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A residential designer is a person who designs buildings in a residential area. It is a profession that goes by many names. Residential designers are also sometimes referred to as
residential architects, home designers or building designers. Residential designers plan and design the makeup of a house or remodeling project in order to tailor it to individual
These professionals work with their clients to make their home environment functional, safe, and within their budget. When having a home built or a room remodeled, clients usually have specific ideas in mind, and their residential designer will help their ideas come to fruition, while guiding them along by keeping them informed of regulations, structural limitations and laws.
Construction contractors are able to draw up basic building plans, but residential designers specialize in maximizing space efficiently and personalizing the home to fit the client's lifestyles, priorities, and needs. They are also up to date on the latest trends and available products to offer their clients. A skilled residential designer will know the right questions to ask a client to find out not only their known wants, but also to uncover their hidden needs and desires. With this information, they can develop design options and work out the floor plan with custom electrical plans, cabinet structures, room isometrics, and door, window and appliance sections.
A residential designer is similar to an architect, but is not a licensed architect. Their functions are generally the same, but an architect has more extensive training, especially in regards to inspection and observation of the construction process, assistance in bidding, and assuring quality workmanship. For a larger or more complicated project, an architect might be a better choice than a residential designer because of their additional education and experience. Construction contractors will often include the fee of the building design in their bids, but they will not provide the specialized, hands on detail that a residential designer will.
When choosing a residential designer for a home project, it is important to learn of his or her credentials, experience, certifications, education and training. Many states do not require any certification for residential designers, but there are designers available who are members of accredited associations for professional residential designers. Meet with the designer several times before signing a contract to make sure everyone is on the same page, and gather references to be assured that past customers were satisfied with their designs.
An architect is a person trained in the planning, design and oversight of the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to offer or render services in connection with the design and construction of a building, or group of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the buildings, that have as their principal purpose human occupancy or use. Etymologically, architect derives from the Latin architectus, itself derived from the Greek arkhitekton (arkhi-, chief + tekton, builder), i.e. chief builder.
Professionally, an architect's decisions affect public safety, and thus an architect must undergo specialized training consisting of advanced education and a practicum (or internship) for practical experience to earn a license to practice architecture. The practical, technical, and academic requirements for becoming an architect vary by jurisdiction (see below).
The terms architect and architecture are also used in the disciplines of landscape architecture, naval architecture and often information technology (for example a software architect). In most of the world's jurisdictions, the professional and commercial uses of the term "architect", outside of the etymological variants noted, is legally protected.
Architects in practice
The practice of architecture involves offering or rendering services that include pre-design services, programming, planning, providing designs, drawings, specifications and other technical submissions, the administration of construction contracts and the co-ordination of any elements of technical submissions prepared by others (such as by engineers) and technical designers.
Architecture is a business in which technical knowledge, management, and an understanding of business are as important as design. An architect accepts a commission from a client. The commission might involve preparing feasibility reports, building audits, the design of a building or of several buildings, structures, and the spaces among them. The architect participates in developing the requirements the client wants in the building. Throughout the project (planning to occupancy), the architect co-ordinates a design team. Structural, mechanical, and electrical engineers and other specialists, are hired by the client or the architect, who must ensure that the work is co-ordinated to construct the design.
The architect hired by a client is responsible for creating a design concept that meets the requirements of that client and provides a facility suitable to the required use. In that, the architect must meet with and question the client [extensively] to ascertain all the requirements and nuances of the planned project. This information, known as a program or brief, is essential to producing a project that meets all the needs and desires of the owner—it is a guide for the architect in creating the design concept.
Architects deal with local and federal jurisdictions about regulations and building codes. The architect might need to comply with local planning andzoning laws, such as required setbacks, height limitations, parking requirements, transparency requirements (windows), and land use. Some established jurisdictions require adherence to design and historic preservation guidelines.
Architects prepare the technical or "working" documents (construction drawings and specifications), usually coordinated with and supplemented by the work of a variety of disciplines [i.e., with varied expertise like mechanical, plumbing, electrical, civil, structural, etc.] engineers for the building services and that are filed for obtaining permits (development and building permits) that require compliance with building, seismic, and relevant federal and local regulations. These construction drawings and specifications are also used for pricing the work, and for construction.
Architects typically put projects to tender on behalf of their clients, advise on the award of the project to a general contractor, and review the progress of the work during construction. They typically review subcontractor shop drawings and other submittals, prepare and issue site instructions, and provide construction contract administration and Certificates for Payment to the contractor (see also Design-bid-build). In many jurisdictions, mandatory certification or assurance of the work is required.
Depending on the client's needs and the jurisdiction's requirements, the spectrum of the architect's services may be extensive (detailed document preparation and construction review) or less inclusive (such as allowing a contractor to exercise considerable design-build functions). With very large, complex projects, an independent construction manager is sometimes hired to assist in design and to manage construction. In the United Kingdom and other countries, a quantity surveyor is often part of the team to provide cost consulting.
