One question we have heard being murmured is “what roles do architects play in construction?” In our previous article, we mentioned that architects are one of the few people involved in construction.
Architects play a valuable role in construction. They are also encumbered with the task of providing the construction visuals. Visualization is the physical representation of the structures for a construction project on paper.
The client chooses an architect to design and plan the project based on his requirements and specifications.
The architect is then in charge of designing and planning the project. In like manner, he employs ideas that are creative and aesthetically pleasing. This is to fulfill the client’s construction goals.
Since architects are charged with the duties of designing, it is only fitting to know what roles they play. But first, who is an architect?
Who is an Architect?
According to Wikipedia.org an architect is a person who plans, designs, and oversees the construction of buildings.
An architect is a skilled individual who is licensed to carry out building designing and planning. They are highly trained since the safety of the occupants in the building rests in their designs.
To be addressed as such (architect), you have to be registered with a governing body. To get an architect license, you must have met some requirements and passed a professional exam. The requirements are academic, technical, practical, and professional training.
The Roles of Architects in Construction
Before an architect can play his/her role in construction, a meeting has to be held. This occurs after being approached by a sponsor/client. The meeting is to hash out two vital things:
- The project needs and wants
- The project requirements or prerequisites.
The architect is the heart of creativity in the project. He brings the artistic touch needed in your project. Nevertheless, there may be numerous meetings until both sides reach an agreement. However, the task of designing a whole structure is massive for one person to tackle alone. This is why architects bring in HVAC engineers and civil engineers so they can deliver a top-notch design.
The role of architects is not just limited to the drawing stage. They are to be involved every step of the way. Following this saying means that architects are to be involved in the three stages of construction:
- Pre-construction stage
- Construction stage
- Post-construction stage
If they are included at every level, what are their responsibilities when a construction project is underway?
Responsibilities of an Architect in Construction
The first quality of an architect is orderliness. They have to be very organized. This is so they can keep vital records such as contracts, budgets, timeframe. Coupled with the day-to-day development reports on the project. Below are the responsibilities of an architect;
After an architect is contracted and the client’s initial design is discussed, further meetings are held. This must happen before the final design can be approved. In like manner, discussions between several members of the team are held. Meetings between engineers are also conducted.
These meetings would aid in recognizing probable obstacles that lay ahead or differing viewpoints. What this does is to make certain that team members are on the same page. Client’s prerequisites, factors of the site, budget, safety, and regulations are some of the subjects addressed in these meetings.
Project Documentation and Drawing
Some technological documents are drawn up along with the design plan. They contain clearly defined instructions and specifications for the project to be used by the contractors. A design drawing has to be prepared before onsite work proceeds. This is because the drawing design demands a lot of work.
The initial drawing (the sketch design) shows where the building is to be located. Similarly, it shows the layout, available spaces, entry, and exit links. This gives the client an overall look at the project. When everyone reaches an agreement, the final sketch design would be prepared, in addition to the contract proposal.
“The architect provides a myriad of plan sketches such as the site, the floor, isometric views, and elevation. As well as 3D models, 3D views, and structural drawings. In the same way, the designs have to be checked to spot errors before approval.”
Most importantly, if a design is submitted early project delays are eliminated. This doesn’t cancel out revisions, as revisions must be done to accommodate the client’s budget, needs, laws, and regulations.
Subsequently, all the revisions are done, the final design blueprint would guide every member of the building team. Furthermore, architects have design software like BIM and CAD to help quicken the process too.
Project Cost Estimation
The greatest responsibility of an architect is cost estimation. An architect not only has to stop underestimating materials cost, but also the timeframe for construction. If he can avoid this, then he has effectively handled cost estimation. The engineers have to play cautiously with cost estimation since the success of their work depends on it.
Cost estimation does not only happen at the beginning of the project. It also runs throughout the project, cutting across the different stages of the project. After visualizing, ideating, and creating the building on a blueprint, next comes estimating.
The architect measures how much money, resources, and time the project would require. The extent of details provided in the cost estimation is fully dependent on the architect’s extent of work.
The Project Contract
The architect is actively involved in the contract authorization and deliberations process. He has the freedom to select or propose the contractors needed to perform different duties. Once the architect receives the necessary tenders, an analysis report is undertaken by him.
This is particularly to check and compare the expectations of the client, plus the budget with the analysis results. Additionally, the architect can assist with the bidding of the tender. This ensures that the client obtains an accurate procurement form.
The contract will also outline the extent of work required of the architect. After all, these conditions have been met, only then can construction commence, keeping to the codes and building regulations. Monthly checking of invoices and payments is an additional task for the architect to oversee.
Project Construction Proper
Once the aforesaid steps are completed, construction commences. The architect’s duties here change. He has to visit the site, hold meetings, and deal with arising problems. Also, he carries out documentation, task approval, and signs where necessary.
Duties and Skills of an Architect
- An architect must possess customer service skills: it is undoubtedly vital for an architect to cultivate social skills and etiquette. Considering how frequently they work with clients and other construction workers, they have to be great at communicating. Not only being adept at oral communication but also written communication.
- An architect must have a high level of retention: the nature of the work depicts the need for attentiveness to details. This aids him in recalling details of the contract, blueprint design, or even the faces of clients. Half of the project-related issues are resolved simply because of retention.
- An architect must be able to design: there is no architect without design. Architects are responsible for planning, designing, and formulating project plans. They also draw up needed documents; all based on the preconceived ideas, and conditions of the client.
- An architect must do research: learning about the various building codes, city laws, health and safety regulations, innovations, is the job of an architect. And as change is constant, he has to keep abreast with new codes and regulations.
- An architect must possess technical know-how: using innovative design software is only possible with training. Therefore, an architect has to have technical knowledge on using this software. Modeling software such as BIM is very practical for a shorter design duration.
The Importance of Architects to You
Below are six reasons why architects are important to you (the client):
- They Have the Imagination, You Have the Idea
Architects see the bigger picture and expand your small idea into a massive one. They do not just draw out the walls and the roof; they show you the whole environment. They show you the exterior and interior details, the snags, and the best spaces. They show you everything you need to bring your building to life while meeting your functional needs.
- They Have the Vision & Offer Guidance
You may have a big dream, but an architect is a trained professional. His education, expertise, and also his experience, give him the foresight to organize the whole construction process. He can help to clearly define your idea while ensuring you get the best value from your project.
- They Give You Value for Your Money
Architects give you value for every dime spent. They find extra spaces, better lighting, and fitting ventilation, all to boost your project’s value. They also suggest the proper materials that would work best, but they do not impose.
- They Help You Save Money
All the loss you would have incurred by tackling this project alone is eradicated. The architect ensures that your project is austerity completed. In the light of their attentiveness to details, they cut down on losses. Enabling you to maximize spaces, best material selection, interior, and exterior finishes, all lead to saving your money. They also ensure your building is environmentally sustainable, lowered energy consumption, and has low maintenance costs.
- They Help You Detect and Solve Problems
As managers of your project, they help you from the start to fish out issues/problems. Whatever issues may arise, they are able to find solutions. They assist and guide you in the contract and permit stage, while also selecting the needed construction workers. They are keen on keeping details, organizing meetings, keeping documents, while monitoring the project’s progress.
- They Act as Safeguards
The architect helps you pinpoint accidental situations like lawsuits and proposes ways to prevent them. Hence, it prepares you for eventualities. Clauses such as building delay damages can be suggested by the architect in the builder’s contract.
This clause guarantees that the project runs according to the timeframe. The client can immediately sue for damages if there are any disruptions or outrageous holdups. Why? Because any project that runs into overtime will also run into over-budget.