OpenAI recently released an updated version of their GPT large language model, GPT-4, and have incorporated it into their ChatGPT chatbot. In case you've been living under a rock, ChatGPT is a chatbot that uses large language models, which use artificial neural networks with many billions of connections between the neurons, and are “trained” on huge volumes of text and other data. Large language models learn to predict the next word in a sequence, which gives them the ability to respond to prompts and answer questions.
By most accounts, GPT-4 is significantly better at answering questions and responding to prompts than previous large language models from OpenAI. The company gives several examples of GPT-4 getting very high scores on various tests of human competency — Advanced Placement (AP) course exams, programming tests, the SAT, the LSAT, etc:
Since its release, people have also found that GPT-4 can give surprisingly cogent answers to questions about architecture, building design, and the building code:
Others, however, have found that ChatGPT gives incorrect answers to building code questions:
To find out how much GPT-4 knows about architecture and building design, I gave ChatGPT (with the GPT-4 model) a practice version of the Architect Registration Examination (ARE), which is given by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). This is the test architects must pass (typically after several years of experience) to become licensed architects. It consists of six separate tests of 65 to 100 questions each. Each section tests a different area of architectural knowledge, from developing the concept for a building up through its construction:
Programming and Analysis - This test has questions about analyzing project requirements and constraints, such as project type, lot size, zoning and code requirements, and budget, and understanding how they interact to shape a building concept.
Example question: Which consultants should an architect hire for the design of an airline club that has strict acoustic criteria and requires LEED Gold certification?
Project Planning and Design - This test has questions about taking project requirements and turning them into an actual design concept for a building (or series of buildings). It includes questions on selecting building systems that will meet the cost, code, and other project requirements.
Example question: What is the best location for a house on a hill that will minimize solar gain and maximize natural ventilation?
Project Development and Documentation - This test has questions about turning a design concept into a fully fleshed out set of documents - drawings, specifications, etc. - that can be used to construct the actual building.
Example question: What hardware should be specified for an exit door on a clinic with an occupant load of 100?
Project Management - This portion has questions about managing an architectural project - how to ensure a project is delivered on time, on budget, and meets client expectations while meeting professional and legal requirements.
Example question: Who is responsible for correcting an error in the design of a storm drain system that incorrectly ties to a sanitary sewer?
Construction & Evaluation - Questions about the actual construction process, as well as evaluating the building after it has been constructed.
Example question: How should an architect respond to a contractor change order that results from conflicting architectural and structural drawings?
Practice Management - This section is about running an architectural consulting business. It has questions on rules and guidelines for interacting with clients, managing an architectural staff, developing new business, and operating profitably.
Example question: How can an architectural firm increase the efficiency of junior staff?
Most questions on the tests are multiple choice, with some requiring you to select several answers (such as "Which of the strategies listed below would work to bring a project back in budget? Choose Three"). Some questions are free response, and require performing some type of calculation - how many windows are required here, what’s the most square footage this project could be, etc. And some questions need to be answered via sketch (such as selecting the column that would receive the highest load on a floor plan, or arranging a building in the most favorable way on a site).
The pass rate of the ARE is not particularly high. Each section has a pass rate in the 40-60% range, and presumably the joint passing rate of passing all the tests at once is even lower:
GPT-4 is “multimodal” (meaning it can take both text and images as input), but as of now ChatGPT can only take text as an input and give text as an output. Because of this, I wasn't able to give ChatGPT every question on the practice ARE. I omitted questions that relied on images (either in the input or the output), or that otherwise required reference material (charts and tables) that ChatGPT couldn’t access. I did, however, include questions that referred to a section of the International Building Code. In the end, I was able to ask ChatGPT 222 questions out of the 490 questions on the test, or just under half.
Large language models often vary in their performance depending on how they’re “prompted” — they often do better if you give them clues as to the kind of answer you’re looking for, or ask specifically for “expert” advice of a certain type. To try to take advantage of this, I gave ChatGPT the following prompt before asking it any questions:
Imagine you are an AI named ARCHGPT designed to provide expert answers to architectural and building design questions, as an architect with many years of experience would. You have extensive knowledge of all relevant standards and practices that an architect must know, including all versions of the International Building Code (IBC), NFPA and NEC standards, ASME standards, AISC standards, AIA standards (including the Architect’s handbook of professional practice), and so on. You are capable of interpreting the building code and these standards and answering questions about them
So how did ChatGPT do on the test? Here’s a table with its performance:
Of the 222 test questions asked, ChatGPT got 156 correct, just over 70%. Because the score needed to pass changes from year to year, and from test to test, NCARB provides a passing range for each of the six tests. For three of the tests, ChatGPT was above the passing range in percentage terms. For the other three tests, ChatGPT was within the passing range (above the high end but below low end). In other words, ignoring for the moment that ChatGPT only answered half of the questions, it passed three of the six ARE tests, and possibly passed the other three.
