Like all businesses, architectural firms have their own inner workings and systems of organization. But for those that are new to the business or who are looking to update or cut back the number of roles, it can be confusing to understand.
In recognition of the value of adopting a multidisciplinary approach, architecture companies are now starting to offer a wider range of services. Architecture firms are adding in-house interior design and engineering services to the mix to better serve their clients.
Here are the details on 15 key positions within an architecture firm and the roles they play, to spark discussion among you and your fellow stakeholders.
Categorized into three tiers, an Architect Designer I has 3-5 years of experience and works according to parameters set by more experienced members of the team. An Architect Designer II has 6-8 years experience and is responsible for daily design efforts, while an Architect Designer III has 8-10 years of experience and is in charge of major aspects of your projects.
Your business development specialist doesn’t necessarily need to be trained as an architect, but it’s a big bonus to your firm if they are. That’s because your business development expert helps build up your brand in the marketplace and plays an essential role in prospecting for leads, qualifying them, and then converting them into new clients.
Carrying out the tasks needed to physically construct the project is the duty of your construction manager. Here, the emphasis is on making regular trips to the worksite to make sure progress is moving ahead per the specifications in the construction documents. The administrator is in charge of reviewing submittals before signing them off and is deeply involved in daily operations.
How the finished building will appear and how it works will depend on the creative efforts of your designer. A designer plays a pivotal role in brainstorming sessions with the client and the rest of your team, envisioning the project through all stages of development.
This role is filled by a still-unlicensed graduate from architecture school who is learning the ropes while on the job. You’ll need to verify what’s required to take on an intern and what your responsibilities will be concerning training and evaluation.
Junior partner is the title applied to newer members of the team who are rising in the ranks. Your junior partner could be considered a principal architect. Sometimes this role is covered by the firm’s vice president.
How do you distinguish yourself, highlighting the differences between your architecture firm and others? The marketing person will develop and maintain your website and social media as well as help with public relations and press outreach.
An architecture firm will have at least one mid-level partner, who is sometimes referred to as a senior vice president (such as in charge of commercial development) or another key partner.
The person in your architect firm who liaisons with clients to address design and technical issues, while working with the project manager to ride herd on the technical aspects and design elements of a project.
Oftentimes this is a job given to a new graduate, who is skilled in coordinating the efforts of the firm to make the final construction documents for the client’s approval.
The graphical design elements that your dedicated computer design department creates take a long time to render when it’s time to output high-resolution imagery. They create and correct the presentations you design for clients and are a core aspect of taking an idea and making it into a reality.
This individual is in charge of at least one department in your company, and can be an architect or an architect school graduate who has not been registered. Senior managers report directly to a senior partner or CEO.
If you’re the owner, the title of Senior Partner may be the second way people refer to you. Otherwise, it’s the majority shareholder if not the outright owner or founder of the company.
This valuable member of the team examines drawing, writes specifications, and then edits them. Research into potential products to be used in construction to handling is a main part of the job, which involves becoming fully conversant in all the job requirements as well as the equipment, testing, and certifying that must be listed in the specifications documents.
Grappling with all of the myriad details making up a new architecture project requires a designer who specializes in focusing on every small aspect of making a building from the ground up.
Positions Still to Fill in Your Architecture Company
Acknowledging the diverse mix of services that clients are increasingly requesting from the architecture firms they hire is an important first step in improving your business standing in the marketplace.
It certainly makes sense for your architecture firm to take a step back and review the key positions you have already filled and determine what holes remain. Doing so can help put you at a competitive advantage over local rivals, increasing the odds that you’ll land a new client.
After all, the more comprehensive the level of service you can offer, the more attractive you will be to those in need of architecture professionals.