Commercial architects are an invaluable resource to the community. Among other tasks, they are responsible for performing the following:
- Preparing and developing a brief as to the client’s needs
- Preparing the plans, either by a software program or by hand
- Coordinating and consulting with other professionals that are going to be involved during the project
- Developing contracts, budgets, and assisting with tenders
- Getting approval from the necessary city departments and authorities
- Inspecting work as it is completed
- Observing building works
These professionals are also responsible for ensuring that the building is structurally sound. This requires a comprehensive understanding of engineering. Sometimes, a structural engineer may be brought in. There is typically a warranty period once the project has been completed; commercial architects will act as a liaison between the builder and the client to make sure that the work has been done to the complete satisfaction of the client and is safe to occupy.
Projects are not completed by just one person, or one department. There are many other professionals whom architects must interact with to get the jobdone. These team members include:
- Building Consultants
- The Council
- Landscape designers
- Equipment hire companies
Some buildings and structures that commercial architects may work on include factories, offices, shopping malls, retail outlets, air and rail terminals, hotels, hospitals, and sports facilities. They do not work on residential dwellings; those are left to their residential architect counterparts to handle.
One of the most important aspects of the job is to coordinate and communicate regularly with the client during a project. Before any construction or planning can begin, they must meet with the client to discuss their needs and requirements. The architects will then prepare their proposals, normally in the form of a sketch design. It may also include feasibility studies and site reports. As the project moves forward, they continue to coordinate with the client, giving specifications, detailed plans, schedules and budgets. They will arrange regular meetings to resolve problems or obstacles that come up during the construction or design phase.
Commercial architects must obtain a bachelor’s degree in architecture from an accredited college or university. Typically, this takes five years, and covers subjects such as:
- Structural systems
- Building design
- Computer software design
- Construction materials
Graduates then have to complete a three-year internship. This includes practical, on-the-job training. Once the internship has been completed, they must write the Architect Registration Exam. A license will be issued once the individual passes the examination.