Consumer Information About Architecture
What is an architect?
An architect is the one professional person registered to practice architecture under the laws of the State who is equipped by education, training and experience, to guide you through the design and construction of your building or renovation project.
One, two and three-family residential design does not require the services of a registered architect and is exempt under Revised Code sections 3781.06 to 3781.18 and 3791.04.
Registered professional engineers may provide architectural services only if the work is incidental to the practice of engineering. Architects may provide engineering services if it is incidental to the practice of architecture.
Careers in Architecture
For more information on careers in Architecture, visit the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) website.
On the national level, to achieve licensure and the privilege to use the title 'Architect,' most licensed architects today have obtained an accredited professional degree in Architecture at a school recognized by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).
A candidate's professional education is just the beginning. All architects are required to complete three years of diversified practical training known as the Intern Development Program or IDP. This training occurs under the direct supervisory control of a licensed architect. The Intern Development Program (IDP) is administered by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).
Every architect must also pass the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) administered by NCARB. The exam is required by all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and four U.S. territories (Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands).
Ohio requires architects to obtain continuing education to maintain licensure. Ohio requires architects to complete 24 hours every two years. Sixteen of those hours must be in the areas of Health, Safety, and Welfare (HSW).
Why hire an architect?
In Ohio, drawings for new buildings and existing buildings, other than 1, 2 or 3-family residential buildings, must be prepared by a registered architect.
How do you select an architect?
Typically, architects are generalists and produce a great variety of projects. There are no two projects that are alike, and each new building brings with it unique challenges.
You should arrange interviews with several architects to review their capabilities, define the scope of the project, discuss their fees, and determine your compatibility to work together throughout the project.
Successful projects result when architects and clients form positive relationships with each other. The most thoughtful architects are as careful in selecting their clients as owners are in selecting architects.
You should check the license status of the architect prior to signing a contract and request references from previous clients for whom the architect has done similar work.
Ohio requires all architects to enter into written contracts with their clients unless the services are being provided at no charge, services to a registered engineer or landscape architect, or services of the same general kind which the architect has previously rendered and received payment for from the same client.
Professional liability insurance is only required in Ohio for publicly funded projects.
What is normally included in an architect's services?
The services provided by the architect and his or her interdisciplinary team are subject to negotiations between the architect and owner and depend on the size and complexity of the project and the owner's needs. The written contract should set forth clearly what services the architect will provide.
The following list includes services that may be provided by the architect in a typical project:
- Building code analysis
- Building program review
- Conceptual design
- Design development
- Civil engineering
- Structural engineering
- Mechanical engineering
- Electrical engineering
- Working drawings
- Periodic construction observation
- Shop drawing review
- Project close out
In addition, an architect may also provide one or more of the following services:
- Detailed functional programs
- Site selection assistance
- Feasibility studies
- Existing building inspection and evaluation
- Measured drawings
- Environmental impact studies
- Landscape architecture
- Interior design
- Kitchen equipment selection
- Hospital equipment design
- Facilities management
- Perspective rendering
- Finished presentation models
- Product design
- Computer drawing database
- Construction management
- Full time construction representation
- Post construction use evaluation
- Cost estimating
What is a successful building project?
A successful building project is one that responds to your needs and aspirations, built on time, within budget, and contributes to the quality of the community and the persons who live within them.
Successful projects occur when clients and architects form good professional, business, and personal relationships. These relationships are formed early in the design process, and they are nourished by clear communication, mutually understood expectations, and a willingness of both client and architect to understand and accept their responsibilities for realizing a successful project.
20 questions to ask your architect
- What does the architect see as important issues or considerations in the project? What are the challenges of the project?
- How will the architect approach your project?
- How will the architect gather information about your needs, goals, etc.?
- How will the architect establish priorities and make decisions?
- Who from the architectural firm will you be dealing with directly? Is it the same person who will be designing the project? Who will be designing your project?
- How interested is the architect in this project?
- How busy is the architect?
- What sets this architect apart from the rest?
- How does the architect establish fees?
- What would the architect expect the fee to be for this project?
- What are the steps in the design process?
- How does the architect organize the process?
- What does the architect expect you to provide?
- What is the architect's design philosophy?
- What is the architect's experience/track record with cost estimating?
