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OAA Continuing Education Course
Learning Hours: 18
The OAA’s Fundamentals of Running an Architectural Practice course offers a comprehensive overview of the business side of architecture. Originally titled Starting an Architectural Practice, this refocused program is ideal for members who are either starting their own practice or taking on an associate or partner role. It is also especially suitable for experienced architects looking for a refresh on the basics and the best practices.
Consisting of five key lessons, the entire course is delivered on three consecutive days. Taught by 11 experts in the field of architecture and finance, discussions range from industry requirements in Ontario to the exploration of business principles versus the operation elements of a professional practice. Topics include developing and modifying your strategic initiatives as an architect in the marketplace, professional requirements, client agreements, and how to manage your finances and your projects.
A light breakfast and lunch are included for each day.
For more details, please refer to the lesson descriptions below.
April 1–3, 2020 sessions - CANCELLED
Next Course Dates:
October 21-23, 2020 (three-day course)
8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Ontario Association of Architects (tentative location)
111 Moatfield Drive, Toronto, ON M3B 3L6
OAA Architects and Licensed Technologists OAA: $945 + HST
OAA Intern Architects: $756 + HST
Non-Members: $1134 + HST
Architectural Practice in a Contemporary Context
The context of architectural practice is changing. New project delivery methods, new industry players and disruptive business models are altering the landscape in which architects deliver design services. Architects are no longer as close to the centre of project decision-making as they once were, with the rise of paraprofessionals and the shifting priorities of clients. This session will provide the participant with a contemporary view of the social, commercial, sectoral and environmental contexts in which to make decisions about starting an architectural practice.
Regulatory Requirements: Ontario Architectural Practice
There are mandatory requirements for operating an architectural practice in Ontario and Canada. This session will address those requirements that are specific to architectural practice. The next session will explore those mandatory requirements common to all businesses. The two main topics of this session are the regulation of architectural practices by their respective provincial associations and the requirements to maintain insurance.
Regulatory Requirements: Pro-Demnity Insurance
Speaker: John Hackett, B.Arch., OAA, FRAIC
Although the purchase and maintenance of professional liability insurance is a mandatory requirement for an Ontario architectural practice, few architects starting a practice will have had meaningful exposure to the purpose and value of such insurance in their formal education and preparation for practice. The lesson will provide attendees with fundamental information about this essential tool and the features of the professional liability insurance provided to Ontario architects by Pro-Demnity Insurance Company.
Time permitting, several case studies will illustrate how the insurance and settlement process works in practice.
Prior to the lesson, participants are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the Pro-Demnity website: www.prodemnity.com and download or obtain a copy of the information booklet: Architects Insuring Architects…The Ontario Architects Professional Liability Insurance Program. A pdf version is available via the corresponding link. Alternatively, hard copies can be obtained from Pro-Demnity upon request.
Regulatory Requirements – Business Structures in Ontario and Canada
Speaker: Elaine Pantel, CPA, CGA
Operating a business in Canada requires compliance with federal, provincial and in some cases municipal legislation, regulations, and bylaws. This session will examine the options available to a firm in terms of legal structures, and review the various taxes that may apply to a firm including income tax and GST/HST.
Developing a Business Model for Your Practice
Speaker: Domenic A. Meffe, B. Arch., OAA, RAIC, Assoc. AIA, and OPPI
Intuition and gifted design ability may lead to a successful practice, but this is not enough for a sustainable and profitable practice. A firm’s principal must make innumerable decisions about the practice’s focus and character by determining which; markets, delivering services, means, methods and, most effective resources are necessary to shape what you do in a way that the customer values your services while also being rewarding to your firm.
A firms’ focus, and character is the objective of developing a “business model”. Most firms have shared the same business model for delivering traditional design services for many years. Today the architectural profession is part of an increasingly, fragmented, competitive and complex practice environment. Although you may desire to deliver traditional services in the traditional way, it is important to understand the complexities and anticipate disruption with changing trends affecting your practice. Hence the need to understand the “design science” approach to developing, managing and implementing market changes for a firm’s focus rather than reacting after the fact. This session will examine the 9 (NINE) components to a structured business model and how it can inform your firm’s brand, which encompasses everything from; design sensibilities, the values, marketing, methodology and even behavior of the firm's principal(s).
Practice Management: Operational Systems – Finance
Speaker: Basima Roshan, MBA, CPA
The effective financial management of a firm relies on establishing a financial system and applying discipline to manage financial resources. This session will help you develop an understanding of the relationships between income and expenses and being cognizant that much of the income of a firm must be set aside for expenses.
Practice Management: Human Resources
Speaker: Devon Gracey, CHRL
Building a team that aligns with the firm’s strategic plan, outsourcing opportunities, and core competencies is essential to its success. Those factors inevitably influence the selection, hiring, and training of effective employees. As an employer, you will need to understanding federal and provincial regulations pertaining to employer obligations. Other responsibilities include setting up a human resource management system, employment contracts, and office policies.
Practice Management: IT
Speaker: Yew-Thong Leong, B.Tech.(Arch.), B.Arch., OAA, FRAIC
There are many factors associated with the selection of technology-based systems that support both practice operations and project management. Other elements to consider includes the stability and service requirements of Information Management Systems, client-server verses cloud-based systems, backup systems, as well as design and production tools.
Project Management: Proposals and Fees
Speaker: Gaby Aviad, MArch
Project systems include those activities of a practice that are based on the life cycle of projects. Unlike ongoing practice operating systems, such as financial management, project systems are temporary in that they come to an end and have a defined, unique outcome. Project systems include project planning, project execution, project control and project closer. Being a project-based industry, by far the majority of a firm’s resources are invested in project activities. The two project activities to be discussed in this lesson are project related marketing, including responding to RFPs, and estimating project resources and analyzing market forces to develop an appropriate and competitive fee.
Project Management: Client Agreements
Speaker: Michael Miller, B.Arch., OAA, FRAIC
From the standpoint of practice and project risk management, establishing a system for quickly developing agreements and planning projects sets a solid foundation for firm growth and sustainability.