What do you need to become an architect? You might think the answer is obvious, but you’re missing crucial parts of the job if your answer was just “math and design skills”.
While these abilities are important, they aren’t the only architect skills required. To become a successful architect, you need a variety of technical and soft skills. Some are specific to architecture, while others are part of running any type of small business.
Hard skills required to be an architect
To become an architect, you will need to complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree in architecture. You will learn many important skills during your program, including:
1. Advanced math & science
Architects must have strong math skills. You will need a background in geometry, physics, and other advanced math concepts. These skills are necessary to help you design functional and safe buildings. This includes understanding the properties of various materials, how they bear weight under stress, their strengths, and their weaknesses.
Advanced math may also be helpful in running your small business. Though geometry and physics won’t make you an accounting wizard, strong math skills could make it easier to balance your books or spot invoice errors.
2. Drafting & design
Drawing blueprints is an important part of an architect’s job. If your designs cannot be read, it will be impossible for construction contractors to bring them to life. During your architectural program, you’ll learn the technical skills necessary to draft accurate and readable blueprints.
Architectural programs also include instruction in art history. An understanding of the history of architecture and different movements within the field can provide inspiration for your own designs.
3. Computer literacy
While you may learn how to draft blueprints by hand, most plans are now drawn using computers. You will also use software to create artistic renderings and simulations and to assist in the creation of architectural models. AutoCAD and Revit are common software programs used by many architectural firms.
Computer literacy is also essential to managing a small business. Many architects use email to communicate with their clients and send project contracts. You may also use software for accounting and marketing.
4. Knowing building codes & laws
It’s essential for architects to understand current building codes and laws. Following these regulations helps ensure a structure’s safety and preserves the integrity of the surrounding area. If you do not adhere to federal, state, and local building codes, you could be hit with stiff fines and expensive rebuilds.
A responsible client should be aware of relevant regulations before they hire you. However, this might not always be the case. You may need to educate the client on applicable zoning laws and design limitations as you present them with design options.
Soft skills for architects
To become a successful architect, you will need more than just technical knowhow. There are also a number of soft skills that can help your firm rise above the competition.
Architecture is as much an art as it is a science! Great architects are creative and artistic thinkers. They push the boundaries of aesthetics with their designs, creating imaginative and cutting-edge buildings. Creativity can help your designs stand out from other firms, helping you win over new clients and earn their contracts.
Creativity may also serve you well as you market your business. Your flair for design and keen creative eye could help you create ads, business cards, and other marketing materials seen by potential clients.
Few building projects go exactly to plan. Chances are, you’ll need to advise construction leads on how to adapt your design on the fly. You may also run up against material shortages, new legislation and other issues that impact your original designs.
Being able to offer alternative solutions to problems can help projects continue with minimal interruptions. Quickly amending a design or substituting materials could help you avoid compensation claims from clients caused by lengthy delays. You might consider including a few backup plans in your project notes and adding a buffer to timelines, just in case.
7. Communication & teamwork
You might be a sole proprietor, running a one-person architecture firm by yourself. But that doesn’t mean you never work with others. Architects often hire contractors to help them complete projects and advise construction contractors on job sites. Plus, you’ll probably be giving your clients updates as the project progresses! Teamwork and strong communication skills are essential to keeping everyone on task and up to speed.
In the future, you may bring people in to help you run your business as it grows, such as a bookkeeper, contract lawyer, office assistant, marketing pro, or other architects. You’ll need to communicate with these people and work together to ensure your firm is running smoothly, even when you’re away.
8. Customer service
How you interact with clients could make or break your architectural firm. You might be a talented and knowledgeable architect, but clients might decide to hire someone else if they don’t feel like they’re your priority. Good customer service skills can help them feel like a valued client.
Customer service is one of the most overlooked architect skills. However, excellent customer service can make negotiations easier, help you smooth over project issues, and avoid claims of professional negligence.
How BizInsure helps Architects protect their firms
With the right skills, knowledge, and experience, you’re on your way to building a successful architecture firm. You might want to consider protecting it with architect insurance.
Architects often buy General Liability, Business Owner’s Policies, and Professional Liability insurance to help them handle the financial fallout of claims and lawsuits. Instead of paying compensation, legal fees, and other related costs from your own pocket, your architect insurance policies pay them for you. That way, you can maintain a steady cash flow and focus on keeping your firm running.
With BizInsure, you can protect your architecture firm in as little as 10 minutes. We understand the insurance needs of busy architects. Simply answer a few questions, compare quotes from top-rated insurers, and buy the coverage you want.
Compare quotes now and see how much you could save with BizInsure!
The number of quotes provided varies between products, occupations and other underwriting factors determined by the insurers.
This information is a general guide only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Always check with your local licensing board when getting or renewing your trade or professional license to ensure you are meeting their current licensing requirements.
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