Architects design and construct new buildings, restore and conserve old ones, and plan the layout of whole groups of buildings and the spaces around them. Architects are responsible for the building project from the earliest stages right through to completion.
Architects produce designs based on clients’ requirements, taking into account cost, safety and social factors, and any building and planning regulations. On larger jobs a team of architects work together.
Once the design is agreed, a further set of detailed working drawings are produced for the building contractor, showing precise dimensions and the materials to be used. In addition to liaising closely with contractors, engineers, surveyors, lawyers and planning departments, the architect will regularly inspect the construction work to assess progress.
Most architects work 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, but deadlines and work load can sometimes mean working unsocial hours. Some architects may be on-call 24 hours a day, and travelling to sites and meetings can involve spending time away from home.
The work is mostly office-based although some time will be spent visiting clients, planning departments, builders and sites. This means being outside in all weathers, walking, climbing ladders and scaffolding, and wearing safety equipment such as hard hats and boots.
To be an architect you should:
Most architects work in private practice. Opportunities
also exist in the public sector, or in-house for a wide
range of commercial and industrial organisations
involved in areas such as retail, leisure and tourism, and
Job-sharing and part-time employment is common, as is contract and freelance work. Many architects set up their own practices.
There is no set promotional structure within private sector architecture and individuals will progress depending on their skill, competence and experience. In public sector work it is possible to progress to chief architect level.
There are opportunities to work abroad as many private practices have contracts or offices overseas.
If you would like to know anything about Architect that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.
Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)
66 Portland Place
Tel: 020 7580 5533
Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS)
15 Rutland Square
Tel: 0131 229 7545
Conference on Training in Architectural Conservation (COTAC)