Alternate practice and specializations
Recent decades have seen the rise of specializations within the profession. Many architects and architectural firms focus on certain project types (for example, health care, retail, public housing), technological expertise or project delivery methods. Some architects specialize as building code, building envelope, sustainable design, historic preservation, accessibility and other forms of specialist consultants.
Many architects elect to move into real estate (property) development, corporate facilities planning, project management, construction management,interior design or other related fields.
Although there are variations from place to place, most of the world's architects are required to register with the appropriate jurisdiction. To do so, architects are typically required to meet three common requirements: education, experience, and examination.
Educational requirements generally consist of a university degree in architecture. The experience requirement for degreed candidates is usually satisfied by a practicum or internship (usually two to three years, depending on jurisdiction). Finally, a Registration Examination or a series of exams is required prior to licensure.
Professionals engaged in the design and supervision of construction projects prior to the late nineteenth century were not necessarily trained in a separate architecture program in an academic setting. Instead, they often trained under established architects. Prior to modern times, there was no distinction between architects, engineers and often artists, and the title used varied depending on geographical location. They often carried the title of master builder, or surveyor, after serving a number of years as an apprentice (such as Sir Christopher Wren). The formal study of architecture in academic institutions played a pivotal role in the development of the profession as a whole, serving as a focal point for advances in architectural technology and theory.
Professional title distinctions
According to the American Institute of Architects, titles and job descriptions within American architectural offices might be as follows:
- Senior Principal / Partner: Typically an owner or majority shareholder of the firm; may be the founder; titles may include president, chief executive officer, or managing principal/partner.
- Mid-level Principal / Partner: Principal or partner; titles may include executive or senior vice president.
- Junior Principal / Partner: Recently made a partner or principal of the firm; title may include vice president.
- Department head / Senior Manager: Senior management architect or non-registered graduate; responsible for major department(s) or functions; reports to a principal or partner.
- Project Manager: Licensed architect, or non-registered graduate with more than 10 years of experience; has overall project management responsibility for a variety of projects or project teams, including client contact, scheduling, and budgeting.
- Senior Architect / Designer: Licensed architect, or non-registered graduate with more than 10 years of experience; has a design or technical focus and is responsible for significant project activities.
- Architect / Designer III: Licensed architect or non-registered graduate with 8–10 years of experience; responsible for significant aspects of projects.
- Architect / Designer II: Licensed architect or non-registered graduate with 6–8 years of experience, responsible for daily design or technical development of projects.
- Architect / Designer I: Recently licensed architect or non-registered graduate with 3–5 years of experience; responsible for particular parts of a project within parameters set by others.
- Intern-Architect: Unlicensed architecture school graduate participating in defined internship program; develops design or technical solutions under supervision of an architect.
Architects' fee structures are typically based on a percentage of construction value, hourly rates or a fixed lump sum fee. Combinations of these structures are also common. Fixed fees are usually based on an a project's allocated construction cost and can range between 2 and 12% of new construction cost, for commercial and institutional projects, depending on a project's size and complexity. Residential projects range from 12 to 20%. Renovation projects typically command higher percentages, as high as 15-20%.
Overall billings for architectural firms range widely, depending on location and economic climate. Billings have traditionally been dependent on the local economic conditions but, with rapid globalization, this is becoming less of a factor for larger international firms. Salaries also vary, depending on experience, position within the firm (staff architect, partner or shareholder, etc.) and the size and location of the firm.
Refer to the international list of professional architecture organizations for groups created to promote career and business development in architecture. A wide variety of prizes are awarded to architects to acknowledge superior buildings, structures and professional careers.
Prizes, awards, and titles
The most lucrative award an architect can receive is the Pritzker Prize, sometimes termed the "Nobel Prize for architecture." Other prestigious architectural awards are the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Richard H. Driehaus Prize for Classical Architecture, the Alvar Aalto Medal (Finland), the Carlsberg Architecture Prize (Denmark), and the Governor General's Awards (Canada). Other awards for excellence in architecture are given by national professional associations such as the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC).
Architects in the UK who have made contributions to the profession through design excellence or architectural education, or have in some other way advanced the profession, are elected Fellows of the Royal Institute of British Architects and can write FRIBA after their name if they feel so inclined. Architects in the US who have made contributions to the profession through design excellence or architectural education, or have in some other way advanced the profession, are elected Fellows of the American Institute of Architects and can write FAIA after their name. Architects in Canada who have made outstanding contributions to the profession through contribution to research, scholarship, public service or professional standing to the good of architecture in Canada, or elsewhere, may be recognized as a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and can write FRAIC after their name.