Architects are trained individuals who develop conceptual ideas for buildings and structures, then turn those concepts into the designs and plans that are used to guide the building process. Architects design plans for many types of structures, including stores, homes, churches and government buildings. Most architects obtain a bachelor's or master's degree in architecture from a school accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). An architect must train under the supervision of a licensed architect for three years before being able to take his licensing exam. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2008, architects made an average of $70,320 per year.
When a person or business wants a building to be designed and built there are many considerations to be made. The architect must meet with the client for an initial consultation. This consultation helps the architect determine the client's structural needs, such as what type of structure it is, how many people it must house and the main function of the building. In addition to discussing the building requirements and objectives with the client, the architect must also discuss the client's budget. A client's budget will have a direct impact on how closely the architect is able to carry out the client's ideas and, as a result, the architect may use his expertise to make alternate suggestions that are more in line with the budget.
Creating the Initial Proposal
Once the architect consults with the client she prepares the initial proposal. In order to put together a proposal for the client, the architect must study how the structure will impact the immediate and extended environment, as well as how feasible it is to build the structure in a specific location. The architect may participate in the site selection and produce a cost analysis as part of the initial proposal. Once the initial proposal is prepared, the architect meets with the client to discuss and explain all aspects of the proposal. Using the information in the proposal, the client and architect can work together to create an architectural concept that can be turned into designs and plans.
Develop Architectural Plans
Architectural plans are detailed drawings of a structure that show what the building will look like, in great detail. In addition to the plans for the exterior of the building, the architect also creates plans for air conditioning systems, communication systems and landscaping. If requested, the architect will include a list of building materials and furnishings for the interior of the structure. When the architect draws up the plans, he must take into consideration all building codes and regulations, fire safety codes and accessibility for disabled individuals.
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