The best AEC project managers

“Project Managers don’t add any value to a project team.”

Yes, that is an actual quote. While it was said with a bit of sarcasm, we all know that there is some truth in sarcastic statements.

At smaller firms or on smaller projects, the project manager is probably doing a fair portion of the actual work on a project - site visits, redline markups, maybe even some design and BIM work. However, at larger firms or on very large projects, the project manager may strictly manage one or more projects.

The following quote hits on what I think it means to be a good project manager. This was in the context of software development, but it applies very much to the role of a project manager in an architecture or engineering firm.

“Tim wasn’t delivering software; Tim was delivering a team that was delivering software. The entire team became more effective, more productive, more aligned, more idiomatic, more fun, because Tim was in the team.” (source)

The best project managers are always working to make the team better, smarter, faster, more creative, and also more fun. Strive to be that PM whether you are doing “real work” or not.


August Billings and Design Contracts Decline

For the first time since April, both firm billings and design inquiries declined in August. In addition, fewer design contracts were signed. While numbers in the high 40s are considered “flat” all of this points to a potential slow down. We will have to wait and see how things unfold over the final few months of the year.

The commentary this month covers overall economic conditions in the US economy and an update on how many firms are outsourcing work to other countries.

August: 48.1, July: 50.0, June: 50.1, May: 51.0, April: 48.5, March: 50.4

ABI August 2023: Business conditions soften at architecture firms

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Cleaner Concrete Mandate for New York State Projects

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about concrete with some opposing views on whether it is a material that should be used because it creates such a sustainability problem. Last week, New York announced mandates for state projects to use “clean concrete.” These types of guidelines will spread across the country so you may want to review with your spec writer.

NYS Buy Clean Concrete Guidelines

The Architect’s Newspaper discusses how cement companies are updating their production process to improve emmissions.

Cement production has an emissions problem. Here’s how companies are addressing it.

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Should Your Firm Become a Certified B-Corp?

There are 86 architecture/design/planning firms that have become certified B-Corps, which are companies that operate with ethical and sustainable practices as evaluated by the non-profit B Lab. The Architect’s Newspaper looked into B-Crops in more detail.

More and more architecture firms are becoming certified B Corps: What are they, and what do they mean for architecture?

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New Action Plan to Increase DEI at Architecture Firms

The National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) and National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) released their action plan for improving diversity in the profession.

NCARB and NOMA Release Action Plan to Increase Diversity in Architecture

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China’s Ghost Cities

I’ve always been fascinated with China’s ghost cities. Some of the stories about construction in China are impressive while others are incredibly sad. Architizer looked at what the ghost cities say about the construction and housing economy in China.

Architecture and the Economy: Inside China’s Ghost Cities