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Project Planning & Design

Pass PPD with NCARB-approved test prep

Get Ready To Crush Project Planning & Design

The first ARE® 5.0 Project Planning & Design (PPD) study materials with the NCARB stamp of approval. Prep with Video Lectures, Practice Exams, Digital Flashcards and Practical Application Videos. Prepare on your own schedule, or with your peers in one of our Virtual Workshops. All materials are designed by ARE veterans and built in alignment with NCARB’s exam objectives.


About Project Planning & Design

The Project Planning & Design (PPD) exam focuses on the preliminary design of sites and buildings. Our study materials dig into building systems and assemblies, as well as zoning and environmental regulations. We cover how to apply information gathered during the programming & analysis phase, and how to appropriately place a building on a project site. Here’s how NCARB structures the PPD exam:

  • Environmental Conditions & Context

    10-16 expected items, 10-16% target percentage

    • Determining location of building and site improvements based on site analysis
    • Determining sustainable principles to apply to design
    • Determining impact of neighborhood context on the project design
  • Building Systems, Materials & Assemblies

    19-25 expected items, 19-25% target percentage

    • Determining mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems
    • Determining structural systems
    • Determining special systems such as acoustics, communications, lighting, security, conveying, and fire suppression
    • Determining materials and assemblies to meet programmatic, budgetary, and regulatory requirements
  • Project Costs & Budgeting

    19-25 expected items, 19-25% target percentage

    • Evaluating design alternatives based on the program
    • Performing cost evaluation
    • Evaluating cost considerations during the design process
  • Codes & Regulations

    16-22 expected items, 16-22% target percentage

    • Applying zoning and environmental regulations to site and building design
    • Applying building codes to building design
    • Integrating multiple codes to a project design
  • Project Integration of Programs & Systems

    32-38 expected items, 32-38% target percentage

    • Determining building configuration
    • Integrating building systems in the project design
    • Integrating program requirements into a project design
    • Integrating environmental and contextual conditions in the project design

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ARE® Overall Practice Management (PcM) Project Management (PjM) Programming & Analysis (P&A) Project Planning & Design (PP&D) Project Dev. & Documenation (PD&D) Construction & Evaluation (C&E) Pass Rate Black Spectacles National Avg. 75% 54%

Our members report passing PPD at a % higher rate than the NCARB-published national average.*

ARE Live

Chosen by ArchDaily as one of the best podcasts for architects, ARE Live is where you come for help with passing the ARE. Featuring discussions and exercises including ARE division topics and NCARB objectives led by distinguished architects and industry experts, ARE Live comes to you monthly, and it’s on the house.