a broom that whole summer, and then by the time I was 16 I was framing houses and I started to see things that didn’t make a whole lot of sense.

[00:01:51] And so I wanted to learn to draw and design homes that made more sense, that were more, effective in their use of space.

[00:02:02] And so I went to school at Weber State.

[00:02:05]That’s where I did my undergraduate studies. And, I started just doing side, like remodel jobs for the contractor that I was working for, designing them up after I had taken a few classes to learn, the software and codes. And, you know, the typical types of classes that you would learn to become an architectural designer.

[00:02:31] And then upon graduation, I actually opened up my own company, JH Designs and Consulting Services. And I’ve, designed, close to 150 homes. I’ve done some commercial, but most of it’s residential. Some tenant improvements and some warehouses. But I’ve, done everything from, really small, tiny homes to a multimillion dollar homes out here in Utah.

[00:03:01]So yeah, that’s how I got involved. I started by being a framer and wanted to learn more and just got more and more into it. And, now I design the homes for that framer that gave me a job when I was 14.

[00:03:14] Steve: [00:03:14] And you’ve gone back to Weber State. Not only as an alumni, but now as a professor.

[00:03:22] Jeremy: [00:03:22] Yeah.

[00:03:23] So in 2008 when the market crashed, I found myself without a job and there weren’t too many people building homes in those days. And so I approached my faculty or my oldest advisors of my undergraduate studies, and they were looking for somebody to come in and replace someone who was retiring.

[00:03:44] And so it was a perfect fit for me. It was an easy transition. I went in and started teaching all of their architecture based courses, and then since then I’ve built a standalone program called Building Design and Construction where we take courses, not only on the design side, but also the construction management side.

[00:04:05] So you learn the materials and methods and contracts and codes and those types of things.

[00:04:12] So I’ve been at Weber State now  since 2008. W when I was hired, I was told that I needed a Master’s Degree and I had three years to get it. So I enrolled in Purdue’s online construction management program and I attended class online in the evenings for three years and graduated in 2011 with a Master’s Degree in Construction Management.

[00:04:38] So I have an undergraduate degree in, back then it was called Design Engineering Technology, and a Master’s degree in Construction Management.

[00:04:48] Steve: [00:04:48] Well, congratulations. Great work. I know that’s difficult to do in the evenings. It’s hard enough for me just to open up my laptop and check my email in the evenings these days.

[00:04:58] Jeremy: [00:04:58] Yeah. Yeah. It was a lot of work, but really happy I did it. And education has been really good to me. It’s opened a lot of doors and opportunities that I would have not otherwise been able to do.

[00:05:11]Steve: [00:05:11] And when you say some of these opportunities, are they the things that I hear that you go off and do during the summer times when you’re not teaching?

[00:05:19] Jeremy: [00:05:19] Absolutely. One of the things that really intrigued me about education is that it hadn’t changed in almost a hundred years. What my grandpa was taught in that program, they were using the same textbook just five additions later from my grandpa, and I said, something needs to change here. And so my goal was to get out of the classroom and into the workplace.

[00:05:45] And so, right from the get go, I started looking for community partners. I partnered with Habitat for Humanity, a local nonprofit who builds homes for people. And my students started designing homes for them. And we’ve built four homes for Habitat for Humanity that were designed by students.

[00:06:05] We’re building one right now that’s part of the solar decathlon.

[00:06:10] So that’s a Department of Energy competition to design and build a net zero home. Our homes going a little further than that. We’re going to be net positive enough to charge an electric car to drive 20 miles a day. So that’s really fun.

[00:06:26] So I was out with my students this morning building the insulated concrete form foundation, so that was fun.

[00:06:33]And then, in the summertime. we expanded that to global. So, six years ago I was approached by a colleague that said, Hey, can you draw a set of floor plans? We’re going to Africa to build a women’s center. It was a nonprofit out of Salt Lake City called No Poor Among Us. And they wanted to train women how to be self sufficient.

