Architect services range from residential to commercial projects. Typically architects will specialize in a certain field of architecture. This could be mixed use buildings or maybe just single family residences. In any case architects are needed for everything from building a simple single story home to constructing mega skyscrapers.
Commercial projects typically involve a wide variety of things including apartment complexes, industrial facilities, office buildings and retail outlets. In every single case, the architect must create plans for building the entire project. Architects will generally have a group of other architects at work with them to help with the planning process. The architect may have several assistants that assist in the planning and coordinating of various aspects of the project including budgeting, scheduling and materials. Sometimes additional architectural consultants may be required to handle some of these tasks or the original architect may need to step back and delegate some of his or her authority. In this case record drawings would be completed by one of the assistants.
An important service that most commercial projects require is building permit documentation. In almost all states an architect or one of his or her assistants must apply for the building permit in advance of construction. On most construction sites a general contractor is the one who applies for the building permit. The general contractor submits drawings for the proposed construction and any other relevant documents to the local authorities. Architects then have to follow the plans and regulations in order to ensure the building has the approval of the local authorities.
Another additional service that most commercial projects require is the inspection of the project by the local governing agency. In the past, this inspection was usually performed by the engineer or an architect who was not associated with the design team. However, now most states require the building to be inspected before it is approved for occupancy. The reason for this is that often times the local government will make changes to the building plan in order to make it better. In addition to this, it is much more difficult to make changes to the structure of a building after construction has been started. Therefore, most new buildings are required to undergo additional inspections before they can be released for occupancy.
It should be noted that many architects do not offer the inspection services. This is typically the responsibility of the construction administration. However, many architects will continue to provide documentation and drawings upon request. Generally, once construction has begun the architect will be responsible for ensuring that all drawings and documentation are completed in order.
The final major service that most new project architects offer is the preparation of the final master plan. This is where the architect not only provides the general direction for the new project but also provides all of the specifics including the size and spacing for each area of the property as well as any alterations that may be required. Most architects will also draw the original floor plans and all of the additional services that were requested at the time that the drawings were prepared. This final master plan is used by the builder as well as the lender in order to ensure that all aspects of the new project are included. The lender will use the plan to ensure that there are no deviation points, and that all necessary funding is secured before construction begins.