OAA members who volunteer on Committees are vital to the Association’s work, with a diversity of voices, opinions, skills and knowledge critical to its decision-making process.
Right now, there are vacancies opening up for three-year terms in 11 OAA groups, ranging from the Regulatory, Interns and Communications Committees to the Sustainable Built Environments Committee (SBEC) and Policy Advocacy Coordination Team (PACT)
. If you’ve ever considered sharing your skills, perspective and experience to serve the profession and the public interest, now is the time! (To find out more about how to put your name forward by October 18, click here.
To help demystify what OAA Committees do and what work is involved, we’ll be sharing the stories of OAA volunteers on the blOAAg over the month of September. Today, we’re talking with Laszlo Mohacsi of the Practice Resource Committee.
1. Who are you?
I’m an architect and associate partner with KWC Architects. My interests are architecture (of course!), landscape, art, music… and travel for all of the above. Switzerland and Japan are among my favorite places, and are sources of much of my inspiration. In my own career and practice, this has developed into a focus on process and detail, quality and efficiency.
I have focused a large part of my career on construction and contract administration since my first job after graduation. I have learned that the successful achievement of an architect’s ideas relies on not only rigorous implementation on design (or talented designers and their inspirations), but also through an understanding of processes and construction, as well as attention to detail and quality throughout all project phases from design, construction documents and through to contract administration.
2. Why did you decide to join the PRC?
There are myriad things an architect must learn and do for the successful completion of a project—most of which are not design-related per se, but nonetheless crucial to the success of both the business and architectural project. They are not emphasized at school or during one’s intern years, but are often disproportionally time-consuming and prone to mistakes.
With my own practice, working through challenges with little OAA or peer support (or at least not readily accessible support), I learned of what was then-called the Construction Contract Administration Committee (CCAC) and the resources it was starting to provide. I applied for a position, as I saw it as an opportunity to help in offering more resources and support to the smaller firms so practitioners could focus more on what matters—their architecture and projects.
At the same time, it meant helping the OAA be seen as being about support, not solely regulation, which was how it was often perceived by both the membership and public. It gives weight to any particular issue for the membership by having materials on the OAA Website that are supported by the profession as a whole.
3. What kind of things do you do as a PRC member?
We review the processes required to implement a project, in particular where additional resources and support may be offered to assist the profession where questions or issues have or may arise. We also review the process or issues at hand, and take the time as a group to develop best-practices-type articles, guides to processes, sample forms, lessons learned and Q&As that consolidate a first-stop resource for architects and includes references to other pertinent resources.
A key aspect of what we do is giving these issues the time and group attention they need, allowing for considered deliberation that is often impossible under project and office deadlines and pressures, or without peer review.
4. What are the meetings like?
Meetings are often engaging discussions regarding any number of issues with peers. The meetings offer a period to pause and reflect on the work and broader issues/context at hand. The process of preparing, reviewing, discussing and editing content is as much a learning opportunity as it is an opportunity to contribute.
5. Why should someone join the group?
The OAA relies on volunteer support, without which much of the resources simply would not be available. This work helps reduce unnecessary confusion and individual work in established procedures, thereby improving our profession and our stature in the view of the public (as well as clients, project managers and contractors) when we perform at a high level. Hopefully, this allows more focus at an individual practice level to be on architecture and design.