[00:06:57] So they were teaching them English and Portuguese and sewing skills, but they needed a building. So we designed a very simple building for them and sent the plans away, not thinking much of it. And then a month before they left, they came begging me to go with them to help manage the construction. That was the first year, and I kind of just got hooked.

[00:07:20] And so we’ve been to, that was Mozambique, Africa. The next year we went to Thailand and we built an orphanage. The following year we went to Peru and we built a soup kitchen and a preschool. Then we went back to Mozambique and we built two school rooms and a library.

[00:07:41]And then, just this last year, we were in Fiji and then Northern Island. We built a computer classroom, a sick bay for children, and expanded their preschool.

[00:07:55] So that’s what I do in the summer, is I take groups of students to learn how to build what they’ve designed. So they can make that connection, that design-build connection.

[00:08:07] Steve: [00:08:07] Well, what great stories and amazing opportunities. And I know too, that not only have you reached out to and gone out into the industry, you’ve brought the industry into your school.

[00:08:18] You and I met I think in 2016.  And, I brought to you an idea called Design and Build Day and what you’ve done with that is truly amazing.

[00:08:28] Tell us something a little bit about what went on last year and what you’ve got planned for this year.

[00:08:35] Jeremy: [00:08:35] Yeah. So, there was a huge need in Utah, I’m sure everywhere, for students to enter the AEC industry, architecture, engineering, and construction. Right now, the greatest need in Utah is for skilled trades, the people to build the buildings that my students are designing.

[00:08:54] And, there’s a huge disconnect that you have to do one or the other. And so, Steve brought this idea of bringing industry into school, as kind of a way for them to recruit our students, but also to share with our students what’s really happening out in the workforce each day.

[00:09:14] And so at first we had maybe a hundred, participants come and a few speakers and it was good, but then last year we decided, let’s open this up and let’s have industry interact with the students and Utah.

[00:09:31] We have an awesome opportunity to have our courses be taught at the high school level through what’s called concurrent enrollment, where the teachers are trained to teach our curriculum and they offer our classes in the high school.

[00:09:49] They get CTE or college and/or career and technical education credit, at the high school level, but they also get college credit, and it’s free for them, so it saves them quite a bit of money in tuition.

[00:10:04] And so we have about a thousand students a year that are participating in concurrent enrollment in our local high schools, taking these entry level courses.

[00:10:16]They’re junior, senior, sometimes sophomore years in high school, to try and get them interested in careers in construction and design.

[00:10:26] And so we invited those students who are taking our courses onto our campus, as well as industry. We had about 75 companies there. And we had 553 students come and the all day they interacted.

[00:10:42]Multiple students got jobs for the summer, internships, and/or employment offers at this day.

[00:10:50] And it was just a way for us to kind of set the hook on those students that were taking courses that were related to our programs in high school to invite them on campus to feed them lunch and to say, Hey, here’s an awesome career opportunity for you. You should really consider this. Look at all these companies that are here.

[00:11:10] It didn’t hurt that we fed them and gave away some pretty cool prizes, but it was a huge success.

[00:11:16] And this year we plan on not necessarily growing it, because we’ve definitely tapped out our capacity, but, honing in on specifically those students who are interested in careers in construction and design.

[00:11:29] So that when I’ve got an architectural company they can be in front of 20 to 30 students that are at the caliber that they are looking to hire because we have our students there and we have these concurrent enrollment students there. They can be recruiting high school kids or college kids at the same time.

[00:11:49] Steve: [00:11:49] Yeah, I know you had like heavy equipment simulators and, you know, tiny houses out in the parking lot. It was one of the most amazing events I’ve ever attended.

[00:12:00] Jeremy: [00:12:00] Well, it was your baby. So, we just happened to put it on, put some different clothes on it and dress it up so well, yeah, that’s the idea.

[00:12:10] Steve: [00:12:10] It’s kind of like the story I heard years ago about the guy that lived next to this vacant lot that was just all rocks and weeds. And he spent a little bit of time every day moving the rocks around and pulling out the weeds and planting some plants, and eventually built this beautiful garden. So beautiful that people would start, stopping there and having launches. They were traveling through town. And, one day though, there was a guy that came to the farmer, if you want to call him that, and wanted to make sure that the credit went where the credit was due and said, Hey, you and God sure have created a really nice garden here.

