Architect

Outline of Job

The job of an architect is to plan and construct new buildings and the areas around them. They will also work on building restorations, alternatives to existing buildings, and area projects. Important factors such as budget, social affects, building regulations and planning laws will have to be considered when planning new buildings. Inspecting planning and safety issues will be essential when construction commences. An architect will work with engineers, surveyors, contractors and a range of other construction workers. An architect works on projects from start to finish, usually alongside other architects when working on larger projects.

Daily Activities

  • Working with other construction workers
  • Designing drawings of buildings
  • Presenting plans to clients
  • Working according to budgets and planning regulations
  • Working to deadlines
  • Negotiating with contractors
  • Getting planning permission
  • Checking on progress of any new developments
  • Inspecting accuracy and safety of work

Skills Required

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Able to work under pressure and to tight deadlines
  • Business sense
  • Competent with IT software such as SketchUp
  • Mathematical and artistic ability
  • No-nonsense approach
  • Organised manner
  • Able to present ideas to others
  • Negotiation skills
  • Able to manage a team
  • Passion for the industry
  • Understanding of the social impact of new buildings or restorations

Expected Earnings & Conditions

Salaries can vary greatly according to the size of the project and its location. However, wages will also vary according to the level of qualification you have attained from the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects). For example, those at part one of study can earn £17,000 - £20,000, with those moving through part two to part three able to earn £29,000 - £34,000. Senior level architects can earn £36,000 - £80,000, the salary dependent on years of experience and regional variations.

Working hours are usually nine to five, but it is expected you work over-time should a deadline need to be met. This can be during the evening and at weekend. With some construction agencies it will be possible to work through an on-call rota. Work is mainly office-based, though you will often have to visit building sites, planning departments and clients to discuss new and existing projects.

Working on building sites would require you to wear safety gear such as a hard hat. Jobs are based around the UK, but predominantly in London, with freelance work a distinct possibility once you have acquired enough experience.

Qualifications & Experience

It can take a total of seven years to enter the profession of architecture. This is because of the qualifications required. Only qualifications recognised by the RIBA and the ARB (Architects Registration Board) are suitable. The typical route to the role of an architect will involve:

  • You will require a minimum of five GCSEs, graded A-C, including mathematics
  • You will also require three A Levels, including maths or science
  • RIBA Part One: Degree in architecture typically lasting 3 to 4 years
  • Stage One Professional Experience: One year work experience under supervision. Can be done in construction or design, but is usually done in an architects practice
  • RIBA Part Two: Additional study for secondary degree in architecture lasting around two years
  • Stage Two Professional Experience: One year work experience. Done under the supervision of a qualified architect
  • RIBA Part Three: Exam only to be done once the above are accomplished. Once completed you can register as an architect with the ARB and apply to become a chartered member of the RIBA

CVs will need to be aided by examples of designs and other work you have done. It is best to use your time during work experience gaining an idea which areas particularly interest you, and building a list of contacts. Enthusiasm and passion for the industry are essential.

Additional Training & Development

A qualified architect would usually work for a contract firm at first, and then become an associate after acquiring enough experience. After around ten year’s experience it is possible to become a partner, or even start your own agency. Career development will differ according to whether you are working for a public or private organisation, as well as individual experience and merit. The area of work will also be a factor, whether it is conservation, area projects or city design.

Architects will need to maintain an understanding of any new building regulations or design practices, which will be done through courses run by their organisation, or the RIBA. Chartered architects will need to do at least thirty-five hours of professional development each year, with topics including health and safety, project management and ARB codes of conduct.