What Does An Architect Do?


When embarking on a construction project, be it a new home, a commercial building, or a renovation, one of the key players you’ll need is an architect. But what exactly does an architect do, and how can they help you bring your vision to life? 

We have identified the ten key actions that architects undertake to support their clients:

1. Design Expertise

Architects are the creative minds behind the aesthetic and functional aspects of a building. They take into account your preferences, local building codes, and the natural environment to design spaces that are not only visually appealing but also highly functional.

Source: Kerzner Leeukoppie Estate House 19

2. Site Analysis and Planning

Before putting pen to paper, architects conduct thorough site analyses. In South Africa, this includes understanding the terrain, climate, and local regulations. This knowledge ensures that the design integrates seamlessly with the environment and complies with legal requirements.

3. Client Collaboration

Architects work closely with clients to understand their needs, preferences, and budget. Through detailed discussions, they translate your ideas into a tangible design that reflects your vision while considering practicalities.

At COA, our client relationships are important to us which is evident through our set of core values:

  • We listen
  • We care and take pride in complete accountability.
  • Enjoying the experience is fundamental to our joint success.
  • Growth through collaborative relationships.
  • Creativity with efficiency.

These values determine and guide our client interactions. It is crucial to find an architect who is able to give you the experience you need to complete a successful project. This all starts with communication and collaboration.

4. Technical Expertise

Architects possess a deep understanding of construction materials, techniques, and technologies. They ensure that the chosen materials are suitable for South Africa’s specific climate conditions, providing durability and efficiency.

5. Regulatory Compliance

Navigating the regulatory landscape is crucial for any construction project. Architects are experts in local zoning laws, building codes, and permitting processes. Architects act as liaisons between you and the authorities, ensuring that all necessary approvals are obtained.

6. Project Management

Architects play a vital role in project management. They coordinate with various stakeholders, including contractors, engineers, and interior designers, to ensure that the project progresses smoothly and according to the established timeline.

7. Budgeting and Cost Control

Managing costs is a critical aspect of any construction project. Architects assist in creating realistic budgets and provide guidance on cost-saving measures without compromising quality. Far too many projects go over budget when in reality, if proper planning and budgeting is conducted, there is no reason for running over budget. It is important that your architect acts with urgency and diligence when budgeting costs for your project.

8. Sustainability and Energy Efficiency

In South Africa, where sustainable building practices are increasingly important, architects integrate eco-friendly elements into their designs. This includes utilising energy-efficient materials, incorporating renewable energy sources, and optimising natural lighting and ventilation.

View our journal on the V&A Waterfront Swing bridge we recently completed and how sustainability measures directed the design and construction of this project.

9. Cultural Sensitivity

Given the diverse cultural landscape of South Africa, architects understand the importance of incorporating cultural elements into their designs. They respect and integrate local traditions and heritage, creating spaces that resonate with the community.

10. Post-Construction Support

An architect’s involvement doesn’t end with the completion of the construction. They offer support during the final stages, ensuring that the project meets the expected quality standards and addressing any unforeseen issues.

In conclusion, an architect is not just a designer; they are integral partners in bringing your construction project to life. Their expertise, technical knowledge, and attention to detail are invaluable in ensuring that your vision is realised seamlessly and in compliance with regulations.

If you’re embarking on a construction project in South Africa, consider partnering with our experienced team of architects. Together, we’ll transform your ideas into a functional, beautiful reality that stands the test of time.

Contact us today to discuss your project and discover how our architects can turn your vision into a reality.