[00:12:49] And the farmer, knowing where the visitor was going with that, said yeah, but you should have seen what it looked like when God had it all to himself.

[00:13:00] So at any rate…

[00:13:03] Jeremy: [00:13:03] You know, we’ve got to do everything we can right now to recruit kids to come into our industry. Unfortunately it’s super competitive. All kids seem to want to be programmers and design video games, or be a doctor and work 20 hours a week and get paid $100,000. It takes a large effort that a lot of people have to participate in to showcase how wonderful our industry can be and how exciting it can be to see your work come to fruition.

[00:13:37] Whenever I’m in a high school, I always tell the students, how awesome would it be if you could drive down the road and say to your family, I designed that house. Or I designed that one, or I designed that one. That is rewarding and that is job satisfaction that I believe students of today are looking for.

[00:14:00] They want to be able to say, Hey, I did that. I designed that. Or on the other hand, I built that. So we need both sides.

[00:14:10] Steve: [00:14:10] Yeah. What a great way to frame that. And I’ve got my son on line with us, Garrett. So Garrett, let me ask you, how many times have we driven down the street and I pointed out the same building to you a hundred times?

[00:14:22] Garrett: [00:14:22] Oh man, I can still probably point most of them out in this town.

[00:14:27] Steve: [00:14:27] Yeah, you’re always proud of the work you’ve done in construction because it’s there. So far, I don’t think I’ve witnessed one of my buildings getting torn down yet, but, I have been hired back to add on to or, you know, improve the older homes that we designed, you know, decades ago.

[00:14:43] Has that happened to you, Jeremy?

[00:14:45]Jeremy: [00:14:45] Most of those have been additions for me where people have said, Oh man, I need a bigger family room now, or I need a garage with a playroom above it. So yeah, I haven’t had yet the opportunity to necessarily do a full remodel, but I have done a lot of additions and small remodels.

[00:15:11] Steve: [00:15:11] I remember one, there was one project I did for a builder who bought a house for himself and took it down to the shell. And I think we added a little bit of a second floor to it. And, it turns out that we were remodeling a house that was one of the first three houses built by my father.

[00:15:32] And we actually found out that it was an inch and a half out of square, and that’s when we did the research to find out who had built it.

[00:15:38] But anyhow, so you’re kind of a rock star in our industry, or at least in the West coast of our industry. So I’m curious what interested you in our certification program and why have you pursued it?

[00:15:55]Jeremy: [00:15:55] Validity. Just having a credential that justifies that I’m a trained or I’m a professional building designer. I’m not just, you know, calling myself a building designer. I really am certified by an organization, very similar to the American Institute of Architects, but my passion and love has always been residential. And so, I searched out an organization that I could get certified through that would give me my own stamp, not that I needed in Utah.

[00:16:33]’Cause in Utah they allow anybody to design homes. They just have to have a structural engineer approve the drawings and submit the structural calculations. But, for me it was an organization that I knew I had likeminded people in and that brought a level of professionalism to my trade that I thought was perfect.

[00:17:01] Even the name that I chose for my new program was inspired by the American Institute of Building Designers. I, instead of calling my program an architecture program, I called it Building Design and Construction because eventually I’d love my program to be accredited by the AIBD because I think it’s such a great organization that represents the residential building designers all across the United States.

[00:17:36] Steve: [00:17:36] You grew up in the industry, so to speak, having worked from in the field as a teenager. So, how did that experience apply to preparing you for the exam or was there other areas that you had to get experience to be ready?

[00:17:54] Jeremy: [00:17:54] Oh, absolutely. I tell my students the very best thing that you can do to be a good residential building designer is to go work as a framer for a summer and why not, too.

[00:18:10] You’re going to be able to interact with somebody else’s design and that design comes to life in less than a week, usually. And the ability to take a set of 2D plans and see it in 3D, that’s hard to train sometimes. And so I love the hands on aspects of it. I love that the exam covers materials and methods of construction and not just CAD.

