Architects create designs for new projects, alterations and redevelopments. They use their specialist construction knowledge and high level drawing skills to design buildings that are functional, safe, sustainable and aesthetically pleasing.
Architects stay involved throughout the construction process, adapting their plans according to budget constraints, environmental factors or client needs. As such, they operate as part of an overall project team; they work closely with a range of construction professionals from quantity surveyors to building services engineers.
Typical work activities include:
creating building designs and highly detailed drawings both by hand and by using specialist computer-aided design (CAD) applications
liaising with construction professionals about the feasibility of potential projects
working around constraining factors such as town planning legislation, environmental impact and project budget
working closely with a team of other professionals such as building service engineers, construction managers, quantity surveyors and architectural technologists
applying for planning permission and advice from governmental new build and legal departments
writing and presenting reports, proposals, applications and contracts
choosing the materials to be used and specifying the requirements for the project
adapting plans according to circumstances and resolving any problems that may arise during construction
making sure the project is running according to schedule and budget
playing a part in project and team management
travelling regularly to building sites, proposed locations and client meetings
For the most part an architect’s working day will be office based. However, site visits and meetings with clients are frequent, so travel can figure prominently.
Working hours are typically 8.00 am to 5.00 pm, Sat to Thr, but architects may also have to work extra hours, evenings and weekends to meet tight deadlines.
Most architects work for private firms, but chartered architects often set up their own practice.
Training and continual professional development are key features of the work. Career progression is possible through partnership or specialisation.