One possible issue with interpreting these results is whether the practice ARE test was part of the training data for GPT-4. If it was, ChatGPT might simply be regurgitating answers that it has already memorized, rather than correctly answering questions that it has never seen before. There’s evidence that GPT-4’s performance on programming tests is the result of this sort of memorization:
It’s not clear if this ARE practice exam is part of GPT-4s training data or not. The date cutoff for GPT-4 training data is generally around September of 2021, and the ARE practice test is copyright 2022, but the exam may have reused old questions from previous practice tests. Also, the practice exam wasn’t in machine readable format - it was a non-OCR’d PDF that I had to run through OCR before the text could be copy/pasted - though if OpenAI is already OCRing PDFs to get more training data this wouldn’t be an obstacle. I think there’s a good chance that this practice test wasn’t a part of the training data, but it’s hard to know for sure.
That out of the way, let’s take a closer look at how ChatGPT did on each portion of the test.
Development and documentation
ChatGPT did well on this portion, answering just under half the questions (44 out of 100) and getting 31 correct (70.5%), well above the passing range (58-65%). ChatGPT was in general able to correctly describe the performance of various building systems, and how different systems will interact. Here, for instance, ChatGPT correctly picks the facade attributes that will affect the HVAC systems:
Question: An architect is coordinating the design of a building facade with the mechanical system. The facade of the building will feature both opaque and vision glass. Which attributes of the facade will impact the design of the mechanical system? Choose the three that apply.
A Type of heat-treated glass
B Thickness of the glass pane
C Shading coefficient of the glass
D Window-to-wall ratio of the facade
E U-value performance of the facade
F Color of the glazing framing material
ChatGPT: The design of the building facade can impact the design of the mechanical system, particularly in terms of heating, cooling, and ventilation requirements. The three attributes of the facade that will most likely impact the mechanical system are:
C. Shading coefficient of the glass: The shading coefficient is a measure of the solar heat gain through a particular type of glass compared to a reference glass. A lower shading coefficient indicates less solar heat gain, which can influence the building's cooling requirements.
D. Window-to-wall ratio of the facade: The window-to-wall ratio (WWR) represents the proportion of glazing to the total exterior wall area. A higher WWR can result in more solar heat gain and increased heat loss, which can affect the heating and cooling demands of the building.
E. U-value performance of the facade: The U-value (or thermal transmittance) measures the rate of heat transfer through a building component, such as walls or windows. A lower U-value indicates better insulation and reduced heat transfer, which can impact the building's heating and cooling requirements.
ChatGPT also correctly describes why the other options were incorrect:
The other options are less likely to have a significant impact on the mechanical system design:
A. Type of heat-treated glass: Heat treatment (tempering or heat-strengthening) primarily affects the strength and safety of the glass, rather than its thermal properties.
B. Thickness of the glass pane: The thickness of a single glass pane has a relatively minor effect on the overall thermal performance of the facade. Insulation performance is more influenced by the type of glazing system, such as double or triple glazing, and the gas fill between panes.
F. Color of the glazing framing material: The color of the framing material generally has a minimal impact on the thermal performance of the facade, especially when compared to the properties of the glass and the overall facade design.
And here it correctly answers a question about corrosion considerations in a marine environment:
Question: An architect is designing a new office building in a marine environment that will receive regular ocean spray. The structural frame of the building will be made of carbon steel anchored to a concrete pile foundation. The skin of the building will consist of a brushed finished, aluminum framed, glass curtain wall.
What should the architect take into account when detailing the structural connections?
A. Selection and placement of materials and coatings to resist galvanic corrosion.
B. Determination of the use of sulfate-resistant cement in the pile foundation.
C. Choice of low iron glass for the ocean-facing side.
ChatGPT: In this scenario, the architect should take into account:
A. Selection and placement of materials and coatings to resist galvanic corrosion.
Galvanic corrosion can occur when two dissimilar metals, such as carbon steel and aluminum, are in contact with each other in the presence of an electrolyte, like saltwater from ocean spray. To prevent galvanic corrosion, the architect should consider using appropriate materials and coatings for the structural connections, as well as isolating dissimilar metals with non-conductive materials or coatings.
