12 essential skills every architect needs advice, Architecture style tips, Property designer guide
12 Seemingly Minor But Essential Skills Every Architect Should Possess
6 September 2022
Most architects choose their careers out of love for gorgeous buildings, sleek designs and a desire to make their mark on the world. All of these are crucial requirements for any architect. Still, it is essential not to forget the more everyday skills required to be a successful architect, particularly one with plans to open their own business.
There are some skills that are universally beneficial no matter the career path someone chooses. Some of these can take time to learn, but the benefits for an architect’s future career cannot be overstated. It is also important for an architect to be open to new ideas and learn new skills to keep them ahead of the competition and keep their skills honed.
Editing And Formatting Documents
Understanding how to use, edit and format digital documents is another critical skill for architects. Much more work is done online now compared to previous generations. While architects may be familiar with specialist architectural software, it is still important to understand the basics. For instance, how PDFs convert into Word format and the reverse, and how to format each type of document to help develop digital pitches for projects.
Attention To Detail
Attention to detail is critical for architects, whose work can require them to design anything from a home extension to a city skyrise. All details need to be correct to ensure that the project is built safely, within budget and in accordance with the law. Many architects think primarily about the bigger picture, at least in the first phases of design, but keeping in mind the smaller details can be equally crucial.
It is always important to remember that others in the room may have ideas, help and suggestions to offer that could improve a project’s chances of success. Asking questions throughout the process of planning a project can be an excellent way to gain a deeper understanding of the requirements and any help others can offer. In addition, asking questions can help architects ensure they fully understand the requirements and needs of a client throughout the design process.
Learning From Mistakes
It can be tough to make mistakes in any career, but in architecture, the results can often be even more serious than in other professions. It is essential not to be disheartened by mistakes but instead view them as learning opportunities.
Most new architects will make mistakes at some point in their early careers, which is why it is important for them to be supervised by more experienced professionals. It can be easy to become self-critical, but taking a lesson from any mistakes made can be much more beneficial to an architect’s career than ignoring or dismissing the criticism.
Communicating Complex Information
Architects are often required to communicate complex information to clients, contractors and technicians. It is vital that they are able to communicate complex ideas in ways that laypeople can understand. This can help avoid miscommunications that could cause all kinds of issues for the project overall.
The best way to improve this skill is through practice, both in work and in personal life. For instance, architects could consider discussing their work with loved ones to find out how effectively they can communicate complicated information to someone without architectural knowledge.
Customer service skills are vital for an architect, as they provide a critical service to clients and need to give them the best possible experience. A combination of a job well done and excellent customer service can ensure that clients return to an architect in the future and, crucially, spread the word about their practice among friends and family.
Customer service skills can be tricky to learn, and one of the key tenets is understanding what a customer wants. It can help for architects to put themselves into their client’s shoes and consider what is most important for them and how to help achieve their goals. For instance, a business owner will be keen for a design that reflects their brand and ethics, while a private client may want a cosy home redesign for their family.
All professionals need to be adaptable no matter the sector they work within. Things within architecture can change quickly as new best practices come into play or legislation is passed by the government. Architects will need to be able to think quickly on their feet and handle any new information or challenge received with a cool head and a plan. For many architects, this skill gets honed throughout their career as they deal with different and complex new situations.
Many architects aspire to open their own practice someday, so understanding how to lead a team is crucial. Even those who choose to remain within a larger company will need leadership skills as they progress up the career ladder. Leadership skills enable architects to ensure that work is done correctly, that there is mutual trust between leaders and team members, and that projects go off without a hitch.
It may feel easier said than done to practice leadership skills, but there are many ways to do it. Younger architects could consider finding a mentor who can impart wisdom and advice to help them navigate being in charge. It can also help to take any opportunity that arises to lead a team and get practice that way.
There are many laws and regulations that impact projects, and it is vital for architects to understand what these mean for their projects. Having the best possible ideas will do little good if they never get approved to be made.
Understanding all the laws and regulations that impact work will help architects to build their ideas around them, ensuring they get approval and making the whole process easier for their clients. They should keep updated on the latest changes and possible changes in the law to ensure that their future work is compliant.
Networking can be invaluable for architects, as it helps them make new contacts within the industry and potentially find new leads for clients. It can also help new architects find job opportunities and collaboration for the future. Networking should be a continuous practice for any professional architect, as building an excellent contact list can be invaluable throughout a career.
There are many ways to connect with like-minded architects, such as through conferences, trade shows and industry organisations. It can also help to stay in the loop with the latest goings on for all the major players in your local and national architecture industry.
Architects need to be able to make a plan for a project that suits not only the vision of the client but also their budget. A budget should always be discussed before drawings and plans start to develop. Architects will need a solid understanding of how much materials, equipment and labour will cost to complete the project. They will also need to be able to convey this to clients whose budgets may not line up with the realistic overall cost of the venture.
Any architecture project or proposal will need the right drawings and specifications, but they will also need a suitable written element to help clients and contractors understand the goals. This could include planning permission or reports, which may need either technical or more creative writing skills. At the very least, architects will need a good grasp of language, spelling and grammar to ensure they can get their point across with the written word.
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