What does an architect do?

Whether you need a home extension or your company wants new headquarters, you should hire an architect for the project. However, not everyone is aware of all the many services an architect offers.

Perhaps the most valuable contribution from an architect is their creative and design expertise. They can lift a design from purely functional to something special. Creativity and design are not the only aspects an architect brings to a building project. The design process varies depending on the type of project, but a typical project goes through the following stages.


Before an architect commences work on a design, they assist the client in establishing the financial and time requirements of the project. It has to be agreed that what the client wants is possible within the budget and the time allocated.

The building or extension has to be feasible and be able to be constructed on the proposed site.

Design development

Once the client and architect have agreed on the project brief, schematic designs are made. These are typically drawings and specification documents that show the scale of the project and the material components of the building.

If the project requires planning permission, the architect will prepare plans for the local council’s planning department to approve.

At this stage, the architect will have a detailed estimate of the cost of the building. This will often be based on the architect’s previous work if they have designed buildings with similar complexity and scope.

A detailed drawing of the building is then made, which is often created using computer-aided design software. This is a scale drawing with enough details to establish the specifications of the building, which should not be subject to any major modifications.

Construction documents

Construction documents are drawings that various tradespeople can follow, including plumbers, mechanical engineers, electricians and construction workers. These transform construction plans into physical reality.

If the client has not selected a construction company for the project, an architect can help them find a quality one.

Construction administration

An architect can also be involved at the construction stage. Sometimes, payments for major building projects are due at specified stages. The architect can agree that the constructor has reached the various stages that trigger payments.

The architect can also visit the construction site to observe the progress of the project. When the building work has been completed, the architect will inspect the site to confirm everything is in order. Once the project competition has been approved, the building is ready for occupancy.

Long training for many skills

For simple projects, a designer that is not a qualified architect can be used, but they may not be legally liable for any design errors, and they will not offer the comprehensive service that a qualified architect can provide.

Architects need to master several key skill areas. They are required to follow a strict code of practice and have professional liability insurance. Architects go through long training in order to qualify and produce quality buildings for their clients.

Posted by Mark
June 4, 2021

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