The other options mentioned are less relevant to detailing the structural connections:
B. Determination of the use of sulfate-resistant cement in the pile foundation: While sulfate-resistant cement can be important for concrete structures exposed to sulfate-rich environments (e.g., soils or groundwater), it is not directly related to the detailing of structural connections between carbon steel and aluminum elements.
C. Choice of low iron glass for the ocean-facing side: Low iron glass can provide better clarity and color neutrality, particularly in thicker or laminated glass applications. However, this is not directly related to the detailing of structural connections between carbon steel and aluminum elements in the building.
Where did ChatGPT go wrong in this section?
On several questions, ChatGPT gave incorrect answers due to what seems like a lack of “physical intuition” — an understanding of how things behave in the real world. For instance, consider this question about a penetration through a steel beam:
Question: An architect notices a conflict between a two-inch sanitary line and a structural beam. The beam is a W24 steel wide flange with one end supported by a steel girder and the other end supported by a concrete wall. The architect wants to disturb the structural system as little as possible.
Where should the architect detail the beam penetration?
A. Web opening at the beam quarter span.
B. Web opening at the beam middle span.
C. Web opening at the end of the beam.
ChatGPT: A. Web opening at the beam quarter span.
To minimize the impact on the structural system, the architect should detail the penetration at the quarter span of the beam. At this location, the beam has reduced bending moment and shear force compared to the middle span or near the supports, which makes it a preferable location for a web opening. This will minimize the potential weakening of the beam due to the penetration.
It is important to work closely with a structural engineer to ensure the proper design and detailing of the beam penetration to maintain the structural integrity and performance of the beam.
The correct answer here is B — the penetration should be in the middle of the span. ChatGPT correctly states that the quarter point will balance between reduced shear and reduced moment. However, it doesn't seem to "know" that in a steel W-section the moment will be carried by the top and bottom flanges, and that you can safely penetrate the web of the beam without impacting moment capacity.
Several other wrong answers in this section show a similar lack of physical intuition. In a question that requires a height calculation, ChatGPT gets the wrong answer because it doesn't "know" that mechanical ducts can (and generally are) oriented so their largest dimension is horizontal, and it uses the width of a duct as part of the height calculation. For a solar panel positioning question, it doesn't "know" that the roof of a building will see more sunlight than the walls, making the roof a better place to put solar panels.
In some cases ChatGPT also seemed to have difficulty prioritizing conflicting requirements. In a question about how to handle a small general note discrepancy, ChatGPT says that drawings should be reissued, even though that would slow down the project and meeting the schedule is a high priority (the correct answer is to issue the incorrect drawings and provide an addendum, which will let work continue).
There were also several questions where ChatGPT incorrectly described a building system’s properties, and thus answered questions about them incorrectly. In a question about exterior wall systems, ChatGPT mixes up “storefront” and “curtain wall”, and incorrectly says that baked enamel is more cost effective than fluoropolymer.
But for the most part, the errors ChatGPT made in this section seem "reasonable". Even when wrong, ChatGPT mostly (though not always) interpreted the question correctly and how the answers were related to it. The errors generally seemed like the type of errors that a person taking the test would make.
Construction and evaluation
ChatGPT also did well in this section, answering 27 out of 35 questions correctly (77%), the highest out of any section and above the passing rate of 58-65%. ChatGPT was fairly accurate when describing the architect's responsibilities during the construction process. Here, for instance, ChatGPT correctly answers a question about how an architect should respond to an incomplete submittal:
Question: A contractor, following an accelerated construction schedule, provides a construction submittal for a ceramic tile product and accessories identified in the specifications. The submittal includes product data, test results, shop drawings, and a scanned picture of the product. However, the specifications require a physical sample in the submittal for review and approval, but it is has not been provided.
How should the architect respond to the incomplete submittal?
A. Submit an RFI to the owner asking for clarification on the incomplete submittal.
B. Review the compliant portions of the submittal and note that a physical sample is required for approval.
C. Approve the entire submittal because only the physical sample requirement was not in compliance with the specifications.
ChatGPT: B. Review the compliant portions of the submittal and note that a physical sample is required for approval.
The architect should review the portions of the submittal that are in compliance with the specifications and provide feedback on those items. Additionally, the architect should note in their response that a physical sample is still required for approval, as stated in the specifications. This ensures that the contractor is aware of the missing requirement and can provide the necessary sample for a complete and compliant submittal.
