The architect is a professional graduate from long studies combining the theoretical knowledge, the aesthetic and creative sensibility and the technical know-how necessary for any architectural project and its implementation. He works closely with his client to define the house or entire building composition and to draw up the plans and organize the construction.
The architect is the one who can best ensure the success of a construction project as he brings his expertise and manages all stages from the design to the delivery of construction project, house or building: design of the plans, selecting materials, study the costs and organization of financing, administrative formalities, project management, tender and selection of construction contractors and reception of the house or building.
The architect can also intervene on a specific stage or on a number of stages requiring additional expertise such as construction site safety, real estate consultancy, ecological architecture and the integration of best practices in sustainable construction to reduce the impact of the building in its environment, asbestos removal… He can also, if requested, advise the contracting authority for the selection of a site.
Architecture: houses and buildings design and construction
The architect offers his consultancy services in a dialogue with the project owner. He advises and defines with him the structuring of the spaces in order to fulfill one or more given functions, in an aesthetic and ergonomic concern in the design of both the exterior and interior and to achieve maximum use of a land lot.
Beyond design, the architect can also offer his services as a construction project manager to ensure the efficient and rigorous construction of the building itself. He then represents the project owner to select the various companies taking part in the construction and to ensure that the various phases of construction are carried out within budgets and deadlines.
The architect’s contribution is the assurance of the best value-for-money ratio in all the stages of the design, from the construction to the reception and in relation with the interlocutors: administrative, financial and entrepreneurs. He also ensures the maximum quality guarantee in:
- The originality and functionality of the design
- Project management
- The final reception of buildings
- The efficient use and minimization of maintenance costs
In many countries, architects are holders of a regulated expertise required by law to develop space and more particularly to design public or private houses and buildings, regardless of their vocation, and to carry out their construction, rehabilitation or adaptation.
In some countries, their participation can be compulsory in order to obtain a building permit, where the floor or floor area of the building exceeds a certain threshold.
For the project owner, working with an architect means ensuring a transparent management of his architectural project by a competent professional. The knowledge of the architect is a legitimate expertise by law, which combines technical skills and artistic creativity in the design of buildings with rigor in the management of construction project.
The expertise of the architect
In addition to his technical and creative skills, the architect is under the ethical obligation to give his best advice to his client, the project owner, for the entire carrying out of his mission and the construction of an original building according to the needs of the client and with an optimal quality for the budget allowance.
- During the design phase, the architect will inform the client of the feasibility of his project, vis-a-vis the land lot (nature of the ground), the different options in terms of quality and price and the potential impact resulting from the choice of technical or aesthetic options: impact on users, impact on the natural or urban environment, impact on maintenance costs when using the building…
- During the construction phase, the architect project manager will advise the client on the choice of the most competent contractors and the best use of materials. He will inform the customer of any problems during the execution of the works and at the time of delivery, and of the arrangements to be made to resolve such problems under optimal conditions.
The architect brings his expertise to the best of his abilities, in many countries architects are sworn to a code of ethical duties.
Optimal management of the entirety of a construction project
It is strongly advised to contract the services of an architect as a construction project manager to ensure the most rigorous execution of the works according to the plans made by the architect, as he is both an expert in design and is usually also the most competent to run a construction site. The architect-general contractor can thus ensure the realization of standard practices for the whole architectural project:
- Designing the house or building in the smallest details and planning its implementation
- Constitution of the construction permit dossier and obtaining the construction permit
- Selection of companies involved in the various phases of the construction or renovation project
- Construction site management and contractors supervision
- Final inspection for the reception of the building
The architect’s contract
The architect’s professional obligations ensure that the client has a contractual commitment by the architect to precisely define the entire scope of the assignment carried out on behalf of the project owner. The architect must detail his fees and their method of payment, the duration of the various phases of the architectural project as well as the regulatory assurances to be contracted by the architect and the project owner.
The ultimate guarantee of an architect is that it is in his interest to fulfill his missions to the best of his ability and to satisfy the client as well as possible, both during the design and the construction: the quality of his work will be his best asset to sell other architectural projects to other customers.