- What will the architect share along the way to explain the project? Will there be models, drawings, or sketches?
- If the scope of the project changes later in the project, will there be additional fees? How will these fees be justified?
- What services does the architect provide during construction?
- How disruptive will the construction be? How long does the architect expect it to take to complete your project?
- Do you have a list of past clients that the firm has worked with?
The steps involved in design and construction
Design and construction projects involve several steps. Typically, projects go through the following six phases. However, on some projects several of these steps may be combined or there may be additional ones.
STEP 1 - Programming/Deciding what to Build
The client and architect discuss the requirements for the project (how many rooms, the function of the spaces, etc.), testing the fit between the owner's needs, wants, and budget.
STEP 2 - Schematic Design/Rough Sketches
The architect prepares a series of rough sketches, known as schematic design, which show the general arrangement of rooms and of the site. Some architects also prepare models or renderings to help visualize the project. The client approves these sketches before proceeding to the next phase.
STEP 3 - Design Development/Refining the Design
The architect prepares more detailed drawings to illustrate other aspects of the proposed design. Floor plans show all the rooms in correct size and shape. Outline specifications are prepared listing the major materials and room finishes.
STEP 4 - Preparation of Construction Documents
Once the client has approved the design, the architect prepares detailed drawings and specifications, which the contractor will use to establish actual construction cost and build the project. These drawings and specifications become part of the building contract.
STEP 5 - Hiring the Contractor
The client selects and hires the contractor. The architect may be willing to make some recommendations. In many cases, clients choose from among several contractors they've asked to submit bids on the job. The architect can help you prepare bidding documents as well as invitations to bid and instructions to bidders.
STEP 6 - Construction Administration
While a contractor will perform the actual construction, the architect can assist the client in making sure that the project is built according to the plans and specifications. The architect can make site visits to observe construction, review and approve the contractor's applications for payment, and generally keep the client informed of the project's progress. The contractor is solely responsible for construction methods, techniques, schedules, and procedures.
Architect's Code of Conduct
All architects registered in the state of Ohio must adhere to the Code of Conduct (OAC 4703-3-07). Violators of the Code are subject to fines, suspension, or revocation of their license. In addition, members of the American Institute of Architects are subject to their Ethics Code.
Qualifications Based Selection for Public Owners
Qualifications-based selection is the law in the state of Ohio (ORC 153.65-153.71). QBS is a process that enables public owners to obtain the advice and services of a highly qualified architect or engineer at a fair and reasonable cost. Competitive bidding is not permitted under QBS. A free booklet, The Ohio QBS Manual, has been created to help public owners understand this process and is available on the AIA Ohio website at www.aiaohio.org.
Written Contracts are Required by Ohio Law
Since June 1, 1998, written contracts have been required under section 4703-3-09 of the Ohio Administrative Code. Any architect or architecture firm agreeing to provide services to a client must execute a written contract prior to beginning work on the project.
Architects and clients can prepare their own contracts, have them prepared by an attorney, or use the standard documents sold by The American Institute of Architects (AIA). AIA Documents are available from local AIA chapters.
The contract is a legal instrument that binds the architect and client to certain obligations for the duration of the project. It should include the specific services that have been agreed to and the conditions under which these services are to be rendered. Without such an understanding, issues could occur that increase costs or cause delays in the completion of the project. Consumers of professional services have the right to question and change any of the terms of the agreement before signing.
Contracts should be reviewed by an attorney prior to signing. Clients should keep a copy of the signed contract. Both the client and the architect are responsible for carrying out the terms of the contract.
Written Contracts-Required Items
Ohio Administrative Code section 4703-3-09 requires that written contracts for architectural services contain these minimum provisions:
- A description and location of the site.
- A description of the services the architect is to provide the client.
- A description of the basis of compensation applicable to the contract and the method of payment agreed upon by both parties.
- The architect's name, address and the clients name and address.
- A description of the procedure to be used by the architect and client or design-builder to accommodate additional services.
- A statement identifying the ownership of documents prepared by the architect and/or reuse of documents.
- A description of the procedure to be used by either party to terminate the project.
Written Contracts-Recommended Items
The following items are not required under Ohio law but are recommended for inclusion in the contracts for architectural services:
- At what phases of the architect's work is your approval required for authorization to proceed to the next phase.
- A schedule for completion of the work.
