The roles and responsibilities of an architect are far more involved than many people may initially realise.
Below we will explain some of these to help those considering the appointment of an architect understand why they are an essential part of any building project.
An automatic response to “what does an architect do” is that they design structures for the residential and commercial sectors.
While this is very true, there are lots of other things they are tasked with which involves the building(s) concerned. These include:
- Meeting the needs of its occupants
- Ensuring building regulations are adhered to
- Adhering to relevant planning regulations.
This is by no means an exhaustive list but should give you an idea that simply designing buildings is not an architect’s only role.
Close working relationships with clients:
From initial tender and first client meetings to completion of a project an architect needs to possess sound customer service skills.
They are required to work closely with clients, and this work starts immediately. Before drafting any plans there will be several meetings to understand the scope of the project, the client’s objectives, any specific requirements and their proposed budget.
Close working relationships with contractors:
An appointed architect also needs to work closely with other related professionals. Examples being:
- Urban planners
- Landscape architects
- Nominated construction personnel
- Interior designers
These interactions require excellent written and oral skills as well as a fair dollop of patience!
Design, Plan, Develop:
The design, planning and development stages of any project are integral parts of an architect’s routine. They are tasked with providing predesign information relating to such things as:
- Environmental impact
- Feasibility studies
- Land use studies
- Analysis of costs involved and presented
Drawings and plans:
Depending on the type and size of the actual project there will be varying amount of drawings and plans which need producing. Ones that will always be completed are ‘Final Construction’ plans.
This is considered as the blueprint for the project and is a step-by-step guide relating to the finished building. It his highly detailed and will include installation and placement of such things as plumbing, heating, ventilation, communication, electrical and structural systems.
Advanced technology is playing an increasing part in an architect’s roles and responsibilities.
This means they must be technology-savvy and trained to use such things as CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) systems, building modelling methodology, software to simulate different types of construction approaches, and have knowledge of spreadsheet and accounting software packages.
Full project involvement:
An architect can be involved from beginning to completion of a project and as such they must have their finger firmly on the pulse.
An architect’s responsibility extends to regular liaison with the client. This is to ensure they are kept fully informed of progress, informed of all planning and regulatory permissions required and of any modifications to the proposed design.
Architects can also take on the role and responsibility of full project management. When this happens they then become responsible for every aspect of the project including agreed schedule of works, meeting timescales for completion and constant cost analysis to ensure budgets are being maintained.
No easy task!
As can be seen from the above, the roles and responsibilities of an architect are wide and varied, and if truth be told, we have only really skimmed the surface of a very demanding profession.