Architects discuss with clients the objectives, requirements, and budget of a project. In some cases, architects provide predesign services, such as feasibility and environmental impact studies, site selection, cost analyses, and design requirements. Architects may help clients get construction bids, select contractors, and negotiate construction contracts.
Architects use computer-aided design, drafting (CADD) and building information modeling (BIM) for creating designs and construction drawings. However, hand-drawing skills are still required, especially during the conceptual stages of a project and when an architect is at a construction site.
Architects coordinate and develop final construction documents including drawings and written specifications with input from clients, consultants, and third-party reviewers. They have an understanding of all aspects of a building including site and landscaping design, structural, mechanical, plumbing, electrical systems, communications, security, and technology, and often food service, acoustical or other specialty systems. Architects coordinate between all of these disciplines and subconsultants to interpret the goals of the client and the intent of the design. In developing designs, architects must follow state and local building codes, zoning laws, fire regulations, and other ordinances, such as those requiring reasonable access for people with disabilities. In the construction phase of a project, the architect will conduct regular site visits to ensure that the design intent of the building is followed, the schedule is adhered to, and the construction meets industry-standard.