And here ChatGPT makes a correct recommendation for meeting a desired completion date:
Question: A 15,000-square-foot privately-owned healthcare clinic is under construction and 30% complete. It is experiencing multiple delays and is in danger of missing the scheduled substantial completion date in the contract. The owner/contractor agreement calls for liquidated damages of $1,000 per day. The contractor has documented the causes of the delays and claims no responsibility for them. The architect and owner agree with the contractor's claim on some of the delays but dispute others. The parties have not been able to negotiate a resolution on the discrepancies. The owner's primary concerns are holding to the substantial completion date in the contract and avoiding legal proceedings.
What should the architect recommend to the owner?
A. Request a schedule from the contractor to meet the substantial completion date with no additional costs to the owner.
B. Amend the contract to include a bonus provision to meet the stipulated substantial completion date.
C. Prepare to seek liquidated damages upon project completion.
ChatGPT: B. Amend the contract to include a bonus provision to meet the stipulated substantial completion date.
To address the owner's concerns of holding to the substantial completion date and avoiding legal proceedings, the architect should recommend amending the contract to include a bonus provision for the contractor if they meet the stipulated substantial completion date. This provides an incentive for the contractor to make up for lost time and complete the project on schedule, while also avoiding potential legal disputes.
When it answered questions incorrectly, ChatGPT once again mostly showed a correct "understanding" of the question. Consider this question for instance:
Question: A mixed-use commercial building with two ground-level restaurants is 35% into construction. After the slabs for the ground-level concrete floor have been poured, the contractor sends an RFI to the architect noting that the plumbing drawings show floor drains in the commercial kitchens, but the architectural drawings do not have floor drains. The contractor excluded floor drains during the slab pour, and the RFI requests that the floor drains be removed. The architect responds that plumbing code requires floor drains and submits a sketch with new floor drain locations. After closing the RFI, the contractor submits a change order request to the architect and owner for the additional work to drill the concrete slab and retroactively add floor drains.
Who is responsible for the cost of the concrete removal and reinstallation?
D. Plumbing engineer
ChatGPT: A. Owner
In this case, the owner is responsible for the cost of the concrete removal and reinstallation because the floor drains were required by plumbing code and were shown on the plumbing drawings. The contractor should have reviewed all relevant drawings and coordinated the work accordingly. However, the architect should have also ensured that the architectural drawings were consistent with the plumbing drawings. The owner is ultimately responsible for the cost of changes or corrections required due to discrepancies in the design documents
Here the correct answer is B — the contractor. ChatGPT correctly states that the architect should have shown the drains on their drawings, and correctly states that the contractor should have reviewed the architects’ drawings, but it doesn’t allocate responsibility appropriately.
Most other errors in this section were similarly "reasonable", and were often the result of correctly understanding the question and the relevant considerations, but incorrectly weighing them or balancing conflicting requirements. In a question about adding plywood protection for glass doors during construction, for instance, ChatGPT correctly allocates responsibility to the contractor, but misses how that needs to be handled if costs are disputed. In a question about submittal review, ChatGPT correctly states that the architect reviews shop drawings but incorrectly interprets which shop drawings are the architect’s responsibility.
Project planning and design
ChatGPT did somewhat less well in this section, answering 30 out of 43 questions correctly (69.8%) and only getting "within" the passing rate, though it still answered the majority of the questions it was asked correctly. ChatGPT was able to correctly choose a roofing material that would minimize water contamination , infer what would happen when required air changes per hour are increased (greater roof load and larger air ducts) , and balance preservation and accessibility requirements for a historic park .
For incorrect answers in this section we see several more errors related to a missing physical intuition. ChatGPT didn’t "know" that concrete slab framing would be shallower than steel beam framing, or that a cantilever foundation is needed for construction next to an existing building, or the way to pack appliances into a bathroom as tightly as possible. However, it did get some physical intuition questions correct — when calculating the number of stair risers required, for instance, it correctly stated that you can't have a fraction of a stair riser, and rounded up appropriately .
We also see the same factual errors that we saw in previous sections. In a question about hydraulic elevators, ChatGPT incorrectly states that conventional hydraulic has lower initial costs than holeless hydraulic (though it correctly states that hydraulic elevators will have higher operational costs than traction elevators). As in previous sections, even when answering incorrectly, ChatGPT mostly interprets the question correctly.
