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ARE 5.0 Sample Question Breakdown

ARE 5.0 multiple choice questions are constructed so that only one of the answer choices is the best option. Because the remaining answer choices (distractors) are plausible, it’s the candidate’s job to dissect the question (stem) for clues as to why one answer choice is better than another. Take this NCARB sample problem, for example.  

 

During a routine site visit, the owner tells the architect to change the layout of two interior framed walls the contractor has already framed based on the construction documents. The framing changes will not have an impact on any code-related issues. The owner is adamant the walls be reframed per their new request. Which of the following should the architect do?

A. Ask the contractor to schedule a meeting onsite with the owner, architect, and framing subcontractor to review the changes

B. Review the expected effect on construction cost and schedule with the contractor, then prepare a change order for owner review

C. Issue a construction change directive, with a requirement for time and material invoices to be submitted for the work

D. Include documentation of the discussion and a drawing

 

 

 

Let’s break this stem down into its various elements:

  • During a routine site visit,

It was not one of the architect’s two required inspections (no substantial/final completion issues). 

 

  • the owner tells the architect to change the layout of two interior framed walls

The owner wants something changed. Presumably, the owner does not expect the architect to pick up a hammer and begin reframing.

 

  • the contractor has already framed based on the construction documents.

That portion of the work is done and it is in accordance with the construction documents.

 

  • The framing changes will not have an impact on any code-related issues.

The proposed changes are within the general scope of the contract

 

  • The owner is adamant the walls be reframed per their new request.

       The proposed changes must be made.

 

Which of the following should the architect do?

A. Ask the contractor to schedule a meeting onsite with the owner, architect, and framing subcontractor to review the changes

B. Review the expected effect on construction cost and schedule with the contractor, then prepare a change order for owner review

C. Issue a construction change directive, with a requirement for time and material invoices to be submitted for the work

D. Include documentation of the discussion and a drawing

 

 

Many candidates choose “B” (prepare a change order), which seems reasonable. However, the most correct answer choice is “C” (issue a construction change directive).

Why? Because the owner is “adamant.” This is the one clue to selecting the correct answer. The owner’s inexorable decision to change the layout of the two walls can be ordered via construction change directive even though the contractor and owner have yet to agree on any change in cost or time.

 

Here’s the relevant article from AIA Document A201-2007:

7.3.1

A Construction Change Directive is a written order prepared by the Architect and signed by the Owner and Architect, directing a change in the Work prior to agreement on adjustment, if any, in the Contract Sum or Contract Time, or both. The Owner may by Construction Change Directive, without invalidating the Contract, order changes in the Work within the general scope of the Contract consisting of additions, deletions or other revisions, the Contract Sum and Contract Time being adjusted accordingly.

 

In reality, depending on the scope of the requested change, one of several scenarios might play out. It’s possible that, if the contractor is feeling particularly charitable, the walls might just be reframed, no questions asked. However, because the owner is “adamant” there is only one best option. If the owner was merely interested, any of the answer choice distractors might suffice. 

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