An architect is a licensed professional who designs the layout and structure of a new building or expansion. Although the exact duties as an architect depend on the company and project, a typical day might involve drumming up new business, estimating projects for new clients, developing drawings and visiting construction sites to oversee design and development.
Architects normally work for an architecture firm or for themselves as independent contractors. In either case, one of your responsibilities is to get new business. This includes contacting building developers to discuss your services. Once you set up the initial meeting, you will make a presentation and try to close the deal. Given the competitive environment in architecture, you often have to reach out to potential clients very early in building planning. The first step is to get to know a client's needs and to provide an estimate of the costs to develop drawings and complete construction on a proposed building. Thus, some of your typical day is spent on the phone and in meetings with new clients.
For well-established architects, one of the most time-consuming parts of a typical day involves project drawing. The architect's expertise is in preparing a scale drawing that shows both the aesthetic qualities and structural integrity of a new building. Construction contractors use your drawings during the building process, so it is important to create accurate drawings that also help clients do their work in a cost effective manner. Much of a typical day is spent in the office making new drawings or revising existing ones.
Though it is often a relatively small portion of the typical day, architects often visit sites of current projects to ensure that the construction work is going well. In this role, you must ensure that buildings fit the drawings. In some cases, contractors run into problems with finding supplies or completing parts of the project in line with the drawing. When this happens, they may ask you to help them work through or around such problems.
Architecture work is very important given the costs to design and develop new residential and commercial buildings. You must have a license to practice, and most states require that you earn an architecture degree from a school accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board. However, some states accept degrees from other schools. The Bachelor of Architecture degree normally takes five years to complete. Some graduates pursue a master's degree for higher-level positions. You must be creative, organized and have problem-solving skills to be successful as an architect.
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