ChatGPT answered 28 out of the 40 questions given in this section (70%), above the required passing rate of 61-68%. ChatGPT correctly answered questions about things such as email communication  and interpreting AIA B101 requirements .
Many of the errors in this section were related to incorrectly prioritizing conflicting goals, though ChatGPT also makes a few errors of interpretation (such as not knowing what a "planned multiplier" is) . This section had one of the few (possibly only) complete hallucinations, where ChatGPT answered ‘D’ on a multiple choice question where only A, B, and C were options:
Question: An owner receives a grant to construct a community center. The owner informs the architect that the total project budget, including soft costs, must not exceed the amount of the grant. Therefore, maintaining the budget is established as a primary design objective. As a result, the architect hires a third-party estimator to help monitor costs throughout the design process.
During a review of the design development documents, the owner directs the architect to include a playground that was not in the original program. The estimated value for the playground will exceed the owner’s budget.
How should the architect respond first to the owner's directive?
A. Document the owner's directive and solicit alternative funding.
B. Notify the owner of fees for additional services due to scope creep.
C. Inform the owner the directive will require a contract change order.
ChatGPT: D. Discuss the budget implications and potential cost-saving alternatives with the owner.
Programming and analysis
This section was heavy on images, with lots of questions about arranging building elements and how to place a building on a site. ChatGPT was able to answer fewer questions in this section than any other portion of the test, just 19 out of the 75 questions. Of the questions it did answer, ChatGPT got the majority (13) of them correct, and was within the passing range, though obviously this doesn't mean as much when so few questions were answered. ChatGPT was able to correctly answer questions about corridor width to avoid solar exposure  and what energy improvement would best fit with a historic structure renovation . For incorrect answers, we again see failures of physical intuition (such as how a drive aisle is arranged in a parking lot), as well as how a building needs to be facing to catch southern winds. In at least one case ChatGPT gave an incorrect answer, but seemed to “realize” its answer was incorrect in its description — it suggested large windows as a passive cooling strategy, but went on to state that large windows should be minimized, not maximized .
Another section where ChatGPT was only "within" passing, answering 27 out of 41 (65.9%) questions correctly. ChatGPT answered a greater fraction of the questions in this section than any other (63% of them), though it also had the lowest rate of correct answers. ChatGPT correctly answered questions about liability insurance , copyright , and increasing staff efficiency .
This section had a lot of questions that seemed very open to interpretation, and often ChatGPT's wrong answer seemed as good (or better) than the "correct" answer. For instance, in this question about how to increase firm profitability:
Question: The principal of an architecture firm realizes there is a significant gap between current profitability and annual goals. The principal decides to implement a sustainable strategy to increase annual profitability. What strategy should the principal implement?
A. Add two new interns to the team.
B. Increase billing rates by $6 per hour.
C. Accept various projects in new typologies.
D. Extend the design team's work to 50 hours per week.
ChatGPT: C. Accept various projects in new typologies.
Expanding the firm's portfolio by accepting projects in new typologies can help diversify the client base, increase opportunities for revenue, and ultimately improve profitability. This sustainable strategy allows the firm to adapt to changing market demands and reduces the risk of depending solely on a single type of project.
Options A, B, and D might bring temporary financial gains, but they do not address long-term sustainability and growth. Increasing billing rates or extending work hours might negatively impact client relationships or employee satisfaction, whereas hiring more interns does not guarantee an increase in profitability
Here the "correct" answer is B, but ChatGPT correctly points out that there are issues with this as a sustainable strategy.
Though it could only answer about half of the questions on the Architect Registration Examination, ChatGPT with GPT-4 did well on the questions that it did answer, and was within or above passing range on every test given. For the questions that it got wrong, ChatGPT mostly seemed to interpret the question correctly — errors were often due to incorrect information (such as which of two building systems would be cheaper), incorrectly balancing conflicting goals, or a missing physical intuition. And there wasn’t a type of question that ChatGPT consistently answered wrong — in several cases ChatGPT correctly answered questions that seemed to require physical intuition or balancing conflicting requirements.
Ultimately, it’s unlikely ChatGPT could pass the full ARE exam, even if it could be given the necessary images and other reference material. ChatGPT seemed weakest when answering questions about physical orientation of objects, and most of those questions were likely screened off by limiting ChatGPT to text-based questions. And interpreting drawings and construction documents is in a sense an entirely new “language” that GPT-4 likely has much less training data on. The questions I didn’t ask are thus likely ones ChatGPT would do especially badly on.