[00:18:41]I love that the exam, you know, talks to you about what it takes to be successful in business. So, for me, the things that I felt like I maybe needed to brush up on were the structural side of things, to prepare for the structural portion of the exam and the business side of the exam.

[00:19:04] You know, what does it take? Even though I’d been doing it so long, there were great things that helped to prepare. 

[00:19:11] Steve: [00:19:11] Let me share with you guys something that has been added to the program since our last podcast. Up until recently when you take the exam and you finished, you were just given a pass or a fail. I’m not sure if the system even told you what percentage you passed or failed at.

[00:19:32]But, now , it won’t happen immediately. We have to export the information at the back end. But if you take the exam and for whatever reason you don’t finish, or you miss just one question that was needed to reach that passing number, what we can do is export that information and then turn around and send you a report that shows you a breakdown by the knowledge areas and the sub knowledge areas that the exam blueprint was based on.

[00:20:01]You can find those broken down on page 39 of the candidate handbook. And if you don’t have a candidate handbook, you can go to AIBD.org/certification. Give us a little bit of contact information and download one. Again, that starts on page 39 and goes for about 4 or 5 pages.

[00:20:18] I believe there’s somewhere between 140 and 150 different knowledge areas that are subject matter experts identified as the areas that they felt like our organization should be testing on to make sure that a building designer is competent in the field.

[00:20:35] And, so, we just recently had a person retake the exam using that information we were able to provide to him.

[00:20:44] And he said that the first time he took the exam, he only had 15 minutes of time left over to go back and research the difficult questions that he had bookmarked.

[00:20:53] But after getting that type of feedback, after failing the second time with more focus studying, he had one hour left to research the bookmark questions, which is one third of the time; you have three hours overall.

[00:21:06] So, what we were able to provide him now as an organization, said that he saved time, helped him dig through the reference books and helped him make a difference because we could help focus his study in those areas that it was determined that he was weak in.

[00:21:22] What we’re working on now in 2020 is to also create a 50% scaled version of our exam, a practice exam that people can take in advance that’ll do the exact same thing, but on an immediate basis, give you immediate feedback to show if it’s the structural area or the building science area or the business administration field that you’re having difficulties in.

[00:21:46] So, you’ll be able to help focusing your study.

[00:21:50] Jeremy, you said that there were some areas you needed to brush up on. How did you brush up?

[00:21:55] Jeremy: [00:21:55] So I think I was part of the standard setting portion, actually, now that I think about it, Steve . I was one of the very first that took the computerized program or computerized test.

[00:22:07] Anyway, what I did is I looked at the old handbook and I just went through what was said I should know.

[00:22:18] And, you know, did my own research, looked up some of the references that were given and tried to prepare myself as best I could.

[00:22:29] Steve: [00:22:29] Now, the candidate handbook gives us a bibliography, but that bibliography is basically the books that we use to verify that the people who wrote the questions were writing questions that were actually correct, or at least the answers they gave us were correct.

[00:22:44]So it doesn’t mean that you have to have these books in order to find the right answers. It just means that those are the books that we proved that the answers are correct.

[00:22:54]So I’m sure that your school probably uses different reference materials when you’re teaching the classes. Have you now, with the experience you have, is there an overlap is, you know, what books did you use when you took it?

[00:23:12] Jeremy: [00:23:12] I used a lot of the textbooks that I’m teaching from now to basically review the concepts. So I think the exam itself is testing knowledge. It’s not testing a specific person’s opinion of that knowledge. And so pretty much any textbook that teaches the basics of residential design is going to have the answers that are needed.

[00:23:41]At least the concepts will be taught in those books.

[00:23:45] So I thought the exam was written very well. Not to be too specific, but also to assess whether or not somebody understood, what they were talking about or understood our  industry.

[00:23:58] Steve: [00:23:58] So do you mind sharing some of those resource materials or do you think that it’s really not that big of a deal?

