Architects are fully qualified professionals who are able to produce detailed designs for buildings, extensions, alterations and redevelopments.
Architects are highly trained individuals who work on the designs for buildings, extensions, alterations, redevelopments and larger projects requiring their highly wrought skills. Architects produce the designs to build these structures in a safe, cost effective and an appealing manner. Fully trained Architects often work to the specification of their client and take into account restrictions such as budget limitations, council and local feature restrictions and the importance of safety and longevity in their designs.
Graduates should be aware that the restriction on being a fully trained Architect extends to around seven years training, both in the workplace and at university, as specified by the Royal Institute of British Architects. The usual route starts with three or four years at university, followed by a year in the field and two more back at university building on their training in the field.
Alongside the commitment to such an extensive and detailed level of training, graduates considering a career as an Architect need to also have a range of practical and soft skills. Alongside excellent skills of design and planning, would-be Architects would do well having excellent problem solving and planning skills, as well as strong maths skills and high levels of creativity.
The average starting salary for a graduate Architect is £36,473. This is an incredibly generous starting salary for graduates looking for a career in the field, however it is only reflective of the incredibly high level of skill needed for a graduate in this position. The demands of this role and the importance of things being correct have resulted in a constant demand for properly trained graduates in the field.
The Daily Duties of an Architect
Architects can be involved in a range of projects, from producing designs for large scale redevelopments, to small scale extensions and everything in between. Architects are often working on projects and so their work can be relatively cyclical and require them to pay attention to each stage of the project, from the inception of ideas, to certifying buildings structurally sound.
This means the day to day life of a graduate Architect can be incredibly varied, here are a few of the daily duties graduate Architects can expect to be doing:
- Client consultation - The initial stage of most projects undertaken by Architects will begin with a client meeting. Architects will need to learn what it is the client wants designing and constructing and when they are working through the details of the project Architects need to keep tabs on the feasibility of their ideas and the practical construction restraints, as well as considering budgets.
- Developing designs - The main focus of an Architects day to day activity is developing these designs. Whether through freehand initial ideas up to computed aided designs (CAD), Architects will put all their practical understanding and creative ideas into developing designs and allowing them to come to realistic fruition.
- Planning materials - An understanding of materials and structural strength is important for graduates to understand what it is they need to use and how this might impact on the cost of the project. Architects understand the pros and cons of using certain materials, but are also aware of the necessity of some materials to ensure that the project is structurally sound.
- Problem solving - Like with most projects, there will be problems to overcome during the progress of the project. Architects are able to amend and redevelop particular ideas or parts of the project as they pursue the finished article.
- Visiting sites - Architects will spend time working on site, ensuring that their designs are being realised properly and the work is being undertaken safely and securely. Architects will also be ready to apply their problem solving when issues arise on site and find solutions that are in the best interests of the client.
- Working with other contractors and professionals - When building projects are being conducted, Architects will have to liaise with subcontractors and other onsite professionals to ensure they are all working to the same aim and result. This could mean working with Electricians, Plumbers or Architectural Technologists.
A career as an Architect is an exciting career for those talented enough to pursue it. Graduates can find a rewarding career where their creative ideas can be realised in physical constructions, while also getting to apply a scientific angle to their work. The field is also very financially rewarding, with those who rise to the top of the field being able to command extremely high figures for their work.