And more generally, the test format, where ChatGPT is provided with a question describing the scenario and several possible answers, plays very much to ChatGPT’s strengths. It’s much easier for ChatGPT to give an answer if it can get “help” with what the answer likely is and where it needs to look for it. But real world questions about building design don’t have a right answer that’s known in advance, and they often need to balance multiple requirements (another thing that ChatGPT often seemed to struggle with).
ChatGPT does seem to have a reasonably thorough text-based “understanding” of architecture and building design, but it won’t be replacing architects just yet (that might need to wait for GPT-5).
 Question: An architect is using environmentally responsive and sustainable practices for the design of a farm-to-table restaurant. The owner has asked the architect to develop a water harvesting system that will collect water from the roof and reuse it for the watering of the restaurant's vegetable garden.
Which roofing material should the architect specify?
A. Treated cedar shingles
B. Galvanized standing seam
C. Asphalt composition shingles
ChatGPT: B. Galvanized standing seam
Galvanized standing seam roofing is a suitable choice for a water harvesting system because it is a durable, low-maintenance material that does not leach chemicals or toxins into the collected water. Treated cedar shingles and asphalt composition shingles may introduce contaminants into the harvested water, making them less appropriate for a system meant to water a vegetable garden
 Question: During the DD phase for a 10-story office building, the owner requests a 50% increase in air exchange per hour (ACH) capacity to reduce the risk of spreading infectious respiratory diseases. The SD drawings show chillers and air-handling units on the rooftop.
Which of the following changes will occur due to the ACH increase? Choose the two that apply. A. A decrease in occupant load for the entire building.
B. An increase in the dead load on the roof.
C. A decrease in shaft spaces on all levels.
D. An increase in shaft spaces on all levels.
E. A decrease in the water service pressure for the entire building.
F. An increase in the water service pressure for the entire building.
B. An increase in the dead load on the roof.
D. An increase in shaft spaces on all levels.
Increasing the air exchange per hour (ACH) capacity will likely require larger or additional air-handling units and chillers to accommodate the increased demand. This would result in an increased dead load on the roof due to the added weight of the equipment. Additionally, with a higher ACH capacity, there will be a need for larger or more ductwork and shaft spaces to handle the increased air volume throughout the building
 Question: An architect is hired to design accessible walking paths for a park that is on the National Register of Historic Places. In several areas, the architect finds that altering the existing walking paths would destroy an historically significant part of the site. The architect notes that only one accessible path can be provided.
How should the architect proceed?
A. Provide at least one accessible path through the park.
B. Provide a single accessible path to a viewpoint that can oversee the park.
C. Contact the National Register of Historic Places to gain approval for modifying all walking paths.
ChatGPT: A. Provide at least one accessible path through the park.
When working with historic sites, it is important to balance accessibility requirements with preserving the historic integrity of the site. In this case, the architect should aim to provide at least one accessible path through the park, minimizing the impact on historically significant features. This approach allows for some degree of accessibility without compromising the historic nature of the site. It may also be helpful for the architect to consult with the relevant historic preservation authorities for guidance on how to best accommodate accessibility needs in this context
 Question: An architect is adding a set of stairs from grade to the top landing of an existing ramp. Excluding all landings, the existing ramp is 28-feet-long and has a 1:16 slope. A survey shows no changes in grade on the site around the building. Each riser must be no more than 6 inches high. How many risers should the set of stairs include?
ChatGPT: To determine the number of risers for the stairs, first find the total rise (vertical distance) of the existing ramp.The existing ramp has a 1:16 slope and is 28-feet-long. The total rise can be calculated as follows:
Rise = (Length of the ramp) / (Slope) = (28 feet) / (16) = 1.75 feet
Since 1 foot equals 12 inches:
1.75 feet * 12 inches/foot = 21 inches
Now, to calculate the number of risers needed, divide the total rise by the maximum riser height (6 inches):
Number of risers = Total rise / Maximum riser height = 21 inches / 6 inches = 3.5
Since you cannot have a fraction of a riser, round up to the nearest whole number. Therefore, the set of stairs should include 4 risers
 Question: An architect hires a structural engineer consultant for a new condominium project. Five days before the design document drawings are due, the owner requests that a rooftop garden and patio be included in the project. The structural engineer sends an e-mail to the architect, requesting additional time and compensation for the incorporation of the new roof modifications.
If an e-mail is an approved form of documentation according to the consultant contract, what action should the architect take?
