What does an Architect do?

As a member of the RIAI, a Registered Architect has successfully demonstrated the knowledge and expertise required to guide a building project from start to finish.

The role of an Architect involves much more than just design. Through their professional education and experience, Architects are trained to help clients determine a project brief or list of requirements; advise on budgetary outlines and expectations; provide guidance regarding planning and regulatory processes; issue and assess tender documentation; manage consultants such as surveyors and engineers; and administer the construction contract.

As a result, hiring an Architect can result in cost savings, more effective project managment, and a design which best suits your needs.

Architects, too, may offer a range of services. They might manage a project from design to completion, or only be involved during certain parts of it. Together, you and your Architect will identify the service most appropriate to the scale of the proposed works. An Architect's fee will be subsequently dependent on the scope of their appointment.

Services Provided by Architects

The following is a summary of some of services typically offered by Architects as part of the range of their professional competencies. Some Architects may also have specific qualifications in areas such as conservation, urban design, or project management. For further details regarding skillsets available in a particular practice, please contact the Registered Practice in question directly. 

Building Design
The primary training of an Architect is in the design of buildings in terms of function, form and regulatory compliance.

Survey Drawings
An Architect may be engaged to measure existing buildings for the purpose of making drawings to assist in design proposals for alterations or additions.

Brief Development
A good brief is the first step to delivering a successful project. Clients may require advice from an expert in understanding the requirements of a project and formulating an outline of these items; an Architect is normally best placed to assist in this regard.

Coordinating other Consultants
A project may require the input of specialist consultants such as a structural engineer or quantity surveyor. An Architect will coordinate their involvement.

Applying for Planning Permission
An Architect will advise if a project requires planning permission and produce the relevant information for making an application to the local authority. An Architect may also be engaged to provide services in connection with planning appeals, liasing with planning authorities on behalf of clients.

Design Certifier and Assigned Certifier
An Architect is typically the most appropriate professional to act as Design Certifier and Assigned Certifier under the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations, S.I.9 of 2014. Although an Architect may also be the Assigned Certifier on a project, it is important to note that there is a requirement within the regulations that this appointment be made under a separate agreement.

Project Supervisor Design Process (PSDP)
An Architect may act as Project Supervisor Design Process (PSDP) during the design phase of a project. This is a statutory role required by the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2013.

Administrating the Building Contract
An Architect will work with both clients and contractors in the administration of a building contract to ensure a project is delivered in accordance with the agreed design and costruction documentation.

Project Management
An Architect is typically best positioned to act as the project manager, coordinating a range of inputs to deliver a project successfully.

Conservation Skills
When working with a historic building, particularly one designated a Protected Structure or located within an Architectural Conservation Area, you will need the advice of an Architect with skills in conservation. Should your building not be listed by the planning authority, it may still be of conservation value. An Architect can help ensure that its character is not damaged in the process of any alterations or extensions carried out.

Condition Survey
An Architect can inspect and establish the condition of a property and prepare a report for a range of purposes.

Interior Design
An Architect may be commissioned to provide an interior design service, advising on loose furniture, artworks and finishes.

Sustainability
An Architect can advise on how to optimise the potentially sustainability of a project by advising on such features as site orientation, building fabric, lifecycle costs, and predicted energy and water consumption. By focusing on effective and appropriate design responses, an Architect can help minimise the material and energy required in the construction and operation of new and existing buildings.

Urban Design
Architects are taught to analysis the ways in which people use and inhabit space, whether at the scale of a single room or that of a large city. As designers, Architects are therefore best placed to propose improvements to the layout and function of our urban and rural public realms.

Dispute Resolution Services
Architects may offer dispute resolution services such as mediation and conciliation.

Feasibility Studies
An Architect may be engaged to conduct a feasibility study for a variety of issues, ranging from site potential and planning, to regulatory alignment and cost analysis. Please contact an RIAI-Registered Practice to enquire whether they have the skillsets available to undertaken a study for your own particular needs.

Further Information

For further information regarding the range of services offered by Architects, please check the RIAI Practice Directory to locate a practice best suited to your project's needs.