What is a Commercial Architect?

A Commercial architect is a licensed professional who works as part of a team to design a variety of commercial buildings and structures. They contribute artistic, construction and engineering skills to a project and typically take part in every step of the building process.

In the U.S. a commercial architect must be licensed by the architect’s registration board in the state they’re working in. To obtain a license a person must pass a test administered by the state. In order to sit for the test they must have a Bachelor of Architecture degree from an accredited school and complete an internship (for practical work training). Licenses are state specific, although neighboring states may acknowledge another license through a process called reciprocity.

Commercial architects aren’t purely about aesthetics, they must also consider an array of factors during the design process, such as functionality, building codes, safety regulations and construction costs. You’ll typically find a commercial architect working in an office environment developing construction plans and consulting with clients, however you’ll also find them in the field monitoring the construction process and addressing any conflicts which may arise.

As stated above, commercial architects are part of the entire building process. They typically begin by determining design factors through client consultations, then they are usually responsible for creating the blueprints, coordinating the building process, collaborating with engineers, interior designers, landscape architects and construction contractors. They can also be involved in post-construction activities such as testing and inspections.

Successful commercial architects have a variety of skills beyond the ability to design aesthetically pleasing structures. They must be great communicators, and be able to manage and supervise contractors and sub-contractors involved in the actual construction. Problem-solving, leadership and creativity are all hallmarks of a great commercial architect.

In 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an average annual salary of $79,650 for architects in general, and $74,560 for those working in nonresidential building construction. The BLS also reported that jobs for architects were predicted to increase by 17% from 2012-2022. For more information visit the American Institute of Architects website, http://www.aia.org/

Family owned since 1989, the design staff at Greater Pacific Construction works closely with Commercial Architects to deliver the most functional work space.

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