Architects plan and design buildings and other structures.
Architects typically do the following:
People need places to live, work, play, learn, worship, meet, govern, shop, and eat. Architects are responsible for designing these places, whether they are private or public; indoors or outdoors; or rooms, buildings, or complexes.
Architects discuss with clients the objectives, requirements, and budget of a project. In some cases, architects provide various predesign services, such as feasibility and environmental impact studies, site selection, cost analyses and land-use studies, and design requirements. For example, architects may determine a building’s space requirements by researching its number and types of potential users.
After discussing and agreeing on the initial proposal, architects develop final construction plans that show the building's appearance and details for its construction. Accompanying these plans are drawings of the structural system; air-conditioning, heating, and ventilating systems; electrical systems; communications systems; plumbing; and, possibly, site and landscape plans.
In developing designs, architects must follow building codes, zoning laws, fire regulations, and other ordinances, such as those requiring easy access by people who are disabled.
Computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) and building information modeling (BIM) technology have replaced traditional drafting paper and pencil as the most common methods for creating designs and construction drawings.
Architects also may help clients get construction bids, select contractors, and negotiate construction contracts.
As construction proceeds, architects may visit building sites to ensure that contractors follow the design, keep to the schedule, use the specified materials, and meet work-quality standards. The job is not complete until all construction is finished, required tests are conducted, and construction costs are paid.
Architects often work with workers in related professions. For more information on these occupations, see the profiles on civil engineers, urban and regional planners, interior designers, and landscape architects.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition