Miami Green Homes

The Role(s) of the Architects – what we really do



Let’s keep the role and influence of the individual architect a little reasonable and in perspective here. There are so many varying aspects of architecture employment. Few actually design, especially design all the time. Most are executing some sort construction documents or other legal text relevant to the building at hand, research materials or local building and zoning code. When design actually happens, it is a very rewarding for most. So design, as conceived as the main role of the architect by the public, is in fact a rather small aspect of the overall practice.

In general the role of the licensed architect, is to orchestrate a number of parts required for the project into a coherent fashion to the success of said project. Like the CEO of a company, the architect is the leader of the project. This holds true during the planning and design phases, and shifts during the actual construction phase. Here the architect takes an observatory role, rather than a leading role within the project team.

What are the typical parts of a design team? Every project is a little different, but most include the owner, the client, a group of engineers and the staff of the architect itself.

Beyond leading the above noted project, there are many roles within an architectural practice. Like any business, staff relating to the legal operation, such as accounting, marketing, etc. are required but may be considered elsewhere. As for the actual architectural breakdown, here are key positions within an architectural firm. The big three are:

Draftsperson and production staff are generally operating software to literally produce the drawings that communicate the design intent and any details required for construction. This used to be hand drafting, but those days are long gone.  Largest portion of the architectural practice, consumes the most time.

Designer – coveted spot. Actually design the project. Most creative and theoretic aspect of architecture.

Project manager – little design, lots of production, lots of research and written texts. Overall understanding of project, contracts, coordination with others. Most engaging portion of the practice.


Architects and the like…
September 19, 2009, 1:42 am
Filed under: Building knowledge | Tags: , ,

The AIA national just stated that it is not necessarily illegal to use the term “architect” in reference to oneself if one is indeed not a licensed architect. This may be true on a national level and the proprietary use of the word itself.

In our home state however, it is against the Florida Statues to do so. When noting oneself as an architect, architect in training, architect intern or offering architectural services, the individual and firm must be a licensed one and be able to prove it, too.

 As the client, make sure that you will be serviced y a licensed professional. We have the license, and all the requirements to upkeep Continuing education and other goodies, for a reason. That reason is to protect the public welfare and provide services that will not endanger your life. We are actually held accountable for our work for 12 years once the seal goes on your plans.

Miami Dade county has an enormous array of required permits. There are about 40 categories that require the owner to have a building permit. To learn more, contact your design professional or look at the Miami Dade County portal:

There are some permits that can be obtained for a specific component by the contractor directly without the need for an architect. Painting the exterior of your home or business is a great example for this.

Once combining multiple required at the same time, consider hiring a professional to ensure that you have covered all aspects of your project and will not be fined for lack of a permit once building is underway. Choose your architect to fit your project. Most of us specialize in some field as the spectrum is quite large. When looking at remodeling or upgrading a home or business, a small firm can provide you with better, more economical service than a 100 person firm can.

You can learn more about choosing the right architect and also appropriate contract documents at the AIA (American Institute of Architects) website: If you are looking for more sustainable focused professionals, like myself, take a look at the Walk the Walk website:

Contact your sustainable design specialist in South Florida to learn more for your next proejct: Sebastian Eilert Architecture (