A good architect guides you through the process of achieving your project goals in a positive and meaningful way.

A good architect wears many hats; he/she must be a good listener, interpreter, evaluator, analyst, educator, designer, engineer, project manager and advocate.

A good listener listens not only to hear and respond, but to understand as well. What are the clients saying, what do they mean? Is there a clear shared goal or an assortment of ideas? Are there conflicting ideas?

As an evaluator, the architect must measure and rate the various ideas and “wish list” items into a prioritized list. What’s most important? What’s the least important? At this stage the project program requirements are formalized.

As a feasibility analyst the architect must compare the program requirements to the various governing restrictions and budget. Is the project possible from land-use and building code perspective? Can the budget be met on a rough dollars per square foot cost basis?

As an educator, the architect must help the clients make decisions regarding scope and quality w/regards to cost, governing restrictions, scheduling, and type of construction. The architect uses his/her experience to offer guidance and alternatives.

As a designer, the architect must interpret the clients goals in such a way as to allow the clients to understand the three dimensional reality of their project. Sketches, drawings and 3-D modeling are generally used. A preliminary design is created based on the project requirements, or program. The preliminary design is evaluated.

Does the design conform to the program? Does the design suggest something not thought of before? Do the project requirements need to be re-evaluated?

As an engineer, the architect must be able to plan the project around a structural concept that makes sense, within the budget and promotes project goals. That ability comes from engineering training and first hand construction experience.

As a project manager the architect must be able to prepare plans and specifications and the owner/contractor agreement. These are called the contract documents. Occasionally the work of additional consultants will be required such as surveyors, structural engineers, heating ventilating and air conditioning, electrical and landscape designers.

The architect must have a good working knowledge of what these consultants do and be able to coordinate and incorporate their work into the contract documents. The architect must be able to help in the contractor selection process. The architect must be able to see the project through the permit process. This requires the ability to wade through all the submittal requirements, rules, regulations and forms.

The selection of a qualified and compatible general contractor is extremely important. The architect must be able to interface with the general contractor during the course of construction in a positive way. Changes are made, problems come up, materials are substituted, and how these and other issues are solved is important.

The architect must be able to advise the client on when and how much the general contractor should be compensated and when the work is substantially complete. He/she must know how to close out a project.

As an advocate the architect must protect and promote the interests of the client through the entire design and construction process. The architect must keep in mind the client’s goals, the project requirements and temper those factors with his/her experience to achieve a finished product that produces the intended results.