Going beyond the classroom with our Architectural Focus Series.

Do you remember how you felt going into the first day of your new internship or job? Did you know what red flags to look for when reading a contract, how to work with permit coordinators to keep your projects on schedule, or the importance of code compliance? BRR’s Architectural Focus Series was created out of a need to educate young professionals on all aspects of the architectural process, and expand on some subjects that aren’t always covered in an undergrad or post-grad education.

The series begins in June, and brings together all summer interns and staff with less than one year of experience. The first presentation covers the basics: The Business of Architecture. This session is led by President and CEO James Hailey, and covers topics ranging from understanding contracts, to note-taking and managing your day.

“My favorite session was James Hailey’s Business of Architecture presentation,” said Kaden Beilman, a summer intern. “It really did touch on a lot of topics that are skimmed over in school, but are clearly very important – without the business side of architecture, firms could not exist.”

“[James] was very honest when answering any questions we threw his way – I wrote down almost everything he said,” added Gabby Coleman, fellow summer intern.

President and CEO James Hailey recognizes some of the 2016 summer interns during a company-wide meeting.

Other sessions include “Schematic Design” with Rich Majors, COO, and Zach Sumada, Associate and Director of Design; “ADA & Codes” with Eirene Knott, Director of Code Services; “Specifications & Materials” with three members of our specifications team; and “Permitting” with two of our in-house permit coordinators and expeditors.

Another of the interns’ favorite sessions was Entitlements, Construction Document Coordination & Bidding. Joe Libeer, summer intern, said “I felt this session did a great job at mapping out the timeline for a given project and how it is approved, developed and coordinated.”

The final session covered Construction Administration and included a scope trip to a local project currently under construction. “The site visit was the most ‘real’ experience to me, where all of the processes and concepts we discussed in the focus sessions could be observed in real practice,” said Sarah Watts, architectural designer.

Some of BRR’s architectural designers and 2016 summer interns at a construction site visit.

After participating in the series, several of the summer interns and new hires shared they made changes in their daily work lives based on what they had learned. Some gained a new appreciation for the architectural process, and the amount of people and areas of expertise required to produce a successful project. Others improved their general organization and documentation practices, like tracking revisions at each step of a project’s process.

Overall, each young professional walked away with a taste of what it takes to be a part of a nationally recognized architecture firm, a better understanding of the architectural process, and an invaluable professional experience.