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Architect: Job description

Architects work in the construction industry and are involved with designing new buildings, extensions or alterations to existing buildings, or advising on the restoration and conservation of old properties.

They can work on individual buildings or on large redevelopment schemes, and can be responsible for the design of the surrounding landscape and spaces.

Architects work closely with their clients and users to make sure that projected designs match their needs and are functional, safe and economical. They usually control a project from start to finish and work with a number of construction professionals, including surveyors and engineers, producing drawings and specifications that the construction team works to.

The role of an architect is very varied and can range from freelance and small-scale project work to employment with multinational organisations working on iconic landmarks.

Typical work activities

Architects are involved from the earliest stages of a building project, which can start with developing ideas with the client, establishing budgets, assessing the needs of the building and its users, and its impact within the local environment.

They assist with site selection and work closely with contractors on site, ensuring that works are carried out to specific standards and that, above all, the building is sustainable, functional and aesthetically pleasing. They also need to have an awareness of commercial and financial considerations.

 Responsibilities vary but typically include:

  • discussing the objectives, requirements and budget of a project;
  • consulting with other professionals about design;
  • preparing and presenting feasibility reports and design proposals to the client;
  • advising the client on the practicality of their project;
  • using IT in design and project management, specifically using computer-aided design software;
  • keeping within financial budgets and deadlines;
  • producing detailed workings, drawings and specifications;
  • specifying the nature and quality of materials required;
  • preparing tender applications and presentations;
  • negotiating with contractors and other professionals;
  • preparing applications for planning and building control departments;
  • drawing up tender documents for contracts;
  • project managing and helping to coordinate the work of contractors;
  • controlling a project from start to finish;
  • regular site visits to check on progress, ensuring that the project is running on time and to budget;
  • resolving problems and issues that arise during construction;
  • ensuring that the environmental impact of the project is managed.
 
 
AGCAS
Written by Chris Jones, Nottingham Trent University
Date: 
April 2014
 

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