- The construction budget and what is included in that budget.
- Identification of who pays for consultant fees and what consultants are to be used on the project.
- Identification of reimbursable costs not included in the fee.
- Identification of what services constitute additional costs and who is to give approval for incurring such costs.
- Anticipated date of construction start.
- Determination whether or not construction observation is included in fee.
In addition to the written contract, it is advisable to maintain a record of all communications with the architect, both written and verbal, relating to the project. Following a meeting or discussion, it is helpful for the client to write a memo to the architect confirming his or her understanding of the meeting or discussion. Doing so may help prevent misunderstandings and could be invaluable if a dispute arises. Be sure to include the date and time of the meeting and the date of the memo. Keep a copy of any documents provided to the architect.
In addition to this formal correspondence, the client may want to keep a personal journal about the progress of the project through notes and photos. Carefully evaluate each phase of the work and make sure the architect knows when client approval is required before going to the next phase of the project. Keep a record of all payments made, changes approved, the date and the cost of the change order. Require the architect to obtain written approval before incurring additional costs.
Most disputes arise over money. Be sure to understand the cost of the architect's services and when payments are due. Be sure to include the schedule of fees in the written contract and that payments are timely. Be sure, if borrowing money for the project, that the loan covers architect's fees and construction costs.
We would like to acknowledge and thank AIA Ohio for supplying the following material: What is an Architect?, Why Hire an Architect?, How to select an Architect, The Architect's Services, The Steps involved in Design and Construction, 20 Questions to ask your Architect, and Qualifications Based Selection for Public Owners.
What Does A Landscape Architect Do?
Landscape architects design the outdoor spaces in which people live, work and play. They design and plan areas as small as private gardens and as large as entire cities. Their goal is to create environments that are beautiful, functional and in harmony with ecological principles.
Landscape architects design outdoor spaces that interpret our history and national heritage. Landscape architects design outdoor spaces that complement the form and function of adjacent buildings. They plan and design pedestrian and vehicular circulation, and plan for public and private preservation of rural lands and cultural landscapes.
Landscape architects must understand the design process, plant and soil science, ecology, construction practices, engineering principles, and environmental psychology. This range of knowledge is essential to the landscape architect's task of shaping and protecting the outdoor environment to accommodate the work and recreational activities of people.
When Would I Need a Landscape Architect?
The planning of the use of property is as important as the design and function of a building. Landscape Architects are trained and have the experience to work out the problems of a site to best meet the functions as outlined by the consumer.
Anyone who has property, or wants to purchase property, that has unusual problems such as drainage, grading, wind considerations or who has oceanfront property, special gardening desires, site planning needs for swimming pool, spa, terraces, parking, walks etc. would be wise to inquire about services of a licensed and experienced landscape architect.
Who Do Landscape Architects Work For?
Landscape architects work closely with their clients to plan and shape the land and solve environmentally related problems, for small sites or several thousand acres, most often resulting in increased land value. Everyone benefits from the varied expertise of individual landscape architects, however, some who frequently use landscape architectural services include:
- Municipal governments planning improvements such as streetscape revitalization, creation of zoning regulations, traffic planning and site plan review
- Land or property management firms planning for development of property, a change in land use, or management of a land resource
- Parks an recreation departments in preparation of comprehensive plans, site analyses, site selection, planning and development of parks and recreation facilities
- Conservation and preservation organizations and agencies planning for the preservation of delicate, cultural, historical or natural resources
- Owners of private residences planning a new residence, or shaping the environment of an existing house
- Members of the business community planning and developing new business locations or expanding and refurbishing old facilities
- The mining and extraction industry planning new facilities, or in reclamation
- Real estate developers on all types of land development projects
- Industry in planning and design of new and expanded facilities, or assessing environmental impact and planning environmental mitigation action
- Utility companies in planning for new facilities including assessment, impact and routing of utility lines
- People planning for land use in or near wetlands for delineation, preservation and mitigation plans
- Community groups wishing to influence proposed development
- Real estate professionals assessing land use potential
- Owner or managers of farms, estates, or equestrian facilities when master planning or improving the grounds or gardens
- Architects, engineers and allied professionals needing professional land planning expertise
Provided courtesy of the Massachusetts Division of Professional Licensure, Board of Registration for Landscape Architects