A. Forward the e-mail request with a description to the owner for review and approval.
B. Attach the e-mail to the owner's design document deliverables and invoice for payment.
C. Reply to the e-mail asking the engineer to send their request to the architect in the form of a letter.
ChatGPT: A. Forward the e-mail request with a description to the owner for review and approval.
If the e-mail is an approved form of documentation according to the consultant contract, the architect should forward the structural engineer's e-mail request along with a description of the changes to the owner for their review and approval. This will help ensure proper communication and understanding of the additional time and compensation required for the requested changes
 Question: An architect is reviewing the contractor's bids for the renovation of an early education school located within an historic district. The owner asks the architect to issue an addendum stating the following: « "The Historic Preservation Agency has committed to provide the owner up to $500,000 towards the renovation costs, if the owner agrees to restore furnishing and landscaping in an adjacent park."
According to the AIA B101, which service is included in the architect's standard service?
A. Provide the client with costs of site furnishing and landscaping.
B. Request that contractors include furnishing and landscaping costs in their bids.
C. Provide the client a list of historic preservation criteria and standards.
ChatGPT: B. Request that contractors include furnishing and landscaping costs in their bids.
According to the AIA B101, the architect's standard services include assisting the owner in bidding or negotiation. This means that the architect should issue an addendum to the contractors, asking them to include the costs of furnishing and landscaping in their bids, as requested by the owner.
 Question: An architect planned 1,000 hours for the design development (DD) phase of a project with an average billing rate of $50 per hour. The project has a planned multiplier of 3.05 and a total DD phase compensation of $152,500. At the end of DD, the architect finds that an excess of 240 labor hours were needed for DD.
What is the additional project cost?
ChatGPT: To calculate the additional project cost, we need to determine the cost of the excess labor hours during the Design Development (DD) phase:
Excess labor hours = 240 hours
Average billing rate = $50 per hour
Additional labor cost = Excess labor hours × Average billing rate
Additional labor cost = 240 hours × $50 per hour = $12,000
So, the additional project cost is $12,000.
CORRECT RESPONSE: $36,600
CALCULATION: 1. 240 (additional hours) x $50 (average hourly rate) x 3.05 (multiplier) = $36,600 in additional project costs
 Question: An architect is laying out the interior of a building in the upper Midwest for a new tenant build-out. The tenant wants to locate corridors with nine-foot ceilings on fully glazed exterior walls. On the other side of the wall, the tenant plans to hang an extensive artwork collection.
Based on a solar altitude angle of 24 degrees at the winter solstice, how wide should the south-facing corridor be to avoid direct sunlight on the opposite wall? Round to the nearest foot. A. 11 feet
B. 20 feet
C. 25 feet
ChatGPT: To calculate the width of the south-facing corridor to avoid direct sunlight on the opposite wall, we can use simple trigonometry. We know the solar altitude angle is 24 degrees at the winter solstice, and the height of the ceiling is 9 feet.
We want to find the width (x) of the corridor, so we'll use the tangent function:
tan(angle) = opposite/adjacent tan(24°) = 9/x
To solve for x, we can rearrange the equation:
x = 9/tan(24°)
Now, plug in the values:
x = 9/tan(24°) ≈ 20.4 feet
Rounding to the nearest foot, the width of the south-facing corridor should be approximately 20 feet (Option B) to avoid direct sunlight on the opposite wall.
 Question: An client owns an historic structure located in the northeastern United States. It features a south-facing, front facade with fine brick detailing and a parking area to the rear of the structure that is scheduled to be demolished and redeveloped.
Which one of the following sustainable strategies should the architect recommend?
A. Incorporate an exterior insulated finish system that increases the overall R-value of the facade.
B. Install a geothermal system to increase mechanical system efficiency.
C. Replace the existing roof with a low albedo material.
D. Install a new solar panel array on the front facade.
ChatGPT: B. Install a geothermal system to increase mechanical system efficiency.
Option B is the most appropriate sustainable strategy to recommend for this historic structure. A geothermal system increases mechanical system efficiency without compromising the historic facade or altering the building's appearance. The other options could impact the appearance or integrity of the historic structure, which is generally not advisable for such buildings
 Question: An architect is designing an energy-efficient home in the Southwest. The client has asked the architect to provide recommendations for passive cooling of the new home.
Which of the following passive cooling strategies should the architect use? Check the three that apply.
