What do architects and engineers do? What is our “industry” called? Is it AE, A/E, AEC, or A/E/C? Is it even an “industry?” Why are these questions important?
The reasons they are important is we all share a single, important task. And that is educating the public on what architects, engineers, planners, surveyors, interior designers, and environmental consultants actually DO! It’s bad enough that most people think architects actually “build” projects whereas most do the planning and design but are not contractors.
It’s important for a number of reasons. First off, we should always be selling the necessity of these skills. If not, someone may get the idea all design and engineering can be done by a computer. And that won’t be a good thing for a million reasons…..not the least of which is creativity will end.
Another reason it’s important is we need to recruit more people into these professions. There’s a shortage and it’s going to get worse. Demand is growing and supply of talent is growing at a much slower rate. You should see the 20 year projections. People need to know how great these professions are and what a business opportunity these firms have.
And finally—if you are “selling” something—doesn’t it help to have one name for it so people can build up some familiarity and awareness? It seems like by not having a universal moniker for this business—and here at Zweig Group we’re settling in on A/E/C vs AEC or AE or A/E—your job is a lot more difficult. It’s like trying to sell Chevy, Ford, BMW, and Volkswagen all at the same time. We need standard nomenclature for what this business is.
Oh yes—and one last point of clarification that is adding to the confusion. The “C” in A/E/C stands for “consulting” in this context—not “construction.” I wish the AIA and ACEC would jointly tackle this “name” problem for our industry—and combine it with one of their advertising campaigns that each has done promoting the virtues of their respective professions.