The process of designing and building a home is a complicated process full of ups and downs and even confusion. Architects, contractors and designers seem to speak in their own language and the homeowners seem to be the only ones who have no idea what is being discussed.
When surfing the Internet for the perfect architect, contractor or designer to work with, similar confusion can arise with these professionals’ titles. Following a professional’s name are various designations that denote certain accreditations. For the layperson, these acronyms look less like titles and more like random letters pulled from a child’s alphabet soup. For example, one architect might follow his or her name with an AIA and another with FAIA. With just one letter, a distinction in accreditation has been made that most homeowners overlook.
In this blog post, we at Kevin Harris Architect, LLC, make it our mission to help unscramble this jumbled “alphabet soup” and understand what these titles mean and if they are just letters or titles of distinction.
Licensure denotes some form of legality, such as the word “architect.” Those who are licensed have gone through a non-voluntary process in which a government agency regulates a profession. All architects should be licensed. If you are working with an “architect” who isn’t, you technically aren’t working with an architect.
Certification, on the other hand, is a voluntary, nongovernmental process that helps to identify and acknowledge professionals who have met certain standards in their field. Some standards could include education, experience or examination of knowledge in the field.
Adding to the confusion and threatening the legitimacy of these letters of distinction are groups that encourage members to use the organizations’ name as a sort of distinction. In reality, membership to such organizations is voluntary and just because one is a member does not mean it should come with a title of distinction that isn’t earned.
Below are some of the more common acronyms. If you happen upon one not listed here, we encourage you to look up the meaning and requirements behind the initial.
AIA- American Institute of Architects- To be a member of AIA, one must be a licensed architect. This is the most common designation for architects.
FAIA- Fellow of the American Institute of Architects- Within the AIA, a small minority of architects can be given Fellow status when an architect has made significant contributions to his or her profession.
NCARB- the National Council of Architecture Registration Boards- the holder of the NCARB title is a licensed architect that has been certified through the organization. Holding this title makes you eligible for licensure in other states.
RA- Registered Architect- this title denotes that an architect has completed an internship and passed the Architectural Registration Exam.
ASID- American Society for Interior Designers- to be a member, one must be a licensed interior designer. This is the most common designation for interior designers.
ASLA- American Society of Landscape Architects- to be a member, one must be a licensed landscape architect. This is the most common designation for landscape architects.
AIBD- American Institute of Building Design
CPBD- Certified Professional Building Designer
CSI- Construction Specifiers Institute- this organization offers certifications in construction, such as Construction Document Technologist (CDT), Certified Construction Contract Administrator (CCCA), Certified Construction Specifier (CCS) and Certified Construction Product Representative (CCPR)
LEED AP- Leaders in Energy and Environment Design Accredited Professional- LEED is a certification program, which certifies building and industry individuals for their knowledge of energy and green building practices. Other certifications from LEED include Building Design and Construction (LEED AP BD+C), Interior Design and Construction (LEED AP ID+C), Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED AP O+M) and Neighborhood Development (LEED AP ND).
NKBA- National Kitchen and Bath Association- this title is given to designers who demonstrate comprehensive knowledge in kitchen and bath design, construction, mechanical, plumbing and electric. Certifications from NKBA include Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer (AKBA), Certified Kitchen Designer/ Certified Bath Designer (CKD/CBD), Certified Kitchen Educator/ Certified Bath Educator (CKE/CBE), Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer (CMKBD), Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Educator (CMKBE) and Certified Kitchen and Bath Professional (CKBP).
© 2018 Kevin Harris, Architect, LLC
Kevin Harris, Architect, LLC designs custom homes to satisfy, support and sustain our client’s best life, to be an authentic expression of their site, lifestyle and culture, while remaining rooted in history and expressive of the times. For more information on Kevin or the firm go to www.kevinharrisarchitect.com.