[00:24:05] Jeremy: [00:24:05] You know, I don’t think it’s really that big of a deal. I mean, the one that I really like is there’s a, and I’m not right by my textbooks right now, but Residential Debt Design by Jeffery’s. He’s an author. Multiple additions of that textbook. And it goes into great detail in lots of different areas.

[00:24:28]As far as structural, architectural design, architectural styles, the only thing that that textbook really didn’t get into was the business side of things.

[00:24:40] And so the resources that I found in the handbook were good enough for me to take a concept and type it right into Google.

[00:24:51] And if I didn’t understand it, then I could type it into Google and read up on it really quickly and, Oh yeah, I knew that.

[00:24:59] So, I think the way that the candidate handbook is written now is the perfect resource to prepare somebody. The knowledge areas that they need to study. And I don’t know that a particular reference book is going to prepare somebody because if they look through those, things that they should know, they can research them from any type of research book or, the internet and at least gain the concepts from what is being told to them that they need to know.

[00:25:33] Steve: [00:25:33] We’ve got a question that was just typed in here by Leslie. It says, the only reason why I’ve been hesitant in applying for the exam, due to there not being a study guide, the list in the handbook as recommended reading is a lot of replicated information.

[00:25:52] Again, it’s not recommended reading.

[00:25:54] It’s just a legal disclaimer, more or less, that these are the books that we used to verify that the questions have the right answers.

[00:26:04] And if somebody wanted to ever contest the exam then they would be able to show their reference material to ours.

[00:26:12] And who knows? There might be A situation where one of the distractors, which would be one of the three answers that you’re given A, B, C, or D that are not correct or at least we think aren’t correct, might be so close that there’s, some confusion that one reference material might say it’s A, and another one say it’s B.

[00:26:32] And to help everyone feel a little bit More secure about that, every two years we have professionals called psychometricians go through, and as a matter of fact, we’re in that process right now for the 2020 year reviewing all 175 questions. And they look at how many times it was answered correctly, how many times it was not answered correctly, how many times it was answered correctly in proportion to the people who pass the test, as well as, answered correctly by those who didn’t pass the test.

[00:27:06]There’s some really interesting perspectives that they run these questions through and they flagged the ones that may be those, that the problem is, that there’s more than one correct answer, or, possibly. the question is just a very difficult question, which in and of itself doesn’t mean that it’s going to be taken out of the exam because the next step after they flagged the question is to get a new group of subject matter experts together to review those flagged questions.

[00:27:33] And when they review them, there might be a question that everybody misses, but they look at it and say, this is important information that should be on the test.

[00:27:42] And the flip side is questions that get answered correctly by people all the time are flagged as being too easy.

[00:27:49]But even still, that doesn’t mean it’ll be taken off the test because the subject matter experts may look at it and say, well, this is very important that everybody should know this.

[00:27:59] And so the list of books are just what we used.

[00:28:03] And it’s there to be helpful for you to let you know that here are some books. And I also want to tell you that we’re in the process of building a bookstore online using those reference materials that are listed in the handbook as the beginning foundation of that bookstore.

[00:28:20]Not to say we won’t add more.

[00:28:22] We just figure if these are what people are looking for, those should be the ones that we populate in the store first.

[00:28:28] So keep an eye out for some emails on that.

[00:28:30] But, the closest thing we’re going to come to being able to get you a study guide is that practice exam.

[00:28:37]Unless somebody like you, Jeremy, comes along and helps create something. Some form of outside study material, ’cause the international standards, we follow ANSI ISO 17024, kind of make it difficult for us to provide preparation materials as well as preparation training for a certification exam like this.

[00:28:58]Anything you can add to that, Jeremy, as an educator?

[00:29:03] Jeremy: [00:29:03] Yeah, I mean, you’re absolutely correct. Any type of exam such as like the LEED Green Associate exam, any study resources cannot be produced by the same people who produce the exam. It’s a conflict of interest.

[00:29:19] So, something that could be done is creating a study guide with specific references.

