Hiring a design professional


A designer typically earns a Bachelors or even Masters degree in Architecture, however, chooses not to go through the internship process, which makes them ineligible for licensing.


An architect is a person trained and licensed (registered) to plan, design, and oversee the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in connection with the design and construction of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the buildings, that have as their principal purpose human occupancy or use.

Professionally, an architect's decisions affect public safety, and thus an architect must undergo specialized training consisting of advanced education and an internship for practical experience to earn a license to practice architecture. Practical, technical, and academic requirements for becoming an architect vary by jurisdiction. Education typically consists of 5-6 years and includes a Masters in Architecture degree. Internship, monitored by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), includes 5600 hours spread across four categories. Licensing to become a registered Architect, through the Architectural Registration Board (ARE), consists of seven 4 to 5-1/2 hour tests. Continuing education varies by jurisdiction.

Project Delivery

Design-Bid-Build (D/B/B)

This method involves three roles in the project delivery process—owner, architect, and builder—in traditionally separate contracts. “Traditional” frequently describes the design-bid-build method, which typically involves competitively bid, lump-sum construction contracts based on complete and prescriptive contract documents prepared by the architect. These documents generally include drawings, specifications, and supporting information. The phases of work are usually conducted in linear sequence. The owner contracts with an architect for design; uses the design documents produced by the architect to secure competitive bids from contractors; and, based on an accepted bid, contracts with a contractor for construction of the building.

Design-bid-build is identified by the following defining characteristics:

  • Three prime players: owner, architect, builder
  • Two separate contracts: owner-architect, owner-builder
  • Final contractor selection based on lowest responsible bid or total contract price

Main sequential phases to the design–bid–build delivery method:

  • Programming
  • Pre-design
  • Design phase
      • Schematic design (SD)
      • Design development (DD)
      • Construction documents (CD’s)
  • Bidding phase
  • Construction phase

Construction Management

Construction Management at Risk (CMR) involves a construction manager who takes on the risk of building a project. The architect is hired under a separate contract. The construction manager oversees project management and building technology issues, in which a construction manager typically has particular background and expertise. Such management services may include advice on the time and cost consequences of design and construction decisions, scheduling, cost control, coordination of construction contract negotiations and awards, timely purchasing of critical materials and long-lead-time items, and coordination of construction activities.

Construction Management at Risk is identified by the following defining characteristics:

  • Three prime players: owner, architect, CMR
  • Two separate contracts: owner-architect, owner-CMR
  • Final provider selection based on aspects other than total cost

Design-Build (D/B)

Owners interested in single-point responsibility for both design and construction can use the design- build delivery system. In the design-build approach, the owner contracts with a single entity, the architect-builder, for both design and construction services. The design-build entity can be led by either an architect or a general contractor and can consist of any number of people. As with Construction Manager at Risk, the timing of agreement on a guaranteed maximum price varies with each project.

The following defining characteristics identify design-build delivery:

  • One contract: owner to design-build entity
  • Project-by-project basis for establishing and documenting roles
  • Continuous execution of design and construction
  • Overlapping phases: design and build (fast track)
  • Two prime players: owner, design-build entity

Integrated Project Delivery 

Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) leverages early contributions of knowledge and expertise through the utilization of new technologies, allowing all team members to better realize their highest potentials while expanding the value they provide throughout the project lifecycle.

IPD is a collaborative alliance of people, systems, business structures and practices into a process that harnesses the talents and insights of all participants to optimize project results, increase value to the owner, reduce waste, and maximize efficiency through all phases of design, fabrication, and construction.

There are eight main sequential phases to the integrated project delivery method:

  • conceptualization phase [expanded programming]
  • criteria design phase [expanded schematic design]
  • detailed design phase [expanded design development]
  • implementation documents phase [construction documents]
  • agency review phase
  • buyout phase
  • construction phase
  • closeout phase
  • facilities management



Thank you for visiting my website. My name is Mark Smith and I reside in Stevensville, Michigan my wife and two children. I have been interested in Architecture since my boyhood days; however, because of my families business—a lumberyard—I never really got a chance to pursue my dream until later in my career. Read more...


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