When I’m asked, “Why be an AIA member?” I usually have lots of [monetary] good reasons: access to contracts, discounts on books, someone else can maintain my CEU record, etc. On the other hand, it is fairly costly if those are the only benefits I get from my membership. Beyond the strictly financial considerations, access to colleagues and other architects rises to the cream of the crop of “reasons” why I continue to pay the admission fee. I can say from direct experience the folks I have met through my involvement with AIA Small Projects Practitioners knowledge community has been “worth” the price of admission many times over. As a small-firm practitioner, I no longer feel at a disadvantage when going head to head with the “bigger" firms on project. I know that I have developed and cultivated relationships with a wide variety of folks who I can email or call and bounce a few ideas, regardless of the root:
- design related: “I’ve got this project…”
- contractual considerations: “Have you ever seen this clause in an owner’s contract…?”
- sustainability and materials: “Do you know of a product that does such and such…?”
A few of my prized friends have evolved into a “think tank” of sorts—great for continued thinking outside the box (when coloring outside that box, we say,“What, there were lines?").
For what reasons are you a member?
—Lisa Stacholy, AIA, NCARB