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ARE Series: Construction & Evaluation CE

Updated: Mar 10

ANNOUNCEMENT: TONIGHT on 2/5/22 @ 4pmPT/7pmET Elif Bayram and I will be going LIVE on my Youtube channel to discuss all things ARE. Check out Elif's incredible practice exams at and join us here on the channel!

Let's break down the ARE (Architecture Registration Exam)! In my ARE Series I am taking you through each exam, how I studied, what I found useful, and how to pass. The third in the series is all about Construction & Evaluation (CE).

If this is your first post, I recommend starting with some of my other videos first. How to Get Through the ARE is a great starting point. I give you a rough idea of the entire exam process, what order to take the exams in, and most importantly what to do if (when) you fail. Start here and then come back when you're ready for CE!

Watch my Practice Management video here.

Watch my Project Management video here.

Now let's talk about Construction & Evaluation


Join the Mind Over ARE waitlist now to get first access to my next group coaching.

ARE 5 Review Manual

Architect's Handbook of Professional Practice (AHPP AKA Your Bible)

ARE Handbook

Ballast practice exams


NCARB puts CE as the last exam, so why am I reviewing this one in the middle? I recommend taking CE right after PcM and Pjm. These three exams are similar because they involve more than just design, they involve contracts, business, and in-office topics that sometimes have no relation to design. There are construction details that are important for CE, but the exam is heavily focused on contracts and responsibility which are also on the other 2 exams. Since this information is fresh in your mind from studying for those exams, I recommend bundling these 3. NCARB puts it at the end because if you are following a typical project schedule, the construction and evaluation of the construction are at the end of the project.

sections of the exam:

SECTION 1: Preconstruction Activities 17-23%

  • What project delivery method is used? What does this mean for your roles and responsibilities?

  • Understand contracts, project costs, and contractor selection in order to help advocate for your client and minimize risks

SECTION 2: Construction Observation 32-38%

  • What is the architect's role during construction and what is outside our responsibility? This is important to minimize risk and to not on accidentally take responsibility for something that is outside your jurisdiction.

  • Learn to determine project progress and make sure it is being built how you designed it.

SECTION 3: Administrative Procedures & Protocols 32-38%

  • What additional documents are you responsible for? When and how do you administer additional documents (certificate of payments, submittal evaluations, change orders, etc.)

SECTION 4: Project Closeout & Evaluation 7-13%

  • When is a project complete? Understanding what your role is as an architect during the finish phase of construction.

Important to Remember

  1. Not every exam is the same. Some might be all about contracts...some might not be. Some might have a ton of construction details...others might not. This is why it's important to study a little bit of everything, but if you get a wildcard exam (AKA an exam from hell) try not to stress it. If you don't pass the first time you'll get it the next time!

  2. We have to have an understanding of construction details in order to know what we're looking at when we're in the field. If we're supposed to comment on whether the waterproofing is done correctly, we need to understand what we're detailing. So, get familiar with details. These are a little harder to study, because knowledge comes from in field experience. I highly recommend Building Science Fight Club for a great understanding of waterproofing and other details. If you don't use Instagram you can sign up for her newsletter or you can even take her class. Her information will be extremely helpful for the design exams as well (PPD, PDD), but for now if you just want to follow her content on social media it will be useful.

  3. The most important thing as an architect is that we design healthy buildings. As you can remember from the first 2 exams, say it with me: we need to make sure we protect the HEATH, SAFETY, + WELFARE of the general public. So, when thinking of construction details we want to make sure we are properly handling water/moisture, air, fire, and anything else that might be harmful to our buildings and it's occupants. Water can be a building's biggest enemy, so don't forget that! Whenever you're being asked to create a detail, think of what the water will do - how can you keep it out?!

  4. How do materials transition from one to the other? Again...think about water!

  5. CE is more than just studying. You need to get out in the field. So, if you are working for a firm, ask them if you can get onto a construction site. Don't have access to any construction sites at your firm? No problem! There are "naked houses" (as my daughter likes to call them) everywhere. You'd be surprised how comfortable contractors are with letting you walk through their sites if you tell them you're studying for your exams. Even if you can't get inside, a lot can be observed from outside. Do what you can to get yourself in front of some real construction.

  6. Contracts to know: A201 and B101

  7. Know the main divisions of the CSI - don't feel like you have to memorize the entire thing

Study Tips

  1. ARE Handbook - Look over the handbook and see what they want you to study. Go back often to reference the handbook to make sure you are studying for each section.

  2. Resource Guide - Download my resource guide to show you what resources are best for this exam

  3. Architect's Handbook of Professional Practice AHPP - Check out the PDFs within my resource guide that break down what sections of the AHPP to study so you can focus your energy on the sections you need for the specific exam.

  4. ARE 5 Review Manual - This manual was key for my studying for each exam. The book breaks down each section of the exam with study material, it's so incredibly helpful!

  5. Building Construction Illustrated - This is needed for understanding construction details. You could get away with very limited resources for this exam as long as you have this one and something for the contracts + masterformat.

  6. Practice Practice Practice - Ballast practice exams, Designer Hacks, and Archizam

  7. Cornell Notes You may have not used these since high school (do they even still teach these in school??), but there is value in notes! Take notes while you're studying.

  8. Filler Words Read the questions of the exam VERY carefully. They will try to add extra information or filler words in the questions just to add noise to your head. Cross out any information that isn't relevant to what they are actually asking. Don't get bogged down by unnecessary information.

  9. Hold Yourself Accountable! Schedule it, create an incentive for yourself, join a study anything to hold yourself accountable. It's so easy to put off taking the exam, so design a way to make it harder for yourself to push it aside.

At this point you have a good feeling of what to expect when taking the exams. You now know it really can go either way - pass or fail. So, feel confident in the fact that you've continued on the journey, that's the most important thing!

As always, I go into a lot more detail in my video/podcast episode, so make sure to check it out! Please reach out with any questions as you move through your studies and please let me know if this has been helpful.


Download my free list of resources here

Architect's Handbook of Professional Practice (AHPP AKA Your Bible)

ARE Handbook

Ballast practice exams

*Note: Some of the reference links are affiliate links. This means if you purchase through the links it will help my small business. You won't pay a penny more, but we'll get a small commission. Every recommendation is there because I have personally used, tested, and highly recommend it. You will never find a recommendation solely for monetary purposes. Thank you for your support!


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