Architect

Often the full brief is not entirely clear at the beginning: entailing a degree of risk in the design undertaking. The architect may make early proposals to the client, which may rework the very terms of the brief. The "program" (or brief) is essential to producing a project that meets all the needs of the owner. This then is a guide for the architect in creating the design concept.

Design proposal(s) are generally expected to be both imaginative and pragmatic. Depending on the place, time, finance, culture, and available crafts and technology in which the design takes place, the precise extent and nature of these expectations will vary.

Foresight is a prerequisite as designing buildings is a very complex and demanding undertaking.

A key part of the design is that the architect often consults with engineers, surveyors and other specialists throughout the design, ensuring that aspects such as the structural supports and air conditioning elements are coordinated in the scheme as a whole. The control and planning of construction costs are also a part of these consultations. Coordination of the different aspects involves a high degree of specialized communication, including advanced computer technology such as BIM (building information modeling), CAD, and cloud-based technologies.

At all times in the design, the architect reports back to the client who may have reservations or recommendations, introducing a further variable into the design.

As the design becomes more advanced and detailed, specifications and detail designs are made of all the elements and components of the building. Techniques in the production of a building are continually advancing which places a demand on the architect to ensure that he or she remains up to date with these advances.

Depending on the client's needs and the jurisdiction's requirements, the spectrum of the architect's services during construction stages may be extensive (detailed document preparation and construction review) or less involved (such as allowing a contractor to exercise considerable design-build functions).

In most jurisdictions, prior notification to the relevant local authority must be given before commencement on site, thus giving the local authority notice to carry out independent inspections. The architect will then review and inspect the progress of the work in coordination with the local authority.

In many jurisdictions, mandatory certification or assurance of the completed work or part of works is required. This demand for certification entails a high degree of risk - therefore, regular inspections of the work as it progresses on site is required to ensure that is in compliance with the design itself as well as with all relevant statutes and permissions.

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 degree 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.

The use of "Architect" or abbreviations such as "Ar." as a title attached to a person's name is regulated by law in some countries.

Architects' fee structures are typically based on a percentage of construction value, as a rate per unit area of the proposed construction, hourly rates or a fixed lump sum fee. Combinations of these structures are also common. Fixed fees are usually based on a project's allocated construction cost and can range between 4 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.

A number of national professional organizations exist to promote career and business development in architecture.

A wide variety of prizes is awarded by national professional associations and other bodies, recognizing accomplished architects, their buildings, structures, and professional careers.