Registered Architects plan and design building projects, ensuring all work is carried out to client specifications as well as specific standards, building codes, guidelines and regulations.
Architects are the frontline of building design and construction - in addition to considering their physical appearance, Architects also make sure building structures are functional, safe, economical, and suit the needs of the people who will use them. A Registered Architect is a licensed architect who has completed an internship and passed a rigorous series of examinations offered by official architectural registration boards in the United States and Canada.
Architects control a project from start to finish to ensure high quality, innovative, and functional design and they play a critical role in a building's level of energy efficiency. Building features such as building orientation, window to wall ratios, building envelope, daylighting, and building materials are all things an Architect considers in their design process and these features directly impact how a building consumes energy. Architects can also drive early discussions with a project's mechanical engineers, HVAC contractors, and Lighting Designers to further maximize energy efficiency gains.
Architects begin by meeting with clients and producing feasibility reports and design proposals. Once designs are finalized Architects use advanced computer programs such as 3D software programs such as BIM (Building Information Management and AutoCAD (computer-aided design) to produce detailed blueprints and project specifications. They consult with other members of the project team including contractors and engineers to ensure that aspects such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), as well as structural needs are properly incorporated into their designs. Architects also consider the site location and conditions, local culture and history, advancements in architectural trends and building technology, as well as local and federal regulations and building codes, and local planning and zoning laws. Architects meet with clients regularly throughout the project, help establish cost estimates, file permit applications with municipal building departments, and help clients set up agreements with contractors. Architects visit construction sites to monitor progress and ensure a project is being carried out to specific standards.