A project architect is a specific job title for the person who coordinates the parts of an architectural project. Some of the elements that the he or she may be responsible for include the project design, development of the “plans” or construction documents, and consultation with outside experts. He also may assume additional managerial responsibilities to oversee large projects, although in large firms or projects, a project manager may be assigned to oversee non-technical details of carrying out an architectural project.
Many different people are often involved in architectural projects, with the number of people involved varying with the scope of the project. The project architect generally oversees the workers involved in the design side of the project. One of his primary responsibilities is getting the plans for the building together. In practice, this means coordinating with the client and other architects and interns working on the project design, as well as other engineers, experts, or city officials that may be involved in the design phase of a project.
Another main responsibility of the project architect is determining what construction materials and methods will be used when building the project and the production of construction documents. Construction documents are the floor plans and elevations that are used by builders to actually construct the building. Another responsibility of a person in this position is to make sure a project meets local zoning and building code requirements, and that this is incorporated into the construction documents.
Being a project architect requires a variety of skills, including the ability to work in a team and assume a leadership role. People in this position must have good communication skills and knowledge of the different aspects of the design process. They also must know how to use specific architectural software programs. This is not an entry level job in architecture and requires several prior years of experience in the field. At minimum, a bachelor’s degree in architecture is required.
A project architect is not always a registered architect, but this is usually preferred by design firms. Having a license affects whether the project architect will sign contracts, payment applications or construction documents. Usually, ultimate legal liability rests with the registered owners of a firm, who are responsible for omissions or errors during the planning and execution of an architectural project.