It is the architects’ job to convert a building specification into a design. They are involved with designing new buildings, extensions or alterations to existing buildings, or advising on the restoration and conservation of old properties. They work on the planning and drawing of the design as well as overseeing its construction. They will produce detailed workings, drawings and specifications, using computer aided design software.
Architects usually control a project from start to finish, keeping within financial budgets and deadlines, and work with a number of construction professionals, including surveyors and engineers, producing drawings and specifications that the construction team works to. This involves taking into consideration environmental and economic issues as well as materials and safety.
The design needs to be both functional and economic. They will advise on the best ways to achieve the plans within the constraints of building regulation and planning permission. They will prepare and submit tender documentation and applications and those required for planning and building control departments.
Architects work on individual buildings or on large redevelopment schemes, and can be responsible for the design of the surrounding landscape and spaces.
Becoming an Architect
The typical route to qualifying as an architect in the United Kingdom is a combination of academic studies at a university and practical experience. It involves training for five years at university and a minimum of two years experience before final qualification. The typical route to qualification includes:
- RIBA part 1: University approved undergraduate 3 or 4-year degree in architecture.
- Stage 1 professional experience/year out: The degree is followed by a supervised and recorded year out with an architects practice gaining experience.
- RIBA part 2: two year university diploma or masters degree which provides enhanced architectural knowledge and project complexity. You may return to the university where you completed part 1 or apply to a different university for part 2.
- Stage 2 Practical Experience: 24 months experience in total is required to sit the part 3 examination, so a minimum of a further 12 months is required.
- RIBA Part 3: the final qualifying exam.
Having gained parts 1, 2 and 3 qualifications you can register as an architect.
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