While the architectural profession commands admiration and respect, many people wonder what an Architect does as a profession.
Does an Architect physically construct buildings? What is the difference between an Architect and a Builder? What does an Architect actually do? What type of services does an Architect provide?
Here are 4 main services that an Architect provides:
1. Space Planning
An architect is someone you would engage if you wish to have a professional plan a space for your use. Your space could be an office – where you wish to fit 100 people, including meeting rooms, cubicles and break out areas; or a restaurant – where you wish to seat 50 people, a bar counter and a kitchen; or a house – where you wish to plan the living and dining areas, kitchen and bedrooms – an Architect will be able to help!
The training of an architect means he or she is equipped with the necessary skills to plan any space that suits your purpose for the space.
In fact, architects are master space planners – trained to understand spatial relationships, workflows for different types of functions and acceptable sizes of various use-types. They are aware of micro and macro dimensions of spaces that will be ergonomic and practical.
So on a small scale; it could be a space for a small office or apartment. On a larger scale; it could be an entire building or even a city or township!
Design can be a difficult skill to comprehend. Fundamentally, it can be explained as a skill of being able to propose creative solutions to problems. Design has recently been pushed to the main stream – including design thinking- that is important in not only design related fields but everything from academia to information technology.
An architect’s design skills are more pertaining to the built environment. More specifically, it is the design of built structures – office buildings, hotels, apartments, shopping centres, industrial buildings, amusement parks and entertainment complexes. It can also include other related fields such as interior design, façade design, furniture design and stage design.
They often work with other professionals in the construction industry, including structural engineers, electrical engineers, acoustic consultants, landscape designers, interior designers, lighting consultants, quantity surveyors and building contractors.
The architect usually takes the lead in projects, and their role is a lead designer or coordinator for the project. The reason is because they are knowledgeable in not only architectural design, but authority regulations and contracts.
3. Authority Submissions
Architects are experts in the built environment. In Singapore, a qualified architect has to go through the full scope of a project – from inception to completion, before they can be eligible to take qualification exam. Upon passing the exam, the architect will be called a “Qualified Person”. This means an architect will have to be knowledgeable on the rules and regulations pertaining to the built environment in Singapore. The scope is very extensive and it covers various boards of Authority:
- Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA)
- Building Construction Authority (BCA)
- Land Transport Authority (LTA)
- National Environment Authority (NEA)
- Fire Safety (SCDF)
- National Parks Board (Nparks)
If you need to obtain Authority clearances for a property that you own and you are unsure if it meets the regulations in any of the above government bodies, it is definitely a good idea to speak to an architect for their advice.
4. Feasibility Studies
Feasibility studies are typically conducted by owners of land. These owners are usually developers and wish to do a study to find out what is feasible to be built on their land. Architects have the skill set to be able to propose ideas for the land. Depending on their experience, they will be able to give much creative input.
The feasibility study will usually entail drawings such as plans, elevations and perspectives (3D drawings) that will give you a very good idea of what can be done on your land.
Hence, if you are a developer -one of the first consultants to speak to will be an architect. An important tip is to find an architect that has the relevant experience for your intended purpose on the land. Certain architects have extensive experience on hotels, while others may be master designers of residential apartments and houses. So check out the architect’s body of work and portfolio to help you in deciding which architect to engage.