[00:29:27]That’s been something that’s been on my to do list. But, yeah it’s definitely down the list a ways because of how many other projects I’ve been doing. Fiji calls me to go do more service work. And therefore the study guide kind of gets pushed down the list. Sorry.

[00:29:50] Steve: [00:29:50] No, no problem.

[00:29:52]So as soon as we can get that practice exam built, we’ll be offering that.

[00:29:56] I don’t know yet if there’ll be a fee for it or for it to be included in the application fee. But, where the step we’re at right now is that we’ve gone through and done an inventory of all the test items, I E questions that we have in our pool that aren’t being used on the current exam.

[00:30:12] And we’ve got a small deficiency in the business administration area.

[00:30:17] So possibly some questions that are going to need to be re written.

[00:30:21]But soon we will be reaching out to, I know, Brendan, you wrote in a comment here of what assistance do you need? We’re going to be looking for you guys who are considered the subject matter experts, whether you’ve taken the exam or not.

[00:30:35] And getting you to review the questions. Now, I think there would be a caveat though, if you haven’t taken the exam, being a part of the process may cause you not to be able to take the exam for 24 months after having seen the questions.

[00:30:51]Whether or not that would preclude you to taking the practice exam would be something I’d have to talk to the experts about.

[00:30:58]And then Brendan, I think you also, I’m not sure if you were talking about design and build day that Jeremy hosts at a school, but you’re right here. I agree with the need for getting new students into our industry.

[00:31:10] Also, we should reach out to local universities to create programs, and if there’s a local university in your area that has a construction management or an architectural technology program, let us know because we’re happy to go in and plant the seed and hope we can find another Jeremy Farner out there that can then take that seed and grow a huge tree with it in their university.

[00:31:35]Since being certified, any changes in your life? What was the feeling and how are you using the certification since receiving it?

[00:31:46] Jeremy: [00:31:46] You know, interestingly enough, I’ve been able to have some conversations with building officials about whether or not they would accept my stamp for simple projects that may not in the past have required a engineer’s stamp.

[00:32:05] And I’ve made some headway with some of the building officials allowing me on small remodels just to use my stamp, and not requiring a structural engineer to stamp it  if it was small in nature.

[00:32:21] Now, if I was doing a whole house, they still require a structural engineer’s stamp.

[00:32:25] But, it adds validity. As soon as I tell somebody, Hey, I’ve got my architectural stamp, their eyes kind of perk up and they’re like, Oh, you’re legit. You’re not just somebody saying, I can design a home for you.

[00:32:40]It’s been a fun experience to be able to talk about what the CPBD is and what AIBD is and what the organization stands for.

[00:32:52] So, it’s been a good experience for me to kind of be recognized as a professional instead of just somebody who’s doing drafting on the side.

[00:33:05] Steve: [00:33:05] Fantastic. What a great testimonial.

[00:33:09] And, for those out there that are seeking certification, what kind of advice do you have for them?

[00:33:15] Probably something you give to people on a daily basis, I would think in your university.

[00:33:22]Jeremy: [00:33:22] Never stop learning. Never be afraid to ask why.

[00:33:27]Unfortunately in our industry not much has changed in a hundred years. We still build the same way. And so one of my research interests or are things that I’m really passionate about is sustainable design and asking question why?

[00:33:45] And my greatest response to that is, well, that’s the way my dad did it.

[00:33:50] And that’s the way his dad did it. And that’s the way his dad did it.

[00:33:53] And if they can’t answer the why, then I really push and I say, well, what about this? Is this not a better way? And, I think we have the opportunity to innovate anytime we have the great economy that we’ve got. And the deficiency of people to be able to carry out our work.

[00:34:18] Innovation has to happen. Modular construction, in my opinion, is something that’s going to explode in the United States. Prefabbed construction. And sustainable design.

[00:34:34] The days of us just slapping a house together and not worrying about how airtight it is are gone. Understanding, you know, materials and methods of construction.

[00:34:47]We have the opportunity to be innovators, to create a better way to do it the most effective way, and not be just drafters, but be designers, truly design the world of the occupants that’s buying our plans or our services, and that’s exciting. And having people kind of grasp that vision that, Hey, there’s always going to be a better way.

[00:35:20] And attending conferences and looking at new materials, constantly trying to be an innovator.

[00:35:31] That’s what I would suggest. And that’s what I try and motivate my students to do is don’t accept the status quo. Be the person who figures out a better way.

[00:35:44] Steve: [00:35:44] Fantastic.

[00:35:47]Larry wants to know, why can’t we get the results after completing the test and how long will it take?

[00:35:52] You get the results as to whether or not you passed or fail as soon as you hit submit at the end of your test. After the end of the three hours or however long it takes you to take the exam, you’ll know whether you’re certified at that point or if you’ll have to reschedule to take the test again.

[00:36:09] But in order to get that breakdown of the questions based on knowledge area, like I had mentioned before, that requires us to know that you’ve taken the exam, which were usually alerted after the fact.

[00:36:24]The exam’s available almost 365 days a year. I think there’s a few holidays that they shut down.

[00:36:30]But it’s available 24 hours a day on those days that it’s open. So, it could be you’re taking an exam 10 o’clock Eastern time on a Friday night, and we don’t know until Monday morning that you’ve taken that exam when we open up our computers and get the alerts.

[00:36:44] So, unless something goes wrong, if something goes wrong, ProctorU, who is the a service that we hire to deliver the exam for us, has a number to get ahold of me if there’s technical difficulties, which not always works, but for the most part it does.

[00:37:02] So it may take us a day to, first of all, know that you’ve taken the exam and then go in and export the raw data and drop it into the template that we’ve created that spits out the score.

[00:37:13]When we create that practice exam, we’ll know how to do it going forward and the practice exam will be built a little differently anyway.

[00:37:21] The practice exam will not only, you know, tell you right or wrong, but it’ll tell you right or wrong, it will probably give you feedback immediately.

[00:37:30] It won’t be like the real exam where you have to press a submit button and find out what your score is. It’ll be more of a learning tool than it is a testing tool, although you’ll be using the same platform to do it so that you can get the feel for the way the test is delivered.

[00:37:46]And Robert asks, can you actually call it an architectural stamp and not be in conflict with the AIA?

[00:37:53]That’s a legal question that someday may get to the Supreme Court. It’s my personal opinion that they can’t, no one can, protect the word architectural.

[00:38:03] I believe that what we do is residential architecture.

[00:38:07] However, there are a number of state statutes that have said that it’s illegal to use architect or any derivative of the word architect in describing our work.

[00:38:17] So that’s where building designer comes about.

[00:38:20] A building designer is a title used here in the United States as well as in Australia. Everywhere else in the world, what we do is called the architectural technology.

[00:38:30]But no, you can’t call what we have an architectural stamp.

[00:38:33]Technically when you read the candidate handbook, the triangular seal that we’ve created for you to be able to stamp your drawings and to communicate that you are certified is technically called a Certification Mark. And that’s how it’s trademarked.

[00:38:50] The U S patent office, that does the trademarks, has classified it as a Certification Mark.

[00:38:55]But we do sell it in an embossed seal type tool so that you can either buy it once you become certified with your number on it and your name, as a rubber stamp that you would, you know, use an ink pad with, or an embossed crimper.

[00:39:11]Materials. Are we able to use the ebook versions?

[00:39:14] No. At this point, only the, professionally bound books. And when you contact Proctor U, or if you look at your candidate handbook, it’ll stipulate the handful of books that don’t have to be perfect bound.

[00:39:26] For example, the building code is such a large volume that it comes to you in a three ring binder, I believe.

[00:39:33]So, right now, because of the standards for being able to give exams remotely, the proctors can’t let you be going through different screen views or the internet.

[00:39:47] So when you open up your exam Proctor U locks you down to that one screen view, which is our test screen view. And, so unfortunately the technology’s not there yet.

[00:39:58]You know, you could have another device that you would hold in your hand, but then, you know, the remote proctoring wouldn’t work.