A. Roof ponds
B. Trombe wall
C. Evaporative mechanical cooling
D. Courtyards with fountains
E. Materials with high thermal mass
F. Large windows to the east and west
D. Courtyards with fountains
E. Materials with high thermal mass
F. Large windows to the east and west
Courtyards with fountains can provide evaporative cooling and create a comfortable microclimate within the courtyard. Materials with high thermal mass can absorb heat during the day and release it at night, helping to regulate indoor temperatures. Large windows to the east and west should be minimized, not maximized, to reduce heat gain. Instead, focus on shading strategies and proper orientation with more windows facing north and south to take advantage of daylight without excessive heat gain.
Correct answer: ADE CORRECT RESPONSES Roof ponds Roof ponds can provide thermal mass to the roof structure, which is a passive strategy to aid the cooling of the home. Courtyards with fountains Courtyard fountains provide evaporation and keep the air cool within the spaces of a home. Materials with high thermal mass Materials with high thermal mass help delay heat transmission and help with heat flushing during the night, making the building cooler during nighttime.
Brian: ChatGPT answers large windows but then realizes that's wrong in the description.
 Question: An architect who is a sole proprietor carries $1,000,000 in professional liability insurance. The architect wins a new building project that requires $3,000,000 in professional liability insurance.
For how long must the architect carry the additional professional liability insurance for this project?
A. For the life of the building.
B. For years after the project is completed.
C. Until the completion of all design phases.
D. Until the certificate of occupancy is issued.
ChatGPT: B. For years after the project is completed.
The architect must carry the additional professional liability insurance for a specific period after the project is completed, which is typically determined by the statute of limitations or the statute of repose in the jurisdiction where the project is located. These timeframes vary by state and can range from a few years to more than a decade.
The additional professional liability insurance helps protect the architect against claims of negligence or errors during the design and construction process. It is essential to maintain the coverage for the specified period after project completion, as claims can arise even after the project is finished.
 Question: An architect is in an initial program meeting with a trusted client. The client says they have acquired drawings of a hotel prototype that has been successfully built in five other locations. The client asks the architect to use the hotel drawings to prepare a permit set for a site that the client owns.
What action should the architect take to comply with ethical standards?
A. Stamp the drawings, including consultant drawings, based on the historical success of the hotel plan set.
B. Verify with the client they have satisfied all copyright requirements for use of the design before taking on the project.
C. Redraft the drawings after all local code analyses are complete.
D. Assume the drawings have been acquired legally and site adapt the prototype.
ChatGPT: B. Verify with the client they have satisfied all copyright requirements for use of the design before taking on the project.
According to the ethical standards set by the AIA Code of Ethics, the architect must ensure that the client has properly acquired the rights to use the hotel prototype drawings and satisfied all copyright requirements. Using someone else's drawings without proper permission or authorization would be a violation of intellectual property rights and professional ethics. Only after confirming the legal use of the design should the architect proceed with the project.
 Question: The partners of a newly created architectural firm have a goal of establishing themselves as experts in the aviation and transportation sectors. They are awarded a small-scale aviation project that will require them to hire several junior CAD/BIM staff members. The firm wants to make sure that the junior staff efficiently assemble contract documentation for the project.
How can the firm partners increase the efficiency of the junior production staff?
A. Establish master specifications of common aviation materials.
B. Implement a standard detail library of material assemblies.
C. Hire engineering consultants that specialize in aviation projects.
ChatGPT: B. Implement a standard detail library of material assemblies.
To increase the efficiency of the junior production staff, the firm partners should implement a standard detail library of material assemblies. This library can serve as a resource for the junior staff when assembling contract documentation, providing them with pre-drafted details that are relevant to aviation and transportation projects. This not only saves time but also helps maintain consistency and quality throughout the project.
While options A and C are valuable for the project's success, they do not directly address the efficiency of the junior production staff. Master specifications are important but mainly focus on written documentation, and hiring engineering consultants specialized in aviation projects would contribute to the overall project expertise but would not directly impact the junior staff's efficiency.
In my experience, current iterations of LLMs are best used as assistants to professionals rather than as professionals themselves.
I'm a software developer and LLM's have been helping me complete tasks faster for a year or so (Github Copilot). Since ChatGPT came out, I spend at least an hour a day actively engaged with it. Almost all of my conversations with it are not of the type where I'm asking it how to do something. They're almost always a back and forth exploration of various ways of solving problems.
Absolutely fascinating, particularily the bit about the chatbot struggling with some questions that involve perception of actual physical space, which makes sense, since it's a text-based AI. Reminds me of how infants have an intuitive sense of physical forces. This chatbot could be combined with other AI models that HAVE been trained with those skills (i.e. PLATO)