[00:40:06] We would have to have live proctors to make sure that those devices, weren’t being misused. So not to say that it’s not in the future.

[00:40:15] I meet with Proctor U, our testing provider, once, sometimes twice a year.

[00:40:21]I had dinner with them in November. I’ll be having dinner with the higher ups in the organization in March again this year.

[00:40:29] And they are constantly helping us in a way that helps us conform with those ISO 17024 standards at the same time make it as user friendly for you as possible.

[00:40:43] Oh, speaking of our platform, from your perspective, Jeremy, anything that you saw that you can warn our listeners about or help them be prepared for?

[00:40:53] Jeremy: [00:40:53] No, it was awesome. Everything was very clearly communicated. It was a great experience.

[00:41:01]Technically it was very sound. They were very gracious. As long as you had a webcam that you made available to them and you didn’t get up without, you know, talking to them first, everything was great.

[00:41:17] I thought it was fantastic. I wouldn’t have changed anything. And I’ve done a lot of testing remotely, and I thought this one was by far the most simple.

[00:41:32]There were really no technical issues at all.

[00:41:35] Steve: [00:41:35] Okay, good. And the system, if you go to our Proctor U portal, which the link to that is found in the candidate handbook as well as the links to many other resource materials, there’s the opportunity for you to test your system to make sure that the bandwidth is correct and everything functions properly.

[00:41:56] Again, in the next six months or so, when we’re able to get that practice exam going, we’ll be using the same platform.

[00:42:02] Although you won’t be using Proctor U,  you’ll be able to make sure that everything is operating well in advance.

[00:42:11] There’s no more questions that have come in. I think I caught them all. There was a number of them that came in all at once, but, Jeremy, any final advice that you can give our listeners?

[00:42:24]Jeremy: [00:42:24] Don’t be afraid. It’s not near as daunting as I made it out to be and probably how you’re making it out to be. If you have the experience and you can logically think through the questions you’ll do just fine.

[00:42:44] Steve: [00:42:44] Well. Thank you very much, Jeremy. I appreciate you taking the time to be on the show today.

[00:42:50] Jeremy: [00:42:50] Yeah, thank you.

[00:42:52] Steve: [00:42:52] And I look forward to being at Design and Build Day. Was it April 9th?

[00:42:58] Jeremy: [00:42:58] Yup.

[00:42:59] Steve: [00:42:59] All right, cool. As a matter of fact, I was talking with Ben Tabolt, our chairperson of the BIM-R program, and I think he and I are going to be coming into town a couple of days early.

[00:43:10] We’re looking at getting the chapter revitalized in Salt Lake City.

[00:43:17] Jeremy: [00:43:17] That’d be great.

[00:43:19] Steve: [00:43:19] And one last shout out before we hang up. I want to thank education provider Ron Blank and Associates, who has organized their library of complimentary, prerecorded webinars in a way that aligns with the CPBD test content.

[00:43:33] Meaning: that list of knowledge areas that you’ll find starting on page 39 in the Candidate Handbook, it’s based on that industry job analysis, just like our test is.

[00:43:45] So you can go to Ron Blank and Associates first, and then search AIBD courses by division, and you’ll find the links to all of those courses.

[00:43:55] The candidate handbook has them as like 1A, 1B, 1C and so forth and Ron Blank has organized them in the same way.

[00:44:02] And that’s also true, not only at RonBlank.com, but another website which they own called GreenCE.com.

[00:44:09]So with that, I want to thank Garrett for helping me out here on the back end.

[00:44:13] Again, Jeremy, for you being our guest.

[00:44:16] And I want to thank you guys, the listeners, mostly for being a part of our show because it takes each of us to improve the lives of all of us.

[00:44:25] So thanks for your presence and thanks everyone for your commitment that you have to building design.

[00:44:34] Jeremy: [00:44:34] Thanks Steve.

[00:44:35] Steve: [00:44:35] You’re welcome.

[00:44:36] Have a great day, everyone.

[00:44:38] Jeremy: [00:44:38] All right, thanks. Bye.

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